Your letters for Monday, April 16

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Facebook needs to explain privacy settings

Re: “‘We didn’t do enough,’” April 12.

Facebook’s privacy settings are the flashing VCR clock of our time.

It’s not that we don’t want to change the privacy settings, it’s that the buttons are hard to find and confusing. Many users choose to leave everything alone because they don’t understand, or they’re afraid they’ll mess things up.

Mark Zuckerberg says protecting the Facebook community is more important than maximizing profits.

Facebook needs to clearly explain what everything means in simple terms, or risk losing its profits and its community to a new shiny thing waiting in the wings, the way VCRs did.

Tony Rino, Calgary

Pot smoking shouldn’t be a problem

Re: “Council votes to ban consumption of pot in public,” April 6.

Since the city and the province have stopped smoking in public restaurants, lounges and bars, I imagine that there will be no consumption of marijuana in public.

However, at present, Calgary has seen numerous hookah and shisha lounges and bars open, where patrons can freely partake in smoking.

If one can sit and smoke with a hookah pipe, why could they not smoke weed, which we all know is just a natural substance?

Jim Jones, Calgary

Albertans no strangers to long surgery waits

Re: “Alberta Health has ‘work to do,’ as surgery waits grow,” April 12.

Reporter Keith Gerein tells us of worsening Alberta wait times for common surgical procedures.

Alberta Health Services acknowledges issues with surgical capacities. Albertans know this too well. Wait times soared for Calgarians when the former government reduced hospital beds by half despite a surging population.

Then, chronic underfunding of new and old infrastructure served to further reduce usable capacity.

We are not the only province in such a state. International agencies now score Canada in the bottom tier of 11 advanced nations. We rank ninth, besting only France and the United States.

The 2018 C.D. Howe Institute report also states that Canada’s health-care system ranks poorly by comparison to peer nations. Most condemning are the wait times.

Neither Canada, nor Alberta, will break out of the bottom tier without substantial investment in caregivers and infrastructure.

Ralph Coombs, Calgary

Games could leave valuable legacies

 Re: “The benefits of hosting,” Roger Jackson, Opinion, April 7.

I would like to add my thoughts to Roger Jackson’s opinion piece on hosting the 2026 Olympic Games.

On the compelling business opportunity: why hasn’t Ken King or a similar group of sports-minded entrepreneurs come forward with a public-private partnership proposal?

It seems the business community has been quiet to all this opportunity.

On the Games being an investment in community building: the athletes’ village could be located on First Nations reserves. This would create an opportunity for the various Calgary non-profit organizations to provide future affordable housing and the First Nations communities to develop a multi-skilled workforce. 

Ownership of the land and facilities would remain with the First Nations. Economic diversification would range from trades apprenticeships to ongoing management and maintenance. 

Extended care facilities and retirement condos also could be factored into the mix.

Jackson is correct in suggesting that this rare opportunity could create legacies that would benefit our lives.

John Gandecki, Calgary

Wary of public investment in pipeline

Re: “‘Clock is ticking and it is getting louder’ on Trans Mountain,” April 12.

If Alberta purchases the Trans Mountain pipeline, it will be subsidizing B.C. energy consumers with an uneconomic pipeline. As an Alberta taxpayer, that does not appeal to me in the least.

It’s pretty clear that as long as the federal government refuses to uphold the law, we will continue to see foreign capital flee our country.

If the Trans Mountain pipeline can’t be built with private investors’ capital, why should it be built by Alberta taxpayers?

This is starting to smell like the National Energy Program during the days when Pierre Elliott Trudeau felt compelled to buy up major stakes in Canada’s energy companies under the guise of national energy security.

We all know how that ended.

John Disturnal, Calgary

B.C. only pretends to be green

Re: “Mum’s the word on B.C.’s coal exports,” Letter, March 30.

Please continue to publish more information on the fact that B.C. is a large contributor to global CO2 emissions by exporting 29 million tonnes of coal to be used in Asia.

They continue to say how green they are within B.C., and how much they care about their footprint, but they neglect the fact that they are huge negative Canadian contributors to the world’s climate change issues.

They gladly collect the coal money, close their eyes and their minds to the global issues, and grab their anti-pipeline signs for another righteous day of pretending B.C. is green.  

Brian McConaghy, Calgary

In-camera meetings shouldn’t be called ‘secret’

Re: “Council threatens to eject Coun. Farkas,” April 6.

I would suggest Coun. Jeromy Farkas be less reckless with his use of language.

The issue appears to be about in-camera, or closed meetings. Labelling these as “secret” meetings is inflammatory.  

“Secret” certainly gets Farkas attention on his tweets, but does little to move the debate forward in a constructive manner.

Closed meetings generally deal with land, labour or legal matters. These issues should not, at least initially, be dealt with publicly for obvious reasons.

Farkas is quite within his right to ask the question. He just needs to do it in a different manner.

One can disagree without being disagreeable.

Peter Teppler, Calgary

No denying manmade climate change is real

Re: “A carbon tax for a cooling world,” Letter, April 6.

Simply go to the NASA website to see that the trend line in global temperature is very clearly continuously upward.  Of course, the line is not smooth and there was an inflection point (a slowing of warming, not a cooling) starting around 2002 and ending around 2012, when rapid warming recommenced.

The letter goes on to damn the “economically crippling” carbon tax. Where is the evidence for that assertion? 

Your readers may like to note that Sweden has a carbon price of about $170 per ton, yet has one of the strongest economies in Europe. 

As stated by the World Bank: “Sweden has the rare distinction of having consistently curbed carbon dioxide emissions over the past two-and-a-half decades while enjoying solid growth.”

It can be done and does not have to be economically crippling.

It is time to simply acknowledge that anthropogenic climate change is a reality, is serious, and needs urgent action. 

Geoffrey King, Calgary 

Alberta should challenge costly transfers

Re: “Equalization has always been about keeping Quebec content,” Ted Morton, Opinion, April 7.

 Alberta’s contributes about $20 billion annually to Canada’s various transfer and equalization programs. That’s an amount that leaves this province in the form of federal taxation and is re-distributed to other parts of Canada. 

Imagine waking up tomorrow in an alternate universe, whereby Quebec is contributing this amount to the rest of Canada. Considering Quebec has double the population of Alberta, that would be equivalent to $40 billion annually.

Quebecers would never stand for this. Separatist sentiment would spike overnight, and Quebecers would overwhelmingly vote to separate from Canada after a hastily organized sovereignty referendum.   

I am not suggesting that Albertans explore separation from Canada. Instead, the government of Alberta should retain the best legal and constitutional minds and charge them with challenging the federal laws that allow this situation to perpetuate. 

Bruce Robertson, Calgary

 

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