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Ill prepared

Re ‘We Are Not Prepared’ (Dec. 26): For more than two decades, Canada’s emergency physicians have been warning of the dangers of crowded emergency departments as potential vectors for emerging infections and the role of the crowded hospital both as a cause of prolonged waits for emergency care and lack of surge capacity in the event of a natural disaster or a major infectious disease outbreak.

After the SARS outbreak, the federal and every provincial government was informed that pandemic planning didn’t mean a thing if there was no surge capacity, but each and every provincial government ignored our concerns, and now they struggle mightily to maintain services, both elective and critical.

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When all is said and done and COVID-19 is a distant memory, it is to be hoped that with a redesigned health care system, greater attention will be paid to the dangers of the crowded hospital and its threat to the integrity of our pandemic planning.

Alan Drummond co-chairman public affairs, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, Ottawa


In his vital investigation, Grant Robertson lays bare the demise of Canada’s once universally acclaimed Global Public Health Intelligence Network. The consequences of that demise are still to be debated, but it isn’t too soon to accept the implicit message that no function this important to the welfare of everyone should be left to the political vagaries of any one nation.

Patricia Hanley Toronto


This superbly researched and focused article was heartbreaking and nearly left me in tears by the end. Truly, nothing is more poisonous to the well-being and true mission of an organization than bureaucrats who think that because they are heads of a department they also possess its expertise.

Arnold Voth Edmonton

Long-term care disaster

Re Father And Son Respond To Call For Doctors At Toronto Care Home (Dec. 26): If the number of deaths at the Tendercare Living Centre had occurred during a flood, hurricane or ice storm, it would have been designated a national disaster and the full range of resources quickly made available to respond. It would seem that because what has happened at the centre, with its isolated, frail, elderly residents, does not provide opportunities for shots of dramatic rescues, it cannot be recognized for what it is: a disaster. Consequently, we again give clear evidence of our systemic devaluation of these most vulnerable and needy members of our society. No wonder we have about the worst percentage of long-term care deaths of any country in the world.

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Mervyn Russell Oakville, Ont.

Immigrant inertia

Re Reorienting Canada’s Immigration System For The 21st-Century Economy (Report on Business, Dec. 26): Neil Desai and Chris Albinson’s opinion on Canada’s immigration system needs to be taken seriously by our Immigration Department. We have, for decades, invited immigrants with the prospect of a better life, often with excruciatingly long wait times for admittance, only to find bundles of red tape that inhibit employment except in the most menial of jobs – regardless of prior training and skills. I’m sure we would benefit from having a system of independent review panels to aid in revamping bureaucratic procedures that have too often calcified through complacency and inertia.

Bruce Farquharson Nanaimo, B.C.

What climate win?

Re Climate Win: How Alberta Got Off Coal (Editorial, Dec. 26): It is commendable that Alberta’s UPC government has continued the transition away from coal for power generation; however, Premier Jason Kenney still loves coal.

In June this year, the government rescinded the 1976 Coal Policy that prevented surface mining in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. It will now be easier to develop open-pit coal mines in some of the province’s most ecologically sensitive areas. The move will be challenged in court in the new year.

Alberta may not be burning the coal, but some country may be. Hardly a “climate win.”

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Suzanne Evans Calgary


First Ontario, then Canada and Alberta, deserve praise for phasing out coal burning to produce electricity. Unfortunately, there is a lump of coal in Canada’s stocking. Mining of coal in Western Canada for export and burning overseas is ramping up. Enabled by weaker federal and provincial rules, at least six major mines are currently proposed. The global climate does not care where this dirtiest of fossil fuels is burned, even if carbon emissions of Canadian coal burned in China don’t count against Canada’s Paris Agreement targets.

Stephen Hazell counsel, Ecovision, Ottawa

Thanks for women writers

Re Thanks For The Praise And For Keeping Us On Our Toes (Dec. 26): I have noticed the number of letters to the editor written by women has increased in the past few years. Most of their comments are about social matters that directly affect our daily lives.

Women letter writers often tend to use spots of humour, easing the letter to be read open-mindedly without frowns. As soon as The Globe and Mail arrives, I hit the letters page, check out what the women write, then I read the rest of the paper, which deals more with economic growth via investments, and hanging on to globalization, regardless of the neglected social needs of our society.

Merlie Papadopoulos Montreal

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The great outdoors

Re An Accidental Wilderness With Lessons To Teach (Dec. 26): As another octogenarian – like Walter Kehm – who enjoys the Leslie Spit, I appreciated Marcus Gee’s Boxing Day guided tour. Mr. Kehm makes the point that although the Spit began as a manufactured wasteland, nature has managed to turn it into a place of peace and calm. The Spit has been regularly crowded with people this year craving safe outdoor spaces away from viral particles. Mind you, -20 C January and February gales will keep most of us away, but by the time the swallows return, the paths will be crowded again.

Geoff Rytell Toronto

Oh, Canada

Re We The North and McCall Proud To Be A Canadian, But Won’t Live Here (Dec. 26): Loved your portraits of two writers living in exile, Bruce McCall having fled Old Canadian parochialism to be adopted by New York, and Nathan Englander having reluctantly left his beloved New York to find a surprising welcome here. McCall’s praise for the “idealized” realism of Norman Rockwell is echoed by Connor Willumsen’s wonderful illustrations in We the North. We need both our new immigrant and our expatriate writers to remind us not just who we are, but what we are capable of becoming.

Ron Charach Toronto


Thank you for publishing Nathan Englander’s article. It’s nice to be reminded that home is where the heart is – especially during this isolating lockdown.

Carol Okorofsky Toronto

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