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Quebec Premier François Legault, right, and then-Quebec Public Health Director Horacio Arruda leave a news conference in Montreal, on Dec. 30, 2021.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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The unvaccinated

Re Should The Unvaxxed Be Taxed? (Editorial, Jan. 13): “Charging a fee to stay unvaccinated is no different than promising cash to get jabbed. The latter didn’t work, which strongly suggests the former won’t either.” I think this conflates two separate issues.

One is the effort to get more people vaccinated. The second is to raise funds to pay for all the unvaccinated people who disproportionately end up in intensive-care units. It may be true that a tax won’t be effective on the first goal, but it certainly should be effective on the second. Intensive care for unvaccinated patients is costing the health care system (i.e. all of us) dearly.

At the least, the Quebec tax sends a signal that there is a cost to the health care system for being unvaccinated – and it is precisely the unvaccinated who should bear that cost.

Mark Brooks Ottawa


Re Even The Unvaccinated Deserve Health Care (Opinion, Jan. 8): Ideologically, I agree. So does my brother, whose cancer treatment has been delayed three times while limited health care resources are allocated to COVID-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated.

The question should not be if the unvaccinated deserve health care. It should be: Do they deserve it more than my brother? I think not.

Kerrie Hale Calgary


For those who insist on the individual right to not be vaccinated, wouldn’t it be noble of them to also refuse health care?

Rather than being first in line for intensive care – after leaving a hospital demonstration denigrating front-line workers, then demanding the best care our system provides – instead invoke one’s right to refuse treatment. It would be real proof of one’s convictions to make the ultimate sacrifice in the comfort of home.

Some choices would be easier than others, wouldn’t they?

Keith Jones Norfolk County, Ont.

Political position

Re What Does The West Want In Ukraine? (Editorial, Jan. 12): I find several problems with the argument that the West should force neutrality upon Ukraine and bar the country from joining NATO.

In 2014, a neutral Ukraine was invaded by Russia and part of its territory occupied. Countries are also free to choose their own security arrangements; a proposal to return to spheres of influence is a likely recipe for future instability.

Most importantly, such a proposal would reward aggression and potentially beget further aggression. It would be more akin to Munich in 1938 than Austria in 1955. Giving in to Russian aggression and colonialist ambitions would endanger the security of Europe, Canada and indeed the world.

Ihor Michalchyshyn CEO and executive director, Ukrainian Canadian Congress Ottawa


Re Old Rivals (Letters, Jan. 13): Can we stop pretending that Western intentions in the region are any less malevolent than Russian ones?

It may be true that “these countries are sovereign, so Russia does not get a say in determining their policy.” But neither should the West decide what constitutes a security threat on Russian borders. The United States would not tolerate a Chinese presence in its sphere of influence and would likely use force to seek an expulsion.

As political scientist John Mearsheimer observed, that is “geopolitics 101.”

Ian Spears Associate professor, department of political science University of Guelph

Outspoken

Re How Toronto-based YouTube Alternative Rumble Became A Refuge For The MAGA Crowd (Report on Business, Jan. 8): Rumble’s Chris Pavlovski seems like a threat to civil society and a disgrace to Canada. I think he is masquerading as an advocate of free speech and cashing in with a platform for the spread of misinformation, lies and hatred.

Murray Jackson Ottawa

Long view

Re Endless Bummer: Notes On An Unrelenting Pandemic (Jan. 8): Even as this pandemic winds down or transforms into endemic status, we will not be out of the woods with respect to increased strains on mental-health services. Pandemics may end, but both the physical and psychological sequelae will persist long after.

The term long-haulers can also define the psychologically vulnerable who suffer through isolation and COVID-19-related anxieties, too many not able to adequately access support. There is still much to be done to address the underfunding and unequal access of mental-health services.

Pamela Paris PhD, psychologist Toronto

Inner thoughts

Re Are We Done Self-improving Yet? (Opinion, Jan. 8): I have seen seeming addiction to self-help books and seminars in my practice.

The result can be a combination of debt, discouragement and a divorce from reality, with promises the next workshop will be the one that finally brings meaningful change or transformation. This can be a trap because sometimes people seek self-improvement out of a sense of not being good enough, or shame.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote, “happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” In my clinical experience, self-improvement appears primarily as a byproduct of self-acceptance, which addresses that shame at the root of most compulsive escapes – including the one that promises we will somehow soon be a better person.

Conrad Sichler MD Burlington, Ont.

Positive thinking

Re There Are Reasons For Hope Amid Environmental Gloom (Jan. 8): My spirits rose along with the news of the emergence of the long-lost black-browed babbler. I am convinced nature will prevail, especially with news of sea otters, humpback and blue whales and some land animals no longer at risk.

As Milan Kundera wrote, “Optimism is the opium of the people,” and I’m about to ingest a large dose!

Riva Ellinson London, Ont.

Not like the other

Re Real Estate Scion Was Convicted In 2000 Murder, Suspected Of Others and I Remember Desmond Tutu (Obituaries, Jan. 13): There they were: The evil Robert Durst and the virtuous Bishop Desmond Tutu, who helped end apartheid in South Africa.

Seeing their photos together was a vivid reminder of the wide range of human nature. Our race seems capable of the worst and the very best.

Anne Tait Toronto

Feel it all

Re: What’s Going to Save Us All? Our Imaginations (Opinion, Jan. 8): I felt vindicated after reading contributor Chris Jones’s treatise on human creativity.

It has always seemed so obvious to me that we ignore intuition at our peril. Analytics can point us in the right direction, but without human interpretation and creative applications, numbers are one-dimensional.

The sixth sense cannot be underestimated. How do I know this? Gut instinct, I guess.

Loren Plottel Vancouver


Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com