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Mind the gap
Re Provinces Struggle To Shift Vaccinations Into High Gear (April 7): We are vaccinated Canadian snowbirds whose recent experience is instructive.
My husband’s vaccination came from a pop-up centre run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard. It was impressive: no appointment necessary at a large racetrack set up for logistics excellence. From the time we got off the highway to being vaccinated, it was a smooth two hours.
Every aspect was organized, from clean restrooms and golf carts for the immobile to four massive tents for registration and vaccination. There was a choice of Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson. Personnel were unfailingly professional and courteous. This was America at its finest.
Meanwhile, roughly two-thirds of available vaccines in Canada have been administered. Why isn’t this much higher, notably in major cities where the Canadian Armed Forces could be deployed?
Patricia (Trish) Langmuir Taylor Tampa, Fla.
Re It’s Time For Trudeau To Reopen The Border (April 5): I am confused as to the efficacy of the quarantine requirements for travellers arriving to Canada: They are required to isolate for 14 days, take two COVID-19 tests administered by an online nurse and mail results in a government-supplied package via courier. Daily phone and online assessments are sent, and both federal and provincial inspectors can visit the place of quarantine.
Meanwhile, transport and essential workers who enter Canada are not obliged to undergo the same scrutiny. As we are aware, this virus does not discriminate; these travellers seem just as likely to cause infection, thereby negating the massive expense of monitoring ordinary citizens.
Miranda Plunkett Saint Andrews, N.B.
Re Netanyahu Tasked With Forming Government From Splintered Parliament (April 7): For those who are proponents of proportional representation, I suggest taking a close look at the mess Israel finds itself in. The President has turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will attempt yet again to cobble a coalition from 13 parties after the fourth election in two years.
While first-past-the-post is not ideal, it at least enables a government to govern.
John Campbell Toronto
Re Delta In Danger: Time Is Running Out For Vancouver’s Ecological Wonderland (Opinion, April 3): Contributor Margaret Munro writes that “wildlife photographers who think a camera gives them licence to go anywhere have long been a problem.” I believe most nature and wildlife photographers are very concerned about the wildlife and areas they photograph, and actively support conservation efforts.
Yes, there will always be some who don’t follow the rules, just as there are dog walkers who let dogs off leash and drivers who run red lights. But individuals who enjoy nature and ecotourism should be seen as part of the solution, not the problem, in conserving natural areas.
I believe the issues that arise when people who want to enjoy nature are compressed into paltry open areas are merely a symptom of the real problem: unbridled development.
Evan Guengerich Victoria
Re Troubled Waters (Opinion, April 3): The extinction of wild salmon would be an unfathomable cost.
Anyone reading this devastating, downright frightening article should not ever buy or consume farmed fish, at home or in a restaurant. It’s for our health as well as that of wild salmon and the oceans of the world. Just boycott this industry until they move their fish farms to land containment. The ocean is being systematically destroyed by this practice and it should end.
Marianne Freeman Vancouver
If one purchases a tin of salmon these days, at least here in British Columbia, the fine print on the label will likely read: “Product of U.S.A.” The B.C. salmon fishery seems all but destroyed, and the problem is open-water fish farms spreading disease and decimating wild stock.
Now, in response to a First Nations’ “principled occupation” followed by a year of negotiations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is finally taking action. Three prominent fish-farming companies are challenging its decision in court, but if a precedent set by Norway in a similar case is any indication, they won’t succeed.
First Nations often identify as custodians and protectors of the natural world. In this case they have come through with flying pink-red colours. Through their efforts, we may see again: “Product of Canada.”
Eric Ball Vancouver
A green deal
Re Developer Makes New Offer For Beacon Hall Golf Course (Report on Business, April 5): Sad to hear about the likely fate of yet another stretch of green countryside, doomed to be paved over. Let’s recall what happened to the original York Downs golf course in north Toronto.
In 1972, Metropolitan Toronto Council, along with the province and the then-borough of North York, purchased the course to save it from becoming a housing development. The land is now Earl Bales Park, an open green space heavily used by the community.
Interesting that the politics of 50 years ago was in some ways more focused on sustainability than today’s race to the bottom.
D.L. Walker Toronto
Re As Decades-long Search For Site To House Canada’s Nuclear Waste Nears An End, Communities Face Tough Decision (March 19): The nuclear industry has spent the last 50 years (with little success) convincing communities to accept a deep geological repository. The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers suggests a more publicly acceptable solution: a small modular nuclear reactor that uses radioactive waste as fuel. Canada can use its domestic supply of waste rather than depend on an international supply of new enriched uranium.
Canada should pivot and commercialize these waste-burning reactors and their associated used-fuel recycling technology. Eliminating long-lived radioactive fuel waste, rather than burying it in a DGR, should be the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s revised mandate.
Sandro Perruzza CEO, Ontario Society of Professional Engineers; Toronto
Re George Floyd Died From Lack Of Oxygen, Medical Expert Testifies (April 9): The broadcast of this trial brought us a slow-motion replay of a one-act Greek drama lasting 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
The action was played out on the road, watched from the sidewalk by a chorus of about a dozen people. They were supervised by a police officer who told them where to stand. They did not interfere when, separately but unanimously, they spoke their moral judgment, urging that the action they saw was wrong and must stop. The common sense and decency of everyday people was plain to see.
Greek drama has returned through the medium of cellphones.
Julian Brown Kingston
Re Concert Venues Hurting As Province Prohibits Livestreaming Shows (April 7): To Ontarians in the performing arts wondering why their shows and concerts can’t be livestreamed while television and movie productions continue unabated, here’s an explanation: a five-letter word beginning with M and ending in Y. When sung by Doug Ford, it would be “a word that means the world to me.” In 2019, television and film projects contributed $1.12-billion to the province’s treasury.
Leonard Allan Wise Toronto
Are you there God? It’s me
Re Is Belief Still Relevant Today? (April 5): Contributor Michael Coren writes that during the first Easter, “those closest to Jesus were in despair … they failed in love … they also failed in belief.” Maybe so, but let’s give credit where credit is due: The attitudes and behaviours that Mr. Coren describes only apply to Jesus’s male disciples.
According to the story, it was the women, three Marys, who stayed and bore witness to his torture, who remained present to him at the cross, who cared for his body after death. In short, women stayed firm in their loyalty throughout the darkest days of his story. They were confirmed in their belief as it was a Mary who was first to know him beyond death.
Joyce Hardman Ottawa
Contributor Michael Coren asks an important question: “Do we believe in ourselves?” He argues that we can’t believe in God unless we believe in ourselves. I would suggest that we have trouble believing in ourselves when we don’t believe in God.
I respect people who try to find faith in themselves and humanity in the absence of God. But my own sense is that it is a struggle. Whence the good news of Christianity and other religions: God is not in fact absent. So we can and ought to love both ourselves and each other, as Mr. Coren says.
Jim Paulin Ottawa
I am a 95-year-old veteran of the Second World War who has been an atheist for 77 years. I often review my actions, during the war and after, as to whether I behaved with kindness and justice, or not. On balance, I believe that I behaved more often with justice than without it.
I do not need God to guide me in what remains of my life as I fight on for freedom and justice for all, including Palestinians, Haitians, Syrians, racialized groups in Canada where I now live, as well as in the United States where I was born.
Edwin Daniel Victoria
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