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A person pumps fuel in Toronto on Sept. 12, 2012.Michelle Siu/The Canadian Press

Do the math

Re “Kerry challenges oil industry to prove its promised tech rescue for climate-wrecking emissions” (Report on Business, May 15): Canadian evidence suggests that the oil industry cannot.

The Pathways Alliance, a collection of the largest emitters in the Canadian oil and gas industry, has a goal to reduce emissions by 22 megatonnes by 2030 (”Clean energy’s future can, and must, be now” – Report on Business Magazine, May 2023). Yet the federal emissions inventory records annual oil and gas emissions at 189 megatonnes.

Capturing 12 per cent of emissions doesn’t sound like “at scale” to me, and likely won’t get us where we need to be. Production is going to have to come down.

Dave Carson Hamilton

Good ol’ days

Re “Gas prices could rise for long weekend and into summer amid fires, economic worries” (Online, May 19): I remember how upset everyone was when gasoline hit $1.35 per litre. At that time, oil sold for about $125 per barrel.

We are now paying over $1.50/L and oil only costs a little over $70 per barrel. I would like to hear someone explain, in logical and simple terms, exactly how I am being gouged at the pump.

Peter Stringer Ottawa

Knock on wood

Re “Canadian plywood makers seek duties as cheap Chinese rivals carve out half the market” (Report on Business, May 15): Flooding the market with cheap goods has been a standard Chinese business tactic. It has hollowed out Canadian manufacturing of everything from nuts and bolts to clothing and furniture.

Some may celebrate cheap plywood goods now, but history tells us the rebound will negatively affect the forestry sector and northern communities. Mill closures are not new; consider the historical softwood disputes with the United States. This new Chinese threat only compounds the risk to our forestry sector.

Unable to compete in the face of cheap Chinese mill products, Canadian mills closures would open the door for China to pick them up at a discount along with huge tracts of land. The same process occurs in the mining sector, rare earth minerals being the most current example.

The Canadian lumber industry needs the Liberal government to listen and support their concerns. There can be no compromise.

John Armstrong Kingston

Traffic report

Re “Mark Saunders should see how Amsterdam has broken the tyranny of the automobile” (May 13): Even as a car-free city-centre resident, I find the idea that Toronto should, or could, follow the (bike) path of Amsterdam to be ridiculous. The two cities cannot be more different when it comes to area, population density, average commuting distance, climate, topography, railway networks and shopping behaviour.

Many of Toronto’s existing bike lanes are already white elephants that I see void of meaningful traffic even during rush hours. Bike lanes with a median can cause major headaches for snow removal and garbage collection. They can clog up traffic, including transit flow, and slow down lifesaving response times for the police, fire services and ambulances.

I wasn’t going to vote for Mark Saunders in the Toronto mayoral byelection, but I’m now seriously considering his candidacy.

Swire Chin Toronto

Fair shake

Re “Ontario ombudsman tallies up woes of backlogged Landlord-Tenant Board” (Real Estate, May 12): The knee-jerk response to such a report would be to prioritize speed: generating statistics to show that scheduling delays are going down, and the Landlord-Tenant Board’s backlog is getting smaller.

Yet rushing to a vision of “justice” driven by such data would compound the denials of basic fairness that have been disproportionately visited upon tenants through an inaccessible, inefficient, inequitable virtual hearing process, including reasonable notice of hearings, meaningful opportunities to participate and the practice of offering low-income parties a flip phone to attend video hearings on Zoom.

The board should be expeditious and fair for tenants and landlords alike. The government’s multimillion-dollar investments in new technology and increased staffing would be money thrown away, at an unquantifiable human cost, unless Tribunals Ontario stops insisting that the board be a fully online tribunal, and commits itself to justice that is measured by standards that go beyond processing time.

Daniel McCabe Toronto

House hunt

Re “Toronto opens up its neighbourhoods – and it needs to go farther” (May 13): Would it have made more sense to try out this “multiplex” policy in selected neighbourhoods, to see the effects and potential tweaks to make it successful?

Is it possible that in many single-dwelling neighbourhoods where land values are already high, competition between builders to buy property will push up prices even more? After all, there is far more profit in four units than one.

The result could be higher land values inflating the market further – costs that could get passed on to the same potential buyers that this policy is supposed to help.

Laurie Kochen Toronto

Re “Let’s face it, solving Canada’s housing crisis will be unpopular and difficult” (Report on Business, May 17): I don’t think affordable housing in Toronto works unless the private sector is involved.

I live in the Upper Beaches. In my neighborhood is a lot that was bulldozed in about 2016, to make room for a building that was supposed to be built and managed by a co-operative. To this day, it is a fenced-off vacant lot.

While mayoral candidates all preach the free affordable housing gospel, nothing seems to happen unless the private sector is involved.

Derek Jansen Toronto

Re “Toronto declares state of emergency over homelessness” (May 13) and “In a hybrid work world, Toronto’s downtown core faces an existential crisis” (May 17): Someone please do the math and tell me how many living spaces could be created from vacancies in Toronto’s commercial towers. Now reflect that throughout every major city in Canada.

Can we not retrofit these serviced spaces to house the homeless? Clinics, schools, education, green spaces and creative areas could be incorporated to provide optimum living standards.

Why am I not hearing more about such plans?

Bruce Craig Dufferin, N.B.

Family matters

Re “Sincerely, your sister” (Opinion, May 13): Contributor Jillian Horton’s outlining of her parents’ efforts to secure support for her sister is a powerful statement on the wide-ranging effects of government and community negligence toward people with disabilities.

People with disabilities and their siblings and parents all suffer under the presumption that to ignore or minimize their rights and needs is “reasonable,” a situation that would be considered outrageous were the same standards held for people without disabilities.

Madeline Burghardt Author, Broken: Institutions, Families and the Construction of Intellectual Disability Toronto

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