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A dog looks on, as its owner eats ice cream while checking her phone.Aaron Chown/The Associated Press

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Minor feelings

Re Singh’s Popularity And Record Key To NDP Success This Election (Aug. 16): I believe it would benefit Canadians to have a Conservative minority government with the NDP as the official opposition.

Jagmeet Singh’s proposal for 500,000 affordable housing units looks to be a winner. Building them would also provide many jobs in the trades. His pharmacare proposal would cover prescription drugs for those under age 65 who do not have coverage through employment.

Erin O’Toole’s child-care plan provides flexibility in terms of type of care, and eligibility is prorated based on income. (But he should clarify whether the benefit is paid monthly – imperative for low-income families.) I also like his plans to provide benefits for those fleeing domestic violence and to help seniors stay at home.

Alison Dennis Kingston

It has been a long time since I had no idea who to vote for in an election.

The major parties have outlived their welcome with me. Others have interesting ideas, but are going too far for me in their thoughts. Should we take a chance in this day and age?

As of now, I have to believe that we should aim for a minority government and endeavour to emulate dear old Bill Davis, God bless him.

Peter Box Bowmanville, Ont.

Up in smoke

Re One Simple Principle: No Vaccine, No Go (Aug. 16): Tobacco smoke is an aerosol that, over decades of prolonged exposure, can have damaging effects on the health of innocent bystanders. COVID-19 is an aerosol that, over a week or two, can cause serious illness, if not death, of innocent bystanders.

We have policies and laws to manage the chronic effect of tobacco smoke in enclosed public spaces, an action not labelled as discriminating. Why then would vaccination policies and laws to manage the threat of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces be an action labelled discriminating?

Both cases involve justifiable actions to preserve human health and the cost of preventable illness to our medical system.

Mike Stainton Elie, Man.

In Afghanistan

Re What We Can Learn From The Afghan Debacle (Aug. 19): Columnist Lawrence Martin writes that the United States was defeated in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan; three for three, he declares.

Let’s not forget the great U.S. military victory in Grenada in October, 1983. Why, it only took them a few days to subdue that belligerent nation.

Brian Caines Ottawa

Re Taliban To Allow Men’s Cricket, Status Of Women’s Programmes Undetermined (Sports, Aug. 20): Perhaps the male cricketers could use their position to make a stand in support of their female counterparts whose futures are uncertain.

Tuula Talvila Ottawa


Re Ex-Purdue President Richard Sackler Denies Responsibility For Opioid Crisis In Court Hearing (Report on Business, Aug. 19): I encourage anyone who would like to be enlightened about the opioid crisis to read Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe.

This global crisis was carefully crafted by Purdue in pursuit of an addiction to money. When the truth started surfacing, the Sackler family transferred billions of dollars out of the United States, enabling them to continue living a life of luxury.

The Sackler name has been removed from most sites where their philanthropic contributions were scattered. The ego trip is over. Unable to cope with their withdrawal symptoms and face their own shame and downfall, they continue to say, “I don’t recall,” during federal bankruptcy hearings.

Janet Henri Chelsea, Que.

Trades and diversity

Re If You Want Women In Trades, Build Better Workplaces (Opinion, Aug. 7): The lack of women in the skilled trades is contributing to a shortage of workers that threatens not only Ontario’s economic recovery, but also our future prosperity.

To help address this problem, our government has developed a Skilled Trades Strategy, investing $288-million in 2021–22 to modernize the trades. As part of these changes, students – including girls, Indigenous children and others from underrepresented groups – will be introduced to the skilled trades at a younger age, so they can learn about these meaningful, well-paying jobs that should be considered more often as viable alternatives to university.

We also need to ensure women in the trades feel safe so they can succeed. The law in Ontario is crystal clear: Employers are responsible for protecting their employees from all types of workplace violence. Anyone who believes their employer is not meeting these obligations should contact our ministry so we can investigate.

Monte McNaughton Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development; Mount Brydges, Ont.

Dog days

Re Dear Dog Owners: Please, Leash Your Pet Where Required (Aug. 14): Running is fundamental to a dog’s nature. Walking on leash might be fine for small or old dogs, but bigger and younger dogs need to run. Off-leash parks are too few and usually too small.

Before COVID-19, the York Regional Forest had signs that read, “Dogs must be on leash or in control at all times.” After a brief closure, they reopened with signs that said, “Dogs must be on leash at all times,” most likely in response to the increased use by people without dogs.

These signs are ignored by most dog walkers. But they are aware that not everyone likes dogs running up and will leash them when others are approaching. The region is trying to find a solution that accommodates everyone.

In the meantime, I and others will continue to let our dogs run off-leash where we think they won’t be too much of a nuisance.

Bruce Sharron Newmarket, Ont.

Loose dogs often harass leashed dogs, provoking undesirable interactions and injuries, human as well as canine. When the dust settles, the owner of an offending dog often adds insult to injury: “He just wanted to say hi!”

A safe and responsible way to walk dogs in an urban setting is with a six-foot leash and a well-fitting collar or gentle leader.

Sandy Blazier Mississauga

Re We Can Learn A Lot From Our Dogs (Opinion, Aug. 14): Recalling the fun I have with my little family dog Giuseppe, this article impressed on me that dogs need to distract us. We are so involved with work and productivity that we forget the joys of life, as dogs know well, are not to be found there at all.

Dogs invite us to live in the moment. We forget about money, status and appearance in the time we spend playing endless fetch or tug-of-war. As they delight in that, so do we.

We let go of our obsession with efficiency and, if only for a moment, accept that playing – activities that seem to be “going nowhere” – is when we feel most at home.

Paul Salvatori Toronto

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