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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Double down

Re Tories, NDP Open To Freeze On MPs’ Pay As Grits Stay Mum (April 2): As I remain in splendid and safe self-isolation, I see that my MP, Rob Oliphant, is working day and night to help repatriate tens of thousands of Canadians who are stranded abroad. I believe it is best to ignore those MPs who would choose to politicize matters during this national emergency.

I say double the pay of MPs – for those who are actually working.

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Marty Cutler Toronto

Choose your own adventure?

Re If Uncertain, Choose Prudence (Editorial, April 2): I concur that Justin Trudeau may have waited too long to enact tougher restrictions. However, as The Globe and Mail’s editorial pointedly explains, he would surely have been pilloried on social media had the Privy Council Office acted against the advice of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, who was still uncertain if the government should restrict travel.

By relying on experts, politicians across our country are showing how this pandemic has, although temporarily, blurred party lines. The great irony of this year will surely be that hindsight is always 20/20. The time to act is now and Canadians should accept that our trusted leaders are doing their best with what is available to them.

If we continue to go around in circles of blame, seeking political gains from this pandemic, then we could risk paralysis by analysis.

Tyler Melnyk Calgary

Remember the good old days, when people thought the greatest threat to the U.S. economy was Bernie Sanders? Our oracular poet of doom, Leonard Cohen, wrote that “democracy is coming to the U.S.A.” He might just as well have written “austerity” instead.

As for The Globe’s editorial, I don’t know many guys who would want to go on a blind date with a young lady named Prudence. Nor does the editorial’s advice square well with our neighbours to the south, especially the males, for many of whom their motto seems to be: “Don’t you tell me what to do.” It looks as if Anthony Fauci, Donald Trump’s top infectious-disease expert, has just received his security detail, as in: “If uncertain, shoot the messenger.”

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Ron Charach Toronto

Today Italy, tomorrow…

Re Canada Must Ready Itself For The Worst (March 31): We are a family of Canadians who have lived in Northern Italy for seven years. A simple family with simple jobs, living in a rural town, trying to enjoy the lifestyle and serenity of the countryside – until Feb. 21. Now, we are living firsthand what Canadians back home might still think could never happen to them.

Here in Emilia-Romagna, the health system is one of the best in Europe. But we have seen it hit so hard and so fast that it is barely coping with the outbreak. The world has seen videos and heard other stories. It really is brutal.

This is not just a flu. This feels like war and every family here has been touched somehow. There are people dying, a lot of people. Young and old. Alone.

I would say to Canadians: Please stay home, stay safe. Canada still has time to stop the virus before it becomes uncontrollable. There will be a time to deal with economy, with finance, with commerce. Now should be the time to think of life itself.

Massimiliano Fredella Emilia-Romagna, Italy

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Homeward bound

Re Five Lasting Implications Of COVID-19 For Canada And The World (Report on Business, April 2): Like others suddenly enamoured of the “work from home” movement, contributors Kevin Lynch and Paul Deegan seem to see work primarily as pushing paper, or the electronic equivalent. They should take the elevator down 40 or 50 floors (figuratively, since they’re likely working from home) to the world most people live in.

If there’s any message from the COVID-19 crisis, it should be that the really important workers we depend on cannot do their jobs from home: the staff at pharmacies and grocery stores, the garbage removers, the truck drivers and loaders, the mechanics who keep those trucks and our cars on the roads, the farm workers who sow and harvest crops, the delivery people who bring food to those too frightened to go out to shop, the medical staff and cleaners in our hospitals and homes (and at our seemingly insulated office towers).

I really wouldn’t notice if certain people, such as Mr. Lynch and Mr. Deegan, continued to work from home – the shelf-stockers at the supermarket, not so much at all.

Ab Dukacz Mississauga

Culture club

Re Books That Offer Lessons From Past Pandemics (Arts & Pursuits, March 28): This list of literary works on pestilences ancient and modern seems to have overlooked a Canadian masterpiece. It is The Plague by Kevin Chong (Arsenic Pulp Press, 2018). The author retells Albert Camus’s classic novel, setting it in “Vancouver, Canada, in the near future.” He replicates the moral force and the wit of the original, while making it profoundly relevant to our present time and place.

Joan Givner Victoria

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Re Come Together, Right Now, Over A Livestream: Music Hits A Chord During A Pandemic (Opinion, March 28): I greatly appreciated contributor Laura Risk’s perspective on the role of community music during this pandemic. Indeed, I think an understanding of what community music is will continue to serve us well even once this crisis is over.

Music has always been a part of my life, but as an adolescent, I perceived it as something that people performed for an audience. Thus followed the idea that any time I was playing an instrument, I was attempting to put on a show and impress whoever was listening. Rather than confront my fear of their judgment, I kept my rehearsals as private and quiet as possible, watching while my friends started bands.

It is only as an adult that I have come to think of playing music as a way to share ideas and connect people. That’s the spirit those people on balconies in Spain and Italy are demonstrating, as well as all the musicians who are livestreaming – they’re not performing, they’re communicating. Hopefully, there’s a teenager or two who hears the message and tries to communicate back, without fearing what the audience will think.

Jody Zink Quebec

Moment in time

Oh, how I long for some good, old-fashioned news: A little Liberal scandal here. Donald Trump on his border wall there. Vladimir Putin’s sneaky cyberattacks. Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s weight loss (maybe). Columnist Cathal Kelly on anything (except, perhaps, the Olympics).

Ah, those were the days. Let’s hope they come back soon.

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Martin Birt Uxbridge, Ont.

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