Readers write: September 10, 2018 issue

September 5, 2018 | Viewpoints | Volume 22 Issue 17
Various Contributors |


Carbon tax more effective than pipeline protest in curtailing oil use
I have to admit that my initial reaction to the news of the arrest of Steve Heinrichs was negative (“Mennonite arrested at Kinder Morgan pipeline protest,” May 7, pages 18-19). But after reading his “Burnaby Mountain Prayer Witness: Background & FAQ” document (, that is no longer the case. However, I feel the pipeline protest was misplaced and counterproductive. One might win a battle and yet lose the war.

The pipeline is not the problem; rather, it is our consumption of, and reliance on, petroleum. To protest the construction of a pipeline serves as a distraction from the main task, which is to curtail oil consumption.

The most direct and effective way to reduce our carbon footprint would be to apply a carbon tax large enough that all of us would seek ways to reduce our personal carbon emissions. If we are sincere in our desire to change our behavior and to seek a state of shalom for the world we live in, we cannot look to others to carry the burden of change. We need to become advocates for means that truly address the imbalances in our society. Taxes can be an effective tool to correct many imbalances, many disparities within our society.

It grieves me that Mennonites, generally among the wealthier segments of our society, tend to vote for political parties that advocate for lower taxes. That this would have the effect of increasing disparities in our society is ignored. What does this say about us and whom we serve?

I accept that we are called to stand with the oppressed, but shalom will never be achieved as long as great disparities of power and wealth exist. And let’s not forget that the Indigenous community is not united on this issue. That community, too, is trying to discern the best way forward.

—Rudy Peters, Winnipeg


Online resource on Palestine-Israel available for study
Re: Is MC Canada on the wrong side of history?” letter, July 2, page 8.

Many people, like letter writer Isaak Eitzen, believe that Mennonite Church Canada has been one-sided in reporting on the Israel-Palestine situation. I would encourage those who have such a concern to study individually, or as part of a group, a four-part PowerPoint presentation entitled “Pathways for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel” prepared by the MC Canada Palestine and Israel Resolution Working Group following the adoption of a resolution in Saskatoon in 2016. Available from, it seeks to give a balanced view of the Palestine-Israel situation in relation to the Holocaust, the Nakba and the Scriptures.

—Palmer Becker, Kitchener, Ont.
The author was a member of the Working Group and attends Waterloo North Mennonite Church in Waterloo.


The power of persuasion
Living in a democratic country we have the freedom to choose our jobs and a vocation, but not everybody is happy with the work and jobs they do.

Between 1924 and 1929, a large number of Mennonites settled in southwest Manitoba. Most were looking for land to rent or buy. My father had a friend he always called Nick. As a new immigrant, Nick was looking for a farm too, but father tried to give him some advice.

Father said, “Nick, in Ukraine you studied to be a mechanic or engineer. Why don’t you open up a shop to fix machinery or welding?” So this is what Nick did, and he served the farmers for many years.

My cousins worked for my father on the farm, but they did not enjoy land work. Again my father said, “Jacob, why don’t you pack up and move the whole family to the West Coast? There you can plant strawberries and also build a greenhouse.” They acted on father’s advice and they really made a success with the strawberry business; they became well-to-do and content.

We still must allow people the freedom to choose their careers or jobs, and when a person wants to persuade someone else, it should always be in the interest of the other. There is an expression, “You can’t tell me what to do.” But we can try using gentle persuasion.

—Jacob Unger, Boissevain, Man.

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