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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole addresses the Conservative caucus during a meeting in Ottawa.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Learning requirements

Re Students Need To Start The Fall With Two Shots (Editorial, July 14): Children in Ontario’s primary and secondary schools must (not should) be immunized against a long list of diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, whooping cough and chickenpox. Infection from these diseases can kill or seriously harm them.

In 2021, for students to attend in-person postsecondary classes, it seems sensible that a similar protocol be adopted for COVID-19 vaccines (with accommodation for those who seek exemption). Seneca College has made a brave, bold step that helps everybody know and plan for the fall by removing uncertainty and stress.

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The college will have detractors, but we should remember that those naysayers will have been vaccinated for the above diseases while at school. Well done.

Abhay Sharma Professor, Ryerson University; Toronto


Re Too Soon? (Letters, July 15): While the argument has been made that vaccine hesitancy is based on a concern that vaccines have not been evaluated for long-term safety, those who are hesitant may not live to see the results of this evaluation.

Their potential deaths from COVID-19 itself may make them foolish, rather than “prudent,” consumers.

Carol Victor Burlington, Ont.

Canada and Cuba

Re Canada Needs To Help The Cuban People, Not The Regime (July 14): Let’s be honest: The United States has never been interested in promoting meaningful democratization in Cuba. It wants regime change. Accordingly, co-ordinating our Cuba policy with Washington, as columnist Doug Saunders advocates, would be a huge mistake.

We should remember that the Cuban government has the backing of most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (including our trading partner Mexico) – many of them with painful memories of heavy-handed and disastrous U.S. intervention. It is also worth noting that Cuba has secured an emergency-use authorization for its Abdala vaccine and will now begin widespread distribution.

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This particular point in Cuba’s history, as difficult as it is, should not be seen as a replay of the early 1990s Special Period, when a far more serious humanitarian challenge enveloped the country.

Peter McKenna Professor of political science, University of Prince Edward Island; Charlottetown


Cubans have faced decades of invasion, assassination attempts and U.S.-funded intervention, so we should expect them to be suspicious of any such “humanitarian” efforts.

A much simpler step would be to end the blockade, including that of countries trying to provide medical supplies such as syringes, vials and ventilators. Cuba has already fully vaccinated more than 16 per cent of its citizens.

Canada should help clear the way so it can continue to vaccinate the remainder.

Danny Heap Toronto

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More promises

Re Trudeau Promises To Help Afghan Interpreters Come To Canada (July 15): Similar promises and reassurances were given to some of Syria’s White Helmets in 2018. Three years later, they are still languishing in refugee camps and waiting for their plane to depart.

Michael Gilman Toronto

Conservative ways

Re The Conservative Temperament Is Repellent (July 14): Andrew Coyne’s column is scintillating, an insightful breakdown of all things plaguing the Conservatives that left me with a huge grin from ear to ear.

After reading perplexing poll numbers showing that some Canadians harbour doubts about the government’s pandemic performance, there was Mr. Coyne to remind us that the Conservatives continue to be adrift, beset with a myriad of troubles.

The party seems to offer nothing of substance to today’s Canada, where people expect politicians to have a fully developed suite of meaningful policies to fight environmental decline and improve social programs, yet also steer the country’s ship of business into friendly seas that benefit and provide opportunities for everyone.

Chris Szabo Victoria

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Heres’s another reason the Conservative temperament is putting off voters: They are not conservative enough.

Ricardo Di Cecca Burlington, Ont.

Keep it beautiful

Re A Racetrack, A Songbird And A Quest For Quiet (July 10): My wife and I lived quite close to the Alberta community of Rosebud for 31 years.

Rosebud is a unique farming community. Dropping down into the valley from the bald prairies was always a pleasure. In the summertime it was like stepping back in time to a quieter, gentler era.

Near Brooks, Alta., is Dinosaur Provincial Park. Dropping down into it is like going back to the dawn of time. No one would countenance a racetrack development there.

The same should apply to the beautiful Rosebud River Valley.

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Kevin Byrne Brights Grove, Ont.

He said, she said

Re My Departure Wasn’t The Solution To The CBC’s Problem With Racism (Opinion, July 10): About 10 years ago when I was a manager at Queen’s University Library in Kingston, we convened a panel of professors and librarians to discuss the recent publication of an edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that was expurgated, replacing the same word used by Wendy Mesley with “slave.”

I (a white cis male) chaired the panel, which was diverse. Everyone, including me, used the full word in our discussions because we knew we were just using it as a word. It was in an academic context, just as I believe Ms. Mesley’s use was in a professional journalistic context. No one on the panel or in the audience complained, and I was not subject to any discipline.

Words used as words in this way should hurt nobody. But politicized, knee-jerk narrow-mindedness may ultimately bring down free speech and cause corollary damage that frankly would be even worse.

Wayne Jones Ottawa

Boom!

Re Persistent Fireworks Rankle Many Canadians (July 9): Add my name to the growing list of Canadians tired of fireworks being shot off at all times and in all places.

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Their use on Victoria Day and Canada Day is more than annoying. They disrupt my sleep, cause my pets great anxiety, terrorize wildlife and are a danger to people and property.

These dangerous, disruptive explosive devices should no longer be sold to individual Canadians.

Geoffrey Daw Peterborough, Ont.


“Respect is very key,” says the Canadian Fireworks Association. Indeed it is.

But given that every neighbourhood is plagued by those who feel it is their right to play music; shout into their phones and screen movies outdoors; drive about with thumping speakers and souped-up motors; and inflict the constant barking of dogs on neighbours, I think we’re way past relying on respect to ensure the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.

Anita Dermer Toronto


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