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A woman wears a face mask as she walks along a street in Montreal, Jan. 3, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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Re Nearly Half Of Canadians Visited Friends Or Family Over The Holidays, New Poll Suggests (Online, Jan. 5): Before we learned that some politicians are hypocrites when it comes to pandemic travel restrictions, Canadians were already ignoring public health guidelines en masse, including socializing during the holidays. When it comes to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, we have seen the enemy and it is us.

Erik Van Drunen Kitchener, Ont.

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Re What The World Can Learn From Israel’s Vaccination ‘Miracle’ (Online, Jan. 7) and The Vaccines Are Ready. Is Canada? (Editorial, Dec. 6): Comparing Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination rates with Canada seems pointless, except to point out that we should do better and can’t follow their model.

Deploying military-trained leadership to lead a non-military vaccination organization does not feel like a recipe for success. Unlike Israel, most Canadians don’t have military experience, and directives from a chain of command will likely not evoke a consistent response from individuals and organizations.

We should also not be wasting time to create homegrown solutions for the challenge of vaccinations. Time is COVID-19′s evil twin. An efficient solution: Canadian pharmacy chains have offered to help, and have proven vaccine distribution and administration systems in place.

Let’s use Canada’s pharmacies to help get the job done fast – and beat the clock and the virus.

William Harney Toronto

Now and then

Re The World Today Has Me Worried About Raising A Jewish Child (Opinion, Jan. 2): Contributor Casey Babb’s article took me back to my worst experience of anti-Semitism.

In Grade 13, I was given a classmate’s test to mark as the teacher reviewed answers out loud. He asked me to pad his mark. I refused, stating I had marked it fairly. He then asked, “Where you from?”

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“I’m from Canada. I was born here,” I said.

“No, but what’s your background?” he pressed on.

Finally I said, “I’m Jewish.”

He turns to his friend and says, for me and everyone in earshot to hear, “No wonder he’s so greedy.”

When I got home, visibly upset, and told my father what happened, I was surprised by his lack of outrage. The gist of what he said was: Carry on and don’t let it bother you. However, my father’s family were some of the only Jewish people in small-town Southern Ontario in the 1930s and 1940s. Back then, one blended in as much as possible. If anti-Semitism was encountered (which he did), then one rolled with the punches.

Mr. Babb’s concerns are well founded. But hopefully he can see there has been some progress – especially in schools – and that the current lessons of inclusion and anti-bullying will make his child’s path easier than ours or that of our parents.

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He can be the parent who, unlike mine, would call the school and demand that kids who spread hate against his child or any other be held accountable.

Tony Sturman Bath, Ont.

Protection provisions

Re Provincial Decision To Open Rockies To Coal Mining Faces Court Challenges (Dec. 26) and Protected Areas May Not Match Canadians’ Needs: Research (Jan. 6): Before we do something irreversible, before we lop off the top of a beautiful part of the Rocky Mountains, we should think carefully.

Grassy Mountain, for example, is an ancient grandfather contributing to the beauty, health and spirit of Canada. A Grassy Mountain coal mine would be another sacred site sold to commercial developers, another way to rid our country of meaning, history, purpose and beauty, to erode rivers and contaminate their waters.

Of course, people want jobs. But is there a way to create them without permanent damage to the environment, degradation of water quality and destruction of Indigenous land? Come to my city: It’s very windy and extremely sunny here – are there renewable resource projects on the horizon?

We should find ways to keep people employed that protect the beauty of our environment. It is irreplaceable.

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Janet Youngdahl Mazidi Lethbridge, Alta.

Natural areas require protection from humans, and human survival requires natural areas. Perhaps a bird’s-eye view will enable two-way thinking on what the planet needs for its survival.

Persistent human activity, based on the need to create more jobs for a constantly increasing population, is squeezing humanity into a steadily narrowing space too tight for a U-turn. A more fitting description of this conundrum would be “dizzy dog faints from chasing its tail.”

Bill Bousada Carleton Place, Ont.

For one

Re People Living Alone Adapt To Life With Limited Interaction (Jan. 2): How refreshing to find an article about those who live alone and by choice as I do, and acknowledging that it is tricky during the pandemic.

It is also amazing to read that single households like mine are the majority in Canada. Most discussions about health care for the elderly, for example, assume family members not only exist but are nearby and actively providing supervision.

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Diana Chastain Toronto

Game on?

Re Pound Predicts Strong Support For Prioritizing Vaccines For Olympians (Sports, Jan. 7): What bubble is Dick Pound living in? Who would be giving this strong support? At least he agrees that health care workers and vulnerable high-risk individuals should be a priority. But in what world should healthy, young, less-at-risk athletes come next? A world that continues to pander to celebrities in sports or otherwise?

I am all for the Olympics and watch every two years with great Canadian pride. But if this comes at the expense of any at-risk individuals – I say that is a sad state of affairs indeed.

The International Olympic Committee might want to consider the optics of this one, let alone the ethics of making the right moral decision in pandemic times.

Angela Mackie RN, North Vancouver

Re Ontario Gives Permission For Maple Leafs, Senators To Play Home Games (Sports, Jan. 8): Major league teams should be vaccinated for COVID-19. This seems like privilege for the elite, but this would secure successful sports seasons.

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People have lost so many activities during the pandemic. Many fans are suffering from boredom, substance abuse and depression. Sports are a major outlet for so many.

Players, coaches and staff should be vaccinated so that teams can travel and play safely. It is not for their benefit that I recommend vaccination, but for us, the fans, and our health. It’s a long winter.

Mike Lauber Toronto

Let her eat cake

Re Who Knows What Temptation Lies In The Hearts Of Dogs When The Hour Grows Late? (First Person, Dec 24): Although lacking a wax baby Jesus, we have been beholden to an abundance of chocolate and homemade cake in our house. They both proved too tempting for our rescue dog Coco to resist.

One Christmas, we thought we safely stowed the holiday chocolate. To our horror, we discovered that Coco devoured a 24-count of Ferrero Rocher. She wisely managed to avoid eating any of the gold wrappers and left them scattered on the floor.

The next occasion involved a large corner of a hazelnut layer cake laboriously and lovingly made for my father’s 80th birthday. Somehow Coco managed to reach the top of the stove where it was safely “out of reach.”

Not to be outdone by that episode, one New Year’s Eve I returned from a harried shopping trip to frost a carrot cake. Alas, the kitchen counter was bare with no cake in sight. I was not amused, to put it mildly.

Coco lived to the age of 17 and could sniff out delicious treats from kitchen counters or rotting food buried beneath snow banks – and relished them equally.

Mary Dahonick Toronto

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