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Customs lanes at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel on Nov 8. in Detroit, Michigan.Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Short turnaround

Re Testing Rules For Short Trips To The U.S. To Be Eased (Nov. 20): So is this like the five-second rule for eating food that lands on the floor?

Hurry back before three days from the United States and no tests required. What could go wrong?

John Hucks Peterborough, Ont.

Pandemic triage

Re A Fighting Chance (Opinion, Nov. 13): I disagree strongly with contributor Brandy Schillace’s assertion that we are skating around the edge of medical triage due to COVID-19.

From the beginning of the pandemic, in varying degrees, medical resources have been conserved for COVID-19 patients. Cancer treatments have been postponed, as have heart surgeries and organ transplants. Diagnostic procedures have been rationed to the point that many people’s serious health conditions have not even been discovered.

Death certificates may say heart disease, cancer, organ failure, etc. Those may be direct causes of death, but I would say that many of these people died from COVID-19 – someone else’s COVID-19. They were not even given a fighting chance in a system that pivoted to the care of pandemic patients. Everyone else has been pushed out of the lifeboat.

The individual consequences are catastrophic, with wish-they-were-patients paying a high price. I already see medical triage at its worst.

Wilda Thumm Guelph, Ont.

Nuclear futures

Re The Green Debate Will Only Intensify On Road To Net Zero (Report on Business, Nov. 25): After 50 years of nuclear operations, Canada still has no long-term storage solution for the mountain of radioactive waste the industry has created.

There are about three million highly radioactive fuel bundles sitting in temporary storage, most within metres of the Great Lakes. The industry continues to pump out this waste at a rate of 90,000 bundles per year. The prospects of community support for an underground storage site, for waste that must be safeguarded for as long as 100,000 years, remain dim.

The $500-million that may be invested in Bruce Power would do far more good for our climate if invested in energy efficiency, solar and wind power and the expansion of transmission connections with Quebec.

Angela Bischoff, Ontario Clean Air Alliance Toronto

Indeed, what is “green” in the context of an energy transition?

I believe nuclear power is hardly green, especially when compared with alternatives that perform extremely well in energy production and at a fraction of the cost. Bruce Power’s banker BMO Capital Markets begs to differ, having backed green bonds that are apparently a global first for nuclear power.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault says it will be “the market” that determines the future of new nuclear technology in this country. Basically, that means private investment to supplement whatever funds government makes available.

Enter green bonds and other “climate-friendly” investment instruments, currently burgeoning and increasingly popular – and critical supports for non-nuclear, climate-friendly projects. Canadians wanting to invest in the energy transition would do well to look to their portfolios and not take for granted that every investment labelled “green” will usher in a livable planet.

Anne Lindsey Winnipeg

Social media ratio

Re MP Vuong Says ‘Political Operatives’ Want Him To Fail (Nov. 23): Kevin Vuong seems mistaken about support for his standing as an MP. If he reads his social media, most comments from constituents are asking him to resign – including mine.

Bev Dywan Toronto

Highway to…

Re Asleep At The Wheel (Opinion, Nov. 20): Has no one in the Ontario government ever thought of the ecological footprint of building Highway 413?

What do they know of the dangers of eliminating wetlands or paving over farmland? Do they know how many billions of dollars are paid in dealing with the consequences of floods from water mismanagement and thoughtless development?

Maybe some of the people proposing this new highway could visit Houston to discover how developer-friendly projects crippled the U.S. city’s ability to handle floodwaters. Scientists and policy makers were ignored in the rush for easy profit.

Contributor Todd Litman suggests that better alternatives are available. But even after COP26, will any Ford government supporters listen?

Margaret van Dijk Toronto

The Highway 407 toll road cost Ontario taxpayers $1.5-billion. In 1999, Mike Harris sold the 407 for $3.1-billion. Prepandemic, the current owners, including a foreign investment firm, received more than $1-billion a year in tolls. Yet the highway is still underutilized because the expensive tolls discourage potential drivers. If fess were reduced, thousands more cars and trucks would use it, relieving congestion on Highway 401.

The estimated cost to taxpayers for the 413 is between $6-billion and $10-billion. Use the money to improve public transit instead.

Ellen Grant, CPA Toronto


Re Planning Report Signals Real Changes In House-centric Areas (Nov. 25): Toronto planners are advocating the building of apartments within the leafy enclaves of single-family housing, to provide more affordable dwelling units in the city. Here in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there are two proposals for condos that will tower over historic homes in Old Town.

I have heard that one developer plans to sell his units at $2-million each. I will watch for investors to snap these up as pricey holiday rentals, further eviscerating our community and making real housing an even more impossible dream for would-be residents. Meanwhile, the character of our unique neighbourhoods will likely be permanently disfigured.

Jim Reynolds Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Follow through

Re What’s Behind A School-board Blunder (Opinion, Nov. 20): It is not surprising to me that the Toronto District School Board withdrew from collaboration with a book club for female students, despite its claim to support human rights.

The Ontario educational system now emphasizes diversity, equity and inclusion – all excellent principles. However, they should not be enforced by censorship of individuals who hold currently unpopular views, such as that accused criminals are entitled to a defence.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right under international and Canadian law. However, the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits only discrimination. It does not mention protection of freedom of expression.

Any Ontarian who thinks that the Ontario Human Rights Commission would protect their freedom of speech in a university, high school or elsewhere should think again. The TDSB is only following the code’s lead.

Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights (2003-2016), Wilfrid Laurier University Hamilton

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