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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on Jan. 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.

POOL /Getty Images

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In proportion

Re Gaming CEO Resigns After Vaccine Charges (Jan 26): “I don’t think a $500 fine is going to give any kind of justice to anybody because the guy can obviously afford to charter a … plane,” a local hotel manager says. This comment points to the fundamental inequality in the way such fines are administered.

The average salary for Canadians who are employed full-time is nearly $55,000. The fines administered in this case represent approximately 1 per cent of that amount. For the many Canadians whose incomes are considerably more modest, the weight of a $500 fine is much heavier. Taking that 1-per-cent reference point and The Globe and Mail’s reporting on this executive’s income from all sources, one could reasonably argue for the merits of a fine closer to $470,000.

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While progressive fines do not stop problematic behaviour, they should be seen as a step forward in creating a sense that justice has been served.

Scott Grills Brandon, Man.


Re Stuck In The Waiting Room (Opinion, Jan. 23): The College of Family Physicians of Canada fully supports contributor Vincent Lam’s call to allow family doctors and nurse practitioners to be involved in COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

A CFPC survey during the first wave showed that more than 90 per cent of family-doctor respondents made changes to their practices, including expanding their scope of practice and/or practice environment, to provide needed care during the pandemic. Family-practice involvement in public health during the first wave varied across the country. Let’s improve vaccination rates by involving those who are an essential link between the health care system and their patients.

All hands on deck are needed to support the people of Canada.

Francine Lemire Executive director and chief executive officer, College of Family Physicians of Canada; Mississauga

I’m sure there must be some doctors running their practices as contributor Vincent Lam suggests, but our experience is much different.

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Our doctor’s office is open 2.5 days a week, now and before COVID-19. They rarely answer the phone and only sometimes return messages. If we don’t nag for test results, we don’t get them. Personalized care? Not so much.

I know from friends and family that ours is not a unique experience. We have much more confidence in our pharmacist, who is organized, attentive and caring. I’d far rather count on them for our vaccinations.

Lynn Haley Orillia, Ont.

America, America

Re Canada To Press Biden On Exemption From ‘Buy American’ Rules (Jan. 26): Joe Biden may become just as bad as Donald Trump for Canada (if not worse) when it comes to implementing “Buy American” measures, including tariffs, jobs and industrial resources.

We’ve endured it since long before the Trump presidency, with both Republican and Democratic administrations: for example, tariffs on imports of our softwood lumber, regardless of the consistent, independent trade-board rulings in Canada’s favour.

It’s as though our superpower neighbour may always maintain such sticking points, however unjustly, even if only because they have the formidable weight to throw around. Maybe we’re expected to get used to it, somewhat like the child stuck with the school bully whose concept of their fair share will always be three-quarters of the pie.

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Frank Sterle Jr. White Rock, B.C.

Re Jason Kenney’s War Of Words Verges On Farce (Editorial, Jan. 26): As The Globe and Mail’s editorial notes, Canada accounts for 60 per cent of oil exports to the United States. Impressive, to be sure. But turn the export figure around: According to the federal government’s statistics, sales to the U.S. account for 98 per cent of Canadian petroleum exports.

It doesn’t take a class or two in Marketing 101 to reveal that any time one’s largest customer accounts for such a vast portion of sales, whatever the commodity, it is no longer a customer – it is an employer, capable of dictating every aspect of terms of sale, including price. We may be the closest source of oil for the U.S., but we are hardly the only one. And we needn’t be reminded of the U.S. reputation for hard bargaining, especially when driven by internal political forces.

Let’s keep this in mind whenever Jason Kenney or anyone else grows rabid about opening the southbound oil sands faucets even wider.

John Lawrence Reynolds Burlington, Ont.

Think about it

Re Proposal For An Indigenous Identity Act Presents A Moral Quandary (Jan. 25): It is so refreshing to read an open-minded musing on a thorny issue, such as contributor Drew Hayden Taylor being unready to embrace any specific remedy like an Indigenous Identity Act.

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Writing like this encourages conversation and an exchange of views, instead of sending combatants to their corners with hands over ears. Given all the many difficult decisions ahead for our country, we should have more thinkers willing to puzzle out loud.

Charlotte Danard Toronto

General rule

Re PM Under Fire Over Payette’s Time As Governor-General (Jan. 26): Let’s use this as a teaching moment. Toxic work environments affect thousands of Canadians.

I am retired now, but in my long career in tech, I witnessed colleagues reduced to tears in meetings. I was openly yelled at for things I didn’t do. I had my reputation shredded behind my back. I made official complaints that did little.

We should have better protections for workers. We should have work cultures that take management training and scrutiny more seriously.

Ruth Haworth Waterloo, Ont.

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The resignation of the governor-general occurred because the Prime Minister eliminated the non-partisan appointment committee established by his predecessor, which resulted in the truly excellent appointment of David Johnston. I say “truly excellent” from experience, as I had the pleasure of working with him during his state visit to South Korea.

The Prime Minister chose instead to advance political objectives over the interests of Canada, as is done for hundreds of appointments each year that are used to reward supporters, contributors and defeated candidates. Today, more than ever, we should have appointees who work for the interests of Canada, not those beholden to the government of the day.

We should have processes that are transparent, objective and defensible. We should drastically curtail patronage appointments made by whomever temporarily occupies the office of the prime minister.

Canada deserves better.

David Chatterson Former ambassador; Kelowna, B.C.

I realize that it may be high time for another governor-general like David Johnston. I am ready, willing and somewhat able!

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Dave Johnston Toronto

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