Your letters for March 31

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Class still rules in neighbourhood discussions

Re: Responsive government makes good government, Opinion, March 26

City Council hearings around the proposed Community Guidebook have been a reminder that discussions of class are often too narrow. When we talk about inequality, we tend to talk about the superrich. We also need to think about local economic elites – the equivalent of landed gentry from premodern times. Local elites generally don’t own penthouses in London or yachts in Monaco. But they often live in very affluent neighbourhoods and might own a winter home or a lakefront cabin. This type of elite doesn’t make the front page of national newspapers, but they exert tremendous influence on local politics, through donations and their ability to be taken seriously.

Elbow Park looks very different from the rest of Calgary; it is much wealthier and much whiter. And yet vocal opposition from some residents has dominated council discussions of the Guidebook and drawn sympathy from many a Herald columnist. We don’t need to look to tech moguls, hedge fund managers or oligarchs to see inequality warp conversations on how to make communities more equitable; we can watch it happen right here with our own modern, local gentry.

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Cameron Climie, Ottawa

Mission accomplished?

Re: New K-6 curriculum gets top grades from education experts, Opinion, March 29

Jason Kenney and Adriana LaGrange have created the most effective K-6 Social Studies curriculum possible — if your agenda is to make kids hate Social Studies. And I’m not so sure that wasn’t the intent from the beginning.

Grant Hoe, Calgary

Get along to get along

Re: Supreme court opens door to intrusions, Opinion, March 26

We are Canadians as well as Albertans. We don’t need to make enemies out of our neighbouring provinces or each other. Don’t fall prey to an us-vs-them narrative. If we are comparing provinces to acting like children, perhaps it is worth considering the type of children who are easiest to interact with: the tantrum-throwing egomaniac or the calm, resourceful child who adapts?

The carbon tax is good for Canadians. It protects our resources, reduces our carbon footprint and gives money back to Canadians. An average family of four is set to receive $888 in rebates. Is fighting that really what’s best for Albertans, or is it looking a gift horse in the mouth?

Tori Slobodzian, Calgary

Carbon tax cheaper than current solution

Jack Mintz is sitting on the fence between a carbon tax and cap-and-trade. The former was introduced at $15 to $20 per tonne but abandoned by the UCP government. A cap-and-trade system has been in place in Alberta since about 2009 at about a $15 to $30 excess emission charge, but at a financial eight-year cost of $95 per tonne of reduced emission from about 200 emission offset projects since 2009.

The Alberta cap-and-trade system has been a highly costly administrative system to government and industry, because of the exorbitant amount of annual red tape required to quantify, verify and report emissions (and similar for offset emissions). A carbon tax is a much less administrative burden.

Kurt Hansen, Alberta

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