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People in the Peel region are photographed at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Mississauga, Ont., on May 6, 2021.Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press

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Who first?

Re As Booster Eligibility Widens, Peel Region’s Top Doctor Asks Younger Residents To Wait (Dec. 23): My wife and I are almost in our 60s and we feel fortunate that we have received our booster shots. However, I can’t help but wonder why Doug Ford would simply open the floodgates in Ontario and not follow an age/risk-factor formula.

As a result, many seniors and those with high-risk factors such as pregnancy now find themselves unable to book a timely appointment. It’s clear to me that we cannot manage this.

I hope I’m wrong, but I am afraid this might be Mr. Ford’s most disastrous step since urging people to go and enjoy March Break in 2020.

Robert McManus Hamilton

Don’t you think?

Re Antiviral Pill For COVID-19 Unlikely To Be Approved In Canada Before New Year (Dec. 23): Isn’t it ironic? In a clinical trial for an antiviral pill, unvaccinated participants were used.

Apparently they are unwilling to put a safe vaccine in their bodies, but have no problem with ingesting a substance for which they have no idea how they will react. Go figure.

Ann Sullivan Peterborough, Ont.


Re Let’s Call A Christmas Truce This Year (Dec. 23): Participants in the December, 1914, First World War truce included both the casualties of January and February, 1915, and the people who killed them. Preston Manning’s analogy to 2021 feels naïve and dangerous.

I believe his conservative ideology has triumphed over his Christian spirituality. When Jesus summarized the ethical implications of his teaching in the simple imperative of “love your neighbour,” I assume it included the idea that we would not endanger the health and lives of others.

Tom Sherwood Reverend Ottawa

I’m sounding the alarm on Preston Manning’s call for a Christmas “truce” between opponents in an apparent “war with a virus,” in which he invokes a First World War story portrayed in a long-gone episode of Heritage Minutes. He suggests that we “extend the hand of friendship.”

Friendship? Maybe. Extend the hand? Never. Bad public-health advice.

Bill DeGrace Mahone Bay, N.S.

If the coronavirus agrees to the truce proposed by Preston Manning, I will be happy to extend my hand to the unvaccinated during the holiday season.

Michael Betcherman Toronto

I wasn’t sure I was reading Preston Manning correctly. A truce? With COVID-19?

A truce means both sides of a battle put down their weapons for a set period, or longer. Are we to believe that if we stop with safety measures, then the virus will comply and stop infecting and spreading?

Robert Milan Victoria

The war in which we are currently engaged is not against fellow citizens, but with a virus that cannot distinguish between the uniforms of the cautious and those who have experienced losses of freedoms.

Until we accept this, we all will likely continue suffering from the effects of this pandemic.

Paul Bognar Toronto

Perhaps a better way to call a truce would be to return to the principles of liberty and agree on those.

According to John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, “The fact of living in society renders it indispensable that each should be bound to observe a certain line of conduct towards the rest. This conduct consists … in each person’s bearing his share (to be fixed on some equitable principle) of the labours and sacrifices incurred for defending the society or its members from injury and molestation.” And, we could add, illness.

Carolyn Brown Ottawa

Live long and prosper

Re U.S. Life Expectancy Declined In 2020 Because Of COVID-19 (Dec. 23): One fundamental difference between the United States and other “wealthy” countries: It is the only one not to have universal health care; the only one where many people do not go to a doctor even when they are sick, because they cannot afford it; the only one where many can go bankrupt because of health problems.

I believe that is the main reason why life expectancy is higher in Canada, and why Tommy Douglas was voted the “Greatest Canadian” in a CBC contest.

Sinclair Robinson Ottawa

How we donate

Re Canadians Are Showing Signs Of Generosity Fatigue (Newsletter, Dec. 21): Prior to the pandemic, social justice causes made up only 10 per cent of donations. Since 2020, we have seen a huge shift toward supporting issues of equity and opportunity.

While giving is down in 2021 compared with the landmark year of 2020, Benevity data reveal a sharp uptick in donations to mental health support, refugee relief and residential-school resources. Donations for Afghan refugees surged 142 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2021. Mental-health causes saw a 73-per-cent year-over-year increase in October. And for the first time, causes aimed at healing intergenerational trauma resulting from residential schools and systemic injustice toward Indigenous peoples and communities became some of the top causes supported in Canada.

While there is surely fatigue, a lot has changed about the way we support causes that matter. That should give us hope.

Sona Khosla Chief impact officer, Benevity Calgary

This gun’s for hire

Re Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dough After Catalogue Sale (Report on Business, Dec. 22): So Bruce Springsteen’s sale of his song catalogue is proof that the music industry is no longer “a collapsing business,” and that its fortunes have been turned around? I respectfully disagree.

With Mr. Springsteen’s annual royalties currently worth US$17-million, it would take Sony more than 30 years to recoup its US$550-million outlay. Rather than a source of revenue, it’s more likely that Sony regards his oeuvre as an investment, to be sold off at a profit at some later date.

That half-billion dollars is not being invested in new musicians, but in a product that already exists. Where the next generation of Springsteens will come from is less clear. Certainly the paltry artist revenues generated by Spotify, Apple Music etc., seem insufficient to sustain the industry.

To quote Bob Dylan, a hero to Mr. Springsteen: “Well you never miss your water till the well runs dry.”

David Bright St. Catharines, Ont.

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