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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole speaks during a news conference responding to the federal government’s COVID-19 response, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin TangJustin Tang/The Canadian Press

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Conservative position

Re Erin O’Toole Urges ‘Reasonable Accommodations’ For Unvaccinated Canadians Amid Omicron Wave (Online, Jan. 6): Did I read this right? Erin O’Toole wants the majority of us fully vaccinated citizens to fund additional measures enabling the unvaccinated to perpetuate this pandemic?

Along with this, we are also being asked to keep our kids home from school, delay thousands of surgeries and pay millions extra in health care dollars to care for unvaccinated individuals who require hospitalization from COVID-19. This is like the principal asking A-students to not only pay for the delinquents’ food, but to take detention for them, too. Except in this case, our lives are at stake.

Mary Lapner Ottawa

It is disheartening for me to see Erin O’Toole adopt a divisive narrative on public-health restrictions and vaccine mandates intended to keep Canadians safe.

These are policies grounded in evidence and widely supported by the public. They are critical to slowing the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, reducing serious illness and mitigating the overwhelming of hospitals – with corresponding consequences for Canadians requiring surgeries, tests or other care.

Mr. O’Toole used his first press conference of the new year to defend the unvaccinated and, by extension, lent undeserved credibility to those who spread pandemic misinformation and anger. He could have instead demonstrated leadership by forcefully denouncing threats against health workers, emphasizing the advice of scientists or unambiguously communicating that vaccination is a matter of the public good.

That would have been the responsible choice.

Christopher Holcroft Montreal

Pandemic ranking

Re Djokovic In Limbo As He Awaits Court Ruling On Aussie Open Participation (Sports, Jan. 7): Novak Djokovic is the best tennis player in the world. However, to be a premier athlete, one should also be a role model in conducting one’s self.

The example Mr. Djokovic sets could be of great benefit, especially to his countrymen in Serbia where COVID-19 infection rates are high and the immunization rate is less than 50 per cent. But with his views on the virus and his failure to comply with immunization mandates, he is not No. 1 in my book.

Irv Salit Toronto

Near and far

Re The American Polity Is Cracked, And Might Collapse. Canada Must Prepare (Jan. 2): Americans living in Canada must prepare, too, by registering to vote.

Contributor Thomas Homer-Dixon puts us on red alert. None of his predictions – including a right-wing dictatorship by 2030 – can reasonably be dismissed, as the foundations of U.S. democracy shift and crack. It’s not even unreasonable to use the F-word: Fascism thrives on “contempt for the rule of law and glorification of violence.” How else to describe reminders of the Jan. 6 insurrection on replay this week?

Mr. Homer-Dixon stakes hope on the tempering influence that more than 750,000 Canadians living in the United States could have on future elections. The estimated 650,000 Americans living in Canada who are eligible to vote also have a voice – and a responsibility that feels increasingly imperative.

By registering via each calendar year, Americans around the world can help ensure democracy will stand.

Denise Roig Hamilton

Rachel Eugster Ottawa

Somewhere out there

Re A Telescope To Answer: Are We Alone? (Editorial, Dec. 30): We humans are mere specks on a small planet in a huge solar system in an immense galaxy, among countless others in a space of vast proportions.

Yet our minds roam the universe. Our wonderfully ingenious devices reach out to our nearest neighbours, from great planets to tiny comets. We peer out billions of light years into space to witness the amazing spectacle of the evolving cosmos, and we imagine a bewildering expanse of time. Now we are poised to look away and back to a time when the early stars and galaxies beamed out their first light.

These brilliant accomplishments are a testament to our insatiable human curiosity, as well as to our courage to pursue ideas wherever they take us. And most of these accomplishments have come in a relative blink of an eye in the full scope of human history.

Just imagine what the future will bring.

Douglas Campbell Victoria

A telescope gathers radiation much as an archeologist sifts out deposits. The best humans can expect regarding the question of extraterrestrial life would seem to be in the past tense.

To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, astronomers look to the future “through a rear-view mirror.”

Douglas Martin Hamilton

All for one?

Re After Two Years Of Loss, The Last Thing I Want To Do Is Lose My Mother Tongue, Too (Opinion, Dec. 24): As a first-generation immigrant to Canada who is married to a native English speaker, I feel this loss of one’s language acutely.

This realization hit me particularly when I recently e-mailed to my only living uncle a copy of an old letter that my father wrote me when I was about 12. Another first-generation immigrant, he resides in the United States and is married to an American. He responded that he can no longer read Bengali scripts.

Immigrants lose more than just language, they also lose their cuisine, their culture and their moorings. While this is regrettable, it is often necessary in their transition to new environments – an essential step in achieving e pluribus unum.

Faz Rahman Toronto

Play it again

Re Halifax’s Blind Piano Mover Takes A Delicate Job One Step At A Time (Dec. 24): While Gary Trenholm’s story is inspiring, I cannot agree with his statement that a piano’s best years “are the first 40.”

For the last 60 years, my 1913 Nordheimer upright has been a valued member of the family and started me on a lifetime of music. Other than two octaves of replaced bass strings and a few replaced keytops, it is all original.

Herr Nordheimer works beautifully and sounds better than it did after leaving the factory floor 109 years ago. Canada had some fine upright piano makers in the early 20th century. Sadly, thousands of perfectly playable pianos end up in landfills every year.

I play a digital piano when touring and I appreciate the convenience. But when anyone asks me to recommend a keyboard for their home I say, “If at all possible, get an old upright. They’re cheap, robust and beautiful. They have souls.”

Simon Kendall Vancouver

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