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Staff members work near the emblem for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics displayed at the Shanghai Sports Museum in Shanghai on Dec. 8, 2021.ALY SONG/Reuters

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Up and away

Re Ottawa Faces Growing Pressure To End Travel Restrictions On African Countries (Dec. 9): Thank you for reporting on the growing global and parliamentary outrage over Canada’s Africa-focused travel bans, requirements for third-country PCR tests, quarantine chaos on arrival and what I find to be increasingly lame rationalizations for these reflex measures to slam the door and appear decisive.

I am writing to echo the outrage as a Canadian, a scientist, a public-health professor in both Canada and South Africa and a voter. The science has evolved. The policy should too.

Christina Zarowsky MD; School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape; École de santé publique de l’Université de Montréal

Political play

Re Canada Joins Diplomatic Boycott Of Beijing Winter Olympics (Dec. 9): Can China stop saying the Olympic Games are not political? They are a global showcase for the host country. A full boycott (diplomatic and athletic) seems to me the only way to send a message that we refuse to endorse the legitimacy of a government that has committed a myriad of human-rights and social injustices.

Yes, Canada needs to tidy its own house. And yes, our athletes have trained hard for what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But I find neither of these to be a persuasive counterbalance.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the Uyghurs, the countless political and diplomatic hostages – these people individually and collectively should tip the scales to boycott. While it won’t likely resolve any of those issues, it will, at the very least, say that we are not prepared to look the other way, smile and pretend everything is all right.

David Kinahan Toronto

Recommended reading

Re Barton Can’t Hold A Candle To Canada’s Great Diplomats (Dec. 8): I have a copy to share of Charles Ritchie’s memoir Undiplomatic Diaries: 1937-1971, with an introduction by Allan Gotlieb, if Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly would like to really understand her department and the makings of a brilliant diplomat.

It did win a Governor General’s Literary Award, so I have a feeling it is even closer to hand in the Library of Parliament.

Barbara Howson Toronto

Carbon credit

Re Enbridge CEO Says Federal Tax Credit Needed To Boost Carbon Capture (Report on Business, Dec. 8): A tax credit is a form of government subsidy, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter if it’s a credit, loan, loan guarantee or related financial backing. Enbridge CEO Al Monaco says that a tax credit is needed to “attract private capital to get moving” on carbon capture, utilization and storage.

CCUS is touted as a game changer that will help the oil and gas industry adjust to the uncertainties of a carbon-constrained future. The industry abhors uncertainty and, to the federal government’s credit, they have reduced this uncertainty: the government has been clear in how its carbon pricing will increase going forward. The oil and gas industry is already factoring the price of carbon into its business planning.

The real uncertainty is not knowing if we can get CCUS beyond the proof-of-concept stage. If a business case for CCUS cannot be made without further government handouts, let’s not go there.

Chris Gates Quinte West, Ont.

Data dearth

Re Canada’s Health Data Are In A Shambles (Dec. 8): I couldn’t agree more, based on an experience I had a few years ago in the emergency department. “And what drugs have you been prescribed, Mr. Havelaar?” I was disoriented and hadn’t a clue.

It subsequently occurred to me that we carry driver’s licences and health cards which contain chips carrying useful data. Why don’t we employ that to also carry our relevant health information? It could be updated every time we have a medical intervention, and could be read by anyone with the appropriate reader. Furthermore, there would be no privacy issues, as each person would be in charge of sharing their own data.

My doctor, like most of his colleagues, is already fully computerized, so such a plan would also be quite inexpensive to implement.

Justus Havelaar Campbell River, B.C.

It will not be until all doctors notes, consultations, laboratory studies, radiology and allied health reports are electronic that Canada’s health data will no longer be in a shambles.

Electronic health information would be stored in securely protected provincial data banks. It would be accessible to all legitimate clinical facilities in Canada.

Only then will a Vancouverite visiting Halifax, who sustains an injury or develops an illness away from home, not suffer because the treating doctor does not have critical background information on the patient’s associated diseases and current therapy.

Morley Lertzman MD, FRCPC North Vancouver


Re ‘There Will Be Farms Lost Over This’: PEI Potato Growers Hurt By Ban (Dec. 9): May I suggest that the federal government act quickly to purchase this year’s crop of PEI potatoes usually destined for U.S. markets, and distribute them to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless across Canada?

The benefits to the farmers, their workers, associated suppliers and businesses and, of course, the people who depend on food banks and shelters are obvious.

Carol Stos Belleville, Ont.

Trainers and nutritionists

Re Personal Trainers Are Evolving Past Fitness (Dec. 6): As a registered dietitian-nutritionist, I take issue with trainers who follow a coaching certification program, which may include what might be called Nutrition 101, and feel prepared to dish out advice on diets, supplements and nutritionals to the healthy public.

Dietitians are the experts in nutrition. Only after proper assessment can we determine our client’s needs, guided by the most recent evidenced-based nutritional science that we are held accountable to by our professional orders and communities. We do not rely on social media, speculation or trends. We must protect the public for safety and accountability, by law.

Please do not compare a certificate coach to a licensed nutrition professional. What one gets from a trainer is opinion, often based on personal preference. A dietitian-nutritionist will give facts and science intended to protect the public.

My advice to coaches who try to tamper with nutritional coaching: Stay in your own lane.

Linda Cadloff Richman PDt, CDE; Montreal

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