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Scotiabank Arena in Toronto is pictured at reduced capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions for a game between the Raptors and the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 18, 2021.John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

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SOS

Re Businesses Bristle At Lack Of Aid As New Restrictions Come In (Report on Business, Dec. 20): If governments believe that businesses, both large and small, must be restricted or shuttered again, then they should also reinstate financial support to give these businesses a chance to survive.

At the same time, can we please talk proportion? Does a small mom-and-pop store or 20-seat restaurant pose the same level of COVID-19 threat as a 100-seat bar or 20,000-seat stadium? How can we justify imposing the same restrictions or lockdowns on businesses, regardless of their size or potential effect?

Brian Bergman Calgary

School is …

Re N.S. University Fined For Flouting Public-health Rules As Schools Scramble Amid Rising Omicron Cases (Dec. 18): I agree with the president of Queen’s University’s student government: There is no reason that young adults, who are wearing masks and are vaccinated, should not be able to learn in person. We can attend movies, work and more, so the idea that students spread COVID-19 while sitting in classrooms doesn’t hold weight with me.

I have paid over $20,000 for my first-year son to attend the University of Guelph. There is not a lot of motivation to stay on campus when most days are spent alone in a hobbit hole of a room.

Professors should come out from behind their computer screens and start teaching and engaging with students in person.

Erika McDonald London, Ont.


Kingston is experiencing a record number of COVID-19 cases. We were once Canada’s poster child for keeping safe.

Perhaps the president of Queen’s University’s student government might like to look more closely at the tallies posted daily on the city’s public-health website. Demographic data show a dramatic uptick in cases diagnosed in the 18-to-29 category.

Ann Prince Stevens Kingston

Get out

Re Cities Look To Support Bill 21 Challenge (Dec. 21): It seems a sad commentary when Quebec opponents of Bill 21 feel that support from the rest of Canada is an attack on the province, rather than support for other Canadians who just happen to reside in a different province.

Glenn Shipman Toronto


Re Debate Goes On (Letters, Dec. 21): Regarding Bill 21 and the notwithstanding clause, a letter-writer argues that the final arbiter of difficult problems should be the law – which means the courts, rather than democratically elected legislatures.

The problem I find is that courts consist of imperfect people who would be expected to interpret imperfect laws and miraculously produce perfect, unbiased solutions. This would not just be judicial overreach, but also a judicial coup d’état based on an imaginary ideal. I much prefer to take my chances with a flawed democracy, rather than a flawed and unaccountable judicial system, especially when politically and socially charged issues are at stake.

Besides, courts depend on healthy democracies in order to function properly. The legal world would do well to respect our democracy, rather than seek to usurp it.

Jim Paulin Ottawa

Testing, testing

Re The West Is Asleep While China Hoards Key Minerals (Report on Business, Dec. 18): The problem in Canada is the Investment Canada Act, which uses net economic benefit as the green light criteria for foreign takeovers. Admittedly, takeovers that threaten Canada’s national security interests also get the government’s attention. But countries such as Japan, Australia, Britain and China have tougher takeover hurdles than Canada, either national interest or public interest tests.

Chinese state-owned enterprises acquiring Canadian companies that mine specialty metals could easily slip through the cracks of a net economic benefit or national security test. My former private member’s bill – C-386, An Act to amend the Investment Canada Act (foreign investments)was last tabled in the 39th Parliament on Oct. 16, 2007. The bill would have required a foreign takeover to be “in the national interest.”

These recent takeovers of companies dealing in rare earth metals would fail this test. Let’s get on with it.

Roy Cullen PC, Victoria

The other side

Re Central Banks Have Blinked On Inflation, In Race To Avert The Second Round (Report on Business, Dec. 20): Columnist David Parkinson writes that what matters now is cooling inflation expectations, “before they start embedding themselves in higher wage demands, and then in retail prices, as businesses pass labour costs through to consumers.” He calls for the Bank of Canada to raise the interest rate. Despite the fact that workers are not responsible for inflation, higher interest rates could create a recession where higher unemployment reduces workers’ bargaining positions when negotiating wages.

Fair or not to workers, this is what the financial sector might want the bank to do, since any increase in the inflation rate is always bad for holders of debt security. That the cost of reducing inflation would be paid by workers who may lose jobs seems to be none of their concern.

In short, the financial sector is in line to reap all the benefits of lower inflation, while bearing none of the costs.

Gustavo Indart Professor emeritus, department of economics, University of Toronto

Closed gap

Re Ryerson Renaming To Be Guided By Survey, Committee (Dec. 15): My more conservative 22-year-old nephew and I, a very liberal 72-year-old, are both currently students at Ryerson University and in complete agreement: What foolishness this political incorrectness.

We believe the university is losing credibility with its renaming process – and the respect of many of us, young and old.

Diane Labelle-Davey Mississauga

Christmas wishes

Re The Best Christmas Gift? Not Infecting Others (Dec. 21): As a second pandemic Christmas looms, I’ve done my best to keep my spirits up.

Yes, my husband and I, both triple-vaccinated, will have a short, careful visit with our daughter’s family. No, we won’t see our son. Yes, the two of us will cook a turkey and enjoy it while watching our traditional Christmas Day movie. We are lucky, I know.

Columnist André Picard’s reasonable advice for the season – “limit your contacts. Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Dream about a better Christmas next year” – actually got me a bit teary. It felt like a warm hand on my shoulder, and an encouraging voice telling me to keep doing what I’m doing because everything is going to be okay.

Throughout two years of pandemic media overload, Mr. Picard’s voice has been one worth listening to: steady, informed, relevant. Here, that voice was also kind.

Thanks, I needed that.

Jean Mills Guelph, Ont.


Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com