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A sign at Montreal's Trudeau Airport reminds arriving passengers to quarantine in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19 on Feb. 19, 2021.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

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Hard to swallow

Re Dairy Experts To Examine Butter Concerns (Report on Business, Feb. 26): I have been complaining about butter for quite some time now.

It doesn’t taste the same. It is like a block of cheese to cut, even when on the counter for days. My shortbread cookies are not up to the usual standard. When I whip cream, it tastes like that horrible artificial stuff.

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Do we listen to people who use butter all the time, or a professor who is skeptical because he doesn’t have hard data – pun intended!

Brenda Ellacott Ottawa

Still feel gone

Re Gone (Feb. 13): I read the obituaries in The Globe and Mail as they are like reading short stories of people I will never meet. The Globe’s front page of people lost to overdoses touched my soul.

I debated reading the article because I knew it would make me sad, as many were the ages of my children. I set it aside for a week before I read every story and looked at every face.

Any family that has struggled to find help for a child or friend dealing with their mental health knows how fine a line it is between living and dying. The strength of these families should be matched by strong changes to the accessibility of supports.

This is a public-health emergency. There are too many stories of waiting. We are losing a beautiful generation.

Marie Hardy Waterloo, Ont.

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Detours

Re Travellers To Pearson Who Violated Rules Given Fines, Police Say (Feb. 25): The Trudeau quarantine program looks to have no teeth. While sold as a deterrent costing $2,000 for mandatory stays in a designated hotel with testing, apparently one can avoid it by paying an $880 fine.

It’s certainly cheaper, but more costly by unnecessarily exposing those who are law-abiding to potential infection. It seems like a waste of time and resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Gary Raich Toronto


Re Southbound (Letters, Feb. 22): A letter-writer implies that those who don’t have the luxury of wintering elsewhere just didn’t do it right. I think this shows a lack of understanding about how many people in Canada struggle just to make ends meet. Their long game is finding money to buy groceries or pay rent for the month.

Those who travelled out of country didn’t follow government travel advisories, as many of us did, so they should deal with the consequences, even if they did receive earlier vaccinations. It was their choice to go.

Odeen Probert Waterloo, Ont.

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I’ve worked hard all my life. I now have the means to vacation overseas for two months every year. But have I? Nope. Will I? Nope. Why not? Because the public need to stay put outweighs my privilege, whether I’ve earned the opportunity to travel abroad or not.

To those of us living with the ramifications of the “sucker’s payoff:” We may not be enjoying the sunny skies down south, but we are doing the right thing. And to selfish snowbirds? Please stay away.

John Sigurd Gudmundson Toronto


I have spent winters in Thailand for many years. My wife is Thai and it makes for a cheap way to avoid the ice, being afraid of falling. There is basically no COVID-19 here, with per capita deaths even less than that of New Zealand.

But now my Thai visa has run out and I have no choice. I am far from a rich snowbird, as I have been accused of being. I worry about where I will find an extra $4,000. I worry more about my chances of getting infected at a hotel.

I feel my odds of bringing COVID-19 to Canada are nil, while the odds of Canada bringing it to me are much higher. And I must pay big money to take that risk.

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Ron Harder Toronto


My wife and I are in our eighties. We have been in Mexico since last October to sell our property in the country. The policy of three-day hotel stays for people arriving by air does not seem well thought through.

We understand the need for testing both on departure and arrival, along with the ensuing quarantine at home. But citizens arriving by land (who exceed numbers by air) have no hotel requirements, which doesn’t appear to be fair.

It would seem that new regulations were designed mainly for short-term “sun and sand” vacationers. Surely the hotel rule could have been handled by ensuring that only citizens leaving Canada as of, say, February would have to undergo hotel quarantine when they return.

Brian Howard Huntsville, Ont.


Re I Got The COVID-19 Vaccine, And I Feel Guilty (First Person, Feb. 22): Rather than being maligned or feeling guilt, snowbirds – and those in circumstances of apparent privilege to have been fairly vaccinated – should be recognized as contributing to the health of fellow citizens. Vaccines benefit not only those who receive them, but also those with whom they come in contact.

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Public-health policies that offer vaccinations to local residents and “visitors” alike should be understood as progressive. Put another way: If I were a Floridian living where snowbirds are prevalent, I’d feel safer knowing that visitors in my community were also vaccinated.

Regret or blame seem to miss the central point of population-based vaccination policy.

George Browman MD, FRCPC; Oak Bay, B.C.

Checks out

Re Cost of Coast Guard Ship Balloons Nearly Tenfold to $1-billion (Feb. 22): This is the latest boondoggle in the long, sad history of Canadian government procurement that includes bungled attempts to acquire working submarines, fighter jets and helicopters, to name a few.

That we have been unable to secure adequate supplies of vaccines should come as no surprise.

Neil Maltin Sarnia, Ont.

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Ask anyone who’s ever built anything – those change orders will get you every time.

Stephen Nash Toronto


When was the last time a military contract for a ship came in on time and under budget? If it has ever happened, someone should create a plaque commemorating when and where such a rare and historic event occurred.

Tom Beckley Keswick Ridge, N.B.

Drink up

Re 7-Eleven’s In-store Alcohol Plans Are A New Take On Old Model, Restaurant Group Says (Online, Feb. 17): What a wonderful advance this will be for society. Let’s hope it opens the door for alcohol sales in many other public venues.

In provincial legislatures perhaps – both on the assembly floor and in the visitors gallery? Wouldn’t it be grand to order a cocktail while killing time at a busy government office? Or how about at the doctor’s office or in the emergency room?

Then there are bookstores, where one could sip a dram of Irish whisky while picking up Dubliners or Ulysses, or maybe a gin and soda while thumbing through Hemingway. Come to think of it, a glass (or two) of red wine at church would make sermons a lot more interesting.

Serve alcohol in 7-Eleven stores first, then everywhere in the world. The possibilities are endless.

Ken Cuthbertson Kingston


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