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A man holds a sign with photographs of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained in China since December, 2018, as people gather for a rally in support of Hong Kong democracy, in Vancouver, on Aug. 16, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Canadian capacity

Re Provinces Face Pressure To Meet Looming Vaccine Deadlines (Dec. 4): Whether protecting long-term care residents or rolling out a vaccine, the layers of government bureaucracy have not executed efficiently in a crisis. I believe the best solution is to transfer the management of pandemic risk assessment, preparation and tactical response to the military.

It could organize the distribution of vaccines, acquisition of therapeutics and creation of mobile tent hospitals for deployment within 24 hours to anywhere in Canada. In the long term, it could plan for pandemic response training for new recruits, expansion of military-trained doctors, rapid quarantine deployments, stockpile maintenance and international monitoring of new threats.

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To pay for this, we could start by transferring the $270-million recently announced for Afghanistan aid back to Canada’s military budget.

John McNicol West Vancouver

Re We Need A Homegrown Solution For Making Enough Vaccines For Every Canadian (Dec. 2): Journalist Edward R. Murrow asked Jonas Salk, who invented a polio vaccine, ”Who owns the patent on this vaccine?” Dr. Salk responded, “Well, the people I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

Various inventors of COVID-19 vaccines have patented their discoveries. Some individuals have even sold company shares before their vaccines are approved for use. I guess we can patent the sun!

Scott Van Alstine North Saanich, B.C.

When we used to drive by Connaught Laboratories, my parents would proudly point it out: “That’s where they make our vaccines.” Connaught is long gone, but driving by the site today still brings a nostalgic pride for the days when we were able to make that claim.

Donnie Friedman Toronto

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Chinese changes

Re U.S. In Talks With Meng To Resolve Charges (Dec. 4): Negotiations couldn’t be simpler: When Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are on a plane, Meng Wanzhou also gets on a plane. Arbitrary? Yes, but that is the other side’s style.

Time for some backbone on our side.

Ross Peacock Haliburton, Ont.

Re Chinese Choices (Letters, Dec. 4): A letter-writer points out that even under British rule, Hong Kong was not democratic. Ideally, government aims to create the greatest good for the greatest number. Prior to Hong Kong’s handover, the city was prosperous and peaceful and its people happy, for the sole reason that de facto government was in the hands of an enlightened oligarchy of citizens, and Britain had the good sense to stay out of the way.

If China were to “rule” like the British did, Hong Kong would remain a prosperous showpiece – the envy of the world. Instead, because of political imperatives, China has seemingly chosen to destroy it.

J. David Murphy Barrie, Ont.

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Watered down

Re On The Water Crisis, Canada Must Dig Deep (Dec. 4): Tanya Talaga’s column leaves me feeling disgusted and ashamed about the hardships our Indigenous brothers and sisters contend with. Potable water, for crying out loud! But like many Canadians, unless the issue is consistently front and centre, I will eventually forget about it, until it resurfaces.

Therefore I encourage The Globe to run a daily count of days without access to clean water for all across Canada (on the front page alongside the daily count for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor’s imprisonments) so that I will be reminded how lucky I am, and how poorly mistreated are others.

Patrick McHugh Toronto

If there was a water treatment plant in an Indigenous community for every thousand speeches or meetings held, the problem would likely have been solved long ago.

Michael Dettman Vancouver

Re Ottawa Tables Bill To Enshrine Indigenous Rights Into Federal Laws (Dec. 4): Scarcely a day after the government admitted failing to meet its own deadline on boil-water advisories, it introduces a bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I believe that’s known in the communications trade as trying to change the channel.

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Michael Kaczorowski Ottawa

Business unusual

Re Ford Rebuffs Call To Reopen Stores In Lockdown Regions (Dec. 3): The least responsible – the most punished.

S. A. Malcolmson Toronto

Re Firms Need A Gig-economy Plan To Grow Postpandemic (Report on Business, Dec. 2): This article illustrates to me how workers suffer greater setbacks in a restructured labour market due to a mishmash of misleading concepts and false labels.

Under the guise of “independent contractors” and “gig workers,” employers can dodge employment standards and unions. Workers experience smaller wage packets, less job security and no benefits. There is nothing new about the gig economy: Employers buy labour and workers sell it, no matter how it is framed. But if governments and courts strip workers of their rights, then they should come out and say so.

The so-called gig economy is another way of saying “precarious labour.”

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David Rapaport Lindsay, Ont.

Home front

Re Arbiter Was Known For His Solutions (Obituary, Nov. 30): In his last report as Ontario ombudsman, Clare Lewis memorably expressed concern that the eviction process under now-repealed legislation led many individuals to be evicted without a hearing. He wrote that “such evictions may have disproportionate and oppressive consequences for vulnerable tenants: seniors, single parents with small children, individuals with disabilities and those for whom English is a second language.” The law was ultimately improved to better protect a tenant’s right to a hearing when eviction is at stake.

Yet it seems that Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board routinely ignores the right to an adequate hearing (New Measures Hurting Eviction Appeals: Tenant Advocates – Real Estate, Nov. 27). It should heed Mr. Lewis’s caution that “eviction should not be allowed to become a mechanical exercise devoid of human consideration,” and back away from attempts to hold eviction hearings by phone or video conference without regard for a tenant’s ability to defend themselves.

The consequences of eviction remain disproportionate and risk being more oppressive than ever, when having a safe place to call home is a key defence against COVID-19.

Daniel McCabe Toronto

Nowhere with you

Re Dress To Chill (First Person, Dec. 4): Essay-writer Suzanne Westover is not alone in missing dressing up for various occasions. I look in my closet and feel quite sad.

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COVID-19 has made us aware of the insignificance of a wardrobe. We’re all equal in our various sweatsuits.

Jo Scott Mississauga

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