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U.S. President Donald Trump, left, remains on stage as then-Democratic presidential candidate former Vice-President Joe Biden, right, walks away, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

Julio Cortez/The Associated Press

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On the clock

Re Ottawa Searches For Technology To Handle Vaccine Distribution (Dec. 11): My 80-year-old Scottish sister-in-law has a doctor’s appointment on Dec. 21 for a vaccine. When will I get one? I am 81.

Helen Richards Toronto

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Pen to paper

Re Documents Show How Detained Canadians Are Seeking Hope And Comfort In China (Dec. 10): How heartbreaking, yet inspiring. I will do three things: write letters to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (good on The Globe for suggesting it); follow the anywhere-but-China rule before I buy any item; go down to the shores of Lake Ontario and scream their names. Anyone care to join me?

Lawrence Scanlan Kingston

Legal thresholds

Re What Does UNDRIP Stand For? (Editorial, Dec. 8): Ottawa has chosen harmonization of Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, not the promised implementation – a milder, if more ambiguous, approach. Yet there is ambiguity in the text itself.

“Indigenous peoples” – is every community included, as “peoples” suggests a larger entity? Is denial of “consent” a veto? Need denial be “reasonable?” (Yet to examine motives would deny independence.) Where some communities want development, does denial of consent by one violate “respect for the rights and freedoms of others?” Bill C-15 would increase ambiguity, demanding Canada’s laws be “consistent with the Declaration” – a feast for lawyers.

Such questions will likely occupy the courts for years, slowing development that Indigenous groups may share in. UNDRIP would largely supplant a settled law protecting Indigenous interests: the effective, evidence-based consultation/accommodation doctrine, in place since 2004. In case of deadlock, courts determine the merit of objections and adequacy of accommodation.

Education, employment, community contributions, equity and other compensation have lifted many First Nations from poverty. Reconciliation has been advanced. Indigenous leaders should be careful what they wish for.

John Edmond Former Commission Counsel, Indian Specific Claims Commission; Ottawa

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Face of crisis

Re The Field Of Crosses That Won’t Stop Growing (Dec. 5): I am struck by the courage of Denise Sandul. By her simple act of acknowledging the loss of her precious son with a cross, she presents an opportunity for other grieving families to acknowledge loved ones lost to the opioid crisis.

Each victim is much more than a statistic. Each one has a unique story that should be heard. It is shameful that this crisis is happening in Canada, a country with huge financial resources that can be tapped as needed, as we have seen in the response to COVID-19.

My son was such an important part of our family. He was a caring, patient father and a loving brother. He died alone at home in October. We are wretched in our grief.

This should not be allowed to go on.

Anne Blakely Campbell River, B.C.

Fresh air

Re Contours Of The Biden Presidency Are Taking Shape (Dec. 5): It was so refreshing to read contributor David Shribman’s commentary on the forming of Joe Biden’s cabinet.

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No vitriol, no concern about qualifications or associations with corruption, no worries that candidates are seeking to burn down the house. Instead, a focus on competence, rebuilding alliances, bringing COVID-19 under control and healing the divisions that Donald Trump wrought.

One can only hope this optimism is shared to some extent by an obstructionist Republican Senate and rabble-rousing minority in the House. This will be much easier to manage if Democrats can win Georgia’s two runoff seats and gain a slim Senate majority, but that is no sure thing.

Frank Malone Aurora, Ont.


Re The Crown Gets Margaret Thatcher All Wrong (Opinion, Dec. 5): Columnist Konrad Yakabuski writes that Margaret Thatcher was “a model of female empowerment,” but “few saw it that way.” That would be for one simple reason: To most she embodied female disempowerment.

I was a teenager and young adult throughout the Thatcher years. The Iron Lady stood for everything I found, and still find, disempowering: making it to the top by acting like a man, adopting an authoritarian role, suffering no opposition, showing no empathy. She destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of miners and their families in the North of England. She dashed the hopes of feminists by refusing to strongly support or promote women. She championed neoliberalism, which is not about agency, but individualism.

The Crown is a television show, nothing more, nothing less. But one thing looks clear to this viewer: Producer Peter Morgan’s portrayal of Ms. Thatcher is way more honest that Mr. Yakabuski’s.

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Rachel Kiddell-Monroe Montreal

I am one of the many who columnist Konrad Yakabuski faults for condemning Margaret Thatcher – although, as a women’s advocate and MP, I saw that she did our cause good.

Now, as a climate change activist, I credit her with being one of the first world leaders to take climate change seriously, in a visionary speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. That Britain led the world with its Climate Change Act of 2008, and then actually brought down its emissions, is much to her credit.

That law, adopted under a Labour government, had massive Conservative support, passing in the House of Commons 463 to 3. It is a tougher law than what our Liberal government has before the House in Bill C-12. Canadian Conservatives should take note.

Lynn McDonald CM; co-founder, JustEarth: A Coalition for Environmental Justice; Toronto

Check, please

Re Get Heat Out Of The Kitchen (Opinion, Dec. 5): I’ve been waiting for this article for quite some time. After 12 years in the restaurant industry, I quit in 2011 – tired, bruised, burned out, the industry almost taking my passion away.

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I hope restaurants will survive, but I also hope they will reinvent themselves and provide working environments that are truly safe, healthy and appreciative, so cooks can fulfill themselves.

Danny Guarino Montreal

If I ask how staff are treated at every restaurant I go to, where will I ever be able to eat again?

Steven Brown Toronto

Sin bin

Re Labour Spat Rages Between NHL And Its Players (Sports, Dec. 5): I must come clean and confess the most egregious sin a Canadian can engage in: Years ago, I quit watching hockey and all other professional sports.

For me, watching multimillionaires work for multimillionaires, then have the you-know-what to call it sports, is torquing language to the point where it’s like forcing air through small orifices and calling it communication.

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There, I said it. I feel clean. Confession is good for the soul.

Geoff Lee Thunder Bay

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