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Milk and dairy products for sale at a grocery store in Aylmer, Que., on May 26.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Cause and effect

Re With A Bullet (Letters, Aug. 24): A letter-writer opines that the conflict in Ukraine is a declaration of war on the liberal and democratic West. The West should have a full-scale response, the goal being a military defeat of Russia. I think the majority of the West would agree – if the current situation arose in the prenuclear age.

The reality is if and when Vladimir Putin finds himself facing defeat on the battlefield, he would not hesitate to respond with tactical nuclear weapons. If that was not effective, then a strategic nuclear exchange would be the endgame.

This horrific scenario is the guiding principle behind the approach of Russian sanctions and military and financial support for Ukraine, ultimately resulting in diplomatic resolution.

I remain hopeful that cooler heads will continue to prevail.

Richard Inman Milton, Ont.

Green diet

Re Food For Thought (Letters, Aug. 26): A letter-writer was more apt than they think in suggesting that doughnuts and apples are analogous to oil and hydrogen.

Snacking on plentiful doughnuts, like a dependency on oil, provides easy energy and growth, but can lead to ill health and early death. Snacking on apples, like using hydrogen, is decidedly healthier.

There’s some truth to the old saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Dave Sanderson Carleton Place, Ont.

Free to be

Re Is Pierre Poilievre Really A Freedom Fighter? (Aug. 25): Is he? We appreciate having differing opinions presented in the paper.

Nevertheless, Lawrence Martin’s refresher course on the Harper years should be a useful reminder for progressive Tories and on-the-fence Liberals of the god that failed in the form of the Reform Party.

Roger Stein Collingwood, Ont.

Ministry mismanagement?

Re Ahmed Hussen Demands Answers For Government Pairing With Apparent Anti-Semite (Aug. 24): Once upon a time, people in Ahmed Hussen’s position were referred to as “the minister responsible.” That actually meant responsible for the operations and actions of the ministry they oversaw – not for pointing a finger somewhere else.

Also lost to older times is a minister honourably resigning or even being removed by an irate prime minister. Instead we are treated to denials, deflections and obfuscation. Given that this seems to be standard practice for all governments regardless of party, it is no wonder many choose to give up and turn their backs.

It is too painful for this citizen to watch.

Marc Grushcow Toronto

As someone who has submitted for and received many federal grants for various worthy projects over the last 20 years, I can assure readers there is no shortage of “specific protocols” that charities need to fulfill to even be considered for scarce funding.

What seems to be missing here was a careful review by the department. What really concerns me is why the federal government is using public money to fund anti-racism programs for private broadcasters?

Alison Pidskalny Calgary

Health care math

Re Private Health Care? Depends What You Mean (Opinion, Aug. 27): In 2016, I tore my right-knee cartilage, a painful condition that limited my ability to walk, play golf or sleep well.

In British Columbia, my wait time was eight months for an MRI, 12 months for a consultation and 12 months for surgery. The private option could have it all completed by doctor Brian Day in two weeks.

The cost was $6,500. I am far from wealthy, but I calculated that a 2.5-year wait was about one-fifth of my remaining life expectancy. So I dug into my retirement savings.

At Dr. Day’s clinic, I was treated with compassion and empathy. I was back on the golf course in four months and walking my dog the day following surgery.

As Canadians, we should not fear a partial privatization of health care. My experience was not U.S.-style health care, not even close. Those who say so seem afraid to try something new.

Bruce Thompson Nanaimo, B.C.

Milk money

Re Why It May Be A Good Time To Ditch Dairy (Aug. 22): It makes no sense to me that plant milks are more expensive than cow milk. I can only surmise that it is owing to the dairy lobby and resulting subsidies.

That said, because I don’t like calves being separated from their mothers, I dropped cow milk about a decade ago. I haven’t gone back since, and I feel it has benefited my health, too.

The price differential is worth it for me, although I expect prices to be more competitive over time.

Melanie Ransom Ottawa

The case is made that humans don’t actually need dairy, and the nutrients contained in it are readily available in plant-based food.

Conversely, dietitian Leslie Beck advises that dairy products are considered a good source of the trace mineral iodine, essential for the production of thyroid hormones (Why you need to put iodine on your nutritional radar – Aug. 22). The trend toward plant-based diets and non-dairy milk not fortified with iodine can lead to iodine deficiency.

I am confused. Whose advice should I follow?

Suzette Blom Toronto

I ditched dairy for the cows and I never put milk in my cereal again.

For my coffee, I was hesitant. Could plant milk ever be the same? With perseverance, I discovered that it froths and tastes perfectly well despite abundant naysayers. I have stealthily converted more skeptics than I thought possible, with soy and oat as the favourites.

Don’t listen to the dairy marketing machine that milk is healthier and more delicious than any substitute. Parts of the industry are also rife with animal cruelty and bad for the environment.

What are Canadians waiting for? They may be pleasantly surprised.

Jennifer Azizi West Vancouver

People who proselytize lentils, tofu, bok choy and “calcium-fortified plant-based milk” as replacements for dairy products seem to completely miss the point.

Dairy products haven’t been consumed for centuries simply because of nutritional content, but because they taste amazing. They are the foundation for a healthy relationship with food, culture and the environment. That’s why some of the world’s top dairy-consuming countries, such as the Netherlands, Sweden and France, are among the healthiest and most sustainable.

Don’t get me wrong: Lentils, tofu and bok choy are great in their own right. But they’re not replacements for camembert, Greek yogurt or salted butter.

Mark Bessoudo London

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