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Billionaire Richard Branson looks out the window at Earth in zero gravity on board Virgin Galactic's passenger rocket plane VSS Unity after reaching the edge of space above Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, U.S. July 11, 2021 in a still image from video.

VIRGIN GALACTIC/Reuters

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Pandemic pace

Re The Boring Job Of Preventing A Pandemic (Editorial, July 13): Consider how a fully functioning Global Public Health Intelligence Network might have changed the trajectory of Canada’s COVID-19 response. My answer: not a whit.

Even if a scientific bureaucracy had screamed “pandemic” from the rafters, other forces of resistance to change – political, economic, social – would have obviated the message. Yes, we need good independent data and analysis of impending health care crises, but let’s not fool ourselves into believing they alone can move mountains, when so many entrenched interests are at play.

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Ron Freedman Toronto


Re As Pandemic Restrictions Ease, Families Struggle To Rebuild Relationships With Loved Ones In Group Homes (July 8): My daughter has moderate to severe autism and resides in an adult group home. Family activities such as birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving are the most meaningful issues in her life. Since the pandemic began, she has been denied these associations.

As a result, she has suffered extreme anxieties manifesting in negative behaviours. To compound this, her summer camp has now been denied for two consecutive summers. She has been fully vaccinated and should be able to resume normal activities, but some restrictions are still in place.

Clearly, in her case, the cure has been worse than the disease.

Don Portoghese Little Britain, Ont.


Re Raise The Rates (Letters, July 12): A letter-writer suggests a serious marketing program to convince people that vaccines are safe. I believe it’s spelled GP or FP.

Lorne Sokol MD; Toronto

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True crime

Re What Would A Criminal-Justice Response To The Residential-School Discoveries Look Like (July 12): Canada is one of the contracting parties to the International Court of Justice responsible for the prevention and punishment of genocide. The United Nations Genocide Convention defines five acts of genocide, each of which could be applied to the treatment of First Nations people, specifically with reference to residential schools (“forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”).

First Nations organizations should ask the ICJ to investigate possible crimes of genocide committed by people still alive, whether they are “rulers, public officials or private individuals.”

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Chicken, egg

Re Transport Canada Brings In New National Rules To Slow Speed Of Trains In Areas Of High Forest Fire Risk (July 12): It has taken 40 years of climate change to create the conditions in and around Lytton, B.C., which resulted in the devastating fire. Yet here we are, bloody well looking for the match.

“What fools these mortals be!”

Leslie Lavers Lethbridge, Alta.

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Provincial jurisdiction

Re B.C. To Provide Regulated Illicit Drugs (July 13): I work in a Toronto hotel isolation program for COVID-infected people experiencing homelessness, many of whom are drug users.

My colleagues and I prescribe powerful drugs such as morphine for these clients. It removes the need for them to leave the program to seek out drugs. It is best for their health care and protects the public from the spread of COVID-19.

The willingness to prescribe such drugs has been facilitated by permissive guidelines published by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in December, 2019. The B.C. college, which did not make anyone available for a Globe interview request, should take note: Safer supply prescriptions save lives.

Philip Berger, OC MD; Toronto

Fight club

Re Greens’ Potential Crumbles Amid Bickering (July 12): As a two-term condo president and current organizer of a book club, I take offence at columnist Campbell Clarkʼs characterization of the Green Party as having “been run with the small-time politics of a condo association or a book-club executive.”

Michael Arkin Toronto

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I’ve never lived in a condo, but I can speak with some authority on the management of our book club, now in its 17th year of regular meetings.

We have had our challenges over the years: Harry famously missed a meeting without proper notice to pack for a camping trip, and Tom once adamantly refused to read any book longer than 200 pages. Despite this, name-calling, threats and violence have only occasionally arisen.

By the end of each meeting, we always work out our issues to the satisfaction of all members. A spirit of accommodation, and generous doses of hard liquor before, during and after meetings, have always helped.

Maybe somewhere in there is a useful way forward for the quarrelling Greens.

Graham Rawlinson Toronto

To infinity and…

Re Branson’s First Flight Signals New Era for Space Tourism (July 12): I am happy that Sir Richard Branson accomplished his dream of journeying into space, but I wonder if anyone knows how many tons of carbon dioxide that single flight spewed into the air?

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If there is some good purpose to be served by private spaceflight, that is fine. But if it is just to set the stage for commercial enterprise to sell flights to the wealthy, I would label this as obscene.

Kaz Shikaze Mississauga


What a disgusting show of selfishness and self-importance. To read about this, beside articles on record temperatures and forest fires, is sad.

I guess it is the epitome of the same human need to drive around in vehicles that could tow a 50,000-pound semi-trailer or be competitive at the Indianapolis 500.

Give me last summer’s clear blue skies, when we all just sat still for a while.

Walter Abicht Kingston

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I have been imagining a different type of ship, one with a purpose on Earth. I would open the door for any billionaires looking to spend some loot on flying wildfire water tankers with multidirectional hoses.

When I see a bucket of retardant hanging from a helicopter or water bombers buzzing an inferno – compared to the size and rampage of destruction – I ask: There’s got to be another way to supplement this.

Sit down and gaze at the moon with thinking caps on; maybe one of us can get this off the ground.

Paul Ritchie Calgary


Back when feminist gains were tough slogging, we used to roll our eyes and say, “If they can put a man on the moon, why not put them all there?”

Tweaked for 2021: “If they can launch three billionaires into space, why not send them all there?”

Liz Armstrong Erin, Ont.


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