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The Globe and Mail

Feb 27: Nuclear power, and other letters to the editor

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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Yesterday's power

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Natural Resources Minister Gary Carr's endorsement of nuclear energy as a clean-energy "strategic asset" is the technological equivalent of donning concrete galoshes in the face of a hurricane (Ottawa Appeals To Nuclear Industry In Clean-Energy Push, Feb. 24).

The electricity sector is in the midst of a series of technological revolutions almost without precedent. The costs of renewable energy and new energy storage technologies have been falling dramatically, while their performance is seeing equally impressive improvements. The emergence of smart grids is enabling the integration of distributed energy resources into reliable and cost-effective energy supplies. These developments have the potential to fundamentally alter the structure of future energy systems. In this context, Mr. Carr's statements about nuclear energy seem to beg the question of what's next: an endorsement of vinyl as the future of the music industry?

Mark S. Winfield, professor, faculty of environmental studies, York University, Toronto

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Home economics

As a Canadian who moved to Vancouver from Toronto, I endorse Gary Mason's observations (Wake Up, Toronto, To Your Housing Crisis, Feb. 24).

However, we need to recognize that we live in an extraordinary time: Canadian cities are highly desirable places, world population is at a peak, cheap money and extraordinary wealth make investing in Canadian dwellings a no-brainer, our cities are relatively small and prices still relatively low, and there is a steep imbalance between the size of our economy and that enormous wealth seeking a home.

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This calls for an extraordinary measure – a law that prohibits the purchase of a Canadian dwelling to all except those who wish to live in that dwelling. Canadians and non-Canadians who wish to invest in Canadian real estate can buy apartment buildings and commercial real estate. Houses and condos are for people to live in.

Shaul Ezer, Vancouver

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As a homeowner and parent of two young adults, I understand very well both sides of the coin in our housing crisis. It would be unconscionable, as Mr. Mason puts it, for those of us who own homes to sit back and think happy thoughts while our equity builds each year by fat double-digits while many first-time buyers lose all hope of ever buying a house in their own city. Hard choices need to be made and our elected officials need to take action, as unpleasant and unpopular as they may be. Sitting idly by and letting this insanity continue is a tragic mistake.

Susan Gordon, Toronto

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Protect our water

It was great to hear the B.C. government has finally come to its senses, cancelling a permit that should never have been issued in the first place (B.C. Cancels Cobble Hill Waste-Discharge Permit Near Shawnigan Lake, Feb. 23). Sadly, as much as the Shawnigan community is relieved, the flagrant abuse of our precious fresh-water drinking supplies across Canada continues.

We cannot continue to allow industry to destroy our most valuable resource for profit or greed, whether that's through threatening a water supply like Shawnigan or the pumping of water out of the ground to fill plastic bottles. As Canadians, we are blessed to have almost 20 per cent of the world's fresh-water supply, 7 per cent of it renewable.

We must do everything in our power to protect this. Being Canada's 150th anniversary, it would be appropriate for the powers that be to step up to the plate, putting laws and controls in place to do exactly that.

Richard Chadwick, Halton Hills, Ont.

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Standing in solidarity

The Standing Rock resisters will be remembered for their efforts to warn us of corporate insensitivity to the rivers, lakes and communities (Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, Feb. 24). This battle came at a time when the oil era is ending, and the tribal people that owned these lands and who tried to warn us of the dangers are being treated as the criminals. Tragic ignorance.

Barbara Klunder, Toronto

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Tolerance in motion

Re Anti-Islamophobia Motion Passes In Ontario Legislature, Feb. 24: This was a pleasing and loud statement to show that no form of discrimination will be tolerated here, a notion which seems to be lacking in our southern neighbour's government. As an Ahmadi Muslim, I can relate to discrimination and injustice based on faith. That is why, six years ago, my family decided to leave Saudi Arabia and migrate to Canada. And I am very glad we did so, because Canada has embraced us and we have embraced Canada.

Fasih Malik, Calgary

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By rejecting extremist thought processes and advocating for inclusion and not seclusion, Ontario has shown the best approach to combatting extremism: take away the extremists' ammunition. By showing that Ontario is in favour of peaceful co-existence with all peoples regardless of race, colour, or religion, it takes away the marketing strategy of extremism. There can be no "other" to hate if we insist on the parts that unite us, that make us the same.

Harith Chaudhary, Vaughan, Ont.

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Foul ball

Major League Baseball has abandoned the tradition of intentional walks to accentuate action and shorten the duration of games (MLB's Rule Change Forgets That Baseball Takes As Long As It Needs, Feb. 22 ). Like the advent of artificial turf, the designated hitter rule and middle-inning relief pitchers, this latest change undercuts the basic aspects of an outdoor pastime between two squads of nine players competing against one another. What's next? A designated hitter who replaces a non-pitching fielder? Closer fences? Non-wooden bats? Faster moving balls? Larger rosters? To my mind, baseball's poetic elements are gradually being replaced by prosaic inventions that are ruining the game.

Ivan Smason, Santa Monica, Calif.

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Join 'em

It's probably a natural reaction for many Canadians, both conservative and non-conservative, to turn away from the current leadership race as it starts to resemble the U.S. Republican primaries (Lose The Anger, Tories, And Recall Your Inclusive Heritage, Feb. 23). I feel the same way but I am taking the opposite tack. I'm purchasing a Conservative Party membership and will vote for a moderate candidate who best represents my centrist thinking. If we leave this vote to the organized and dedicated fringe thinkers, in the next federal election we might well be asking how could this happen in Canada. Buy your membership and vote.

Bill Todd, Calgary

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