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File photo showing a maze of crude oil pipes and valves at the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Freeport, Texas, on June 9, 2016.

Richard Carson/Reuters

Mirror, mirror

Re Economy and Environment (Letters, Feb. 27): A letter writer worries about the environmental effects of a potential pipeline leak of liquefied natural gas.

If there were a leak, the LNG would revert to its gaseous state and evaporate.

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While such a leak would be undesirable, it would come nowhere close to the harmful effects of a crude oil spill.

Bruce Baugh Kamloops, B.C.


A letter writer defines herself as a grandmother, author and friend of Indigenous people.

I believe she could, with equal truth, declare herself dependent on the fossil fuels carried by the pipelines she opposes.

Let me be clear: I oppose pipeline expansion. But they are symptomatic of the real problem: Without carbon fuels at this time of year, most of us would not survive.

So almost all of us are implicated in the harms of the carbon economy.

It would behoove us all to remember this fact while reading John Ralston Saul. Or looking ourselves in the mirror.

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George Lancaster Toronto

Come from away?

Re St. John’s Signals A Demographic Crisis For The Province (Feb. 24): As a Chinese person who’s lived in St. John’s and goes back to visit annually, it’s not a surprise to me that most immigrants to the city eventually leave.

It was hard to live in a city where people assumed I was a tourist because I wasn’t white and, hence, a Newfoundlander. I was taken aback last summer when a server asked if I was visiting or lived in St. John’s.

I’ve never experienced in Ontario the distinction of not being an Ontarian because I was born outside the province.

It’s also hard to live in a city where groceries tend to be 40 per cent more expensive, and let’s not get started on the cost of electricity and other heating.

Sharon Ho Toronto

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Checkup

Re How A Court Case Over Doctors’ Rights To Charge Extra Fees Could Endanger Medicare (Feb. 24): Defenders of the Canadian health-care system frequently cite innovative pilot projects as evidence that it is improving.

Yet few of these projects successfully scale to the provincial level, let alone a national scale, so the number of Canadians who benefit remains minuscule.

I believe health care in this country is so large and complex that only system-level change will truly benefit Canadians.

I know of no one who advocates for U.S.-style health care, yet defenders of medicare frequently use that ogre to suggest there isn’t a better alternative. It is not exactly a ringing endorsement.

If our medicare is so excellent, why not compare it with those European Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development members that have two-tier systems?

John Chandler Richmond, B.C.

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Price check

Re Ontario To Use Biosimilars Despite Pitch From Maker Of Remicade (Feb. 27): I find it amusing that when government has to pay for more expensive products that could be had for cheaper, it wants to change the rules, such as allowing for biosimilars.

When individual taxpayers would prefer not to spend as much on items such as dairy products, maple syrup or cellphone services, we lack for choice.

Our government seems to pick and choose which products and services should be allowed to compete in a more open market.

Ariel Piper Calgary

The saga continues

Re Ontario School Strikes: A Look At The Key Issues, From Teacher Wages To Class Sizes (Online, Feb. 24): I recently read in this paper that the average salary of an Ontario teacher is around $86,000, with several earning more than $100,000. I do a lot of work in Texas, and one of my friends there has worked as a teacher for 20 years, maxing out on the pay scale at US$45,000 (nearly $60,000).

Are teachers here in need of another pay raise, as they demand?

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Paul Lawrence Mississauga


I sit at the art table surrounded by four- and five-year-olds.

I help one construct a rocket ship, while helping another sound out letters.

I’ve positioned myself to have a good view of the classroom and the youngest learners in the school that occupy it.

It’s not even noon and I already have play dough stuck to the sole of my shoe and paint stains on my hands.

I am an elementary-school teacher, and in a time of turmoil, bargaining, strikes and educational unrest, I am fighting for my 27 children and all my future students.

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To walk into my classroom on any given day is to see a team of passionate educators working together to inspire, engage and support our students and their learning.

While Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce would tell you it’s all about the money, one doesn’t survive long in teaching simply for the paycheque.

I walk the picket line proudly displaying my homemade sign, waving at passing cars that honk supportively and greeting my students and their families who come out to join us.

I could go on about how I’m fighting for funding, smaller class sizes and the kindergarten program, but in the end, I’m just fighting for my children. All 27 of them.

Emily Cartledge Waterloo, Ont.

It’s personal

Re Who Can Be President? The Usual Suspects (Feb. 21): Contributor Mark Kingwell offers insights on identity and what it takes to make it in mainstream politics, but I believe there is a larger point to be made: All too often, people identify themselves too narrowly and do the same to their opponents in any debate.

We are all children, parents or siblings; we have careers, jobs, hobbies, interests and talents; we have gender, religion, ethnicity and more, and so do those with whom we may disagree.

If we stopped looking at each other, or even ourselves, in such one-dimensional terms, we might see more commonalities and get along better.

If more people maturely did that, the temperature on so many disagreements would be lowered.

Michael Slodovnick Toronto

The truth is out there

Re How Can I Get My Airplane Seat Neighbour To Stop Talking To Me? (Pursuits, Feb. 22): It was my first business trip early in my career and I was travelling to Vancouver with my boss. We were seated in separate rows; my neighbour talked all the way there.

When we landed, my boss chuckled and told me how to prevent a chatty neighbour in the future.

“Next time you get on an airplane, look out the window with a very serious look on your face and say to your neighbour: ‘Do you think we will see any UFOs today?’ " Worked like a charm for over 40 years.

Bill Wilson Colborne, Ont.


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