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Many critics of Doug Ford's policy of not mandating vaccines for health and education workers think it will add to the fourth wave of the virus.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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Vaccine passports

Re Yes To Vaccine Mandates and Passports (Editorial, Aug. 12): I write in full support of The Globe and Mail’s proposal for vaccine mandates and passports. Quite simply, they are necessary to protect what we have achieved so far in reopening and avoid the worst of the fourth wave of COVID-19.

Without them, my 89-year-old mother may be infected by unvaccinated congregant care staff. Without them, my 8-year-old granddaughter may be infected by unvaccinated education workers. Without them, my friends with cancer may be infected by unvaccinated health care workers or suffer further delays in treatment due to medical resources yet again diverted to COVID-19 patients. Without them, my adult son and his peers may endure yet more work setbacks and economic losses due to future lockdowns.

Tragically, all of this human toll and societal cost – this fourth wave – is entirely preventable. I urge, I beg, the Doug Ford government to institute vaccine mandates and passports immediately.

Klari Kalkman St. Catharines

Thank you so much for expressing very well what most Canadians have been saying for at least a month. I would only add that those of us who are vaccinated and seniors do not want to increase our chances of a breakthrough infection because we unknowingly are being served in a restaurant or assisted in a health care facility by someone who is unvaccinated.

Can someone please explain why politicians are so unwilling to hear their voters?

Marilyn Dolenko Ottawa

Urban views

Re Turning the Page on Jane Jacobs (Opinion, Aug. 7): This article is insightful and timely, but neglects to explore the different roles of the public and private sectors in its assessment of Jane Jacobs’s work. Her emphasis on the private sector is consistent with the American ethos, and gives too little emphasis to the Canadian value of the public sector. When these roles are not distinguished, poor urban conditions result.

An example of this is the unfortunate practice of handing both the planning and financing of developments, including infrastructure, to developers. Transferring infrastructure costs to the private sector eliminates the need to raise taxes, which is politically expedient, but the consumer still pays for it in the end and the public sector loses design control. The result is a series of unrelated enclaves: exactly what writer Doug Saunders correctly criticizes as harming the social and physical assets of the best urbanity.

The public sector can design infrastructure in a manner that supports higher densities. Town housing, for example, which doubles the density of single-unit housing without dramatically increasing the scale of development, can help make mass transit sustainable and convenient. This is crucial in cities’ efforts to address climate change.

The public planning and financing of urban infrastructure provides a foundation on which the private sector can build its superstructure. This is consistent with the best Canadian values, ensuring our cities are as good as they can be.

A.J. Diamond Toronto

An Olympian dilemma

Re Canada Condemns China’s ‘Sham Trial’ of Spavor (Aug. 12): In my view, it is impossible to set aside the plight of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in contemplating Canada’s participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. There is growing support for a boycott or for moving the Games to another country because of this and China’s other human-rights violations.

If neither of these options is possible (I fully appreciate how a boycott would affect our Olympic athletes), I would like to propose that the Canadian Olympic Committee appoint Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig as honorary co-chefs de mission of the 2022 Canadian Olympic team. This would heighten the focus on their continued unjust confinement and on the duplicitous actions of a regime that invites the world – including Canada – to play while innocent Canadians are held hostage.

Anna Blauveldt Ottawa

Battle of the sexes

Re Man-Versus-Woman-Wrestling Match Left Me Grappling With A Personal Dilemma (Aug. 10): I can sympathize with Drew Hayden Taylor on this one completely. The “wrestling” match where a man pummels a woman sounds more than uncomfortable.

On the other hand, he asks: “When did mindless violence become so complicated?” I suspect it was always so. Sometimes it simply takes the right trigger to recognize that.

Robert McManus Dundas, Ont.

Made-in-Canada tech

Re Experts Saw the Computer Chip Shortage Coming – Now They’re Calling On Canada To Fill the Gaps (Online, Aug. 10): Canada did at one time have a significant capability in semiconductor manufacturing with Nortel, Mitel, Linear Technology, LSI Logic and others, but the costs of updating the manufacturing equipment to keep it state-of-the-art was prohibitive. There was an attempt in the 1990s to attract an advanced fabrication facility, but the government funding required to subsidize the builder was too high. Today the cost of subsidies would be several billion dollars and it wouldn’t end there.

Canada needs to take a cost-effective approach by concentrating on advanced manufacturing in areas that require less investment and have a longer useful life. Our universities train world-class technical people and they have unique skills in photonics, quantum devices, micromechanical sensors and other fast-growing niche areas.

Canada must invest in its strengths and become a world power in specialty semiconductors and not compete head to head with the U.S., China, and elsewhere on commoditized technologies.

Gordon Harling president and CEO, CMC Microsystems, Montreal

Making amends

Re The Catholic Church In Canada Is Worth Billions (Aug. 7): Your investigation into the wealth of the Catholic Church represents just one piece of a much larger issue – that of the preferential tax treatment of religious organizations. It is time to end the tax exemptions granted to all religious organizations in Canada, including: municipal property tax, income tax on revenue generated, the elimination of CRA charitable status and, the largest tax and social inequity of all, the provincial funding of Catholic school boards with taxpayer money. Current tax exemptions allow select groups to profit unfairly at the expense of all taxpayers.

David Morgan Ottawa

Re Moving Forward (Letters, Aug. 12): A letter writer states “[The Catholic Church’s] wealth exists only on paper,” and goes on to say that most of its wealth exists through the land the churches sit on. Well, with the number of churchgoers diminishing, why don’t the powers that be consider doing what school boards do when student enrolment declines in an area: Sell buildings that are no longer needed and pay the restitution these survivors certainly deserve after all these years.

Steven Brown Toronto

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