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A women covers her face as she walks past a child care centre that's closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Friday, April 10, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Last mile

Re The Vaccine, And Canada’s Need For Speed (Editorial, Dec. 2): In 2009, when we were dealing with the H1N1 flu pandemic (or what passed for a pandemic in those innocent times), the government bungled the vaccine rollout, surprising us family doctors at the last minute with new, awkward requirements (large batches, new refrigeration standards, increased paperwork). As a result, many of us opted out of participating in the vaccine delivery that year.

The stakes are way too high now for a repeat.

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While we have been hearing about who will be receiving the vaccine, there’s surprisingly little talk about who will be giving it, and it’s hard to envisage the rapid, mass immunization of the population without some involvement of primary care doctors. We should be included in the final stages of planning its delivery into the arms of Canadians.

So far, I haven’t heard a word.

Deborah Kestenbaum MD, CCFP; Toronto

Think of the children

Re Ottawa Knows Canada Needs A Child-Care Program. Why Are We Waiting? (Dec. 2): Let me guess: Because it would be ruinously expensive?

Ron Freedman Toronto

Government determination to get more women back into the work force should also include financial support for those who may choose to stay at home longer with their young children. In the long run, such a bold step would better benefit not just the economy, but society as well.

Mark Finnan Peterborough, Ont.

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If history is anything to rely on, Canadians could be waiting a long time for the perpetually promised, but never delivered, child-care program.

It’s been 50 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women recommended child-care services for women who choose to work outside the home. Fifty years! Those of us in our early 20s in the work force back then welcomed this news. Boy, universal child care: We can have families while still continuing to build careers!

Since then, governments of all stripes have promised a program. None have actually made it happen. It’s probably safe to say that, with the premiers demanding a raft of priorities, child care will once again fall off the to-do list.

This is the value society seems to place on rearing children and granting the women who bear them an equal opportunity to thrive in the workplace: none.

Nancy Marley-Clarke Calgary

Radical response

Re A Radical Idea For Canada’s Other Epidemic (Editorial, Nov. 27): My brother died of a fentanyl overdose more than 3½ years ago. His was a tragic and unnecessary death and in many respects a wasted life, due entirely to addiction.

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In 2018, 1,922 people died in vehicle accidents in Canada. In 2019, 70 people died in aircraft accidents. About 100 people die each year in boating accidents. If any of these approached the opioid totals, alarm bells would be going off in Ottawa. There would likely be inquiries, commissions – action. But the problem is that with opioids, the wrong people are doing the dying.

In April, 2019, Dr. Bonnie Henry called for decriminalization, and now Vancouver is echoing that. What will it take to get provincial and, most importantly, federal politicians to act? How many more deaths will it take?

Doug Baker Gibsons, B.C.

Keep it clean?

Re Canada’s Clean Power Puzzle: Provinces Sell To The U.S., But Not Each Other (Report on Business, Nov. 27): In my experience, there’s more than geography at play in Canadian provinces’ predilection for “self-sufficiency” in electricity supply.

Electricity is a manufactured product, and most politicians and union leaders have considered the generator subsector to be the high-value part of the chain, with highly taxable and dues-paying jobs. They want those jobs inside their provincial borders.

If, for example, Ontario were interested in more self-sufficiency, then it likely would not have chosen to rely on nuclear plants to supply half its power – not an ounce of uranium used in the province’s large reactors is mined within its borders.

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Rod Taylor Former executive vice-president, Hydro One; Toronto

Re Will Trans Mountain Be Our White Elephant? (Nov. 27): The main reason for building the Trans Mountain pipeline is to obtain a better price for our exported Canadian crude oil.

Currently, this crude goes to the United States and is selling at horrendous discounts. Trans Mountain would provide direct access to world markets and world prices, particularly in Asia.

Columnist Gary Mason also writes that Jason Kenney is “still selling his people on a future that no longer exists.” However, Chevron and Exxon, two of the world’s largest oil companies, are still staking their futures on the industry. Many Canadian taxpayers, along with Mr. Kenney, are anxiously awaiting the completion of Trans Mountain. It should be an eventual cash cow.

Joe Giegerich Nanoose Bay, B.C.

All aboard

Re What First Steps Could Boards Take To Begin Addressing Climate Change? (Report on Business, Nov. 30): With millions of miles of roads, massive deforestation, fossil-fuelled cars and homes leaking carbon dioxide and heat, there is little doubt to me that seven-billion-plus humans influence the climate. But the most important first step for a board to address climate change would be a fact-based presentation.

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What proportion of climate change is attributable to human activity? Are we 5 per cent or 95 per cent of the problem? Is nature 95 per cent or 5 per cent of the driving force? In my world – as executive chairman of two public companies and director of two more – many boards remain unconvinced.

John Budreski Vancouver

Re Board Games 2020: Canadian Companies Fall Short On Board Diversity (Report on Business, Nov. 30): Many studies have shown that diversity on boards leads to improved financial performance and decision-making, and an expanded knowledge base. Diverse boards are better equipped to respond to a wider set of challenges, and may have insights that help avoid or minimize legal and reputational risk.

Broadening diversity at senior levels demonstrates that an organization’s corporate culture is open to and supportive of all communities in Canada. When organizations don’t have diverse people in those positions, employees at junior levels often leave, as they don’t see a career path. Board composition reveals a lot about a company’s values and cultures.

Although corporations need to diversify their boards so they better reflect Canada, it is not just a matter of doing what is right. The rewards diverse board directors bring to their organizations are multifold.

Brenda LaRose Métis Anishinaabe citizen; head of diversity and Indigenous board practice, Leaders International; Ottawa

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