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May 1: Letters to the editor Add to ...

ABCs of green subsidies

Thank goodness we have not had to go down the road of subsidies for B.C.’s clean energy. The clean-energy sector here has carved out a niche based on sound government policies and market opportunity and competition. Our members provide approximately 10 per cent of the electricity on the grid today – a premium clean product that provides fair, long-term value for ratepayers.

But Gwyn Morgan is wrong to suggest that subsidies are wrong across the board (The Sorry Lessons Of Green-Power Subsidies – Report on Business, April 30). There are times when the public sector needs to incent behaviour changes for the benefit of all. The climate-change file is one of those files.

Paul Kariya, executive director, Clean Energy Association of British Columbia

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I look forward to Gwyn Morgan’s companion piece: The Sorry Lessons Of Oil And Gas Subsidies. In fairness.

Marilyn Scriver, Ottawa

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The Ontario Green Energy Act was passed only three years ago. In that short period, thousands of jobs have been created and hundreds of megawatts of capacity built. In that time, a nuclear power plant would have been nothing more than a big hole in the ground with seven more years of construction before it.

I fail to understand why subsidies for nuclear power topping $60-billion and rising are good and paying a premium for green power is bad.

John Bennett, executive director, Sierra Club Canada

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Eco-proof?

If the world is awash in oil (Our World’s Not Coasting On Empty After All – April 30), why does the price of oil keep going up? The very fact that we’re turning to non-conventional, environmentally destructive sources such as shale oil and tar sands bitumen is in itself proof that we’re running out of the good stuff.

Mark Vicari, Toronto

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As the ancient Easter Islanders denuded their island of trees, I’m certain there was a Neil Reynolds assuring them that all was well and that a recent survey of trees showed a surplus that would last a thousand years. We are no different.

Norm Ross, Kitchener, Ont.

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Scrapie control

Forty-one sheep belonging to Montana Jones were slated to be destroyed and tested for scrapie as part of an ongoing scrapie investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Wrangling And Rustling In Sheep Country – April 30).

Scrapie is a devastating neurodegenerative disease with a long incubation period, for which there is no 100 per cent effective live test. Infected animals can spread the disease without exhibiting signs of illness. Interfering with the process of controlling scrapie jeopardizes domestic and international confidence in our animal health programs.

Actions taken by the group calling itself the “Farmer’s Peace Corps,” which removed quarantined sheep from the farm, seriously risk the health and success of the Canadian sheep and goat industries. Any premise or animals associated with this quarantine breach risk falling under the same control measures applied to the original animals that were taken. What was initially a destruction order for 41 animals could quickly turn into the required destruction of hundreds of potentially infected sheep and goats.

This action makes a mockery of the sacrifices that other producers have made over the years in the shared commitment to rid Canada of this disease.

Murray Hunt, Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency; Jennifer Haley, Ontario Goat; Stacey White, Canadian Sheep Breeder Association; Rick McRonald, Livestock Genetics Association; Jennifer MacTavish, Canadian Sheep Federation

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Feminism’s choices

I am disappointed with Elisabeth Badinter’s take on motherhood, breastfeeding and super childrearing, not because I don’t know women of my generation who did that (I am 61 and benefitted enormously from the social changes in the 1960s) – but because I do (Down With Despots In Diapers – Focus, April 28). And alongside of them, I had the freedom to have a career, be single for a long time and then to marry and not be obliged to have children – yet be allowed to call myself a woman and to be deemed a worthwhile contributor to society.

Feminism is about choices. Another person’s choice does not invalidate my choice or my example.

Jennifer Bulman, Munster, Ont.

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An equal share

For traditional and modern Jews alike, the hand-written words of our Scripture have been the vessel that contained our tradition and defined our identity through 2,000 years of diaspora, ending with creation of the modern State of Israel. To lift the scrolls (Scrolls Too Heavy A Burden For Many To Bear – April 27) is an act of public affirmation that allows every person present to share equally in the miraculous bond that unites the modern Jewish people with our history and tradition.

Our congregation is proud to have recently commissioned a smaller, lighter scroll – the only one in Canada that was scribed by a woman – so that all our members, including women, can share equally in this honour.

Sara Saber-Freedman, president, Congregation Dorshei Emet, Montreal

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What’s futile ...

An oft-heard Confucius-style saying is to be careful what you wish for as you might just get it. For years, The Globe has tended to repeat what must be the illegal drug trade’s favourite line – that the war on drugs is futile (Microcosm Of Hope – editorial, April 27).

The so-called drug war’s parallel perhaps lies with Churchill, who noted that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. There isn’t a better approach to dealing with illegal drugs that is readily apparent; history shows that attempts for “peace in our time” make the situation worse, not better.

K. H. Lane, Victoria

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‘Wild West’ roads

Imposing slower speed limits on Toronto streets would be a diversion from the real factors that threaten the lives of pedestrians and riders (A Safer Journey – Folio, April 30). Toronto roads are a “Wild West” of lawlessness: red light running, stealing the right of way at amber lights, thereby forcing other drivers to complete their left turns against red lights, not signalling turns and lane changes, using hand-held devices, etc.

It is the combination of speed and bad driving that leads to accidents. Too often, these acts of bad driving are ignored while the enforcement attention goes to parking fines. Easier money, but nobody, as far as I’m aware, has died from an illegally parked car.

Alex P. Korn, Toronto

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One can’t help noticing that many pedestrians these days are woefully and dangerously unaware of their surroundings. Earbuds in, music blasting, eyes glued to BlackBerrys, thumbs furiously texting, they step in front of or behind moving vehicles or off the curb into the path of traffic with an oblivious confidence that is at once both chilling and reckless.

What ever happened to “look both ways before you cross the street?” These days, looking at all would be an improvement.

B. Rogers, Toronto

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