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Basketball nets have been removed at the closed Tomken Road Middle School in Mississauga, Ont., on March 31, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Face it

Re Wear A Face Mask If You Want, But Know It Might Not Help (April 1): Contrary to André Picard’s column, I want to see a mask on every face when I go shopping. That way I can be sure that an asymptomatic person does not infect everything and everyone around him or her. Any kind of gloves could also help stop the spread of this horrible virus.

Let us spread loving care for our fellow citizens – not the virus.

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Dana Dvorak Toronto

Trucker appreciation

Re Truck Drivers Being Denied Basic Necessities As They Deliver Essentials (April 1): A B.C. truck driver goes so far as to say that “truck drivers have always been viewed as the scum of the earth.” What? Anyone who holds that view probably has not taken time to consider the sacrifices these men and women make.

Talk about social distancing: Truck drivers spend days away from their families, sometimes sleeping in the back of their cabs. And I have no knowledge of trucking salaries, but I gather it is not a huge amount. COVID-19 has shown us how valuable so-called blue-collar workers can be. So I would like to send a big shout-out to all the truckers and their families. We’d be a lot worse off without them.

Ann Sullivan Peterborough, Ont.

Down payment

Re UCP’s Pipeline Investment Shows Where Alberta’s Priorities Lie (Report on Business, April 1) Given what scientists know about the infection rate of COVID-19 and the effect of carbon emissions on our climate, the Alberta government’s decision to spend billions of dollars on the Keystone XL pipeline project seems akin to organizing school choirs to sing in hospitals and seniors’ care homes: in the present moment perhaps a welcome gesture, but criminally reckless in view of its consequences.

David Beringer Nelson, B.C.

Rainy days

Re It’s Okay, Boomers – Your Portfolios Can Survive This Rout (Report on Business, April 1): A financial adviser says that “retirees should have at least two years worth of assets set aside,” providing for a downturn. I find it interesting that people are expected to do this, but multinational companies seem to be screaming for help only a few weeks into this pandemic. Shouldn’t business be behaving more responsibly than individuals?

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John Barker Sarnia, Ont.

Air rescue

Re Government Aid To Air Canada Should Rub Taxpayers The Wrong Way (Report on Business, April 1): It’s sad to me that columnist Konrad Yakabuski would suggest Air Canada and its employees do not deserve taxpayer assistance.

I have just accepted early retirement from Air Canada while 15,000 of my colleagues have received layoff notices. As a manager, I spent my last weeks answering e-mails and calls from colleagues volunteering to help bring stranded Canadians home. Few of these repatriation flights generated any profit as they went outbound almost empty.

Many of our crews became infected during these flights. I contracted COVID-19 at some point and unwittingly infected my first officer during our last flight together. Her response to my apology: “We brought 270 Canadians home. It was worth it.” Customer service agents, maintenance and cleaning staff and other employees also risked their health to help Canadians.

I am proud to say that Air Canada employees have demonstrated the very best of human nature and compassion. I believe they deserve the same.

Mark Stow Air Canada captain (retired); Barrie, Ont.

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While I am compassionately supportive of the employees who have been laid off as a result of the virtual shutdown of airline travel, I am stone-cold toward the industry’s corporate leaders.

I recall Canada’s airlines fought tooth and nail to water down the air passenger protection regulations from 2019. Compared to regulations in Europe, I find ours are filled with loopholes, escape clauses and minimal compensation for passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled. If airline executives want federal money during this pandemic, their compensation should be cut substantially to be in line with the highest-paid government employees, and their companies should adopt stronger passenger rights.

Richard McFarlane Edmonton

Good government

Re Premier’s Handling Of The Pandemic Draws Praise From Friends – And Foes (March 30) and Ford Pledges Action On Price Gouging (March 27): In Ontario, it seems that big government is the solution – not the problem – after all.

However this crisis eventually plays out, I hope that people remember that it was governments, and not the free market, that swiftly and assuredly took steps to mitigate its impact. And as those same governments now pour billions of (our) dollars into the economy, I hope also that people remember the need to replenish the pot and reverse decades of slashing taxes.

David Bright St. Catharines, Ont.

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Won’t somebody please think of the children?

Re Ontario Lays Out Plan For Students Amid School Closings (April 1): As a retired high-school teacher and grandmother, I am concerned about the lack of preparedness I’ve seen on the parts of the government, the boards of education, the schools and many teachers in responding to the current situation. There were three weeks to prepare for students to carry on with learning at home, but it appears there is still very little in place.

I know that private schools continued to operate through online video platforms, with teachers approximating as close to face-to-face situations as possible. Nothing has happened yet in our public schools whilst the powers that be try to deliver lessons to students, who for now remain dependent upon how enterprising and motivated their parents can be. So far, my granddaughters have received a few suggestions from their teachers but nothing more, leaving my daughter to find resources on her own.

How have private-school teachers been able to carry on so seamlessly? Sadly, I fear this will come to be known as a lost generation.

Sheryl Danilowitz Toronto


Re How To Help Your Children Cope With The Curveballs Of Recent Change (March 31): The COVID-19 crisis seems to have divided Canadians into two broad groups: One is being told to stay home, relax, catch up on their favourite TV shows and indulge in their hobbies or a good book; the other has young children.

While the first group is on their balconies and porches cheering for health-care workers, we parents are outside screaming for mercy. If I see another happy Instagram post from childless relatives showing off great cooking experiments or massive finished puzzles, I am boxing up my kids and sending them COD. Pass me the packing tape.

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Jason Shron Thornhill, Ont.


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