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Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following the Commonwealth of Independent States leaders' summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on Oct. 14.SPUTNIK/Reuters

History lesson

Re What Can We Do About Putin’s Threat To Cross The Nuclear Line? (Opinion, Oct. 8): Remember that it was John F. Kennedy who first backed down during the Cuban Missile Crisis, not Nikita Khrushchev, by agreeing to remove U.S. short-range Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey.

Improvements in long-range intercontinental ballistic missile had made the short-range missiles obsolete. Turkey was not the most reliable ally anyway. Mr. Kennedy could afford to back down.

Vladimir Putin does not seem as emotionally stable as Mr. Khrushchev, who played a very cool hand in 1962. It’s anybody’s guess what Mr. Putin will do. But if he is banking on lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis, he may well draw the wrong conclusions.

Ukraine is not Cuba. In 1962, Mr. Kennedy could safely back down. In 2022, Joe Biden and the West cannot back down without giving up on Ukraine.

Gordon Salisbury Mississauga

Financial forecast

Re Former U.S. Fed Chair Ben Bernanke Among Nobel Prize Winners (Report on Business, Oct. 11): Backstopping the banks to stave off financial collapse was hugely important.

Major banks then were regarded as too big to fail and it led to financial deregulation. That in turn incentivized them to take more risks, secure in the knowledge that they would be bailed out in a crisis. But beyond a certain point, bank bailouts are, to put it mildly, politically hard to swallow.

The financial crisis of 2008 was also a legacy of the work of Ben Bernanke and his prize-winning colleagues.

Roy Culpeper Chair, Group of 78; Ottawa

While Ben Bernanke’s work is a pat on the back for central bankers, it also shows the fragile nature of commercial banking.

A commercial bank takes deposits, then lends out money to create more deposits and an increased money supply. On and on it goes. This is great as long as most loans are repaid.

If conditions change, savers can demand their money back and the whole system can collapse. Welcome to the 1930s. So it was central banking and deposit insurance eventually to the rescue.

Central banking has changed to now try to push on a string. Quantitative easing is fine until banks decide to lend out cash, especially in home-equity lines of credit. This led to too much money chasing too few goods.

I would love to see a good analysis of quantitative easing, especially when to turn it off. I was wary of it from the start.

Ed Dunnett Qualicum Beach, B.C.

Power play

Re Ontario To Increase Use Of Gas-fired Plants For Energy (Report on Business, Oct. 8): With Ontario’s ever-expanding grid of 33 gas- and oil-fired stations, the additional combustion of petroleum hydrocarbons for electric vehicles will generate even more greenhouse emissions.

Provincial subsidies, if any, should be based only on total fuel efficiency.

Sidney Joseph Markham, Ont.

Re Canada, You Need To Power Up (Editorial, Oct. 8): Consider nuclear waste. It is a huge problem that is nowhere near solved. It will take vast amounts of money and create danger wherever it is stored, treated or transported. Some of it will last millions of years.

The current plan to handle nuclear waste in Canada relies on the industry umbrella group Nuclear Waste Management Organization. It wants to haul waste over public highways and through communities (including mine) to a hoped-for dump site in rural Ontario.

Nearby towns think their enfeebled economies might recover with some payoff money. I’d say don’t do it.

Ken Collier North Bay, Ont.

Ontario taxpayers are subsidizing provincial electricity consumers to the tune of $7-billion per year. Meanwhile, electricity market regulations are designed to support the existing centralized generation of power by incumbent operators, and their control of the distribution grid.

These two realities have ensured continual inertia against innovation and the introduction of low-cost, localized distributed energy resources. Europe, Alberta, Nova Scotia and many U.S. states are already moving forward to address these constraints.

Yet Ontario has decided to double down on gas plants after receiving a report from Dunsky Energy and Climate Advisors, which shows how the province could more cheaply and quickly implement a cleaner grid based on distributed energy resources.

We look forward to The Globe and Mail calling on the Ontario Minister of Red Tape Reduction to set his sights on the provincial electricity system.

Dick Bakker Director, Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative


Re Two Police Officers Fatally Shot In Ontario (Oct. 13): As we grieve two more policemen paying the ultimate price to preform their jobs on our behalf, we should also realize what has taken the lives of four Ontario officers in the last month.

The conglomerate of problems that continues to surge in Ontario includes a lack of increased funding for mental health, increased housing shortages, inflation and youthful exasperation at the economic and social world.

No officers should ever be lost at the end of a desperate person’s gun. The tide has turned in this regard.

Daniel Kowbell Mississauga

World of possibility

Re ‘We Will Need To Find A New Possible’ (Opinion, Oct. 8): I was pleased to read Ken Dryden’s lecture, apolitical and full of straight talk. He made me optimistic. And I am glad there is at least one other person in the world who thinks the “dominion … over all the earth” passage in the Bible was a serious mistake.

And there are other “religions” that may need reassessment. For example, that of endless growth (in GDP, population, wealth and on and on): When do we actually stop growing?

In 10 years? One hundred years? One thousand years? And what does “stop growing” even mean?

To me, that last question is fascinating.

Robert James Cochrane, Alta.

When this old geographer and teacher gave thanks last weekend, it was for Ken Dryden.

His inspiring lecture is my gift to my four intelligent grandchildren, one already committed to saving the oceans and three still testing the waters on where they’ll make contributions to the future.

My thanks also to McGill University for hosting Mr. Dryden, and The Globe and Mail for alerting me to his lecture.

Myrette Paul-Chowdhury Toronto

Play ball

Re Raptors Move To Training With Tech (Sports, Oct. 12): Instant feedback via a new Jumbotron at the Raptors practice facility may help the odd player improve their performance, but may just as easily drive others out of basketball.

The spectre of so many coaches armed with so much information about so many specialties is alarming to me. Have more books improved our scholarly abilities? Has social media made us better citizens?

Major League Baseball should be a case in point. Thanks to advanced analytics, the number of part-time players getting minor minutes has multiplied, contests have slowed to a crawl and everything has become more complicated

Hard to love this kind of game.

Patrick O’Neill Toronto

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