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People shop at a Walmart Supercentre in Toronto on March 13.CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

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In his hands

Re Pierre The Polarizer Has The CPC – And He Could Certainly Take The Country, Too (July 8): If Pierre Poilievre does become Conservative leader, will the average Canadian voter support him in a federal election? Probably not.

Will the Conservative Party then go through a splitting or disintegration process? Probably.

The Conservatives are the masters of their own fate. The rise and fall of the Conservative Party.

Douglas Cornish Ottawa

By the numbers

Re Health Care Staff Face Rise In Violence: Poll (July 6): The Ontario Hospital Association, responding to a large Canadian Union of Public Employees poll of staff about workplace violence, says that hospitals have zero-tolerance policies.

But how effective are these policies when 48 per cent of workers polled felt their hospital had done nothing to protect them? Or measured against the 63 per cent who report being physically assaulted, the 36 per cent who report being sexually assaulted, and the 71 per cent of racialized workers who report being targeted for abuse because of race? These numbers are a far cry from zero tolerance.

The culture of institutional complacency around issues such as workplace violence, which dehumanize this predominantly female work force, is a key factor driving people in all occupations to leave hospitals.

Michael Hurley President, Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, CUPE Toronto

For the record

Re Cancelling Russian Culture Won’t Stop Putin’s War In Ukraine (July 4): In 1863, Russian interior minister Pyotr Valuyev declared that the Ukrainian language “never existed, does not exist, and never shall exist.”

While Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were writing and publishing, czarist decrees following Valuyev’s declaration crippled Ukrainian culture, scholarship and education by removing Ukrainian books from libraries and schools, and banning their publication and importation. Translations into Ukrainian were prohibited; neither the Bible nor Shakespeare were spared. Stationary theatres were forbidden. Even Ukrainian folk songs were only permitted public performance in foreign languages.

From Taras Shevchenko, 19th-century champion of liberal thought, to the talented plethora of contemporary writers such as Serhiy Zhadan, Natalka Bilotserkivets and Oksana Zabuzhko (all available in English translation), Ukrainians have developed a sustained, strong tradition of desire for freedom and independence. Ukrainians’ current attempt to decolonize their country is understandable.

Today they are once again fighting a war on all fronts, including the right to exist.

Irene (Irena) Makaryk Distinguished University Professor, Department of English, University of Ottawa

Options open

Re Banks Block Online Investors From Rivals’ ETFs (July 4): Thanks to reporter Clare O’Hara for exposing, once again, how big Canadian banks rip off Canadian investors, this time with cash ETFs, which are needed in our current high-interest environment.

Discount brokerages that restrict access are allowing access only to their own proprietary products, which yield less than other ETFs net of fees. They are doing this so they can raise cheaper deposit capital and profit on depositors’ backs.

Independent ETFs produce almost 2 per cent before fees and can be purchased at independent brokerages such as Questrade and others. Here’s hoping there is more transparency in the Canadian marketplace for making deposits.

Tony Layton Retired chairman, PWL Wealth Westmount, Que.

Pay it forward

Re BoC Faces Pressure To Hike Rates As Inflation Expectations Rise (Report on Business, July 5): A concerning outcome of the recent Bank of Canada quarterly surveys has to be the finding that Canadians have little or no expectation their wages will keep pace with inflation. How sad a comment on hope for the future in our society, especially for those with lower incomes.

The cycle of pressure for higher wages quickly followed by commensurately higher prices certainly needs to be better managed. But how? The public’s only contribution to this problem is forced upon it, that of cutting back on its borrowing and purchases.

On the other hand, many businesses are simply absorbing added revenues and opting out of any responsible solution, rather than scaling back a “fair share” portion of pricing models and offsetting that with now-ballooning profit margins.

Edward Carson Toronto

Of Montreal

Re Montreal’s Road To A More Livable City (Editorial, July 4): It may be useful to note that Montreal has a complete subway system while Toronto is still toying with theirs.

Montreal also has a viable bus system and a one-way-street system. Each allows people to move around more seamlessly without the necessity of a car, and makes bicycling easier.

One must also wonder at the effect of provincial interference on Toronto.

Joel Rubinovich Toronto


Bicycles? A transportation solution that most users abandon every time it rains, snows or becomes unusually hot, windy or cold should not be considered a transportation solution at all.

John McLeod Toronto

Added benefits

Re What Supplements Can And Can’t Do (July 4): It was an enormous breakthrough in pediatrics to discover that adequate folic acid intake, before and early in the course of pregnancy, could reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by up to 50 per cent.

As a pediatrician who spent my whole career working in a multidisciplinary clinic devoted to the care of infants and children afflicted with spina bifida, it was hugely gratifying to witness the dwindling numbers of new patients presenting to our clinic as the years went by.

Paul Thiessen MD Vancouver

Atomic awe

Re 10 Years After Higgs Boson, The Hunt Is On For New Breakthroughs (July 4): Thank you for the fascinating article and pictures of the Large Hadron Collider. Could you please explain why there is a bicycle?

Do the scientists pedal it to generate the electricity needed by the LHC? Or does the LHC double as a velodrome when not needed to smash atoms? Or is the bike used to deliver mail, or perhaps lunch?

Please advise so that I can figure out as soon as possible how to use my own bike in this important work.

Michael Wills Toronto


Never mind the underclass quantum hadrons, bosons, fermions and mesons, the latest buzz from the European Council for Nuclear Research looks to be the laying bare of a real atom-smashing, transitory, Etonian particle, heavy in mass but paradoxically light in weight: the Johnson.

Alban Goddard Hill Belleville, Ont.


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