Letters to the editor, May 10, 2018

These are the letters and comments from the print edition.

Costly carbon

Justin Trudeau is trying to ram through his carbon tax, which will raise the price of home heating, electricity and groceries. He has failed to tell Canadians how much this will cost or what it will achieve. The Parliamentary Budget Officer released a new report recently that found the tax will take $10 billion out of the Canadian economy by 2022, while other estimates argue the cost could be as much as $35 billion per year. This will hurt jobs, workers and their families. —The Honourable Rob Moore, Conservative shadow minister for Atlantic Issues

Big government

Regarding the recent discussions of fluoridation of water in this space, what was not mentioned is the subtext ("Our water's safe," Reply all, for example). Adding chemicals to water is just as much the issue as government control or interference in our lives. This is similar to the issues surrounding the NRA and gun control in the USA. Indeed, the pendulum has swung much further in the USA. Capital punishment would be another example. The US federal government can ban capital punishment, but the states are under a compulsion to adhere to its ruling.

On another matter, the issue of home and property ownership in Preston and other areas is so egregious that I cannot understand why this isn't corrected with the stroke of a pen. Yes, I know that it is not as simple as that, nevertheless where there is a will... —G. Boyce, Dartmouth

Can we talk?

I suppose you'd call me a climate activist. I've supported initiatives, written letters and op-eds, spoken with elected officials and taken part in public meetings focusing on climate change. I've tried to raise awareness of the rewards of decisive action as well as the risks of the status quo. I've partnered with great people and grown to admire their commitment to creating a just, prosperous low-carbon future.

I've also noticed that efforts like these haven't budged one basic reality: We seldom talk about climate change in our day-to-day lives. (Feel free to check this out by trying to recall the last time it got anything more than a fleeting mention in an informal conversation of yours.)

It's not that we shy away from important questions. We'll readily share our thoughts with friends and neighbours on school reform, health care, fracking or gun violence. But climate change? Not so much. From what I've read, most Canadians accept the evidence that the earth is warming and humans are the cause. Many of us seem to stop there, however, and I'm puzzled as to why we don't engage more with each other on this issue. Do we think we're not knowledgeable enough? Do we believe the situation is under control? Are we interested in talking about it but uncertain about bringing it up? Does it just feel overwhelming?

My own attempts to jump-start the climate dialogue haven't helped. I've occasionally broached the subject with acquaintances, only to be reminded that the activist in me is more inclined to lecture than listen. Now, educated by those experiences and keen to understand others' perspectives, I want to try again. I'm seeking opportunities to have climate conversations that actually are conversations, and I'd like to invite you to join me in one.

All you need to do is drop me a line at climatechat@yahoo.com, and we'll arrange to meet for coffee in a convenient public place. It won't matter how knowledgeable you are or if you're concerned, optimistic, confused, or just interested. I'll leave my activism at the door along with the intention to persuade you of anything. While I will probably offer bits of my own perspective, my focus will be more on hearing and understanding what you have to say. And whether we find common ground or just share our views and questions with each other, I believe we'll part feeling we've learned something.

Will our chat help make this important issue easier to talk about in our circles and communities? Who knows? But maybe the next time climate change has a place in a conversation one of us is part of, we'll be more open to inviting it in. And that's a start. —David Henry, Halifax

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