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Then Governor-General Julie Payette listens to the National Anthem prior to the Speech from the Throne on September 23, 2020, in Ottawa.

DAVE CHAN/Getty Images

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COVID-19 consequences

Re Judge Mulls Whether To Keep Family’s Children Out Of Virus Hot Spot (Feb. 1): It’s still puzzling and disappointing to me that more regions and countries aren’t adopting “COVID-zero” policies to better contain the virus. No kidding that the mental health of this family’s children improved after moving to Newfoundland and Labrador and being able to play sports, see friends and do what kids usually do.

Why so many of us seem satisfied with an endless cycle of lockdowns is beyond me.

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Jeff Zuk Hamilton

Re B.C. Now Has Three ‘Long-hauler’ COVID-19 Clinics (Jan. 23): I am a COVID-19 long-hauler. Since last April, I’ve been plagued with crippling breathing and cardiac issues and profound fatigue – with no end in sight.

Because I remain too sick to work – and my insurer has denied my long-term disability claim – when my Employment Insurance benefits end, I will be left with no income whatsoever. I will be forced to sell my home to survive.

I am not alone. Thousands of Canadian long-haulers face the same reality. My experience shows that officials still refuse to acknowledge our existence. As the number of long-haulers continues to grow, I believe a new crisis is looming.

As far as most people are concerned, we are all “recovered.” That is precisely what the daily statistics show, yet it couldn’t be farther from our truth. We remain severely debilitated. Anyone contracting the virus risks losing a lot more than just their health.

Chantal Renaud Rockland, Ont.

Re Frustration, Anger Grow Over Lack Of Data Linking Restaurants To COVID-19 (Report on Business, Feb. 1): I must admit it’s taken a while, but this article about the frustrations of the hospitality industry finally struck a chord. Superimpose small retail businesses into the story and we are all in the same boat.

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Show me the data that allow Costcos and Walmarts to remain open, while small retail outlets following all the protocols apparently constitute potential superspreader sites. It seems that big-box stores have greater influence on policy-makers than most Canadian employers. Small businesses have taken the full brunt of the pandemic, and some will not survive.

As we have toed the line and done what has been asked (and legislated) of us, we should ask a few pertinent questions: Don’t big-box stores pose bigger risks of infection than physically distanced restaurant meals? When will someone speak up for us other than the Canadian Federation of Independent Business? Can we see the data, please?

Paul Dickson Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Leadership qualities

Re McKinsey In Settlement Talks Over Opioid Crisis: Source (Jan. 30): I have read so much lately about the behaviour of people considered to be Canada’s leaders: hospital CEOs, government ministers, the former governor-general and now, allegedly, Dominic Barton. So many people with incomes most of us can’t begin to imagine. It seems that despite the brilliance, the degrees, the CVs and so on, the missing element is the basic decency that so many ordinary folks try to live by.

We seem to have become so dazzled by the outward signs of success and achievement that we have neglected to consider someone’s character as well. I sincerely hope that one of the things we take from this pandemic is less reverence for the elites.

And would it be too much to ask for more modest salaries? Money seems to have had a negative effect on people’s awareness of their place in the world.

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Nancy Gray London, Ont.

Re Trudeau Gets A Viceregal Do-over (Editorial, Jan. 25): An increasingly large proportion of the Canadian population, while having a strong connection with Canada, has none with what some still call the “mother country.” But it seems a false dichotomy to suggest that the only alternative is “an elected and empowered head of state.”

There is a third alternative: to make the governor-general (under a more suitable name) the head of state with exactly the same powers as now. I find no reason why the role could not continue as-is, but with severance from the monarchy. A better selection process would be needed, but that’s already apparent.

Provincial unanimity to amend the constitution would be a stumbling block. That’s no reason not to advocate for such a change upon the demise of the current beloved monarch. As I recall, that was the editorial position of The Globe and Mail years ago – perhaps it needs reviving.

John Edmond Ottawa

Re It Matters Who The Governor-general Is (Jan. 27): I agree with columnist Andrew Coyne that the role of governor-general is a serious job – but rarely.

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Constitutional crises and parliamentary squabbles requiring a difficult, reasoned decision occur so seldom that these are, at most, a tiny part of the position’s responsibilities. Perhaps the relevant analogy is insurance: One knows one must have it, just in case, but realizes the strong likelihood that one will never make a claim.

Furthermore, success in the role is often measured by the ability to remain void of opinion and never be part of the story – hardly the experience that breeds serious people. Yet the challenge is to find such a serious person willing to undertake a role that will likely never require that qualification to be demonstrated.

Alternatively, we could find a not-so-serious person and have the Supreme Court make those rare difficult decisions. But that would require constitutional edits.

Mark Roberts Calgary

Striking image

Re A Pogrom Is Happening In Ethiopia (Feb. 2): Thanks to The Globe and Mail for publishing the striking photo by Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah that accompanies this excellent article.

The image of an Ethiopian woman with her child gave me two faces to associate with this horrible violence. The woman is likely exhausted and hungry, but doing all she can to keep her child safe. Her face shows suffering, but also dignity and resolve.

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I want so much to give her a hug and tell her things will get better. But will they? Humanity doesn’t have a great track record on intervention in atrocities.

Susan Todd Burnaby, B.C.

Sunk costs

Re National Defence Says Canada Won’t See Ships From $60-billion Warship Project Until 2030 (Feb. 3): That’s $4-billion for each of 15 new warships classed as, get this, “surface combatants.” At that price, we should certainly hope they can stay afloat on the surface for at least a year or two. But who knows – after all, the frigates will be in salt water.

Gordon Salisbury Mississauga

Electric dreams

Re GM’s Switch To Electric Vehicles Is Part Hype, Part Hope (Report on Business, Feb. 3): General Motors’ commitment to a full-scale electric vehicle shift is welcome news, putting the company on the same positive path as many other major auto makers.

It is interesting that in 1900, when the automobile was still in its infancy, 40 per cent of the U.S. vehicle fleet was steam-powered, 38 per cent was electric and only 22 per cent was gasoline-powered. By picking the wrong technology to perfect, we almost wrecked our planet.

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Hopefully it is not too late for a repair job.

Tom MacDonald Ottawa


Re Captain Tom Moore, Veteran Who Raised Millions For British Health Services, Dies At 100 (Feb. 2): Of the many life lessons Captain Tom Moore taught us, maybe goal-setting and perseverance are the most important.

He wanted to ride his motorcycle until he was 100, but broke his hip at 98. He then set a goal of completing 100 laps of his garden behind his walker to help raise £1,000. He became a global inspiration, raising more than £40-million for the British health care system.

What a great example for us all.

Joe Benedetti Hamilton

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