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Sept. 7: The cost of being unvaccinated, stop guide dog discrimination, even Trump gets booed and other letters

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Nature does trees just fine

Regarding ‘Canada must plant trees to slow the advance of climate change’ (Sept. 1): The author of this article suggests planting trees and charting their growth “with the precision of an accountant.” Planting trees is a wonderful idea, nature does it on a grand scale. Canada is estimated to have 318 billion trees, most of them spread in a great swath across northern Canada’s boreal forest from Newfoundland to British Columbia. If each tree’s lifespan averages 60 years then 5.6 billion trees die each year and are replaced by nature. All this without a single accountant!

Reg McGuire, Mount Hope

The results of refusing vaccination

To the letter writer who thinks vaccination is bullying: You indeed are free to choose whether to get vaccinated or not. But you must deal with the results of that choice.

Rusty Escott, Dunnville

Stop discrimination against guide dogs

As a guide dog handler to Cody, a three-year-old golden retriever, I shouldn’t have to fight for my rights when businesses are breaking the law. I should be able to take any type of transportation, stay in any hotel, dine in any restaurant — just like anyone else.

In all of Canada’s 13 jurisdictions, it is against the law to discriminate against a person with a disability who is working with a service animal. Discrimination includes denial of access to any premises to which the public would normally have access — yet it happens every day.

Cody accompanies me everywhere: on the bus, to the grocery store, back-to-school clothes shopping with the kids, and even to the vaccine clinic. As long as guide dogs are well-groomed, under our control and doing what they were trained to do, guide dog handlers have the same rights as everyone else.

Police need to be educated about the laws that protect guide dog handlers. It’s their job to uphold these laws and protect us. If someone is refused, it is their job to say, “this person is allowed in here with their guide dog.”

If you see a guide dog team being discriminated against, please consider stepping up and offering assistance. You can explain to the business owner that it is against the law to refuse service or deny access to a person accompanied by a guide dog. To learn more, visit guidedogchampions.ca.

Chris Trudell-Conklin, Windsor

Hydrogen cars are not a better option

In response to the letter ‘Hydrogen cars a better option’ (Aug. 31): Existing gasoline cars and engines cannot be converted directly to burn hydrogen without expensive modifications. Fuel cell cars employ a hydrogen fuel cell battery plus an electric motor and associated electric controls. Hydrogen is made from methane or electrolysis. Hydrogen from methane spews huge CO2 emissions at the production site. In either case, electrical power returned by fuel cells average only 32 per cent of the power put into making it. Hydrogen is flammable and very expensive and dangerous to store. There are very few if any hydrogen filling stations in Canada.

Lithium car batteries return 95 per cent of the energy to charge them. Electric motor-generators driving the cars return electrical power to the battery when slowing down or braking, which a fuel powered engine cannot do. Electric cars are the most efficient, climate friendly, option at this time.

Good point about battery recycling, it is a given that governments must mandate recycling of all toxic and valuable material in batteries. Battery standardization also must be addressed very soon.

Ron Sealey, Waterdown

Co-ordinated transit approach needed

While I appreciate that we’ve been waiting for years for all-day service, I don’t see the impact that Paul Shaker sees (The real opportunity with all-day GO service, Aug. 29). The problem is connection to the GO station. Many other cities along the GO line use their GO station as a transit hub. Burlington, Oakville etc. have dozens of routes connecting from the station to all parts of the city. Harbour West station is serviced by Bayfront and the A-line which will, after a 10-15 minutes ride into downtown, connect you with a number of routes at the MacNab station and presumably the LRT if it’s ever completed. Not ideal. A co-ordinated approach to transit is what is required.

Brian Taylor, Hamilton

America in a ‘chaotic abyss’

In the 20 years United States has been in Afghanistan 2400 American military personal and 47,600 Afghan civilians have lost their lives. the Afghan war over the past 20 years has cost America nearly $2.3 trillion.

In comparison it was estimated the coronavirus would cost the America economy $16 trillion and that report was written in 2020. Far more important is the U.S. death rate because of the pandemic which continues to balloon past 640,000 in two short years. Fuelled largely by the lies of politicians like Ron DeSantis who continue to defy President Biden and refuse to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and wear a mask until the pandemic has been defeated. Instead DeSantis and others feed on the fear, paranoia, and biased ignorance of their voter’s base. You know America has descended into a chaotic abyss when even Donald Trump is booed by his loyal followers by recommending, they get the vaccine.

Frieda Huffman, Hamilton