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The Globe and Mail

March 20: Alberta’s gamble. Plus other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Alberta's gamble

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Gary Mason raises the interesting scenario of the future of the Kinder Morgan pipeline should the NDP win the B.C. election in May and attempt, as promised, to shut down the expansion project (Notley's Grand Budget Gambles, March 17). Which NDP government – Alberta's or B.C.'s – would the federal Liberal government then side with, having already approved Kinder Morgan?

The Constitution gives federal jurisdiction to "works and undertakings connecting the province with any other or others of the provinces, or extending beyond the limits of the province."

Should Justin Trudeau choose to sacrifice his brand in B.C. by invoking this power to override a provincial prohibition, the federal cat would definitely be among the provincial pigeons.

John Edmond, Ottawa

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"Horrible fiscal jam." "Audacious debt numbers." "Perilous." "Nasty economic fundamentals." These descriptors paint only one part of the Alberta budget picture.

Things could be way worse. The Notley government could have exercised massive Klein-style cuts to the public service. Nursing and teaching jobs would have been ransacked or deskilled if so-called "austerity budgets" had been implemented. All sorts of government jobs could have been lost.

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The minimum wage could have lowered. And, oh goodness me, a provincial sales tax could have been instigated. If so, would the same descriptors have been applied to cutting and slashing our jobs and social safety nets?

Cathy Harrop, Canmore, Alta.

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Income disconnect

Re Morneau Touts Tax-The-Rich Policies Ahead Of Federal Budget (March 17): Finance Minister Bill Morneau intends to tax the rich. Why is Toronto so reluctant to tax the property-rich, rather than ask the province (that is, the rest of us taxpayers) to subsidize it?

Our house in Collingwood's MPAC value is $625,000, and our municipal taxes are $6,300. In The Globe and Mail's done-deals (March 17) we see selling prices of $1.35-million, $1.6-million and $1.4-million with property taxes of $6,171, $7,976 and $5,750 respectively. Seems to me this is very low-hanging fruit for Toronto Mayor John Tory to pursue.

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Al Woolnough, Collingwood, Ont.

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau can brag about taxing the rich but the Liberal government's math is a head scratcher. When people in the top 1 per cent of income cannot afford to buy a house in Toronto, he either has the definition of the 1-per-cent wrong, or perhaps there is huge tax leakage that he is unaware of …

Continue to tax the hard-working and the diligent savers, and they will leave. Then you can tax the next level below, until we ultimately become a welfare state of low achievers.

T.J. Machado, Mississauga

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People who pay more than 53 per cent in marginal tax rates can't afford more than a semi on Toronto's edges? What hope is there for the rest of us? Two-hour commutes? Bidding wars for overpriced rentals?

Krista Wood, Toronto

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Judgment? M.I.A.

Re The Troubling Case Of Don Meredith (editorial, March 17): The central issue in this case is that the Senate's key role is to be the chamber of sober reflection, and so the chief attribute of its members needs to be a demonstrated track record of good judgment. Don Meredith, and before him, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and others exhibited just the opposite, which reflects terribly on them, on the Senate, and also on the politicians who appointed them.

Louis Florence, Toronto

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Referendum. Repeat

Re Referendum Redo A Risky Gambit (March 16): Konrad Yakabuski says Spain would have to veto a Scottish application to join the European Union, lest it encourage those in Catalonia who wish to become independent.

The distinction is that Spain has no intention of leaving the EU, while Britain has declared as much, loudly and clearly. The Auld Alliance, between France and Scotland, dates back to 1295 and has strongly influenced Scottish culture right up to today. Citizens of each country were entitled to the citizenship of the other, a benefit that lasted for many centuries.

The first Scottish referendum was about leaving the U.K. for internal geo-political reasons. The second referendum is being sought based on Scotland's desire to remain culturally European once Brexit is achieved.

Penelope B.M. Hedges, Vancouver

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Your editorial, More Referendum Madness In The U.K. (March 14), astounds me. You attack the decision by the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to seek a new independence referendum. She says that Brexit, as planned by the British government, is a material change of circumstances from the time of the last Scottish referendum. You call this nothing but "crass political opportunism."

Have you forgotten what you said in a June 24, 2016, editorial, after the Brexit vote? Let me remind you. You called Brexit "complete folly," resulting in a "bloody mess" (The Brexit Vote Is Complete Folly, But There Is Still Time To Reverse It). Yet now you say Ms. Sturgeon cannot call this "a material change of circumstances" for Scotland!

And that's not all. In that same editorial, you stated that Scotland is "better off in the EU." And yet Ms. Sturgeon, after a 62 per cent Scottish vote last year to stay in Europe, is now excoriated by you for wanting to hold a referendum to decide on doing just that – staying in the European Union.

Don't you care about consistency in Globe and Mail positions?

Colin Beattie, Ottawa

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Birds of a feather

Reading the entertaining essay about crows, Who's Squawking Now? (Facts & Arguments, March 15), brought back a warm memory. In the early 1990s, we were living in Kawasaki, Japan, and had to move out of our quarters. My husband enlisted a local realtor and an apartment was soon found. Among the realtor's persuasions was, "You will awake to the singing of birds."

Of course, reality was a bit different when the birds turned out to be squawking crows … starting their day bright and early!

Sangeeta Allardice, Burnaby, B.C.

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How ironic is it that a flock of crows is known as a "murder of crows." My black-hearted thoughts exactly …

Frankie Mason, Saskatoon

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In the 1940s, residents of a small Ontario town became disenchanted with the murmuration of starlings which had settled in their neighbourhood trees. Their concerns about the noise were raised with the chief of police, who responded by creating a posse, if you will, of shotgun owners.

Armed with buckshot from the chief, the gun-toters fired simultaneously on his command.

Feathered casualties cascaded to the ground, where they were retrieved and placed into burlap bags for transfer to the town's dump.

In this age, the noise of protesters at such tactics would dominate more than that of the birds.

Wilfred Slater, Toronto

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