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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears at Question Period virtually during a sitting of the House of Commons on Feb. 3, 2021.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Got your back

Re Ford Denies Causing Doctor To Be Fired For Criticizing Province’s Pandemic Response (Feb. 3): Dr. Brooks Fallis advocated for best practices in this pandemic so that hospitals would be able to provide optimal care for COVID-19 patients. He should be commended, not censured for his constructive criticism.

My opinion is that the hospital’s chief executive should resign for attempting to muzzle this physician. As well, any person in the Premier’s Office who brought pressure on hospital administration should face the wrath of opposition parties at Queen’s Park.

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Robert Wagman MD, FRCSC; Toronto

Can’t see it

Re A Great Vaccine Plan – For The Year 2022 (Editorial, Feb. 3): I would equate vaccine manufacturing to a standing army. We may never have a war in our time, and a standing army may seem like money poorly spent. But man oh man we better have a well-prepared army when war does arise.

Pandemics may not happen every year, but my goodness how nice it would be right now to have a homegrown supplier of a vaccine to protect us.

The utter lack of vision from politicians on this matter is what bothers me so greatly.

Janek Jagiellowicz Waterloo, Ont.

In 1989, a shortsighted government sold Connaught Laboratories to Institut Mérieux of France. I was employed at the Foreign Investment Review Agency at that time and remember it as a sad occasion.

There is hope once again that we will not be dependent on a foreign source for emergency vaccines and therapeutic drugs. This time, let us support our researchers and keep the lab in our country.

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Elizabeth Gregory Ottawa

Re Britain Leads Vaccination Charge (Feb. 2): Almost a year has passed, and only now are we talking about finishing a vaccine production facility in Montreal. Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail rightfully highlights Britain’s vaccine rollout as Canada lags behind most Group of Seven countries. And almost all of the people over 65 in my U.S. networks have already been vaccinated.

Why is Canada so helpless? What exactly is the plan? General bullet points on a website are not enough. The economy is not an abstraction – it is people’s lives. Every day of unnecessary delays in vaccinations is another day of unnecessary deaths.

Blair Wheaton Toronto

2022 and beyond

Re Canadian Olympic Committee Director Rejects Calls To Boycott Beijing Games (Feb. 3): I agree with Richard Pound that boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympics would only harm Canadian athletes. That said, the Olympic movement in recent decades has been plagued by unsavoury host countries, inadequate anti-doping controls, corruption, excessive public debt and, of course, boycotts. All of this can be laid at the feet of the International Olympic Committee.

Here’s a simple solution: Establish permanent sites for the summer and winter Olympics in Sweden and Switzerland. Both countries are stable, modern, neutral democracies. After all, the ancient Greeks did not change the location of the Olympics every four years, and wars between Greek city states were suspended for the duration of games.

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If the Olympics are really about peaceful athletic competition and not just money and entertainment, the IOC should quickly move in this direction.

Michael Sullivan Ottawa

Work history

Re McKinsey In Settlement Talks Over Opioid Crisis: Source (Jan. 30): Dominic Barton should take responsibility for any involvement in the opioid crisis while at McKinsey & Company.

Mr. Barton was McKinsey’s global managing partner at the time. On the company’s own website, it clearly states that the global managing partner “plays an important role in shaping McKinsey’s overall direction.”

McKinsey was consulted and recommended ways to pay Purdue Pharma distributors a rebate (yes, a rebate) for every OxyContin overdose attributed to pills sold. The company, through powerful lobbying of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, convinced physicians that fears about the addictive nature of OxyContin were overblown. For all the families grieving the loss of someone who simply went to the doctor’s for pain relief, this is an insult.

Oh, and Mr. Barton is still “an extraordinary Canadian who is doing great work for us in China as Canada’s ambassador,” according to Justin Trudeau. I guess all is forgiven in his case.

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Janet Henri Chelsea, Que.

Right on

Re Ontario Government’s Reckless Overhaul Of The Human Rights Tribunal Cannot Be Tolerated (Opinion, Jan. 30): There is a larger issue here: Anti-discrimination laws continue to struggle to fit into our legal system. There is a lack of legal precedent regarding the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Canadian Charter supersedes legislation, yet administrative tribunals are the only accessible avenue.

I find that social justice is an illusion so long as the system needs re-evaluating to properly serve its intended purpose. However, regardless of the political leaders in charge, it seems that public attitudes are that social-justice issues cost more than what the people who use them deserve (mostly Indigenous people, single women, low-income earners and visible minorities).

More than blaming Doug Ford for delays, it is the bureaucracies of the dominant hierarchy that should be addressed when it comes to an inability to serve social justice in a timely manner. We should have innovative political leaders who see the bigger picture.

Vicenzina (Enza) Buffa Former adjudicator, Tribunals Ontario (2004 to 2018); Waterdown, Ont.

Poetry in motion

Re Well Versed (First Person, Jan. 28): Much like essay-writer Millie Morton, I too have taken to memorizing poems while walking everyday. I keep hoping that one of these days, as I recite Casey at the Bat, that he won’t strike out!

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Tom Scanlan Toronto

My late father had committed to memory volumes of poetry since high school. “Pretty things well said, it’s nice to have them in your head,” was his oft-quoted phrase from Robert Frost.

One of the highlights of his life was a visit to Tintern Abbey in Britain, where he stood before it reciting, by heart, all 162 lines of William Wordsworth’s Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.

At nearly 97 years old, and with significant dementia, he was still able to recite lines he had stored in his soul for decades. When his ability to engage in common discourse began to elude him, I spent hours reciting poetry with him, back and forth, his line then mine, until we reached the final stanza.

Now, on my long early morning walks, I recite aloud the poems that I, too, have stored in my soul. In these times of despair and worry, it brings me immeasurable joy and comfort.

Gilda Berger Toronto

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