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A vial with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured in Berlin, March 16, 2021.


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Risk inherent

Re Britain Recommends The Use Of All Vaccines After Reporting 30 Cases Of Blood Clots Linked To AstraZeneca Shot (April 3): Everything has a risk. Even the miracle of penicillin can cause death by allergic reaction, yet this has never hindered its widespread use in saving millions of lives. We seem to expect vaccines to be in a unique field with no adverse reactions.

Nothing in the medical field is without risk. In this case, even if it exists, the risk looks to be off the scale of concern.

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Alan Russell MD Brampton, Ont.

Australia, Australia

Re Let’s Learn From Australia On Elder Care (March 30): The costs of hospital and physician care are covered by health care, but long-term care and home care are not. This record certainly shouts for changes to the Canada Health Act so that long-term care and home care are included.

I am an octogenarian. We deserve nothing less than to be treated with dignity and respect in our twilight years. If I required long-term care tomorrow, I doubt I would choose to be a resident in a facility under current legislation. I would look for an alternative.

Kaz Shikaze Mississauga

My mother lived at home and recently died at 99. My father was her main caregiver. The Ontario government allowed them two personal support workers each day for, in theory, an hour each. The best ones helped for 25 minutes or so, the worst for five minutes. Two-hundred minutes a day would be like a five-star hotel!

Before we make any changes, we should get a clear handle on what care we think is being offered versus the reality.

Karin Zabel Ottawa

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Consent and consensus

Re Canadians Need A Consensus On Immigration Policy (April 2): Who do Brian Mulroney and others have in mind? Recently, Canada has tried to bring in people professionally trained in other countries or with considerable financial assets. Meanwhile, climate change and upheaval are creating wave upon wave of people who need shelter.

Many are not far away, at the southern U.S. border; others are on boats in the Mediterranean or in migrant camps in Europe. If these are the people in mind – they are trying to get here and could use more help.

Meanwhile, when do we ask First Nations people how many more immigrants they would like to have, with their land claims still unsettled in large parts of the country? They weren’t asked in the first place, and perhaps they should be asked now.

Martha Gould North Bay, Ont.

When in Rome

Re Plague Diaries: As Italy’s New Lockdown Falls, Chase For A Vaccine Appointment Begins (March 31): I am struck by the fact that Canada’s COVID-19 cases, when adjusted for population size, are approximately one-third of the numbers in Italy, France and Germany. While their health systems are undoubtedly stressed, they remain functional. So I wonder why Canada’s various health systems are, by many accounts, teetering on the edge of catastrophe?

Is this yet another systemic failure to shake our previous sense of smug superiority? Why continue to protect a health system that would apparently fail in its sole duty to protect Canadians? Locking down society and costing millions of people their futures seems less a remedy and more a recipe for greater subsequent disaster.

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John Wright Oakville, Ont.

I had a great laugh reading about columnist Eric Reguly’s trials and tribulations in securing his vaccine “esenzione” (exemption) code.

As a foreigner who has attempted to secure a marriage licence in Italy, I know his pain all too well.

Paul Wilk Mississauga

Provincial climate

Re Environmentalists Call For Stricter Coal-mining Rules (March 29): While notable, a major corporation spending a fraction of profit to mitigate a situation it created is still only a fraction. Its continued spending and any subsequent fines would still only amount to a fraction of future earnings.

For decades, many citizens have seen the damage companies can cause, the minor fines they pay and the lack of impact those fines can have.

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If provinces want to take the federal government to court over the power to regulate natural resources and climate change, it would be nice if they began creating legislation.

Provinces should start protecting natural resources and preventing climate change, instead of arguing that the federal government shouldn’t.

Tori Slobodzian Calgary

Re Carbon Conclusions (Letters, March 29): Letter-writer Preston Manning’s idea of increased provincial authority has one glaring flaw to me: Provinces are not natural entities but are artificial constructs with no unifying factors.

If this logic were applied, Vancouver Island would be a province, not Prince Edward Island. Even Quebec’s distinct society is based on language and culture, not geography. I would wager that mining towns in Northern Quebec have more in common with similar towns in Northern Ontario, and all of them the same disdain for provincial legislators in Quebec City and Toronto.

When will we ever decide that we are a country? We might begin by nationalizing two core foundations of society: education and health care. And by all means, let’s add to that list our fight to save the planet – climate change doesn’t pay attention to artificial boundaries.

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Helen Thibodeau Cobourg, Ont.

Re Price of Carbon (Letters, March 30): A letter-writer did his tax returns and realized he was better off with carbon pricing. The cost of the climate crisis should not be measured in dollars and cents – the cost in human suffering will be incalculable.

Manuel Matas Winnipeg


Re I’m Ready To Restart My Garden And Escape News Of The World (First Person, March 29): Angela Jouris Saxe’s lovely essay is a great reminder that it is okay not to feel guilty. I discovered that as much as I care deeply about the people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19, I was quite all right to find happiness in just caring for my plants or FaceTiming with loved ones far away.

But what brought me particular joy was walking past the nearby extended-care facility and stopping to wave at the windows. I was told that waving or throwing kisses made many of the residents smile. For me that is enough. When life improves, I shall go in and visit those people personally.

I refuse to stay inside when the great outdoors beckons me every day to embrace it. There is always joy and hope to be found. Sometimes one has to look a little deeper for it.

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Valerie Stephanson Calgary

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