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Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Lenses on aging

Re In 'Historic Moment' For Canada, Seniors Now Outnumber Children (May 4): Your bias about what an "aging population" looks like is on display in the photo you chose of a senior moving into assisted living. Why didn't you select a picture of the typical 65- to 75-year-old who actually represents this cohort? We are out volunteering in the community, doing contract work and caring for grandchildren.

Put those crude statistical analytics in mothballs and tell us how many people over age 65 are active, contributing members to Canada's culture and to our GDP.

Beverlee McIntosh, Ottawa

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Scapegoating the aging misconstrues the facts. Seniors living past an arbitrary expiration date is a win-win for all society's members. Canadians should recognize their good fortune that having a growing seniors population means statistically that their own chances of growing old have improved: One day, they, too, will probably be seniors.

One of the benefits of growing old is that sometimes with age comes perspective – the big picture view. Affordability, even living with a shrinking tax base, can be managed. Death can't.

Tony D'Andrea, Toronto

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Much about dreaded rising senior demographics and its outcome. What about the economic contribution of affluent boomers?

Perhaps there is none?

Susan Wurst, Toronto

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Canada's game

Re Lament For Crosby, And For Our Game (editorial, May 3): There is a way to fix our nation's game: Take back the Stanley Cup and award it only in Canada; form our own Canadian National League, with one team in each major city; play in Olympic-size arenas, with Olympic rules; tell NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his money-baggers that it is just business, not personal.

(Okay, it's personal.)

Raymond Gilbert, Dundas, Ont.

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I love watching hockey, mostly for the speed and the way a very skilled player can dominate the game. I enjoy watching spontaneous fighting, good battles in the corners or in front of the net, and solid body checks. But I don't understand the concept of "putting the whistles away" toward the end of the season and in the postseason, effectively allowing bottom-of-the-roster players to neutralize stars with holds, crosschecks and slashes. The game gets dragged into a race to the bottom, and stars such as Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby feel they must engage in the tactics used against them, as with the slashes each recently dished out.

Brian Fehrenbach, Richmond Hill, Ont.

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The picture of Sidney Crosby sprawled on the ice made the mother in me weep. Is violence so essential to the thrill of hockey that we are willing to pay in diminished lives? Have we so little regard for this skilled young man and his brain, and others who will follow, that the enforcers who down them in the name of sport will not be punished?

Let's tell the NHL: It's the game we love, punish the violence!

Anne Fanning, MD, Edmonton

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Coal calculations

Re B.C.'s Clark To Target Thermal Coal Regardless Of U.S. Softwood Outcome (May 4): Christy Clark's attacks on thermal-coal exports through B.C. in the name of fighting climate change are hypocritical, given her support for exporting liquefied natural gas.

Yes, burning coal releases twice as much carbon dioxide as gas at the point of combustion. But scientists have shown that when gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the total greenhouse emissions can be greater than those from coal.

This is due to leaks of methane, which is some 80 times more potent than CO2 over an initial 20-year period. The Suzuki Foundation reports that methane leakage in B.C. gas fields is 2.5 times greater than officially estimated. If Ms. Clark were genuinely interested in fighting climate change, she would immediately drop her plans for exporting fracked gas from the B.C. interior.

John Dillon, Toronto

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7,500,000,000-plus

Re Neonics Threaten Bumblebees: Study (May 3): It is disturbing to learn that yet another creature upon which a great deal of life depends, the bumblebee, may be headed for extinction, along with other species of bees, because of widely used pesticides. We are often told that harmful pesticides, along with many other destructive agricultural practices, such as clearing marginal land for food production, clear-cutting rain forests, planting vast tracks of monocultures and inflicting endless cruelty on farm animals to increase production, are "necessary" to feed the world's relentlessly growing population.

Instead of pushing nature up to and perhaps beyond its limits, surely some thought could be given to discouraging further population growth.

Patty Benjamin, Victoria

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Squirm and oblige?

Re Dion's 'Super Ambassador' Role Nixed After EU Raises Concerns (May 3): Whoever conceived the idea of asking that both the EU and Germany agree to having ex foreign minister Stéphane Dion as their ambassador committed a major faux pas.

Would Canada accept accrediting a German ambassador if the Germans told us the newcomer was also going to be ambassador to Washington? How could Canada be so ridiculous as to expect Brussels and Berlin to just squirm and oblige? Thank goodness someone in Brussels called us on it and drew the line.

deMontigny Marchand (deputy minister of foreign affairs, 1989-1991), Victoria

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What kids are told

Re Chinese Textbooks' Reinvention Of Edison Raises Education Concerns (May 3): You report that textbooks in China perpetuate a myth about Thomas Edison for the apparent purpose of promoting certain social values among young people. This is not a uniquely Chinese practice: In the United States, it has long been standard fare to tell schoolchildren a story about George Washington confessing to damaging his father's cherry tree, as a way to promote honesty as a virtue. That story is a myth.

C.D. Chaudron, Toronto

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Memory spark plug

Re Author Captured The Post-1960s Zeitgeist (Obituaries, April 26): In the 1970s, I lived in a shared house in Oakland, California. One of my roommates was the niece of author Robert Pirsig, whose claim to fame was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. When she moved out, she said it was a family tradition to give people spark plugs, because when you looked at the spark plug, you would remember them.

I don't think I ever saw her again, but I still have that spark plug. And I still remember her.

Paul Rasmussen, Victoria

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