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In this file photo taken on March 29, 2020 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on COVID-19 situation in Canada from his residence in Ottawa.

DAVE CHAN/AFP/Getty Images

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Long-term logistics

Re COVID-19 In Seniors’ Homes Is A Nightmare (April 3): Columnist André Picard advocates bringing loved ones home because of the escalating crisis in long-term care homes. This would be impossible for most families.

My family feels helpless because my husband is not in a residence by choice but necessity – he has advanced dementia and considerable physical limitations. Having him at home would only heighten our anxiety and distress.

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This is already a difficult situation for families like ours. We should not make it worse.

Sharon Grantier Toronto

Data-sharing

Re Give The Data A Little More Input, Please (Editorial, April 3): Was there a plan on the books at the federal level prior to the COVID-19 outbreak? What did it call for in the way of preparedness and what was the status? Since we are now being told the grim statistics of current modelling, it would be nice to know how prepared we weren’t, in order to better understand the now.

Jim Houston Oakville, Ont.


Recently, a British scientist revised his number of projected COVID-19 deaths in that country from 500,000 to 20,000. This seems to highlight the pitfalls inherent in unreliable data and wobbly modelling. I believe Justin Trudeau is right to wait until Canada has more reliable tools and data.

We hear about suspected, reported, presumed and confirmed cases, not to mention asymptomatic transmission. Until provinces employ similar definitions and assumptions, predictions about death rates will likely remain suspect and could strengthen the hand of those who say this crisis is overblown hysteria.

Joyce Rowlands Toronto

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Public vs. private

Re Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children? (Letters, April 2): A letter writer notes that public school boards in Ontario have done little to support students so far, while private schools have already been providing lessons online. It seems completely unfair to compare the COVID-19 responses of public versus private schools.

There are about 155,000 students in the Peel District School Board, for example. According to the board’s COVID-19 plan, every family would have to be contacted by a teacher to assess the technology available at home. If needed, tablets would need to be provided to families, along with a secure WiFi link. Fluency in English is a problem for some parents, so translators would be needed. Multiply these numbers by all the boards in the province, and it becomes clear that the logistics of this effort are immense.

Individual private schools have fewer staff and students, making it easier to begin online lessons. Students tend to come from well-off families with available, reliable technology and few language issues. It’s conceivable that parents might have wanted tuition refunds for any weeks when teaching didn’t happen. Since these schools are profit-making institutions, there may have been incentive to act quickly.

There will be bumps along the way, but public schools deserve our support as they face these hurdles.

Wendy Kerr Hadley Port Credit, Ont.

B2B

Re A Plea From A Small-business Owner: Without Immediate Rent Help, I Will Drown (April 2): Contributor Jen Agg is a successful restaurateur in Toronto, yet she is forced into desperate straits by the way governments have responded to the pandemic. And her dilemma looks like the tip of the iceberg.

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There are millions of Canadians who may be in similar or worse positions, desperate financially and, likely, psychologically. My heart aches for them. I wonder what kind of decisions would be made at the highest levels if we had leaders who were more representative of the population, if we also had ethicists, business owners, hourly workers and single parents weighing in.

During this crisis, I want to hear more stories of those who, like Ms. Agg, may not have lost their life physically, but simply their livelihood, their equilibrium, their hopes and dreams. I want to hear discussion by ethicists as to when the collective desperation of several million Canadians should start to count for something.

Hope Smith Calgary


We think contributor Jen Agg is confused as to why landlords think they are “immune to market forces." The problem, to us, is exactly the fact that we, as landlords, are not immune.

My husband and I are small-business owners like Ms. Agg. We are quickly approaching retirement. Our rental building is our retirement, bought partially many years ago with cashed-out RRSPs. We have a few apartments and a commercial tenant. If they don’t pay rent – or choose not to pay, as the “keep your rent” movement is advocating – we will not be able to pay the mortgage, insurance or taxes. (Our other source of income, as antique dealers, has simply stopped.) Our credit union has made it clear there will be no exceptions made for commercial mortgages, and payment is expected on time and in full.

While some of our tenants are unable to pay rent for the foreseeable future, of course we are working with them in every way that we are able, to get us all through this. But I fail to see how demands such as a free month, as Ms. Agg suggests, are fair or constructive. How does the prospect of a tenant losing their space trump our possibly losing the building in which they reside?

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Instead of the “favour” of residential mortgage deferments, banks should be offering more substantial assistance, even if it affects their bottom lines. And people should quit blaming landlords, as though we aren’t as anxious and frightened for our futures as any renters might be.

Alison Vanderkop Brantford, Ont.


I feel for all of today’s landlords, tenants and businesses. In the early 1980s, I and others were put through the wringer with interest rates in the high teens, if you could even find banks or trust companies that would lend any amount.

At the time, I had properties and a restaurant. My mortgage provider, which had received full payment on time for almost five years, informed me that my properties were suddenly not the kind it wished to finance even at 18 per cent. There was no government help nor intervention, unlike today with all the financial and emotional understanding provided.

Business, like life, is not often a straight line. At least today, governments and institutions are trying to level the curves and not standing on the sidelines, watching the bleeding.

Bill Bousada Carleton Place, Ont.

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The secret life of pets?

Re Who Let The Dogs Out? (Letters, April 3): To a letter writer: I have a dog for rent. For terms and conditions, please contact Rover c/o Ted Syperek, Toronto

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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