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An electric car is plug into a charging station at Lansdowne Mall in Peterborough, Ont., on June 17, 2018.

Doug Ives/The Canadian Press

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On your marks

Re Why Canada Does Not Have A Carbon Tax (Online, Dec. 18): So the objective of the carbon tax is that there will eventually be no carbon left to tax, which will mean no tax from which to pay the rebate. He or she who decarbonizes first, then, enjoys the tax savings and rebates the longest.

It’s a race. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines – I mean, electric motors!

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Chris Stoate Oakville, Ont.

Snowbird flap

Re Some Older Canadians Opt To Take Their Chances, Winter In Florida Despite COVID-19 Pandemic (Dec. 13): Hopefully I am not the only one who feels that the remarks expressed by the Cohen family were insensitive.

I am not a snowbird, and perhaps I am a bit crotchety and over-opinionated because I have been respecting the restrictions of government since March. But my life and that of millions of others have been on hold.

Families who were not able to be with dying members, or to visit them for months on end, or who are or have been nursing the effects of COVID-19, are not “running scared.” I feel this family insults us all.

I hope their table is long enough and their séjour in Florida is uneventful.

M. Evelyn Watson Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.

Think of Santa

Re Fires A Major Source Of Airborne Toxins: Study (Dec. 15): I was glad to see “residential wood-burning” included as a source of carcinogenic chemical toxins.

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Unfortunately, the scientifically established dangers of wood smoke are at odds with images of glowing hearths confronting us this time of year. It is surely time to stop poisoning ourselves, our children and our neighbours by setting match to kindling in an indoor toxic incinerator (also known as a fireplace).

Besides, we should consider Santa’s working conditions. Shouldn’t he have toxin-free access to our homes?

Alma Hyslop Woodstock, Ont.

Priceless

Re Land Survey (Letters, Dec. 15): A letter-writer should be lauded for reminding us that the phrase “empty land” is a complete misnomer for land that is not under development.

Undeveloped land has incredible value. This land, along with the rest of the ecosystem, makes life possible. This concept seems hard to grasp by those who only see importance in things they can assign a monetary value.

When Ernie Eves was Ontario premier, he did a whistle stop in our rural area. He was reported to have said, “Look at all the vacant land.” Unfortunately, the current Premier seems of the same mindset as he goes about preparing for a new highway and commercial development in Ontario’s Greenbelt, by destroying the ability of conservation authorities to protect our wetlands.

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Hugh Molesworth Amaranth, Ont.

Chef culture

Re Get Heat Out Of The Kitchen (Opinion, Dec. 5): This essay about the abusive toxicity of prima donna chef culture was reminiscent of my training and career in a similarly afflicted field: surgery. In both the kitchen and the operating room, the myth that insulting, abusive or cruel behaviour is excusable is underpinned by the more insidious lie that such behaviour is a mark of gifted genius.

Roderick Syme MD (retired), Ottawa

Trump TV

Re Shows That Defined The Trump Era (Arts & Pursuits, Dec. 5): I suggest a singular commonality between all this content is a growing disparity. Imbalance in wealth, power and voice is, and has been, the impetus for populism, disinformation and conspiracy theories. For me, this is all yet another example of art creating meaning, and television worth watching for the change it can motivate.

Peter Keleghan Toronto

Trebek tribute

Re I Remember Alex Trebek (Nov. 20): Invest in Kids, a non-profit focused on early child development, created Battle of the Brains as its flagship fundraiser. At one point, we realized that Canadian-born Alex Trebek would bring an exciting new dimension to our trivia game.

To our everlasting gratitude, Alex agreed to host not just for one year but also for three more, without ever asking for compensation or being anything but genuine and charming to everyone, guest and staff alike. When asked why he agreed to host, he said it was because he is Canadian and he liked our cause (vintage Alex).

Also vintage Alex: He reviewed all the questions before the event to ensure we had the correct answers! We have all lost someone special.

Judith Loeb Cohen Founder and chair, Invest in Kids; Toronto

Nancy Birnbaum Retired CEO, Invest in Kids; Toronto

@god

Re Some Churches In Windsor Move Services Online As COVID-19 Spreads In City (Dec. 12): As someone who has spent many years in local church leadership, it was encouraging to read of the decision by some Windsor, Ont., churches to follow suit with many other congregations in Canada, including my own, to move services online. Surely this is a time for the Christian community to lead society by wise example, and not to express recalcitrant opposition.

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Indeed, the commandment to love our neighbour has rarely had such urgency and force.

Martin Taylor Hamilton

Around the world

Re Joel Roberts Poinsett Dies (Moment in Time, Dec. 12): I was surprised to learn that U.S. diplomat and amateur botanist Joel Roberts Poinsett had brought the plants that bear his name from Mexico to South Carolina around 1825.

For two years in the mid-1970s, I was a member of a team of Canadian railroaders who managed Zambia Railways in southern Africa. One day I went to an elementary school, in the small city of Kabwe where I lived, to present a prize. I was astonished to encounter a brilliant red poinsettia hedge that was about 30 metres long and two metres high.

The poinsettia became a global migrant of beauty.

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Derek Wilson Port Moody, B.C.

MIA

Re Transatlanticism (Letters, Dec. 18): I enjoyed the comments from a letter-writer concerning the RMS Queen Mary 2 being a true transatlantic ocean liner.

Sadly, owing to COVID-19, she is now keeping only a skeleton crew on board as she sails slowly around the English coastline near her home port of Southampton, into Devon and Cornwall. As I write this, she is closer to Weymouth in Dorset. She has also recently visited the Cherbourg Peninsula in France.

As a frequent passenger on this ship, I can vouch for the best seats in the house to see the waves breaking over her bow: in the library on the ninth deck.

I am sure there are many QM2 passengers around the globe who are anxious for her to return to service, once COVID-19 is conquered.

Honor Nivin Toronto


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