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Motorists enter Canada from the U.S. at the Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, B.C., on May 13, 2021.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

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A border apart

Re How To Safely Reopen The U.S. Border (Editorial, May 21): I’ve been going to the cottage since I was five years old; all my life. It’s my favourite place in the world. I’ve always felt welcome in Canada – until this year. The pandemic has made everyone as testy as a horse fly in July.

Even though COVID-19 infections are dropping as fast as vaccinations are rising, the Ontario government blasts Ottawa for not tightening border restrictions further. And Ottawa says it won’t ease border restrictions because it’s following science.

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How is keeping fully vaccinated American property owners from accessing their cottages a science-based decision, when unvaccinated Canadians can rent all the cottages they want? How is it fair to require tax payments for property that can’t be accessed?

I sure hope cooler heads prevail.

Alan Jenkins Marathon, Fla.


Re What Happens After The End Of Oil? (Editorial, May 22): If one thinks of oil solely as fuel, then its use will slowly decline as other means (electricity, hydrogen) gain momentum. The production of fuels (from Bunker C to jet fuel) typically account for about two-thirds of refinery output. What of the other third?

That oil is turned into such things as petrochemicals and, equally important, lubricants – the thing that makes the wheels of the world turn. I think there is a valid supposition that if the petroleum industry had not developed in the last decades of the 19th century, there would not be a single whale left in the world’s oceans, such was the value. Our vision of the past is that of whale oil lamps, but the major use was for high-grade lubricants.

Events and actions have consequences that should be considered.

John Buckberrough Vancouver

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Although it is true that Canada’s oil and gas industries may be driven out of business in the next 20 years, it seems impossible that global demand for oil will decline this century, simply because there are no viable alternatives to oil as a fuel.

There is still no such thing as an energy source that can deliver the same energy payout per kilogram per dollar as a litre of gasoline. One can’t just wish away the laws of physics because one doesn’t like the fumes.

Ian Coleman Edmonton

“For the Canadian economy, change is coming, and it’s going to be a challenge.” Indeed, and the time to initiate major new infrastructure projects in four key sectors is now. The net-zero environmental target will require electrification of transportation, massive transitions in the energy industry, advanced construction materials – and leave no one behind.

Clement Bowman Founding chair, Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority; Sarnia, Ont.

Re What Ottawa’s Net-zero Plan Lacks In Details, It Makes Up For In Money – A Lot Of It (Report on Business, May 22): In the war on climate change, governments and industry should unite together as urgently and strongly as we did in the Second World War. We at Lafarge Canada recognize the revolutionary times we are in and have dozens of late-stage innovations with promise to drive carbon emissions down.

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The Strategic Innovation Fund is an important step to net zero. We at Lafarge Canada pledge to match, dollar for dollar, federal and provincial investments in our Canadian cement and concrete innovations, to continue building for people and planet.

David Redfern CEO, Lafarge Eastern Canada; Mississauga

Does compute

Re Demand For Storage Space In The Cloud Creates A Land Rush (Online, May 25): With the massive amount of heat produced storing data in the cloud, hopefully it can be carried off via conduits either underground or above ground to heat surrounding buildings instead of just vented off into the air.

Just one small step in reducing our carbon footprint.

Ian Salonius Kirkland Lake, Ont.

Re A Canadian Solution To AI’s Compute Problem (Report on Business, May 25): The authors raise a critical point: Computing power, provided by hardware, is as important in artificial intelligence as the algorithms and software. Without advances in hardware, AI and other compute-intensive applications cannot grow.

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Canada was once a global powerhouse in hardware R&D, but has fallen behind other countries in recent years. Applications such as AI and machine learning will push classical computing architectures to the limit, disrupt the hardware industry and force innovation.

Canada still produces some of the finest highly qualified personnel in the world, who have an opportunity to be global leaders as the hardware industry is set to be fundamentally changed. Canada should invest in emerging hardware technologies with strong commercialization potential to take advantage of this paradigm shift.

We have already seen what can be done with the recent $200-million funding of Tenstorrent, a great start to a revitalized Canadian industry.

Gordon Harling President and CEO, CMC Microsystems; Montreal

Dig in

Re Battle For The Botanical (May 22): Those who sought to “professionalize” or “modernize” the management of Toronto Botanical Garden ought to remember that gardeners – who are fanatic, and legion – always know where to bury things. Likewise, all those who take over community organizations and forget their histories and cultures should know better.

Anders Ourom Vancouver

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Long drive

Re Inspiration For Golf Nation: Phil Mickelson Scores A Win Against Father Time (May 27): Columnist Lawrence Martin describes golf as a “long walk” that is “health-improving.” Maybe once upon a time.

Nowadays, most golfers drive around courses in buggies. The longest walks they take are from the edge of the green to the flag. Old-fashioned golfers who choose to walk the course find themselves pursued by an endless stream of carts. Even if, following the old courtesies of golf, one waves a cart through, another and another and another immediately chugs up from behind.

To whoever said that “golf is a good walk spoiled” – it has become true in a way they never dreamed of.

George Patrick Oakville, Ont.

Multiplicity 2

Re Multiplicity (Letters, May 23): The slap in the face administered by prolific book-writer Elizabeth Hay has escalated the minimal level of violence I wished upon vaccine-hesitant Canadians to a frightening level. That the burden of being mistaken for me might be worthy of a duel at dawn gives this significantly less-famous Elizabeth Hay a tinge of pride.

If this burden is more than other people who share my name can bear, it should be incumbent upon them, not me, to highlight their uniqueness. The addition of a middle initial could do it, but perhaps now is the time to try out a new persona. Maybe it is time to give Ingrid Bergman a go.

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The downside for me would be that I could no longer autograph Elizabeth Hay’s books when giving them as Christmas presents.

Elizabeth Hay Ottawa

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