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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, March 2, 2017, where she explained her government’s plan to cut hydro bills. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, March 2, 2017, where she explained her government’s plan to cut hydro bills. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

March 3: Power has its price. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

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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Power has its price

Re Hydro Fix, Or Fiasco? (March 2): Can we just establish once and for all that, despite all the whining about electricity prices in Ontario, renewable-power contributions from wind and solar are not the main culprit?

Nuclear and gas prices, as well as long overdue upgrades to transmission and distribution networks, are much more to blame for increasing prices in Ontario which – by international standards – are actually not that high compared to many other jurisdictions.

It’s past time to stop lambasting renewables, aspects of which are now widely accepted as having reached grid parity. And, frankly, even if we did have to pay more for clean, safe energy, it would still be the right thing to do.

Luke Mastin, Toronto

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Adding insult to injury, the Wynne government announced on Thursday that Ontario residents will supposedly get a 25-per-cent cut in their hydro bills. Really? What they mean is that the insurmountable debt that they have created with their mismanagement of the energy system in Ontario will be drawn out over a longer period so taxpayers, their children and their great-grandchildren will have to pay for many more years.

This huge debt and the senseless, long-term contracts they negotiated will not go away: The debt has to be paid, and it will cost even more with the accrued interest over a longer period.

Who do they think they are kidding with this election ploy?

Voters will not be fooled by a short-term gain for long-term pain.

Simon R. Guillet, Sudbury, Ont.

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Stranded oil assets?

Martha Hall Findlay and Trevor McLeod’s article touting improvements in the carbon footprint of oil-sands bitumen, referencing a processing method that brings its greenhouse gas emissions “close to the average crude,” seems to me a classic example of a back-handed compliment (Environmentalists Should End The Charade Over The Oil Sands – Report on Business, March 1).

The authors use this fact as a key rationale for giving the green light on building more pipelines. But let’s not kid ourselves: the decision to extract this bitumen and to build the pipelines that will bring the product to markets will be decided by market conditions and not the carbon-intensity of this fossil fuel. Perhaps this explains why Exxon Mobile and ConocoPhillips announced that they have deleted billions of barrels of bitumen reserves in Canada from the “proved category” of their balance sheets (Investors Shun Oil Sands Amid U.S. Protectionism Fears – Report on Business, Feb. 28).

Yes, for the next 20 years or so, we’ll need oil to power our transportation sector. But electric vehicles and energy-storage technologies are developing rapidly.

If pipelines have an average service life of 50-plus years, then their underutilization in the mid- to late 2030s (or sooner), as the world shifts to a low-carbon, clean-tech economy, will strand these assets and won’t please oil and gas company shareholders.

Chris Gates, Warkworth, Ont.

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I did not have …

Re Sessions Didn’t Disclose Russia Contact In Confirmation Hearing (March 2): U.S. Attorney-General Jeff Sessions seems to be resorting to Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” ploy in denying pre-election conversations with the Russian ambassador. And we know how well that turned out! (But presumably, no blue dress this time.)

Richard Cooper, Ottawa

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Medicare politics

Re Health Care And The Endless Political Cycle (Feb. 28): Not every national health-care reform requires money.

Emergency room crowding is a national public health-care disgrace that affects 15 million Canadians every year and undermines the confidence of all Canadians in the integrity of their health-care system.

With the issue left to the provinces, there have been some modest improvements in emergency wait times but other provinces have simply ignored the problem.

Canada’s emergency physicians don’t want any money. We want the adoption of standard definitions of crowding, acceptance of internationally recognized benchmarks and mandatory provincial reporting of the ER wait-time experience.

Is that too much to ask?

Alan Drummond, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians

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Option four

Re Three Ways Canada’s Next NDP Leader Can Find Success (March 2): There is, of course, a fourth way: Dissolve the NDP and join the Liberals.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

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Off-the-rails waste

Re T.O.’s Transit Plan: Pay More, Get Less (editorial, March 2): The population of Scarborough in Toronto’s east end is about 650,000. The projected cost of the one-stop Scarborough subway extension is now estimated at $3.2-billion. That amounts to some $5,000 for every man, woman and child in Scarborough, whether they use the subway or not. The cost for each new rider is $1.4 million, based on the projection of 2,300 new riders a day.

Clearly, the costs are not justifiable. It appears that politicians are willing to waste a vast amount of our tax dollars to avoid breaking a promise that was foolish in the first place.

Harold Anderson, Oakville, Ont.

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As a provincial and federal taxpayer, and as a former mayor of Scarborough, I hope it is still not too late to redirect the misguided $3-billion in transit funds toward a rational transportation plan for east Toronto.

Contrary to the assertion that the RT to the Scarborough Town Centre was forced on Toronto, I, with the support of Scarborough council, laboured to bring Metro and the province kicking and screaming to agree to the “experiment” of the rapid transit line in the 1970s. This was to be the first stage of a transit system designed to replace the provincial cancellation of Scarborough expressways, and the failed provincial mag-levitation alternative in order to provide relief to the clogged roads of east Toronto.

Paul Cosgrove, former Scarborough mayor, Brockville, Ont.

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Toronto’s late mayor, Rob Ford, deserves some of the credit for this boondoggle. But other municipal politicians and the government of Ontario approved the project. The blame must be widely shared. One cannot be optimistic about the future of public transit when such bad decision making is clearly evident.

Robert Moos, Peterborough, Ont.

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“Anyone for a $7-billion no-stop subway?” your editorial asks in jest. It would probably make as much sense as a $3-billion one-stop subway. Think of the efficiency gains. No passengers, instead of nearly no passengers, so it could be fully automated, saving on labour costs and minimizing capital depreciation. Someone in the Premier’s office is probably already looking into it.

Jeanne Marie Simpson, Winnipeg

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