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A gardener works on the grounds at the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, on May 6, 2008.Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press

Mask up

Re It’s That Time Of Year – Time To Get The Masks Out (Nov. 16): While a wave of respiratory infections threatens to overwhelm our health care systems, it seems a minor sacrifice to ask folks to wear masks in indoor spaces.

They have a proven track record in reducing transmission of viral illnesses. I heartily agree that in the same way we don mitts and tuques in the winter months, we should consider wearing face masks as part of our cold-weather routine.

There is no single strategy for controlling the spread of viral illnesses, but masking is a strong starter.

Paul Thiessen, pediatrician Vancouver

Home is…

Re PM’s Official Residence To Be Closed (Nov. 18): The official residence of the U.S. President is, of course, the White House. Similarly, the British Prime Minister resides at the well-known 10 Downing Street. Both buildings are famous landmarks.

In Canada, our Prime Minister resides in a cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall because 24 Sussex is uninhabitable. What a disgrace.

Is it too much to ask for an official residence that Canadians can be proud of?

Eric Paine London, Ont.

Full circle

Re RCMP Did Not Use Emergencies Act Powers At Key Border Blockades, Inquiry Hears (Nov. 17): The Public Order Emergency Commission seems destined to end where it began, with no definitive answer to the question of whether the invocation of the Emergencies Act was necessary to end protests. In the end, it will likely remain a matter of opinion.

What is clear to me, however, is that various police forces could not get their acts together to deal effectively with lawbreakers. In the midst of what generously might be called best efforts, we’ve learned about personality conflicts and disrespect for leadership within certain forces, distrust between them, inconsistent communication, conflicting intelligence assessments and ongoing co-ordination problems.

I, for one, don’t begrudge the invocation of the Emergencies Act. With a requirement for a full public review, the views of everyone, from the truckers to the Prime Minister, are now being heard by the commission and by the public.

Most of all, though, the Emergencies Act worked.

Murray Angus Ottawa

Another look

Re Our Immigration Numbers Are On The Rise, But So Is Our Cynical Approach (Nov. 14): How to assess Canada’s contribution to the global refugee crisis?

In June, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called Canada the “global leader in refugee resettlement. In 2021, Canada welcomed 20,400 refugees.” The same report estimates that the war in Ukraine tipped the global refugee total to a staggering 100 million. So are we the best of a heartless bad lot?

Contributor Adnan Khan terms Canada’s priority on economic immigrants “cynical,” noting the latest forecasts of a reduction in refugees. However, the decline is minor, dropping from about 20 per cent of immigrants to 16 per cent over three years.

A cynical (realist?) view is that government needs to balance ethical and economic goals, and also public opinion. Recently, Environics reported a 45-year high “seven in 10 Canadians express support for current immigration levels … driven in large part by what is now an established public consensus that immigration is important to the country’s economy.”

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

Give up

Re Nearly One In Five Doctors Ponder Closing Shop (Nov. 15): Chatting with an immigrant who is a neonatal doctor, I learn he’s given up on qualifying in Ontario.

The expense and effort for the required exams and subsequent long residency are an impractical, insurmountable barrier for him. He was considering establishing a practice across the border, commuting back and forth from London, Ont., as friends of his were doing without any further requirements beyond their internationally established credentials.

Only in Canada do we manage to muck up both immigration and critical employment shortages with bureaucratic strikes of foolishness. Would someone of governmental authority and a champion of responsibility take ownership? Today.

Get us Canadians the medical care we sorely lack in this country. Perhaps then we could focus on more mundane goals such as climate change, interprovincial trade barriers and hydro self-sufficiency in our federation.

Dave Hutchison London, Ont.

Highs and lows

Re The Only Path To Economic Prosperity Is Through Recession And Pain (Report on Business, Nov. 16): Reading this article was so infuriating. Where do I begin?

So, raising unemployment will help the economy and reduce inflation? Where are these newly unemployed workers supposed to live, feed themselves and grow? We are hearing food banks cannot keep up, homelessness is rising and everything costs more.

Prices are rising because interest rates are rising. There is also a war that is disrupting the availability of energy. And with increased energy costs come increased costs in the supply chain, and therefore a strain on all of us to pay more.

What is going on to remedy the situation will likely cause more damage. And I haven’t even mentioned the effects of COVID-19.

The solutions used after the crash of 2008 should be used to solve today’s issues.

R. R. Innes Brampton, Ont.

Money matters

Re Mistrust Of Institutions Correlates With Gap In Financial Literacy (Report on Business, Nov. 16): I would encourage Evan Siddall, CEO of Alberta Investment Management Corporation, to visit my Grade 12 finance class. There he would see financial literacy thriving.

In fact, we have already learned about his former job at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and the implementation of the mortgage stress test. The classroom door is open to him any time.

Nathan Stoffman Toronto

Competitive streak

Re Rogers Lawyer Grills Bureau’s Experts Over Mobile Competition (Report on Business, Nov. 18): In Mexico, I can buy a SIM card, one month of unlimited North American calling and text plus two gigabytes of data for about $12. In Canada, I would have to sign a two-year contract and pay at least four times as much for anything similar.

Many of us feel we are being ripped off by phone companies in Canada. Yet thanks to our flimsy regulatory system, Rogers and Shaw only need to prove that such a merger will save them money, not their customers.

When the government allows the merger (and I believe they almost certainly will), it will become even more evident to me that lobbying and campaign contributions from telecoms trump any notion of reducing phone costs for Canadians.

I say let’s invite Telmex to Canada.

L.C. Good Ladysmith, B.C.

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