National Post Letter

Electoral reform opponents are once again pulling out the old Israel canard. I’ve responded with a letter attempting to set the record straight in today’s National Post:

Electoral reform

Re: Think you want elect­oral reform? Kelly McPar­land, July 9

Accord­ing to Kelly McPar­land, “Israel has a pro­por­tional rep­res­ent­a­tion sys­tem of the type reform enthu­si­asts like to advoc­ate.”

In fact, Canada’s elect­oral reform sup­port­ers almost uni­ver­sally favour sys­tems like mixed-mem­ber pro­por­tional and single trans­fer­able vote. While these are forms of pro­por­tional repres­ent­a­tion — i.e. they pro­duce elec­tion res­ults that closely match the wishes of the electorate — they also pre­serve local rep­res­ent­a­tion and allow voters to choose indi­vidual candid­ates.

If elect­oral reform back­ers had their way, Canada would look less like Israel than like New Zealand, Ger­many or Ire­land.

David Taub Bancroft, Vancouver

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National Post Letter

The old poli sci major in me could not allow John Ivison’s column to stand. Please see the letters section in today’s National Post for my response to the argument that it is somehow “illiberal” for governments to impel individuals to get vaccinated.

Re: Trudeau shows liberal principles have left the Liberal Party, John Ivison, Jan. 12

The essence of liberalism is not, as John Ivison claims, that “individuals should not be forced to conform to other people’s beliefs,” but rather John Stuart Mill’s harm principle: “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

Choosing not to get vaccinated against a dangerous and highly transmissible virus puts the lives and safety of other people at risk. This places vaccination squarely within the rightful exercise of government authority.

We can agree or disagree on the specifics of any given policy, but let’s not muddy the terms of debate. For Justin Trudeau or anyone else to employ legislative power in favour of vaccination falls well within the parameters of Mill’s liberalism.

David Taub Bancroft, Vancouver

Globe and Mail Letter

Clifford Orwin argues in a Globe and Mail op-ed that both Republicans and Democrats are behaving hypocritically in their fight over filling the Supreme Court vacancy before the election. In today’s Letters section, I concisely defend the Democrats’ approach:

It does not seem like hypocrisy for U.S. Senate Democrats to invoke the same arbitrary rule on Supreme Court appointments that Republicans invoked four years ago. It is more like tit-for-tat – a one-time corrective to restore the balance that was upset in 2016.

David Taub Bancroft Vancouver

Globe and Mail Letter

Today’s Globe and Mail contains a letter to the editor from yours truly (second from the bottom) in response to an op-ed criticizing those who take offence at J.K. Rowling’s misguided views on trans people. I discuss one of my pet peeves in the current “free speech” wars — namely, the conflation of condemnation with censorship.

Globe and Mail Letter

The Letters section in today’s Globe and Mail is filled with readers’ thoughts on climate change. One such reader is me. Please see the fifth letter from the top for my response to the “What about China?” excuse for Canadian climate inaction.

Vancouver Sun Letter

LetterI have a letter in today’s Vancouver Sun, not so much supporting proportional representation (although I do support proportional representation) as addressing what I consider to be baseless objections to the current electoral reform referendum. My letter is second from the top, under the (perhaps regrettable) heading “Complexity isn’t a real concern.”

Remember to vote and mail your ballots in before November 30!

National Post Letter

LetterIn today’s National Post, I’ve got another letter to the editor on everyone’s favourite topic: the Trans Mountain pipeline. (I’ll stop repeating myself once people start listening!) My letter appears only in the print edition, so I cannot provide a link. Accordingly, here is the full text:

The pipeline crisis

Re: PM takes right tack on Trans Mountain, Andrew Coyne, April 17

Regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Andrew Coyne writes, “this is not a debate about a pipeline, or not any longer. It is about who decides.”

With all due respect, it absolutely is about the pipeline.

If greenhouse gas emissions do not peak and subsequently decline within the next couple of years, the world will fail to meet its commitment to limit warming to no more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. The time for building new fossil fuel infrastructure has come and gone — not just in other countries, but here at home, too.

To insist on procedural niceties — in the face of the climate chaos we risk unleashing and the burden we are placing on future generations — is narrow-minded provincialism at its worst.

David Taub Bancroft, Vancouver

Globe and Mail Letter

LetterIn today’s Globe and Mail, you will find a letter from me (fourth from the top, under the heading “In the national interest”) relating the present interprovincial pipeline kerfuffle to global efforts efforts to solve the climate crisis. Never hurts to remind ourselves how much is really at stake.

Vancouver Sun Letter

LetterFor what is likely to be my last letter to the editor of 2016, see today’s Vancouver Sun (fourth letter from the top). The gist of my argument is that Kinder Morgan is bad.

Fun fact: this ain’t the first time I’ve responded to a pro-Kinder Morgan op-ed by former NDP Premier Dan Miller.

National Post Letter

LetterYou will find a letter of mine in today’s National Post enumerating the many benefits of proportional representation. In order to read it, please click here and scroll down to the second last entry (or see the last entry in the print edition) under the heading “PR delivers the goods.”