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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sits beside Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland before speaking to members of caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on January 23, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Pandemic times

Re A Spring Pandemic Is In Full Bloom (Editorial, April 1): “April is the cruelest month”: An appropriate quotation from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is doubly interesting because he was influenced by the 1918 pandemic – which, by some accounts, had four waves.

Tim Jeffery Toronto

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Re Empty Words Are Helping To Fill Ontario ICUs (April 2): By the beginning of last summer when the first lockdown ended, cases in Ontario were down significantly. Granted, some people did not feel the full brunt and economic effect of that lockdown, but I can assure them that it should not be described as “half-measures.”

Robert Harrison Toronto


Re Get Canada’s Vaccines Into The Right Arms (Editorial, April 2): With variants now widespread, there is a risk that vaccinations will not come in time to pre-empt more hospitalizations and deaths. From both a public health and social justice perspective, action should be taken immediately to protect essential workers such as grocery and warehouse workers, who risk their lives so that the rest of us can work from home.

I am 62 and comfortably working from home. I would gladly wait in line behind these workers for a vaccination. Kind words when I shop only go so far.

Anne Daniel Ottawa


When our hospital ICUs are in danger of being overwhelmed by the third wave, vaccinations should be targeted at those most likely to require ICU treatment if they get the virus, and any health care workers in those units not yet vaccinated.

The needs of other groups should be given lower priority.

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Peter Love Toronto

Just imagine

Re The Government Has Contempt For Parliament (March 31): Imagine this government with a majority! Its contempt of Parliament seems to know no bounds.

When the government had a majority, it managed to shut down the SNC-Lavalin scandal. A fresh scandal with WE Charity caused it to prorogue Parliament, then “ignore” requests from the House of Commons to have staff appear before committees. Apparently we are getting used to these affronts to our democracy and institutions – hence a two-year wait for a budget.

If there is another majority, we may as well resign ourselves to an autocracy. The Mark Norman affair was just the small tip of this iceberg, it turns out.

Gregg Badger Creemore, Ont.

On second thought

Re We Can Do So Much More To Help People With Mental Illness (March 31): I completely agree. However, I find this clarion call quickly muted by the contributors stating that “the next two years will allow time for medical and nursing educators to update and accredit their [medical assistance in dying] training.” If this is helping people with mental illness – count me out.

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Patrick Conlon MD; Goderich, Ont.

Population consideration

Re Canadians Need A Consensus On Immigration Policy (April 2): What would Canada gain by increasing the population to 100 million? Canada is mainly an inhospitable place to live. In Australia, most people live on the coasts for similar reasons. I don’t hear politicians there advocating for large population increases.

Here, we already have housing shortages in many cities, not to mention thousands of acres of agricultural land taken over by urban sprawl. It would be better if Canada concentrated on raising the level of productivity per worker, which now lags many other developed countries.

I believe the world is greatly overpopulated as it is. We shouldn’t contribute more.

Garnet Ostercamp Edmonton

Political forces

Re Market Forces (Letters, April 1): In hoping that corporations step up to assume the climate change mantle, I believe a letter-writer reinforces contributor Tariq Fancy’s concern: namely that leaving climate change action to private corporations will not move the needle in any substantive way.

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At the same time, an emboldened federal program would not only encounter the headwinds of provincial autonomy, but would also release corporations from real action. A better position might be for the federal government to initiate a strong program of incentives and regulations – carrots and sticks – but with considerable independence so that it can both breach the barriers of provincial objections and work hand-in-hand with the private sector.

Dare I say it should be a Crown corporation – or would that kill it?

Harvey Kolodny Orangeville, Ont.

Out of communism

Re A Fledgling Democracy Cannot Flourish Without A Vibrant Civil Society (March 30): After the collapse of the Soviet Union, newly independent Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania went through transitions to market economies and democracies. There had been no functioning civil society under Soviet rule, and that lack of experience made transitions more difficult.

I worked as an urban planner in all three countries. After Soviet hardships, there was much that people needed, and even more that they wanted. Distinguishing between wants and needs was a key lesson for civil society.

In an affluent country like Canada, it should also be a lesson for us.

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Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Housing strategies

Re TD’s Masrani Cautions Against Rush To Cool Housing Market (April 2): A more targeted tax worth considering is a residential property transfer tax. British Columbia already applies this tax (between 1 and 5 per cent) when property is purchased.

The tax is not overly onerous for someone planning to live in a home for many years, but it is a significant size for a speculator intending to quickly flip a property.

Constance Smith Victoria


Might I present an obvious solution? First, select a city with a large university. By subtle funding changes, push it into undue reliance on international students paying higher tuition and accommodation costs. Developers would then rush to provide apartments for this lucrative expanding market.

Now the key step: Close the university. Developers would then be forced to provide affordable accommodation owing to market forces. Existing university residences could be converted to care homes for the elderly, another underserved market.

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I would support such an experiment in my city.

A. S. Brown Kingston

Up and at ‘em

Re Last Call For Yonge Street’s Iconic Brass Rail Tavern (April 1): “Perhaps the tower that eventually rises from the strip club site should be called Brass, or maybe The Rail.” I suspect this much is certain: There will be a new erection on the site.

Ken Cuthbertson Kingston


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