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Canada offered other countries small amounts of duty-free access to its protected dairy and poultry markets.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS

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Deal-breaker

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Re Joining TPP will yield limited gains for Canada, Report Says (April 21):

The C.D. Howe Institute reports that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will bring us "relatively modest" economic gains. Yet according to much expert opinion, the deal will cost us – even strictly in economic terms.

For instance, I understand that it will allow corporations to make much greater use of temporary foreign labour. Will this be good for Canada's employment rate, wages, working conditions … economy?

Over all, however, it is the investor-state dispute settlement provision that is most troubling. This will further hamper governments' abilities to bring in robust environmental legislation, the need for which cannot be overstated. The ISDS clause alone has costs outweighing any benefits. It is a deal-breaker. Justin Tanguay, Ottawa

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Compound inflation

Re The race to $1-million (April 18):

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While your article on regular TSFA contributions and the power of compound interest was very interesting, I think that to put it in proper context, it would have been helpful to point out that $1-million will be worth just $300,000 in today's dollars 40 years from now, assuming an average rate of 3 per cent inflation. Sylva McCormick, Markham, Ont.

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Future studies

Re Ontario's conservation programs may not be worth the energy (April 12):

Tom Adams and Ross McKitrick base their critique of energy demand management on tenuous extrapolation of a non-representative program. Their argument relies on the findings of a study from the University of California, Berkeley, which analyzed the cost-benefits of the U.S. Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The unique scope and context of the Berkeley study, by its author's own public statements, precludes generalization of its conclusions.

WAP targets low-income and vulnerable households with high seasonal heating bills. It was one component of the largest economic recovery effort in U.S. history. In addition to weatherization, WAP pays for smoke detectors, rewiring, gas leak fixes and other improvements. The authors critique the program for paying $2 for every $1 saved in energy. This ratio is misleading because it compares total program costs against a single benefit, at a time of historically low natural gas prices.

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As proponents of continued public investment into energy efficiency and energy conservation, we hope future studies will be more careful about how supportive data are selected and represented. When using public monies to make critical strategic investments into our infrastructure and economies, we must recognize nuance and be more thoughtful about what counts as "benefits." Kirby Calvert, assistant geography professor, University of Guelph, and and Abhilash Kantamneni, program manager for the HEET community energy efficiency program in Houghton, Mich.

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