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People walk into the CBC building in Toronto on April 4, 2012.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Containing the coronavirus

Re Fears Over Coronavirus Prompts School Board In Ontario To Warn Parents Against Racism (Jan. 28): While Canada has to curb xenophobic actions by citizens who fear people from other cultures, the best way to calm worries about the Wuhan virus would be to have a robust screening process for those arriving from places where the virus is apparently spreading.

Yes, this would slow all of us as we go through airports. But so do security measures since Sept. 11, 2001, that so vigilantly protect against water bottles, sunscreen and shampoo. Nuisance though they are, these measures have prevented planes from being brought down by passengers with rogue drinking water. Now we should take the time at airports to deal effectively with a much more serious threat.

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Michael Moore Toronto

Re Canadian Firms Feel Fallout Of Coronavirus (Report on Business, Jan. 28): So Air Canada’s share price is dropping as the new coronavirus takes a toll on trans-Pacific travel. It would be good if Air Canada could explain how aircraft arriving from China are sanitized.

If I am flying from Vancouver to Rome, how do I know whether the plane I am boarding just arrived from Shanghai? Surely a quick wipe and vacuum would not be enough to clean any area used by an incoming carrier of the virus. Even at the best of times, aircraft are incubators for colds and flu. Given the current fear of contagion, passengers should know how safe they are in an airborne aluminum tube.

Jim Reynolds Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

TV fix

Re Canadian Broadcast Laws Miss The Point (Report on Business, Jan. 28): I agree with contributor Michael Geist that regulators should update the point system for Canadian television content production. But let’s not forget that, while “anyone can broadcast their videos … to a global audience,” very few have the benefit of wildly successful branding such as Netflix. Further, I challenge any independent Canadian content provider to find a Canadian office of Netflix to pitch a project: It doesn’t seem to exist.

While streaming services are the brilliant present and future of content delivery, they should ante up in the adventure that is culture-building and its benefits.

Peter Keleghan Toronto

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Re What To Do With The CBC? Make The Audience Pay For It (Opinion. Jan. 25): Columnist Andrew Coyne proposes that the CBC save itself with a Netflix/HBO-style funding solution. Government would save a billion dollars, but would the public be served with distinctly Canadian stories? I doubt it.

What about a publicly funded commercial-free model? One that would not be judged by ratings but by reach, serving all the people some of the time. Necessarily smaller, a commercial-free CBC could deliver what private broadcasters and streaming services cannot, in much the same way that the golden age of TV drama was ushered in as a result of the medium’s liberation from commercial breaks. So let’s liberate the CBC creatively from the same.

What I propose should not be seen as an elitist approach; the CBC currently commissions some of the best comedy and popular music in the country, while factual strands such as The Nature of Things are world-class. The CBC should concentrate resources on these types of programs, instead of Family Feud Canada, game shows, reality TV and sports programming that are competitively offered elsewhere.

As in all successful businesses, the future is innovation and focus. The CBC, using existing public funds, should evolve to be a smaller and more effective creative enterprise that can deliver popular homegrown content from coast to coast to coast.

W. Paterson Ferns CM, president, Ferns Productions; Sidney, B.C.

I firmly disagree that CBC television should become a paid subscription service along the lines of Netflix, and it should not be regarded like a private broadcaster. Rather, it should be a well-funded public broadcaster that plays an essential role in keeping a country connected.

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By being accessible to anyone in this country with a TV, CBC becomes a part of our lives in a unique way that cuts across typical media consumption patterns. It also means that those who can’t afford subscription streaming services can still access essential news and Canadian content.

A well-funded public broadcaster also has the ability to prioritize under-represented voices or regional concerns without having to stress over the size of the audience. This is what public-sector organizations are supposed to do: Serve the whole population, regardless of buying power.

I recognize that CBC TV does not generally produce world-beating programming, but I believe an essential part of Canada will disappear if it is forced to compete with services that do.

Jody Zink Quebec

I watch almost no television beyond The National six days a week, though I have seen tidbits of Still Standing, Kim’s Convenience, Schitt’s Creek and Anne with an E and find that these shows are remarkably superior to the sitcom and reality trash on commercial stations. Columnist Andrew Coyne writes that programming, at the start of television, “was made less to suit audiences than sponsors,” but I believe that reality applied less to the CBC, which had a mandate to be a voice for communicating with and for Canada. That mandate remains.

Alan Cooper Toronto

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Re CBC TV Is A Shambles: Nobody Watches TV Out Of Patriotism (Jan. 25): CBC used to be part of my television interests: documentaries, news and, for sure, comedy. Now, sadly, the documentaries I now find on PBS, the news I find on BBC, PBS or CTV and the comedy now seems so broken by commercials the humour is lost. So on CBC, I find myself watching some skiing and winter sports, and that’s that.

I also find that the same politically correct topics are presented over and over again, with little counter-presentation. President and CEO Catherine Tait wishes all Canadians to “keep communicating with us.” CBC seems not what it once was and holds very little, if any interest, for myself any longer.

Douglas MacLean Canmore, Alta.

We’ve been watching The National for more than 30 years. We look forward to it nightly and hate to miss it. It’s a Canadian thing to do. We like all the anchors and correspondents, who do as good a job or better than its competitors, both Canadian and American. True, we find that some aspects of The National need reworking or replacement, such as the At Issue panel, but overall it’s a top-notch broadcast. We’d be hard-pressed to do without.

Mick van der Linde and Susan Wild Toronto

Previously, news anchors appeared less Americanized in delivery, more serious, more professional. Now we have opinion-giving, laughing, nodding and, most egregious of all, political bias that doesn’t feel quite so hidden.

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Taxpayers ought to rebel.

Judy Pollard Smith Hamilton

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