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Supporters of Wet’suwet’en Nation who oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline protest outside the provincial headquarters of the RCMP, in Surrey, B.C., on Jan. 16, 2020.JESSE WINTER/Reuters

The never-ending story?

Re Meeting Between Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs And Governments To End Rail Crisis Falls Apart (Feb. 27): In March, 2016, Justin Trudeau was honoured in a special ceremony with the Tsuutʼina Nation in Alberta. He was presented with an honorary headdress and given the name Gumistiyi, meaning “the one who keeps trying.” As our country continues on the journey toward reconciliation, I urge the Prime Minister to reflect back on that day and commit to keep trying, despite current tensions over issues such as pipelines and resource development. The long-term benefits of reconciliation are just too important.

Suzzanne Fisher Calgary

Canada faces local outbreaks of an epidemic that can easily become a full-blown national pandemic. Fleeting signs of a cure are dashed by unexpected flareups across the country. Government officials are baffled by what to do next.

Is this the coronavirus? No. Rather, it’s the current standoff between the Wet’suwet’en, allied Indigenous groups, environmentalists, the federal and provincial governments, the RCMP, mining and oil companies, health officials, railway companies and the rule of law.

It seems dealing with the coronavirus will be a piece of cake compared with solving this continuing crisis.

Marty Cutler Toronto

Vaccine views

Re Calling The Shots (Opinion, Feb, 22): Vaccine misinformation has been causing people to make ill-informed decisions about immunization since vaccines were introduced. Contributor Alice Fleerackers shows how even earnest misinformed views can affect the choices people make regarding their health. As ever, an anecdotal narrative, without scientific validation, speaks louder than medical evidence.

I believe that we all have a role toward building a healthier community. One of the simplest ways that we can achieve this is by encouraging open dialogue and conversations between parents and their child’s health-care provider to help make informed, evidence-based decisions about vaccinations. This in turn can help prevent the spread of misinformation, infectious diseases and outbreaks in our community.

Vinita Dubey MD, Associate Medical Officer of Health; Toronto

I certainly support everyone making their own health decisions, so an article by someone who decided to get vaccinated for the first time, at 27, is certainly interesting. But I also believe that the other side should be covered – people who turned against vaccines, such as myself.

When I graduated at the top of my class in biology, I fervently believed in vaccines until, years later, I was challenged on my beliefs and admitted I had no scientific knowledge on the subject. As I started to read the science, I gradually turned against vaccines. I found that true placebos are rarely used and that trials are designed to show the development of antibodies, not prevention of disease.

Billions of dollars have been spent on compensating for vaccine damage in the United States. Potentially toxic ingredients are used in some vaccines, particularly the metals mercury and aluminum. And my research into historical statistics showed that the greatest decline in deaths from infectious diseases occurred before a vaccine was available.

David Crowe Calgary

As a child of the 1950s, I am horrified at the whole anti-vaccination movement. We grew up with smallpox (now nearly eradicated), chickenpox, diphtheria, measles and – sometimes fatal and perhaps worst of all – polio. Just about every child knew of some poor soul in an iron lung and, if they survived that, destined to wear crippling braces for the rest of their lives.

Vaccines were the miracle for a happy childhood. How sad that so many seem to have lost their way, and so many exposed unnecessarily to preventable diseases.

Michael Vollmer Burlington, Ont.

Carbon coping

Re Want A Carbon Strategy? It Has To Be National (Editorial, Feb. 26): The Globe and Mail’s editorial seems like a recipe for failure on the issues of global warming and national unity.

The idea of “common, national limits on the output of carbon” implies that every province should make the same reduction to its carbon emissions. I find that impractical and it suggests carbon is the only contributor to global warming.

The editorial further suggests that the only two options are a federal strategy (described as essential) or to “leave it to the provinces” (a disaster).

I believe the real option is for Ottawa to do everything it can within its own power, while letting the provinces do what they can within theirs.

Canadians want action from all three levels of government, and each level should be able to respond as it wishes – and face its electors accordingly.

That is how democracy and federalism should work, and how global warming could be successfully dealt with.

Ed Whitcomb Author, Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces, the contentious history of the Canadian federation; Ottawa.

A national carbon strategy? No, actually, it should be a global strategy.

Stephen Potter Ottawa

Verdict reached

Re My Jury Duty Is Over, But I’m Still Deliberating In My Head (Opinion, Feb. 22): Like contributor Donna Lindell, my experience as a juror was one full of learning and personal growth.

Our group of 12 disparate individuals worked together for nearly three weeks in a way that I never would have expected. Anger, tears and deep disagreement erupted, but we reached a verdict that we all could live with. We were certainly helped along by a very kind judge, who did everything that he could to make us comfortable, as well as four court-service officers who were thoughtful and caring.

In the end, this disparate group had bonded enough to have reunions over the two years that followed the trial. While I understand that others’ lives may make it difficult to be a juror, I urge everyone to make the changes and effort necessary to be able to serve. It is a privilege that we should protect.

Jeanette Browne Guelph, Ont.

So they say

I would like to add one more historical example to contributor Dennis Baron’s examination of pronouns (Spreading The Word – Opinion, Feb. 22). Sometime during Bob Rae’s term as premier of Ontario, Queen’s Park chose to have proposed bills and Hansard use “they” for the third-person singular, as well as the plural.

This was the early 1990s, when Canadian society as a whole was trying to get away from the grammatically correct, but socially and politically ludicrous, rule that the masculine includes the feminine.

The multitasking word “they” also saved us from those awkward mishmashes of verbiage such as “he and/or she” and “him and/or her.”

In Canada today, “they” fits the bill as the pronoun of inclusion, equality and respect, which each citizen expects, as well they should.

Ken DeLuca Arnprior, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

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