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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about the government's updated climate change plan in the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa, on Dec. 11, 2020.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Supply and demand

Re Poor Countries Fear ‘Vaccine Hoarding’ By Wealthy Countries (Dec. 11): I don’t believe wealthy countries are monopolizing vaccines – they’re fuelling supplies.

Firmly contracted preorders and guaranteed payments have allowed drug companies to accelerate research and production, a major reason for the COVID-19 vaccine’s unprecedented speed from concept to shot in the arm. As well, supplies in excess of need are not being “hoarded” – clearly, they will be available to everyone else, and if they hadn’t been contracted for production, they wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Far from being unethical, Canada’s prudent and early commitment to untried and hypothetical vaccines will, in the end, likely prove instrumental in serving the greater good.

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Brian Green Thunder Bay

Re Strained Hospitals Brace For Virus Influx (Dec. 14): In trying to control the spread of COVID-19, public-health officials and other leaders should take heed of Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote: “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

Aziz Andani Unionville, Ont.

Climate commitments

Re Liberals Finally Show Some Courage On Climate Change (Dec. 12): Kudos to the Liberals for their recent commitment to increase the carbon fee and dividend by $15 a year. Recent analysis from Clean Prosperity shows that the price increase will close more than 60 per cent of the gap toward net zero.

It’s also great that we’ll receive quarterly payments to households, pegged by some estimates at $1,600 annually in Ontario and $5,600 in Alberta by 2030. Such border adjustments are smart and absolutely necessary. Canadians can breathe a (clean) sigh of relief.

Nigel Biggar Toronto

Re Trudeau Willing To Fight Election On Carbon-Tax Dare (Dec. 14): While Justin Trudeau’s move to increase the carbon-pricing system is certainly bold, it remains an open question whether it will be realized, or whether a focus on carbon pricing constitutes the best approach to reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions within the timeframe needed to avoid “dangerous” climate change.

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Aside from the issue of political viability, particularly in a system where the overwhelming bulk of the impact will be on individual consumers and not industrial emitters, price signals, even dramatic ones, may take too long to influence behaviour. This is especially true in sectors with large and long-lived infrastructures and investments, such as transportation and buildings.

The full range of available tools, including standards, codes and regulations, incentives and infrastructure investments, as well as carbon pricing, will likely be needed.

Mark Winfield Co-chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University; Toronto

I wish to thank Doug Ford for putting COVID-19 in perspective. He stated that a carbon tax of $170 a tonne by 2030 is “the worst thing you could ever see.”

Let’s hope the carbon tax is kept low, and all we have to deal with is another mutated virus or two before 2030. That will make my decade, and my children’s and grandchildren’s (climate) futures, better and more secure!

Jeff Budd Markham, Ont.

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Heart and soul

Re It’s Not A Civil War That Threatens the CBC. It’s Complacency (Opinion, Dec. 12): While it’s true that I’m among several hundred current CBC employees who are probably “risking their careers to protect CBC’s soul” by opposing a paid-content advertising plan called Tandem, I am not doing so to “sustain a bloated organizational structure,” as columnist Konrad Yakabuski describes the public broadcaster. I find this is a tired old trope used to discredit it and the work of thousands of people.

Those of us who have joined this “civil war” are defending a CBC that spans the entire country with radio, television and digital services. It maintains infrastructure to reach 99 per cent of Canadians. No private-sector broadcaster is doing that, nor should they. That’s why the CBC was invented. And it costs a lot of money.

In 40 years of working here, I have seen my colleagues knock themselves out – sometimes risking their lives – to uphold the integrity of CBC news and current affairs. CBC Tandem would “leverage the credibility” of our journalism to sell pretend news. We owe it to Canadians to protect their investment in public broadcasting.

Many of my colleagues are risking far more than I am. And they are far from “complacent.”

Carol Off Co-host, CBC As It Happens; Toronto

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Columnist Konrad Yakabuski writes that “the CBC decided long ago that Canadians do not want to be challenged and that all programming must be kept light and breezy.” Really?

The Fifth Estate, The Passionate Eye, Baroness von Sketch Show, Workin’ Moms and more. Oh yeah, The National, too. (And The Newsroom was one of the best satires in television history.)

There’s bias in my viewing (guilty!) but in exalted nostalgia, the CBC remains The Friendly Giant of quality Canadian programming.

Mel Simoneau Gatineau, Que.

Land survey

Re Development To Spur Growth Of Montreal’s West Island (Report on Business, Dec. 8): The Globe reports that Cadillac Fairview’s planned development in Pointe Claire “will utilize nearly 20 hectares of empty land.” I find this description perpetuates the all-too-common impression that land not under commercial development is “empty land.”

The heavily wooded area in question contains more than 400 mature hardwood trees and hosts, at one or another season, some 150 species of birds, along with a variety of mammalian and reptilian life. It is a small but integral part of what might pass for a greenbelt on the northwestern edge of the Island of Montreal.

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Much of Canada’s Northern lands are well protected, but undeveloped woodlands in the urban south remain extremely vulnerable to commercial exploitation. They should not be considered by any means empty, vacant or useless.

Robert Tittler Montreal

Along the way

Re My Teenage Daughter Has Cancer, And My Job Is Not To Falter (First Person, Dec. 14): My heart goes out to Annastacia Smith, and I want to thank her for her powerful and heartfelt essay. I too have walked her path, although my daughter was an adult and not a teenager.

The emotions are the same and, like her, I was “screaming inside” while trying to appear strong. I am reminded of the saying, “Just because someone carries it well, doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy.”

I wish her and her daughter the best of luck in their continuing cancer journey.

Eileen Condon West Vancouver

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