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First Nations first
Re Will Vaccines Stop Spread? How Long Will Protection Last? Success May Delay Answers and ‘It’s Overwhelming’: Worries Mount As First Nations In Manitoba Face Outbreaks (Dec. 16): It seems clear to me that the next stage of vaccine rollout, once this initial supply is exhausted, should simultaneously focus on urban neighbourhoods with greater residential density and First Nations communities.
To borrow from columnist Tanya Talaga’s writing on Barbara Kentner (Guilty Verdict In Death Of Indigenous Woman A Relief, But Is Also Deeply Imperfect – Dec. 15): “If you call yourself Canadian and you have not taken a moment today to think about” how the pandemic affects First Nations, then “you have no idea what is really happening in this country.”
Ron Buliung Toronto
Re Spell Out (Letters, Dec. 9): A letter-writer worries that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples might have long-lasting implications for the country’s future. Yes – that’s the point!
Reconciliation demands that our colonially tainted structures be changed and power shared. The implications? A much healthier, fairer and more resilient country.
Elizabeth Snell Guelph, Ont.
Re We Need The Courage To Implement An Effective Carbon Tax (Dec. 15): Since such a large proportion of air pollution is caused by internal-combustion vehicles, progress will likely not be made until the electric vehicle industry fully addresses the serious problems of price and, in particular, range. I will continue to do what I can, in every way possible, to reduce my carbon footprint (including paying progressively higher prices at the pump for my gas-sipping hatchback), but I cannot buy into EV ownership until it makes sense to me.
At the moment, it does not.
Andrew Milner Peterborough, Ont.
Most people agree that we must deal with climate change and decarbonization, and many endorse carbon pricing. However, I believe a necessary second key to decarbonization is nuclear power.
It is one of the world’s most abundant carbon-free energy sources. But for it to play a role in decarbonization, there should be resources to move beyond current technology, toward nuclear reactors that can be mass-produced.
Let’s hope the government will include serious funding to develop nuclear technology in its coming $100-billion stimulus plan.
William Robbins P.Eng, Toronto
Re Ottawa’s Hydrogen Strategy Hinges On Tax Incentives, Private Investment (Report on Business, Dec. 16): The climate emergency requires us to phase out the use of fossil fuels – not build new industries based on them.
Mary Neumann Toronto
Re India’s Agricultural Reforms Face Mounting Opposition (Dec. 12) and Trudeau’s Spat With India’s Modi Is The Right Fight For The Wrong Reasons (Dec. 12): In 1965, India set up the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices with a mandate to study the cost of production for 23 commodities. Based on its recommendations, the government would set the minimum support price of each commodity.
With the assurance of MSPs, Indian farmers have incentive to use new technology, higher quality seeds and better methods of production. As a result, Indians now grow wheat flour, rice, sugar and other agricultural produce sold in Canadian stores.
But under new laws, farmers would deal directly with corporations and private buyers without MSPs, as opposed to doing business through the Indian government.
Kuldip Riar Edmonton
I belong to a farming family in Punjab. We have been farming for generations. I know full well the hardships Indian farmers are facing.
The Modi government has tried its best to ignore the pleas of farmers, instead trying to convince them that the new laws are in their favour. These laws will likely hasten the destruction of small farmers and small businesses related to farming, and hand over the control of land to corporate interests.
The government and the corporations that would benefit from agricultural reforms have deep pockets to advertise and promote their interests. However, they never imagined that the farmers’ protests would gain so much momentum and support all over the world. The farmers must win. Otherwise, they may be devoured.
Kalwant Singh Sahota Delta, B.C.
On MAID, Part 2
Re Our Cautious Start To Assisted Suicide Is Accelerating Toward Death-on-demand (Dec. 12): I would suggest an alternative headline: “Two per cent of Canadians who died in 2019 chose not to suffer.”
“Barbaric”? Sounds civilized to me.
Rita Scagnetti Thornhill, Ont.
Columnist Andrew Coyne hits the nail on the head: Our society seems inconsistent, with suicide-prevention helplines offered with one hand, and assisted dying offered with the other, to an increasingly diminished cutoff point.
People’s “absolute right to autonomy over their own lives,” without a compass of ethical and moral thought, could lead to a society we may not want to live in.
Sylvie Glossop Toronto
I have long believed that medical assistance in dying is a human right (with some constraints) and indeed had an e-mail argument with my MP when the bill first came up. At that time, I forecast that “death-on-demand” would become accepted worldwide as a human right. Indeed, population and economic trends would compel it.
Now I’m nearly 92 and see the difficulties and indignities that really old age or sickness bring. I would prefer a quiet, peaceful death with my family, at a time of my choosing. I doubt Parliament will move quickly enough for me, but at least we’re on the right road!
Hugh Rowlinson Orillia, Ont.
What’s in a name?
Re Looking Ahead To Brexit On Ireland’s Invisible Border (Dec. 8): Louie Palu’s evocative photos of the Irish border remind me how language becomes a straitjacket as history unfolds. In his largest photo, a half-finished traffic line separates an Irish border road. The caption underneath provides the names Londonderry, my hometown, and Muff.
When I drive from Dublin Airport, I notice how signposts change across the border. “Londonderry” becomes partly scarred by black paint clumsily applied, leaving the ancient name “Derry” to stand alone – reminders of a refusal to accept a 400-year-old renaming gift to London investment merchants by an English king.
Last year at a function in Toronto, I met a man with an Irish accent just like mine. I told him I was from Derry, and without pause or good humour he corrected me: “You mean Londonderry.”
Looking ahead is a cautionary exhortation. None say it better than James Joyce: “Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.”
Mary Curran Whitby, Ont.
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