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Canada's 29th Governor General Julie Payette looks on alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Senate chamber during her installation ceremony, in Ottawa on Oct. 2, 2017.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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By the numbers

Re COVID-19 Case Curves Finally Flattening Across Canada and When Canadians Can Expect To Get A Vaccine (Jan. 23): I am an infectious diseases specialist. I often rely on multiple sources for scientific updates on many topics, including COVID-19 and the current vaccines. I do not mean to disparage the updates which come from politicians or public-health officials, but they can be insufficiently detailed and may be mollified for public consumption.

I, and many of my colleagues, actually depend on the excellent scientific reporting in the press to provide detailed COVID-19 updates. Keep it up – we depend on you.

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Irving Salit MD, University Health Network; Toronto

Who’s to blame?

Re Payette’s Office Described As Toxic (Jan. 28): I believe it is Julie Payette who is being thrown under the bus while Justin Trudeau makes tacky excuses – again.

Ms. Payette is a brilliant person with a distinguished career. To become an astronaut takes brains, guts and toughness that most of us cannot imagine. However, it is not rocket science to see that those qualities do not make for a suitable governor-general. Unfortunately, not many people can see themselves as unsuitable and turn down a lofty position.

The result is a brilliant woman with a tarnished reputation, a Prime Minister with egg on his face, numerous harassed employees and a big bill.

Fanny Monk Kamloops, B.C.

Closing the gap

Re The Only Women In The Room (Power Gap, Jan. 23): What I did not realize is that there is an easy solution for women: We just need to change our names to “Michael” and we will automatically move up the corporate ladder to CEO. Who knew?

Colleen Sidford Toronto

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The Power Gap investigation shows 224 CEOs of leading Canadian companies, of which there are only nine women. I can’t remember a more graphic visualization of an acid remark credited to Laura Liswood, secretary-general of the Council of Women World Leaders: “There’s no such thing as a glass ceiling for women. It’s just a thick layer of men.”

C’mon, guys. Would it hurt to let a few more women into the playroom?

Garth Goddard Toronto

I read this article with a mixture of anger, despair and frustration. For 30 years, I worked as an executive in two male-dominated businesses (okay, what business isn’t male-dominated). I encountered everything that The Globe and Mail covers. Every woman, no matter her position, has encountered this.

I have horror stories. The thing is, nothing is ever done and nothing has changed. Some male bosses say their workplaces are different, that women are treated equally. Then you talk to the women who work for them and they tell a different story.

Even if women aren’t working in a corporate environment, we are still carrying most of the work burden at home. I quit the corporate world because it was making me crazy. I now live on a farm and run my own businesses. There is a reason why most small businesses are started by women.

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Christine Bourne Meaford, Ont.

In the mid-1980s when I was on maternity leave, I was taken aback to note that my replacement, a man, was paid way more than I was to do the exact same job. When I confronted the higher-ups, I was given a token raise. I needed the job, so I stayed on.

Thirty-plus years later, the saga continues. I am hopeful that, with the openness in which this situation is being addressed, positive changes will occur. To all our daughters, I say continue to fight for equal rights in all aspects of life.

Nasreen Jamal Kurji Calgary

Re Bay Street Supports Broad Diversity in Theory, But Not In Practice. Time to End the Hypocrisy (Power Gap, Jan. 23): Columnist Rita Trichur tells the story of the 1970s Royal Bank of Canada chairman who said he could find no qualified women for the board of directors, noting “his absurd comments prompted a dust-up with a female shareholder.” That shareholder was almost certainly the late Ruth Bell of Ottawa.

In 1974, Ms. Bell withheld her proxy vote in advance of the bank’s annual meeting to protest the lack of women on the board. The chairman phoned her personally and said, “Why don’t you be a nice girl and let me exercise your ballot?” Ms. Bell, decidedly not a girl, pushed back in outrage, leading to further protests that provoked the 1976 comments.

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Ms. Bell got the last word in her memoir of a lifetime of feminist activism. She titled it Be a “Nice” Girl!.

Jonathan Malloy Hon. Dick and Ruth Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy, Carleton University; Ottawa

Too close for comfort

Re How To Guard Against The Next Trump (Opinion, Jan. 23): Columnist Doug Saunders argues that “our most effective long-term defence against U.S. retreat comes through the judo move of deeper North American integration.” But recent experience, from trade negotiations to events leading to two Canadians jailed in China, seems to argue for Canada to move away from Leviathan, not closer.

Where Canada should turn instead needs answering. Swiss-styled neutrality, trade-wise and defence-wise, may be a good start.

L.W. Naylor Stratford, Ont.

Business decisions

Re Task Force Calls For Overhaul Of Securities Regulator (Report on Business, Jan. 23): I think it’s long past time for Canada to have a national securities regulator. The patchwork provincial setup continues to present multiple problems and delays for companies across our country.

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David Laycock Victoria

Re Wealth Tax Difficulty: Avoidance Strategies Mean Little Revenue (Report on Business, Jan. 23): There is a long-term, and very serious, need to address economic inequality, but there is also an immediate need to address the very serious costs associated with the pandemic. That could be addressed by a tax on excess corporate profit.

Businesses could be subject to a supertax on the extent to which their 2020 and 2021 profit exceeds profit from 2019. I would suggest setting the rate at 80 per cent, consistent with taxes imposed following the Second World War.

Nicholas Tracy Fredericton

Spirit of friendship

Re Friends-in-law (Opinion, Jan. 23): Friendship does not (nor should it ever) require state sanctioning. In the same way Pierre Trudeau was adamant about the government staying out of the bedrooms of the nation, so should it between me and my BFF.

Maybe the real problem is that we’re too caught up in government recognizing our marriages, when all that should matter in them – as is in friendship – is love.

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Paul Salvatori Toronto

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