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A customer leaves an SAQ outlet Thursday, January 6, in Deux-Montagnes, Que. The Quebec government announced that vaccine passports will be required to enter all government liquor stores and cannabis outlets.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

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More measures

Re (Un)equal Access (Letters, Jan. 7): Addressing the issue of consequences for vaccine holdouts, a letter-writer says “right on.” I say “right arm.”

Ron Freedman Toronto

Those that compare smoking to the choice not to vaccinate should be aware that one is an addiction and the other is a belief (though a misguided one at that).

David Godman Toronto

Re Quebec Expands Vaccine Passports To Liquor, Pot Stores (Jan. 7): Bravo, Quebec. If not being able to buy booze and dope doesn’t motivate vaccine holdouts to finally get the jab, then I don’t know what will.

Mind you, there is money to be made by those vaccinated entrepreneurs willing to procure said items for a small fee.

Bruce Burbank Woodstock, Ont.

I couldn’t agree more with Quebec Minister of Health Christian Dubé: ”If they don’t want to get vaccinated, they can stay home.”

When I returned from the United States last spring, double-vaccinated and triple-tested, I was considered a potential public-health risk and could not leave my property for 14 days. The unvaccinated are a known public-health risk – keep them at home.

Karen Fuller Wasaga Beach, Ont.

So how about vaccine clinics inside liquor and pot shops? If space is tight, maybe the blackberry vodka coolers could move over for a few weeks.

Chris Harrison Hamilton

Public support

Re ‘Safe Supply’ Of Opioids Is One Of The Best Tools To Tackle The Crisis (Jan. 6): I wish to thank physicians Bonnie Larson, Ginetta Salvalaggio and Claire Bodkin for their response to Vincent Lam’s critique of safe supply (First, Do No Harm – Opinion, Nov. 20).

As provincial health officer for British Columbia in 2016, I declared a public-health emergency in response to growing overdose deaths in the province. Six years later, despite heroic efforts by peers, public-health practitioners and first responders, those deaths continue unabated – indeed, they have increased.

The death toll is unconscionable, doubly so as effective tools to bring it down are at hand. As physicians point out, safe supply through a public-health approach, rather than a physician-centred one, could save many more lives.

Exemptions from section 56 of Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are needed to facilitate this. However, the political will appears to be missing for expanding this intervention beyond small programs in a few provinces. It suggests, sadly, that some lives are worth less than others.

Perry Kendall CM, OBC, FRCPC; clinical professor, school of population and public health, University of British Columbia; Vancouver

Closer look

Re Divided They Stand (Jan. 6): I have decided that the U.S. midterm elections in November should be monitored by foreign entities to ensure fairness. The recent elections in Ethiopia would provide a good template.

David Shore Richmond, B.C.

Choose your fighter

Re Defending The Arctic Requires Buying F-35s and Modernizing NORAD (Dec. 29) and Give Peace A Chance (Letters, Jan. 4): It has taken more than six years for this government to replace our aging CF-18 fleet of fighter aircraft with the F-35. All of our NATO allies have selected the F-35. Even countries such as Norway, Finland and Denmark have selected the F-35 over the Saab Gripen E contender.

Canada has also contributed close to a half-billion dollars for Lockheed Martin’s development of the F-35, and this is the only fifth-generation aircraft left in the competition. On the grounds of operational compatibility with other NATO-allied aircraft, the selection of the F-35 should be a no-brainer for the Liberal government.

J.G. Gilmour Calgary

The government would be best serving Canadian interests by building our own military aircraft instead of waiting on and paying foreign candidates. Investment should go into Canadian technology, Canadian engineering and Canadian jobs – and it should happen soon.

Smaller countries such as Sweden do it with the Saab Gripen E. We can, too. We have the know-how, the industrial capacity and certainly the labour force.

Russia and China have indicated interest in our Arctic. We should shove off our military lassitude and face the facts of contemporary realpolitik.

Grant Bourdon Kingston

New day rising

Re New National Security Adviser Is Hawkish On China (Jan. 6): The encouraging news emanating from Jody Thomas’s appointment is that the Trudeau government appears to be getting serious about mapping out Canada’s future, in a world where we will need to fend for ourselves like at no time in our history.

Having the, er, spine to stand one’s ground and look Beijing, or anyone else, in the eye should not be seen as being hawkish – it’s being principled.

Kevin Cavanagh, St Catharines, Ont.

So Jody Thomas “was known to have rubbed some senior generals the wrong way for pushing hard to change the culture of sexual misconduct in the military.” Is there a right way?

Marty Cutler Toronto

They said

Re She Said (Letters, Jan. 7): Certainly meritocracy should be the only criterion by which a health professional is selected.

Requesting a female specialist exclusively, as a letter-writer suggests, could result in not getting the best treatment.

Alison Kyba Guelph, Ont.

Oh to be a fly on the wall to watch Gloria Steinem’s reaction if she were to read a letter-writer suggesting women should do their jobs well, stay quiet and wait for meritocracy to kick in.

I hope she wouldn’t choke on her morning coffee. I know I did.

Tom Scanlan Toronto

History has proven time and time again that meaningful change happens precisely when people do speak up – and speak up loudly. Kudos to these women in medicine who are brave enough to do so, and will not be bullied into silence.

Ingeborg James Toronto

A letter-writer states that “100 years ago, there were no women in medical school.” My grandmother Clara Olding graduated from Dalhousie University’s medical school more than 125 years ago in 1896, and she was not the first.

As Enid Johnson MacLeod documents in Petticoat Doctors: The First Forty Years of Women in Medicine at Dalhousie University, dozens of women graduated from that medical school between 1894 and 1921.

Gordon Hebb QC; chief legislative counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly; Halifax

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