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A sign in the window of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit in North Bay, Ont. on Feb. 9, 2021.

Vanessa Tignanelli/The Globe and Mail

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Open for business

Re Time To Reopen, Or Is It Too Early? (Editorial, Feb. 9): Is this reopening not premature? Isn’t it inevitable that cases and deaths will increase – followed, in typically reactive style, by pulling the “emergency brake” to trigger another lockdown? Surely by now, Doug Ford would have learned how difficult it is to juggle both health and economic goals and still gain control of this virus.

Our next battle – waging war against new variants – is just beginning. This should be a time for caution, patience and firm, consistent messages to the public that health is the priority.

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Unfortunately, in Ontario, it seems the economy wins every time – at the expense of our health and our lives.

Susan Beckett Belleville, Ont.

Re When? (Letters, Feb. 9): Like a letter-writer, I too am a widow in my senior years. I see family possibly once a week, and even then as brief and distanced exchanges at the front door.

I sympathize with the letter-writer’s mental struggle, but am feeling myself safe in this secure cocoon, possibly naively. I am quite willing to wait until it is my turn for a vaccine.

Alison Kyba Guelph, Ont.

The Power Gap

Re Female Partners Earn Less Than Male Colleagues At Big Law Firm (Feb. 9): My law career started 42 years ago with interviews for an articling position in Toronto. At the time, several of the “Seven Sister” firms had no female lawyers.

At one interview, memorable for all the wrong reasons, I was told that “we are a firm of 34 – 34 men, I might add.” Another interviewer reported that the firm “had” a few women in the past few years, but all had left, which segued directly into a discussion of my plans for getting pregnant.

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I got lucky: The firm I articled with welcomed me and treated me with respect. However, Bay Street firms clearly remain a tough environment for women, and many women do not receive mentoring and client experience that guarantees leadership success.

While law schools have reached gender parity, many law firms and pay grades have not.

Cynthia Rowden Toronto

In 1989, I wrote school papers on women in banking. I agree with Robyn Doolittle’s reporting: In a teetering patriarchal society, women still have a long way to go, but change we must.

The unfortunate loser is Canada when we do not measure the value of women’s contributions on a broader economic scale – not to mention the inherent value of family in driving our economy and creating future employees. And traditional women and career women are now in fact one and the same: Two incomes are a near necessity to have a family.

Women should have the courage to ask for what they want in pay and promotion expectations. Yes, there will be pushback, but Canada’s great women should show what they’re made of. Squeezing women out of the top tier does not and should not work for our country moving forward.

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Vonnie Lavers Port Saunders, N.L.

Looking back

Re On Vaccination, Hindsight Is 20/20 (Feb. 9): Columnist André Picard offers that “Canada’s overall pandemic performance has been mediocre – not horrible, not great – and we’re continuing that pattern with vaccination.” Let me offer an opinion from a business perspective: Mediocrity is a leadership failure. If we continue to accept mediocre results, we will continue to receive mediocre efforts.

Brian Walsh Paris, Ont.

“Could anyone have reasonably predicted that the promising Canada-China vaccine collaboration would fall apart for geopolitical reasons?”

Answer: Yes, I believe anyone and everyone could have. How many times do we need to see the bullying behaviour of China before pattern recognition kicks in for the Liberals?

Steven Braithwaite Toronto

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China and Taiwan – and Canada

Re The World Must Embrace Taiwan Before It’s Too Late (Opinion, Feb. 6): I agree with contributor David A. Welch that Taiwan should be allowed to fully participate in agencies such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Perhaps the best way is to follow the approach taken by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, where both China and Taiwan (as Chinese Taipei) are full members. APEC consists of “economies” rather than countries or states. Just as Taiwan has full control over the economy within its territory, it also has full control over health care and aviation.

However, I feel that Prof. Welch’s suggestion of full diplomatic recognition and appropriate security commitments would not be appropriate for Canada in the foreseeable future. We should support full Taiwanese participation in all relevant international bodies, but not recognize it as a separate state.

Bruce Couchman Ottawa

Xi Jinping has stated that Taiwanese independence would mean war. Given China’s importance in economic and military terms – and that it is a nuclear power in close proximity to Taiwan – his words should not be taken lightly.

In these circumstances, calling for full diplomatic recognition would be a dangerous step to take. What form China’s reaction would take is a question to which no one can claim to know the answer. Once powers get pulled into such a scenario, however, it gets very difficult to pull out without one party losing face.

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Historical precedent might not be helpful in this particular case. Taiwan is not Cuba. China is not the Soviet Union. And Mr. Xi is not Nikita Khrushchev. How far is Canada prepared to go to defend Taiwan?

Richard Desjardins Cantley, Que.

The world should not embrace Taiwan any more than it embraces Jamaica or New Zealand or Canada – the world should reject China.

If China is not directing its attention against Taiwan, it could start offending other innocent bystanders around the world, including many of its own citizens. The country is well disposed to rejuvenating historical grievances, such as those it once had against Japan, and could do so at any moment it is advantageous.

Embracing Taiwan will not likely help Taiwan in the end. But standing up to China with sanctions, travel embargoes and public repudiation should help Taiwan and the whole world.

In the long run, it should help China, too, without helping Xi Jinping.

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Patrick Cowan Toronto

On hold

Re We’re All In This Together – Until We’re Not (Feb. 5): The true measures of a society should be its justice, equity and mindfulness of the poor and disenfranchised, especially when they are making great sacrifices for the rest of us. As contributor Stephanie Go points out, the pandemic will reveal if Canada is living up to these measures. I can’t be a proud Canadian until we are.

Terence Lau Toronto

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