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People enjoy riding bicycles along the Yarra River on Nov. 19, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia.

Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

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Lockdown countdown?

Re Canada Could See 20,000 Virus Cases A Day By End Of Year (Nov. 20): Please watch what is happening here in Australia and New Zealand. Harsh lockdowns have stopped the spread of this disease.

No community-transmitted cases in Western Australia for more than six months. No new cases in Melbourne for the past two weeks after a second, more serious lockdown. Similar results are now being seen in Adelaide.

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It’s not fun, and there is an economic impact, but the results are worth it. I am leading an almost-normal life – I wish I could say the same for my Canadian relatives.

Lorraine Paul Carine Western Australia

Re Lock And Key (Letters, Nov. 20): A letter-writer, worried about cottage travel rights, apparently wishes to hear the perspective of a Toronto resident after 100 days of Australian-style lockdown.

He seems to miss the point: The demonstrably effective Australian lockdown would help to ensure this resident would be alive after 100 days to offer such a perspective.

Vert Rayner Oakville, Ont.

Condolences to a letter-writer who may be forced to spend a winter in Toronto rather than at a cottage. Meanwhile, I am forced to watch my son lose his business, income and future as we collectively work to control this pandemic.

We are all making sacrifices.

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Barb Sullivan Windsor Forks, N.S.

Election results

Re Elections, Canada (Letters, Nov. 20): A letter-writer suggests that a more representative electoral system, requiring “more complex co-operation and compromise” would be better. But what if co-operation and compromise doesn’t happen? Political leaders are often ambitious and strong-willed, and history is full of situations where they refuse to co-operate.

In 2015, Spanish party leaders squabbled for months over who should be prime minister. In the end, they never could agree, and a new election had to be called. Good democracy requires governments that are effective in addressing a country’s problems in a timely way. A democracy that fails to do so is vulnerable to right-wing extremism, as we are seeing with the rise of Spain’s Vox party.

Canada, using a first-past-the-post system, has never had that experience, and hopefully never will.

Peter Love Toronto

Re Voting In Canada Looks Good On Paper (Editorial, Nov. 19): A significant number of seniors and persons with disabilities find it difficult or impossible to vote in person. Many two-income parents cannot take the time. For those of us who are blind, it is the only way of voting independently with assurance. There is value to providing options for voting online or by phone.

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Many municipalities in Ontario have successfully used these alternative voting methods. We trust the security of banking online. Surely we can trust our federal and provincial governments with our votes.

Jim Sanders Guelph, Ont.

As a politics nerd who has pulled and scrutinized the votes in more than 20 federal, provincial and municipal elections since 1968 (I first volunteered for Pierre Trudeau) I can attest that, in my experience, Canadian elections are free, fair and practically flawless. Ballots are rejected for silly reasons, such as marks for more than one candidate, but I can’t remember any situation involving fraud.

The time-honoured tradition of poll clerks and candidates’ scrutineers sitting around a table to count hand-marked paper ballots is reassuring in its transparency and community commitment. I don’t remember any tally taking more than a few hours to count, certify and announce.

Of course, electronic systems, such as those in U.S. states, can also deliver an honest result, which has been demonstrated in the presidential election. But call me sentimental: I prefer our Canadian system of paper, pens and people.

Michael Craig Owen Sound, Ont.

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In practice

Re Land Of The Free (Letters, Nov. 20): A letter-writer notes that Puritans “came to North America to be free from discrimination.” However, history also shows that they discriminated against those whose religious beliefs differed from their own: Baptists, Quakers, Indigenous people, free thinkers and, of course, witches.

The 1791 First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution established freedom of worship and a wall of separation between church and state.

Nevertheless, as the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville remarked after visiting the United States during the 1830s, “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

Recognition of a profound difference between knowledge and belief underpins laïcité in Quebec and France. If I were to say that I had breakfast on the moon, one might smile. If I insisted on it, one might ask me to prove it. Many beliefs are harmless but some aren’t, as the U.S. has repeatedly learned.

C.X. Adamson Toronto

All in the family

Re As Cogeco Bid Expires, Rogers CEO Disappointed Audet Family Was Unwilling To Discuss Offer (Report on Business, Nov. 19): Many great businesses are built by families with a consuming passion for what they dream of creating. It is sad to me that the Rogers CEO seems to only see business in terms of dollars and cents.

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Business schools can teach the mechanics of money. They often fail to impart the concept of passion to graduates. I say bravo to the Audet family and Cogeco. And a second bravo for the clever construction of their share structure to defeat passionless marauders who may come a-calling.

Timothy Bond Toronto

Re Cogeco Bid Will Provide A Resolution For Rogers One Way Or Another (Report on Business, Nov. 18): Columnist Andrew Willis writes that Rogers CEO Joe Natale is “establishing a culture that’s no longer beholden to a revered founder.” Yet Ted Rogers knew how to switch gears when necessary – remember Unitel?

I believe the revered founder would have approved of the decision to shed the Cogeco investment at the appropriate time.

Taanta Gupta Toronto

Pin it

Re Oh, Dolly (Letters, Nov. 18): A letter-writer met Dolly Parton in Montreal in 2010. Is it possible the meeting occurred at the annual Rotary International Convention, which I attended?

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Ms. Parton was the guest speaker to 20,000 Rotarians. She was presented with Rotary’s highest award. When the presenter asked her where to attach the award – a pin – she replied: “Be careful where you put it. If you put it in the wrong place, I might burst and fly about the room!”

Ms. Parton had a wonderful sense of humour. She made very funny jokes, as well as serious comments about her upbringing and how it led to her philanthropy.

Rick Martin Brantford, Ont.


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