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Rod Phillips returns to Premier Doug Ford's office after the provincial government's daily briefing in Toronto on June 15, 2020.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Our travels, ourselves

Re Phillips Has Nuked His Government’s Credibility (Opinion, Jan. 2): I suppose it is gratifying to finally see someone important punished for failing us as we struggle with COVID-19. Yes, I think Rod Phillips deserves his fate.

But perhaps it is useful to remember that many of us continue to pull our own St. Barts, ignoring rules and congregating in close quarters or travelling for pleasure.

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Human weakness is not monopolized by wealthy politicians. If we truly abhor Mr. Phillips’s behaviour, then we would all mend our ways and isolate as requested.

Wayne Yetman Toronto


The grocery store cashier mentioned by columnist John Ibbitson is not the only person upset by Rod Phillips’s behaviour (Phillips’s Vacation Is Something Ontarians Might Not Soon Forgive – Dec. 31). And he is not the only one who skipped town.

Mr. Phillips is the poster boy for Torontonians who are in Florida or out west skiing. Are they to be excused for breaking the rules? Is it fair that we are likely all going to pay the price in a couple of weeks if coronavirus cases surge again?

As a privileged, wealthy white woman in her 60s, I have absolutely no right to complain. Hey, I have even been to Eden Rock in St. Barts. But there is a time and place for everything, and now is not the time.

I am embarrassed to say that my generation of Canadians seems like a spoiled lot who take the responsibility and privilege of citizenship too lightly.

For months, I’ve been wait-listed for a lifesaving cardiac procedure. Having experienced the frustration of it being cancelled several times because of COVID-19, I have little patience for those who continue to indulge their personal whims at this moment.

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Marie-Claire Roche Toronto


Many Canadians seem to have completely missed the plot on Rod Phillips.

Non-essential travel bans are mostly designed to minimize intra-provincial spread of COVID-19. It remains legal to travel outside of Canada, and many Canadians are doing so. A Canadian outside of Canada can be seen as one less for our health care system to look after, and two-week quarantines upon return should eliminate the possibility of spread.

Mr. Phillips’s true crime was pretending that he was still in Canada. Rather than persecuting him for the misdemeanour of hypocrisy, he should be prosecuted for the crime of deception.

John Budreski Vancouver

Head start

Re Britain Approves Oxford And AstraZeneca’s Vaccine (Dec. 31): An 82-year-old friend in Britain just had his second shot: drives in, rolls down the car window, rolls up his sleeve, sticks his arm out and it’s done.

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Here in British Columbia, the so-called rollout feels pathetic: no concrete plans communicated, hardly any vaccinations given to date. Our inaction is literally breathtaking.

Simon Farrow Kelowna, B.C.

On the ground

Re Strict Lockdowns Paid Off, Oxford Study Finds (Jan. 2): The University of Oxford study found Manitoba was an “outlier” with strong COVID-19 restrictions but high rates of infection and death. But the restrictions here look stronger on paper than they were in practice.

After low infection rates in the spring, the provincial government let down its guard, allowed its COVID-19 preparedness task force to become inactive and promoted the reopening of the economy.

As it became apparent that more restrictions were needed, the province was slow to act and sent mixed messages to the public. The inconsistency led to Brian Pallister having the lowest approval rating in the country, by some polls.

The Oxford study failed to capture what was really happening here.

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Jeremy Hull Winnipeg

More masks

Re Using Face Masks Should Continue After the Pandemic (Opinion, Jan. 2): In any large animal monocrop, we use heightened biosecurity measures to avoid disaster and losses. We undertake such measures as prohibiting visitors to our barns and avoid new pigs except via defined quarantine protocols.

As long as we are in this bubble of human overpopulation, it will likely require similar continuing biosecurity precautions, including a ban on air traffic and tourism. No more visitors to our barns!

We should face the reality of human overpopulation and adjust before a really serious disease emerges.

Kathleen McCroskey Surrey, B.C.


Contributor Vivian Song asks a number of rhetorical questions regarding the continued wearing of face masks after the pandemic is over. It made me think of the the frog in boiling water.

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I would also pose different rhetorical questions: What if we were to think seriously about population? What if we were to work toward less densely populated cities, rather than finding ways to cope in increasingly crowded ones? What if we were to find a new model other than one of growth and find ways to flourish while consuming and polluting less? What if, unlike the boiled frog, we recognized that the water was heating up (as it literally is) and jumped out before too late?

Let us be wary about ever more adaptation to a future that doesn’t have to be overcrowded and inevitable.

Marie Etchell Victoria


Sometimes one runs into people whose feelings about something very basic are so different from one’s own that the first impulse is to assume that they are joking. This was my reaction to contributor Vivian Song’s position that we should continue wearing masks after the risk of COVID-19 transmission has ended.

I can’t see people’s faces when I go out in public. They can’t see mine. I find this extremely upsetting. I thought everybody else did, too.

Now we have to walk around like we’re fixing to rob the Deadwood set.

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Customers can’t walk into a bank without their faces covered. A year ago, walking into a bank with a mask on would have tripped an alarm.

Ian Coleman Edmonton

Ireland and Israel

Re The World Today Has Me Worried About Raising A Jewish Child (Opinion, Jan. 2): I would like to reassure contributor Casey Babb that there is no rational reason for anyone to blame the entire Jewish population for what Israel chooses to do, any more than the Irish diaspora should be blamed for the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

So he should take heart from the Irish experience and carry on.

He should teach his children to be good Canadians and to separate themselves from politics on the other side of the world.

J. M. Anderson Burlington, Ont.


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