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Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Deputy Premier of Ontario and Minister of Health Christine Elliott watch as a healthcare worker administers the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine to personal support worker Anita Quidangen, who is the first person in Ontario to receive both doses, at The Michener Institute, in Toronto, January 4, 2021.


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Sympathy for the politicians

Re Our Travels, Ourselves (Letters, Jan. 5): It saddens me to read of people being critical of politicians who travelled to visit ailing family members, then were subsequently removed or forced to resign from their positions.

Yes, politicians travelling for vacation while issuing travel advisories is hypocritical, if not simply humorous. But travelling to visit an ill loved one is distinct and not what I would consider “non-essential” travel, even during a pandemic, as long as proper quarantine protocols are followed.

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When people become politicians, they don’t magically stop being humans with emotions and families. I think the last thing we would want is our country run by people void of compassion.

So let’s show compassion in return and not shame or punish politicians for doing something that, let’s face it, we would all do if we were in the same situation and had the opportunity.

Barbi Lazarus Toronto

Hurry hard

Re Where’s The Urgency In Canada’s Vaccine Rollout? (Jan. 5): Governments had 10 months to establish an efficient and speedy vaccination effort, so there should be no excuse now that vaccines are being delivered.

I thought it was a smart move to put generals in charge, but it seems they aren’t really in charge, presumably because it would take politicians out of the limelight. Considering their poor track record, and with some even taking southern vacations, perhaps they might enjoy being out of that light.

So let’s give these generals more power, along with assistance from our military, to mobilize a widespread vaccination program. Politicians wouldn’t be leading the mobilization of a war effort, so there’s the first clue.

Peter Belliveau Moncton

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Doug Ford enlisted the services of retired general Rick Hillier to roll out Ontario’s immunization plan. Mr. Hillier has little health care or public-health experience. And having served in the Canadian Armed Forces, I’m all too familiar with the hurry-up-and-wait attitude. I believe Ontario should have enlisted, early and completely, the resources of family doctors with their already established vaccine infrastructure.

Family practices have proved year after year, including during the H1N1 pandemic, their abilities to immunize large groups of patients quickly and efficiently, including in long-term care. I’m reminded of my own clinic doing yearly flu shots where the lineup of patients stretched out the front door. With one receptionist, one nurse, one doctor and patients with sleeves rolled up and no sitting down, we completed hundreds of immunizations at a rate of one per minute. Current COVID-19 immunization clinics are booking roughly one patient per 30 minutes!

The government continues to rebuke offers from family practices to assume a major role. We are also used to working 24/7 when required (it is currently required) for minimal compensation. Let’s do some math, get vaccines in the hands of doers and dramatically speed up the process.

Stephen McMurray MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP; Brockville, Ont.

We have election protocols that are mobilized every few years: lists, identities, facilities, volunteers, etc. We are able to reach millions of people in a short period of time. Why don’t we employ these proven processes for vaccinations?

Bring in industry experts and mandate them to roll out vaccines. I’m sure some of the billions of dollars in government spending could be spent on contracting for these services.

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We need to achieve about 200,000 doses a day, or we will not fully vaccinate the “herd” in 2021. At this pace, we will likely be asking, “When is my turn?” in 2022!

Our leaders should get a better plan and implement it.

Viren Joshi Ottawa

Being an owner of a property in Florida, which I have not been to since February, I received notification of a sign-up drive-in vaccination clinic in the county for those 65 and over.

My husband is 65 and my father 95. I am so despondent to think that my father, living in his own home in Toronto, will not be receiving his vaccination until well after April, according to Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force.

The delay here might send Canadians across the border to get their vaccines.

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Heather Cassels Toronto

Plastic problems

Re Plastic Ban: Right Problem, Wrong Solution (Report on Business, Jan. 1): It’s true: There is no simple solution to the plastic pollution crisis. To achieve Canada’s goal of zero plastic waste by 2030, ”we must tackle the problem on multiple fronts” – and recycling would only be part of the solution.

Only 9 per cent of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled. And with the equivalent of a garbage truck of plastic leaking into the ocean every minute, I don’t believe we have time to wait for new technology before taking action.

Banning single-use plastic would be an essential piece of the puzzle that can immediately reduce the flow of plastic into our oceans. Curbing production of harmful single-use plastic – through comprehensive bans like many other countries have already done – would be another crucial step in ending plastic pollution.

Ashley Wallis Plastics campaigner, Oceana Canada; Toronto

I say right solution, wrong conclusion.

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I agree with contributor Domenic Di Mondo that the ultimate goal should be the elimination of single-use plastics in the design phase. However, a plastics ban would also lead us toward, not away from, that goal. The example of Tim Hortons reusable cups shows the kind innovation that would result when single-use plastic is taken away.

As for alternatives that are not necessarily better than plastic: Let’s get rid of those, too.

In its first year, Prince Edward Island’s 2018 ban on plastic bags took 15 to 16 million bags out of circulation. And because the ban included a minimum charge on paper bags, customers were encouraged to take the most environmentally friendly alternative: reusing bags they already had.

These are the kind of policies that we should have.

Ruth Kamnitzer Kimberley, B.C.

Model citizen

Re U.S. Folk Singer Jesse Winchester Moves To Canada (Moment in Time, Jan. 5): Jesse Winchester chose Canada out of courage and conviction, and against militarism and politics of division. He gave up the warmth and familiarity of home without forgetting them, and embraced our winters, two official languages and many slight but fiercely held differences.

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By bringing his poetry and music here and becoming Canadian, he reinforced our own pride in Canada. And he reminds us that that’s what immigrants do.

James Russell Ottawa

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