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Tourists wear masks as they bike along the beach in Miami, Florida, on Dec. 20, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Pandemic performance

Re Open For Business (Letters, Feb. 10): A letter-writer believes that “the economy wins every time.” Yet thousands of businesses are gone, hundreds of thousands unemployed, millions of kids not being taught effectively. The economy is hardly winning!

David Chalmers Toronto

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Re The Struggle To Make Our Own Vaccine (Editorial, Feb. 11): When numerous vaccine-manufacturing companies decline to produce doses in Canada, one has to ask why? To me, the reason is painfully obvious: These companies don’t feel Canada is a good country to establish a new business.

The landscape is riddled with projects that companies have walked away from, many after spending millions of dollars and years trying to jump through the myriad government regulations.

It is often said that words have consequences – so, too, does overregulation.

Colin Lockhart Florenceville-Bristol, N.B.

Two government bodies tasked with helping in the fight against the pandemic, National Research Council Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, have lacked scientific leadership, as The Globe and Mail reports.

The Liberals pay lip service to science- and evidence-based decision-making, as well as blame the previous Conservative government for the current calamity. But the sad truth is that this government shows a history of awarding key positions to career bureaucrats.

The result is the bungling, lurching response that I see: a failed Chinese vaccine partnership, an as-yet-unfinished vaccine facility, no domestic vaccine production and significant delays to vaccine availability – all cloaked in a gasp-inducing lack of transparency.

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Until we have scientific leadership where it is required in the public service, we can likely expect further delays and mishandling of this crisis.

Kathleen O’Connell Ottawa

Barton and McKinsey

Re Barton Says He Was Unaware Of Firm’s Role In Sales Of OxyContin (Feb. 11): As an unflinching adult, I find this hard to deem credible. Even if by some miracle these details were indeed kept from Dominic Barton, he seems a bad reader of organizational culture.

I’m hanging up my Liberal credentials and pocketbook after this one.

John Gauger Vancouver

The question should be: Where is the evidence, even indirect evidence, that Dominic Barton knew what was going on with this particular client file? Until we have further information, we ought to hold our fire.

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Brian Tansey Ottawa

Reason for travel

Re Bon Voyage (Letters, Feb. 9): Last October, my wife and I travelled to our winter home in Florida. We took all precautions while travelling, so as to not infect ourselves or others we travelled with.

We are in our late 60s and 70s. While here, we still pay taxes in Canada, pay rent on our apartment, pay utility bills and pay for other services that keep people employed.

We have had the good fortune of being vaccinated while here. We will travel back to Canada sometime in April, immunized and free of the disease.

I write this to suggest that people should not automatically critique us for leaving Canada. As seniors, we have contributed years of sacrifice and money so that the next generation can live in our country and have access to the benefits Canadians enjoy today.

Norm Ayoub Ottawa

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I am a Canadian permanent resident who has lived in Toronto since 1987. My elderly parents live in Britain. Three weeks ago, I travelled there to move them into an assisted care facility.

Prior to leaving Canada, I had a COVID-19 test and have also had one in Britain. I followed all health and safety guidelines, including self-quarantining for 10 days. I kept a distance from my parents and limited my outings to the supermarket and pharmacy.

Now I am preparing to return home. I am unfortunately bracing myself to be treated like a criminal and being confined to a “government facility,” even though I have a home in Toronto where I could complete my 14-day quarantine.

I think it is important that Canadians understand that not all people who travel are selfish or irresponsible. I am stressed, sad and dismayed.

Carolyn Seaforth Toronto

Black and white

Re Ujiri’s Situation Struck A Chord Because We Could See Ourselves In The Story (Sports, Feb. 11): Well said. Money and clout seem to be the only deterrents to the random exercises of authority against our citizenry these days. And if one isn’t in possession of either/or, the truth just may not set one free.

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Scott Smith Brantford, Ont.

Columnist Cathal Kelly’s perspective of Masai Ujiri describes the great pecking order of society as a determinant of vulnerability to misuse of authority. There is also one other critical identifier: Mr. Ujiri is Black.

I’d bet my autographed NBA basketball that what happened to him would never have happened to a white man, in a nice suit, walking onto a basketball court.

Trish Crowe Kingston

Show her the money

Re Female Partners Earn Less Than Male Colleagues At Big Law Firm (Feb. 9): Decades ago, the Toronto Real Estate Board made a video asking why some salespeople had chosen to work in the industry. My response was: “Real estate is the only industry where a woman can earn the same amount of commission as the man sitting at the next desk.” When the video was played at the annual general meeting, my opinion was met with shouts of agreement and much handclapping from the large audience.

As for the female law partners earning 25 per cent less than men: C’mon guys, be nice – pay up.

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Sophie Jaremko Toronto

After my mother-in-law, Helen Farrelly Prentiss, graduated from Queen’s University in 1929, she applied for and received a promotion to head of the English department at Bracebridge High School. She noted that her first cheque was less than had been advertised.

Her enquiry to the principal was met with, “That is what we pay a man in that position. You can’t expect to be paid the same as a man.” Her response (although I wasn’t there, I knew her well) was a very determined, “I’m doing the same job as a man and I will be paid the same.”

She took her demand directly, and forcefully, to the school board.

Her next cheque was the advertised amount. She went on to be vice-principal. In later years, all five feet of her were known as the “Sergeant Major” at New Liskeard High School. She was one of Canada’s great women.

Jacques Soucie Newmarket, Ont.

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