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Ground beef: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is facing cuts, but the agency says these won’t affect the front lines. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Ground beef: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is facing cuts, but the agency says these won’t affect the front lines. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Oct. 3: E. coli food failure, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Systemic food failure

E. coli in our beef is not from “tiny [failures] that added up,” but a systemic failure in how we finish and process our meat (From Kill Floor To Cutting Table: How Bacteria Evaded Detection – Oct. 2).

Carcasses from normal farms do not go to the slaughterhouse caked in feces. This is from packing cattle in feed lots where conditions are horrific. Slaughterhouse workers are underpaid and expected to work at error-prone speeds. Assembly line methods and mass production means small problems are not localized. These are not tiny problems.

Norm Ross, Kitchener, Ont.

.........

UN scores to settle

It’s been two years since Canada lost its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council yet, still, Stephen Harper and his surrogates prance around like schoolyard bullies with a score to settle (Canada’s Cold Shoulder To The UN – Oct. 2).

It’s an unfortunate flaw of the Prime Minister that he and his government continue to court only their perceived friends, whether at home or abroad.

Elizabeth Clarke, Toronto

.........

When the heads of the world’s democracies share the UN podium with tyrants, they accept tyrants as their equals. There is no reason why they should do so. Our PM has the courage to act accordingly.

Peter Teitelbaum, Ottawa

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Gas-plant power

In the the same way that we don’t pay firefighters only when there’s a fire, companies that operate many of Ontario’s gas plants are paid to ensure plants are available to produce electricity when it’s needed (Energy Firms Guaranteed Revenue In Sweetheart Deals With Ontario – Oct. 1).

We must have generation available to meet peak demand. This type of contract keeps electricity prices stable and lower than they would be otherwise.

Ontario has been open and transparent about the use of capacity-based contracts for natural gas plants. We have been competitively procuring plants this way since 2004; the contract template is available on the Ontario Power Authority’s website.

Capacity support payments are common worldwide, including in the U.S., Europe, and most of Latin America.

Unlike most other kinds of generation, gas plants can ramp up and down quickly to meet rapid changes in electricity demand. Not too long ago, Ontario was facing power shortages and was forced to import power from our neighbours just to keep the lights on. We’ve taken steps to modernize our system, improve the reliability of our supply and are on track to eliminate coal by the end of 2014.

Chris Bentley, Ontario Energy Minister

.........

Wind and solar energy are intermittent. That means you never know when the energy will be produced. Therefore, you require backup by gas-powered energy for green energy. The cost of this backup has to be added to the cost of green energy. It only demonstrates how ridiculous the green energy fiasco really is.

R.J. Bradshaw, Meaford, Ont.

.........

The loss of local

You report that among the things CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais has done “to make consumers a priority” is pulling the plug on the Local Programming Improvement Fund (CRTC Cracks Down On iCrime And Carriers – Report on Business, Oct. 2).

Given the sorry state of local broadcast media in most parts of Canada, the fund’s loss means the loss of local information and local perspectives on regional and national issues and, more generally, the loss of consumer choice in local programming.

Is that making consumers “a priority”?

David Skinner, associate professor, Department of Communication Studies, York University

.........

Assessing Trudeau

Although not necessarily a fan of Justin Trudeau (I need to know more about his policies), I am puzzled by the media preoccupation regarding his youth and so-called lack of experience (Shaking Up The System Should Be Trudeau’s Mission – Oct. 2).

At 40, Mr. Trudeau is middle-aged. Like many 40-somethings, he appears to be busy with mid-career challenges, contributing to his community and raising a family.

I am reminded of another politician who, in 2002 at the age of 42, became the leader of a national party. Stephen Harper had a much thinner resumé than Mr. Trudeau does now. In assessing Mr. Trudeau, I will look at his policies and, of course, his experience – but not dismiss him as a lightweight because he is attractive. That he cannot help.

M. Kathryn Dunlop, Ottawa

.........

Civic bonbons?

I have a nice little plot downtown, and I would like to put up an 85-storey condo and make myself a fortune (Centrepiece To Enhance A City – editorial, Oct. 2).

I promise to use all the arguments David Mirvish uses to exempt myself from tiresome zoning restraints. I’ll even hope that The Globe and Mail will write a favourable, but judiciously restrained, editorial in favour of my project. Wait, I’ll even settle for 8 1/2 storeys. Please?

Hmm. I begin to suspect that planning constraints exist here chiefly as an excuse for the deep-pocketed to coerce the city with promises of civic bonbons.

Ted Syperek, Toronto

.........

The towers project proposed by Frank Gehry and David Mirvish is exciting, dynamic, and valuable to Toronto’s emerging arts and culture brand. But people who are worried about the impact of radically increased density are also right, especially where transit is concerned.

Why can the city not be proactive here, and negotiate with the project principals for transit infrastructure support as part of the planning and approvals process? If this is an exceptional and lucrative development, and if Mr. Mirvish and Mr. Gehry are serious about city-building, such a strategy should be a no-brainer.

Kim Solga, London, U.K.

.........

It’s called Omemee

One of the covenants we make with each other as Canadians is that the places we are from matter and are worth knowing and remembering, be they simple crossroads on the Prairie or gas stops on the Trans-Canada Highway. With so few people scattered over such a big country, an awareness of place, and the places we’ve passed through, helps to connect Canadians.

Sarah Nicole Prickett broke this covenant in her article on Neil Young by calling Omemee, which she did not identify, a “no name Ontario town” (A Gentle Hurricane – Arts, Sept. 29).

Omemee has dreams, comfort, memory to spare and should have been relevant to the article, since Mr. Young himself sang: “all my changes were there.”

Hardly a “no name Ontario town.”

Jeff Calvert, North Vancouver

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