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A person holds a smartphone set to the opening screen of the ArriveCan app.Giordano Ciampini/The Canadian Press

Friends like these

Re “Hard to swallow” (Letters, March 13): A letter-writer’s statement that “we are the best of friends” with the United States seems to belie reality.

Best friends do not carp about their moral superiority on political and cultural matters, while relying on the other country’s security umbrella and the economic well-being provided by trading with them.

Jiti Khanna Vancouver

Round of applause

Re “ArriveCan faces more scrutiny as Public Sector Integrity Commissioner opens investigation” (March 12): Let’s stop persecuting GC Strategies for finding ways to work within the government procurement process to secure multimillion-dollar contracts. Good on them. They should be nominated for an innovation award.

The government should rewrite contracting rules. If it doesn’t have the in-house expertise, it can hire a contractor.

Peter Froislie Ottawa

Having just used ArriveCan for re-entry into Canada after my vacation, I have to say it was an incredibly efficient way of passing through customs.

On entry into the customs area, there were just six people ahead of me, whereas all other lines of people were in the hundreds. I was out in about five minutes, if that.

I find it scandalous that so much money was spent on this, and clearly there was not enough oversight. But I still say thanks for the simplicity of now coming home.

Ann Neilson London, Ont.

Full stop

Re “The lesson from Ottawa’s latest subsidy fiascos” (Editorial, March 8): The programs you identify have demonstrably not worked. Allow me to mention another: The government’s cornerstone carbon tax.

This tax should command the attention of drivers and citizens who heat with natural gas and oil. For motor fuels, that remains politically impossible for a government seeking re-election (and the tax is often lost in the noise of volatile gas prices).

Citizens who heat with fossil fuels often don’t notice it either. They also face substantial capital investment if they do switch energy sources.

By clinging like a limpet to a rock to the carbon tax, I believe our government is not only failing to use better methods to reduce emissions, but also provoking a federal-provincial war. So, yes, it should axe this useless tax.

The opposition would, of course, make hay. I submit that the political price for clinging is higher.

John Hollins Ottawa

Keeping on

Re “Why Canada spends so much on health care and still has a crisis” (Report on Business, March 7): It’s been 14 years since I emigrated from Iran, resolved to become a practising physician. Despite impeccable credentials earned in my home country, I have yet to be given an opportunity to help alleviate Canada’s chronic shortage of medical doctors.

As long ago as 2010, I saw the road ahead for me would be twisting and uncertain. So I persevered and became a licensed chiropodist in 2017 to support my family.

The lack of physicians continues to grow at an alarming rate. In Kingston, people lined up in the early hours of a late February day for a chance to be assigned a physician. They were among the 3,000 people in the area who are currently without a family doctor. In Toronto, that number has soared to half a million.

While continuing my work as a chiropodist, I will pursue my dream to practice medicine in Canada. For other qualified overseas medical professionals in my situation, I suggest that they diversify and put their medical skills to good use in this country, while continuing to pursue their ultimate goal.

Vajiheh Hamifar DCh. Richmond Hill, Ont.

Bigger picture

Re “Ontario lawyers’ group calls for meeting over Ford government’s judicial appointments” (March 13): Over a 30-year career in the criminal justice system, I’ve seen numerous judges who were Crown attorneys or private-practice lawyers who worked as Crowns.

Without exception, they knew the law and stuck to it. I saw no hint of bias in their decisions. Certainly, a 70-30 split in new appointments sends the wrong signal to the public, but this is not the issue we should be focusing on.

What should be of far greater significance, and a far greater threat to the justice system, is Doug Ford’s oft-repeated claim that he has a right to appoint “like-minded” people to the bench. Putting his friends or Conservative operatives on the committee that chooses judges will likely undermine the justice system and bring it into disrepute, to an exponentially greater degree than naming too many former Crown attorneys.

Mr. Ford should be challenged, but we must first pick the right battle.

Steve Soloman Toronto

Feed the beast

Re “Nuclear power and artificial intelligence: the perfect marriage” (Report on Business, March 12): I read with genuine horror the detailing of artificial intelligence’s voracious appetite for energy.

This is presented as a positive development, and it is suggested that more Canadian uranium could be mined to fuel small nuclear reactors and provide power for gluttonous AIs. This dystopian vision of the future looks devoid of humanity.

Environmentalists and everyone concerned with a sustainable future are thinking about how we will power a livable world, so that more than eight billion people will have a decent standard of living as the fossil fuel era comes to an end. I am sickened to contemplate that AI might gobble up much of the available energy that will be desperately needed for basic humanitarian needs.

Susan O’Donnell Fredericton

Cut it out

Re “TD Bank CEO took pay cut in 2023 amid U.S. regulatory probe” (Report on Business, March 13): So the TD Bank CEO’s salary is down $1-million to $13.38-million.

I hope he’ll be okay. If not, I’m there for him. No one likes to see anyone else suffer.

Steven Brown Toronto

Not as hoped

Re “For some B.C. patients, an emerging blood-cancer treatment offers hope” (March 11): I appreciate this article about CAR-T cell therapy for certain cancers. It is a fantastic option for many, for whom conventional cancer treatments have not been effective. It was heartening to hear of young Hugo’s recovery.

However CAR-T therapy has its own risks and mortality rates after treatment, as we experienced with our son. We had hoped that the genetically modified cells would “recognize and kill cancer cells,” but our son was in the group for whom the therapy was not effective. Unfortunately, he died of a severe reaction to the introduced cells (high fever, seizure and inflammation of the brain).

Gordon Matties Winnipeg

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