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Rod Baker, former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, at an event in June, 2016.

Great Canadian Gaming

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Pandemic schooling

Re SickKids Urges Return To Classes With Robust Testing and A Million-plus Canadians Engaged In Overnight Holiday-season Travel, Data Show (Jan. 22): The kids are back at school in parts of Ontario and the data tell us that many Canadians ignored appeals not to travel in December. So what will happen after March break? If past predicts future, then many families will still travel – but we won’t have the safety buffer of children being at home as we did post-holidays.

We risk another spike in COVID-19 rates in April, along with another demoralizing round of high-profile people offering empty apologies, unless better efforts are made now to discourage non-essential travel.

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James Parker Keene, Ont.

Re Education Must Factor Neurodiverse Students Into The Equation (Opinion, Jan. 23): The past 10 months have made it clear that while some students can succeed – and even thrive – in online learning environments, there are some who struggle without the services and experiences that only a physical campus can provide. In the rush to extol the virtues of online learning, these students simply fall through the cracks.

As a postsecondary educator who has been teaching online for almost a year now, I commend the efforts made by institutions and staff to navigate the current crisis. Online learning is obviously the only option we have right now. But many of the plans being considered in my sector are economically, rather than pedagogically, motivated.

If this trend holds, then higher education will be much diminished, and many learners will be left behind. Let’s hope that as the pandemic abates, a more perspicacious approach emerges.

Jeff Brown Professor, George Brown College; Toronto

Mind my business

Re Can I Travel Out-of-province? Is My Area In Lockdown? A Guide To COVID-19 Restrictions Across Canada (Online, Jan. 27): Many Canadians dream of running their own business, but few actually take the leap. My daughter is one of the few.

On May 21, 2020 – the week stores in Ontario were allowed to reopen following the first shutdown – she and I opened our refill and sustainable goods business. By late fall, we saw repeat customers and felt optimistic that we were gaining traction. Then the unthinkable happened: We were forced to shut our doors again on Dec. 26.

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The order to stay home and only go out for necessities is loud and clear – and a bullet through the heart of many small businesses. Why go out of one’s way to sustainably refill hand soap and shampoo when Walmart, one of the only stores allowed open, has everything?

Government officials should consider the devastation that shutdowns inflict on small businesses, and to the dream of my 23-year-old daughter.

Paige Sillcox Pine Boutique; Collingwood, Ont.

Next up

Re Keystone’s Demise Raises Stakes For Trans Mountain (Report on Business, Jan. 27): I agree with contributor Jeff Kucharski: This is a wonderful opportunity for Canada to get the Trans Mountain pipeline into production without delay, in order to further diversify foreign policy and trade.

The sooner we are less dependent on our neighbours to the south, the better. Remember that the United States caused the 2008 financial crisis. After 2016, a new president disrupted our trade in steel and aluminum, among other things. Now, here we go again with another president who kills Keystone XL and wants to put “America first” once more.

It should be urgent that Canada diversifies to the east and west, so the yoke around our neck becomes less painful.

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Mike McMurrich Toronto

Tempest, teapot?

Re It Matters Who The Governor-General Is (Jan. 27): I have some difficulty accepting, as proffered, the enormous magnitude of this scandal. What vital public interest has been put at grave risk?

Unlike, say, the issue of rule of law (as arose in the SNC-Lavalin scandal), Julie Payette’s transgressions were limited to the gilded environs of Rideau Hall and those unfortunate enough to work there. Sure, a more rigorous vetting process should have applied, but really, does anyone believe this was a unique event in any workplace or our civil service?

Ultimately, it seems to be an HR issue, unlike the one concerning SNC-Lavalin, which continues to smoulder in my mind at least. It should not bring down the government.

Ron Beram Gabriola, B.C.

Re Power And Politics (Letters, Jan. 26): Jeanne Sauvé, the 23rd governor-general, was recommended by Pierre Trudeau, was born in francophone Saskatchewan, studied in Paris, lived in Saint-Hyacinthe and later in Montreal, where she worked as a journalist for Radio-Canada. She, too, was criticized for her “independent francophone spirit,” as a letter writer believes of Julie Payette.

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Ms. Sauvé was not criticized for jogging without telling her security detail, but for declaring that the monarchy should be abolished. The vetting process for the next governor-general should ensure that candidates lack French spirit but be bilingual, have a respect for the trappings of the role but love to mingle with commoners, and fully support the monarchy while never pretending to be the queen or king of Canada.

It’ll likely be a short list that should be easy to vet.

Éric Blais Toronto

Inside perspective

Re A Look At Mike Harris’s Postpolitics Career (Report on Business, Jan. 21): I am disappointed by this article. I served on the board of Chartwell Retirement Residences with Mike Harris for 16 years. He is a solution-oriented and highly ethical director.

As premier, Mr. Harris undertook the creation of 20,000 new long-term care beds and redevelopment of 16,000 existing beds.

As well, the insinuation that Mr. Harris may be improperly compensated by Chartwell feels unfair. Chartwell’s compensation and governance committee, which I chaired, ensured that the compensation program was benchmarked against the company’s peers and reviewed by independent advisers. In 2020, The Globe and Mail’s Board Games (Report on Business, Nov. 30) recognized Chartwell as the sixth best-governed company in Canada, consistent with prior years. This is a reflection of sound governance, including compensation practices.

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I am proud of the time I spent serving with Mr. Harris. I believe that Chartwell, with Mr. Harris as chair, lives up to its vision of “making people’s lives better.”

Sidney Robinson Toronto

Elevator pitch

Re Great Canadian Gaming Ex-CEO Will Leave Company With $28-million In Stock (Report on Business, Jan. 27): How about this for a sequel to Schitt’s Creek: As penance for posing as Yukon motel workers to jump the vaccine queue, a zillionaire couple actually has to go work at a Yukon motel.

Joel May Mississauga

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:

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