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The new Canadian passport is unveiled at an event at the Ottawa International Airport on May 10.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Battery life

Re “Volkswagen, then Stellantis: Billions for battery plants, but little on mines for raw material” (Report on Business, May 16): As an inorganic chemist with a modicum of insights into the need for metals and their strategic importance, I am baffled why we are not spending $14-billion-plus to develop the Ring of Fire and other promising ore deposits.

This way we could develop and control the supply and value chain from its start (metals), rather than its end product (batteries).

Marcel Schlaf Professor of chemistry, University of Guelph

Re “Do the feds or the province even know how much Stellantis is really worth?” (May 18): Just how viable and competitive is Stellantis in the rapidly evolving electric-vehicle landscape? When it comes to EVs, the company looks to me far short and late to the game.

Ford and General Motors have invested massively in their EV futures. Tesla, according to industry insiders, is so far ahead of Ford, GM and even Volkswagen in engineering and manufacturing innovation that it may profitably surpass GM as top total vehicle seller by 2028/2029.

Stellantis? Some analysts say the number of engineers it employs in new product development is far short of other automakers.

Maybe before taxpayers give Stellantis more billions, questions should be asked about its long-term viability. Having them walk away from Windsor may be a blessing in disguise.

Kevin Bishop Saanich, B.C.

Re “Locked in standoff with Canada, Stellantis threatens to pull out of UK” (May 18): I do not understand the handwringing over electric-vehicle subsidies in Ontario and Britain. Surely the end justifies the means?

Is it not the case that the replacement of hydrocarbons by green electricity is the surest way of saving the planet? If Canada does not do its bit, then who will?

Boudewyn van Oort Victoria

Passport, please

Re “Yes, Canada’s new passport really is that bad” (May 15): As a seasoned traveller, I know of no one who looks to their passport to bolster their sense of Canadian identity. The word “Canada” on the cover should be enough to convey it.

More reassuring to our national character than stock symbols is that various rankings put the Canadian passport in the top 10 most powerful in the world, accepted in some 186 visa-free destinations. A redesign won’t change that.

Ron Csillag Toronto

I struggle to get the outrage. A passport is an identification that confirms one’s nationality and lets one go abroad.

Ours is not a compendium of Canadianness. So long as a passport is secure and serves its travel purpose, it should not matter a whit whether a passport is pretty.

Stan Szpakowicz Kamloops, B.C.

Re “Trudeau’s culture war on Canada’s symbols erases history” (Opinion, May 13): I think of the time just before 1965, when Lester Pearson was pushing through a new design for the Canadian flag that now enjoys near-universal acceptance in the land.

Not that a new passport design compares in the slightest in importance to that of a new national flag, but similar sentiments were widespread and perhaps also a bit more understandable then. Canada’s experience with the new flag is just another reminder that symbols can have a limited useful life – and the past is a place well visited to learn from, but not to live in.

Hal Hartmann West Vancouver

Is there any chance we can ask for another edition? We do have 155 years of history, not all glorious. Please try to stop ignoring it.

Marilyn Dolenko Ottawa

Why not give the task of illustrating the new passports to our esteemed political cartoonists? As well as livening up the journey through customs and immigration with a glimpse of Globe cartoonist Brian Gable’s beaver, it would cement our reputation as a country that likes to laugh, even at ourselves.

Margaret Ross Edmonton

Chocolate conundrum

Re “The true cost of chocolate” (Report on Business, May 13): There are many reasons why I shouldn’t be eating chocolate, but your article has given me the best yet.

We in the West take free education for granted. Cocoa farmers have to pay for their children to go to school – the only way that families can break the bonds of poverty.

This is appalling. If chocolate manufacturers really want to advertise an ethical product, they should start by providing education to children of farmers.

Anne Moon Victoria

Good that the West African boycott of the chocolate industry meeting in Belgium caused “discomfort and confusion.”

Most of us chocolate consumers in developed countries are unwitting contributors to the worsening poverty among subsistence cocoa farmers. Increased consumer awareness, along with continued pressure from producers, may be the only way to address it.

Blaise Salmon Shawnigan Lake, B.C.

Many more

Re “100 million Canadians by 2100 may not be federal policy, but it should be – even if it makes Quebec howl” (Opinion, May 13): I will no longer be around in 2100 when Canada may hit 100 million people. But on behalf of my children and grandchildren, I am envisioning 100 million Canadians clustered for 5,000 kilometres along the border that, by that glorious moment, would be paved from sea to shining sea.

Great for the economy, I guess. Do we really care about anything else? I don’t know about Quebec, but I’m thinking about howling.

Patty Benjamin Victoria

Eat well

Re “How the ‘food’ we eat causes harm by not really being food at all” (Opinion, May 13): So pretty much everything in the supermarket is poison. No matter if it’s whole grain, plant-based and sugar-free: poison.

“Real food” is apparently only that which is handcrafted with bespoke, artisanal ingredients. Splendid, I’ll simply quit my job to bake all day. As a busy parent of two young ones, I don’t have hours to play Martha Stewart.

When one is this militant about the impossible, one can guarantee the opposite.

Christopher Price Toronto

Ultra-processed foods have an impact on our health, lives – and deaths. All that comfort food eventually makes us uncomfortable.

Government tax revenue is generated through the sale and advertising of unhealthy foods, then turned around and used to fund our health care system to combat the ill effects from those same products. What a system.

But after all, disease is big business.

Martin O’Connell Burlington, Ont.

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