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Re Ottawa Mayor Declares State Of Emergency Over Protests (Feb. 7): “We want our freedom” seems to be the overwhelming cry of protesters across the country.
We all want to go about our lives without restrictions and mandates. But COVID-19 has killed more than 34,000 people in Canada and more than 900,000 in the United States. The numbers keep going up; we become oblivious to it.
The abuse of the term “freedom” has been labelled by a U.S. scholar as “ugly freedoms,” since it is hijacked in support of the will of a few, some of whom might be white supremacists. Irritated and angry Canadians, seeing an opportunity to vent, are getting sucked into it.
Lost in this is a sense of common good. Individual freedom has its limits, otherwise we have anarchy. Unfortunately, big trucks cannot as easily be removed from a demonstration site – now an occupation in Ottawa. Truckers should move their rigs and help fight the virus.
Wendel Goetz Waterloo, Ont.
Re Calling Vaccine Mandates A ‘Crime Against Humanity’ Is Dangerous (Feb. 3): I nearly shouted and fist-pumped at contributor Mark Kersten’s thoughtful opinion on what constitutes a “crime against humanity.”
Certainly we’re all tired and “over COVID,” even those of us who rolled up our sleeves – once, twice and a third time – in support of our elders, those immunocompromised or too young to be vaccinated and, yes, our greater community. My family is but one that’s been ripped apart by dangerous, nonsensical rhetoric.
Sadly, my son is down this rabbit hole, shouting “wake up” to me and other family members who are vaccinated. In my case, the gullible, misguided unvaccinated have cast us out.
I’m not sure when or how this will end (the pandemic, the spread of misinformation etc.), but I can’t wait for it to be over. I just pray we can heal as a family and a country.
Jessica Smith Hamilton
Re Will The Ottawa Convoy Morph Into A Tea Party-style Populist Movement? (Feb. 1): At the heart of contemporary American populism is status resentment, prompted by traditional racial and immigration issues. Canada may be spared the emergence of a similar movement by the strength of multiculturalism.
Although immigration has been a key part of the national narrative in both countries, the Canadian approach to immigrant integration and, more generally, racial and ethnic pluralism has been markedly different. For the past half-century, the Canadian response has been grounded upon a multicultural ideology for which there is no American counterpart.
Social and political trends inescapably seep across the border, but so long as Canadians remain committed to a multicultural ideology (and national surveys indicate that they do), the populist mayhem that now plagues the United States may be averted.
Martin Marger Windsor, Ont.
Re Erin O’Toole’s Exit (Letters, Feb. 4): I understand why a letter-writer’s colour choices – “Red Tory” or “Blue Liberal” – are depressing. Taken together, they are somewhat muddy indeed.
A suggestion: orange or green.
Kenneth McDonald White Rock, B.C.
Re Odessa Tries To Keep It Cool As Russian Ships Head Toward Ukraine’s Vital Coastal Zone (Feb. 5): This report reveals some discomfiting truths about a “Ukrainianization” campaign to defeat the use of Russian in the country.
Ukraine elects its leader democratically, but it is clear to me that the government lacks respect for fundamental freedoms known to liberal democracies. Ukraine should be pressured to accept diversity as a condition of Western aid. Canada could be a role model.
John Edmond Ottawa
Re Oil Sands Companies Have The Financial Muscle To Go Their Own Way On Reducing Carbon Emissions (Report on Business, Feb. 1): The financial needs of BP and Shell and their investments in carbon-emission reduction are contrasted with those of Canadian Natural Resources and Suncor, with the latter being able to self-finance projects. However, the aim of European oil majors is to address all emissions that result from oil and gas production, whereas the so-called net-zero definition of Canadian companies only targets manufacturing emissions.
Suncor and CNRL would face much greater financing needs if they were addressing the full environmental impact of their activities. Eventually, society may require them to do so, and they may find themselves so far behind that they struggle to survive.
J.E. Savage Hamilton
Take me higher
Re High Point (Letters, Feb. 4): A letter-writer references the Bank of Canada raising interest rates to 13.51 per cent in 1990. Anyone remember the early 1980s?
We bought a fixer-upper in Toronto in 1979, with a down payment of about $10,000 and a mortgage interest rate of 11 per cent. Three years later when we needed to renew our mortgage, the rate was 18 per cent. That’s also about the time food banks started appearing as a “temporary emergency measure.”
Interest rates have been low for a number of years, but people still can’t afford to buy houses. Go figure.
Heather MacAndrew Victoria
Re Why It’s Time To Retire ‘NIMBY’ (Real Estate, Feb. 4): As a baby boomer, I have been accused of being unable to accept housing densification in Vancouver. Not true.
The failures of the current system include: the promise of non-market housing units that become market housing after construction; city planners overriding official community plans; ever more people living in poorly run strata properties; lack of investment in community centres and libraries that currently operate at overcapacity.
Better outcomes to achieve affordable housing would be: planning driven by communities, rather than developers and bureaucrats; expansion of libraries and community centres; retention and adding of mature and native gardens and trees; adequate green-space buffers so that all residents can connect with nature.
Unless we change our current planning process and value neighbourhood input, I believe we will soon be unable to consider Vancouver a green city with livable neighbourhoods.
Tricia Daum Vancouver
Re Queen Wants Camilla To Assume Title Of ‘Queen Consort’ When Charles Becomes King (Feb. 7): The Queen’s decision to elevate Camilla’s future job posting to queen consort may have happened because Her Majesty deemed it a trifle unseemly for a 74-year-old to be burdened with the title of princess, a word many of us associate with girls and their dolls.
The real question is whether the British public is ready to let go of its memories of Princess Diana and cede its loyalty to another.
Geoff Rytell Toronto
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