Letters, Feb. 17: Democracy means living with our elected choices

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Re: Recall petition likely won’t pass, Opinion, Feb. 15

More than 500,000 signatures are required for Landon Johnston’s recall petition to oust Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

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This should be a sharp reminder to those who would play fast and loose with our system of democracy. You cannot overthrow a democratically elected politician on a whim because you have become disenchanted with them. Not in this province. Not in this country.

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Love her or loathe her, Gondek was elected by a majority of eligible voters in Calgary and she has the right to govern until she is voted out in the next civic election or until enough Calgarians have signed their names to Johnston’s petition.

Chris Nelson appears to believe the recall legislation bar has been set too high, that the game is rigged. If the number of signatures required was significantly less, say 10 per cent instead of 40 per cent, almost every politician would be facing recall legislation within six months of being elected.

We would have the spectacle of grandstanding citizens with spare cash in their pockets, looking for some free media coverage to complain about burning issues such as having to request straws and paper bags with their takeout orders.

Nothing would make me happier than to see Danielle Smith recalled as premier, but the fact is, she won the election with a majority and she is our premier until she either steps down or Alberta voters make a wiser choice in 2027.

Let’s be grateful for our democracy.

Jo-Ann Mason, Calgary

Ottawa needs to make U-turn on roads plan

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Re: Guilbeault’s latest decree: no funding for new roads for all those electric cars, Opinion, Feb. 15

Don Braid reported that federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault stated “the national road system (which includes the Trans-Canada Highway) is just fine the way it is and must not expand.”

Apparently, Guilbeault has not driven sections of the Trans-Canada from the Alberta-B.C. border to Revelstoke. The highway was opened in 1962 and many sections have not been upgraded in the past 62 years. The sections through Yoho, Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks are under the authority of the federal government, which has no plans to upgrade. B.C. is upgrading parts of the highway under its authority to four lanes and has just completed the most expensive section through Kicking Horse Canyon.

Traffic volumes on the Trans-Canada are more than twice the capacity of a two-lane highway, which has resulted in many fatalities and serious injuries. The federal government has collected a 10 cents per litre excise tax on gasoline since 1995. This amounts to billions per year but goes into general revenue not highways. In the U.S., the federal tax on gasoline goes into the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to fund highways, transit and a range of bike and other active transportation facilities.

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Guilbeault said: “Thanks to a mix of investment in active and public transit, and territorial planning and densification, we can very well achieve our goals of economic, social and human development without more enlargement of the road network.”

Obviously, Guilbeault should get out of Montreal and visit rural Canada.

John Morrall, Calgary

‘Neuter’ campaign in bad taste

Re: Animal shelter offers chance to ‘neuter ex’ for good cause, Feb. 14

With so much news currently of intimate partner violence, it’s disconcerting that this slogan would be chosen, even for a very good cause.

Brian Wells, Calgary

Release responses to pension survey

Re: Alberta refuses to release responses to government’s pension plan survey, Feb. 14

Why not let a little sunshine in and publish Albertans’ written answers to the survey? That same survey where staying in the CPP wasn’t even an option and people used the “comment sections” to write in their honest opinions. I think those responses would make for some interesting reading.

Is the government still clinging to the carcass of an Alberta pension with a $334-billion transfer from the CPP? I hope not. Surely this means the effort to gaslight an entire province to vote against its self-interest has stalled.

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I’m old enough to remember Brexit, when some charlatans lied to the public. This is Alberta though, and we see you.

A big thanks to all Albertans who took the time to fill out the survey.

Isabelle Bonneau, Calgary

Tax reduction meaningless for impoverished

NDP leadership hopeful Kathleen Ganley wants to adjust income taxes for lower-income persons. Basic provincial income tax amount would be reduced to $0 for incomes below $26,000. Those earning $148,269 could save up to $400 annually.

So, those with incomes six times higher than stagnant minimum wage incomes also benefit. Tax reductions without concomitant indexing for inflation, living wages and reduced indexation of benefits for the wealthy are useless, as the financial spread between the wealthy and the impoverished becomes even wider.

It is interesting how politicians of all political stripes always ensure that they, with their $100,000+ incomes, benefit from their own financial programs.

Financial silos benefiting upper middle class and the wealthy need to be replaced with co-ordinated indexed living wages and benefits based on Market Basket Measure equivalence scales, so that the impoverished can also live decent financial lives.

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Lin Gackle, Cochrane

Alberta can help world lower emissions

I was wondering if all Canadians east of the Manitoba/Ontario border are aware that Alberta is the leader in Canadian renewable resource research and development, investment, and installation.

Canada’s energy expertise is centred here, including the expertise in acknowledging that India, China and the Asia Pacific — who together emit approximately 48 per cent of the world’s CO2 — are in dire need of our non-renewable energy export products to mitigate their reliance on coal for electrical power generation.

If only we could transport our product to them in quantities that would make an impact.

Unfortunately, the federal government’s extreme environmental ideology, combined with a shrewd electoral strategy, has misled most Canadians to believe that we cannot make that impact on global CO2 emissions. They’ve focused only locally, sadly, on Canada’s paltry CO2 footprint (only 1.7 per cent of the world’s total) and created a false sense of urgency around it that the majority of the Canadian electorate have embraced.

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Bob Mackan, Strathmore

Royal visit to Canada should proceed

King Charles’ decision to cancel his trip to Canada will only fuel the anti-monarchists braying for the elimination of the king as Canada’s Head of State.

He would be wise to send a representative to retain the Crown’s position in this country’s Constitution.

Sadly, after waiting 75 years to take his place on the throne, he may be loathe to let anyone else step in.

I urge him to delegate the visit to the Princess Royal or the Prince of Wales. Both are highly popular and would no doubt be welcome on our shores.

As the late Queen said, “I must be seen to be believed.” As usual, she was right.

Nancy Marley-Clarke, Calgary

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