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Tomken Road Middle School in Mississauga, Ont., on March 31, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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Too-friendly skies

Re Canada Needs To Let Airlines Fly. Our Economy Depends On It (Report on Business, July 1): In a webinar presentation to an industry audience a couple of weeks ago, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu stated that “restoring consumer confidence is the No. 1 driver affecting air travel recovery.” I doubt many members of the travelling public would disagree. But it doesn’t seem to square with the June 29 announcement that, under the guise of “advancing its industry-leading biosafety measures,” Air Canada (along with a number of other major airlines) is ending the seat-distancing policies introduced to mitigate COVID-19 risks.

It appears the normally sure-footed Mr. Rovinescu, feeling the pressure to reopen, might have taken a rare misstep by placing considerations about shareholder value above concerns for public safety. I for one will be prepared to brave air travel again only after I’ve seen video of Mr. Rovinescu wedged between fellow passengers in the middle seat of the economy-class cabin for the duration of a transcontinental or overseas flight.

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Richard Conrad Westmount, Que.


B.C. health officials are rightly concerned about maintaining physical distancing on aircraft. So far they have called it correctly. Their concerns should be heeded by our federal government.

Airlines should continue to leave middle seats vacant and offer family discounts to groups able to sit together. Perhaps aircraft cabins should be reconfigured nearer to premium economy spacing.

Of course, flying has to cost more until the world is safe to fly discount cattle-truck style again. Meanwhile, keeping Canadians safe trumps airline profits, or does it?

Chris Richardson Vancouver


Neither WestJet nor Air Canada are charities. They have an obligation to their shareholder(s) to turn a profit. If you feel unsafe to fly because of their change in policy to sell the middle seat, you have the option to not fly. If fly you must, you also have the option to purchase two seats to ensure physical distancing.

Paul Fisher Calgary

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Failing kids and parents

Re Students Have A Right To Education, But It Hasn’t Been A COVID-19 Priority (July 3): Contributor Lauren Dobson-Hughes accurately highlights several critical issues that have been inadequately addressed by the Ontario government concerning the resumption of in-class learning in September.

There needs to be a single goal – full-time resumption of in-class learning – not the current mish-mash of options. Letting school boards pick and choose will be nothing more than an exercise in futile cat herding. The province needs to chart the path that will achieve getting schools back to normal and this must be an overrriding priority.

Unfortunately, it is apparent that neither Education Minister Stephen Lecce or Premier Doug Ford recognize how important this piece of the puzzle is to the critical path of getting the province back on track.

Frank Malone Aurora, Ont.


Ms. Dobson-Hughes is absolutely accurate in her assessment that, “Our governments are not only failing children, they’re failing parents, and mothers, in particular.” Since March, I have been silently enraged about the expectations placed on parents – primarily mothers – during this pandemic.

Our approach to reopening the economy without heed for parents’ needs, well-being and basic capacity to function is disappointing. I say this as one of the lucky ones: my partner and I have secure jobs that allow us to work from home, we are housed and food secure; I acknowledge our privilege. Still, I have had my share of days over these past nearly four months when I have been overcome by the expectations placed on me, and I’ve struggled with meeting them. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult, verging on impossible, this is for households with more challenging circumstances.

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While there has been a great emphasis on bolstering the economy, I have seen minimal discussion of policy alternatives relating to families and parents. This is, essentially then, a tacit agreement by government and society that parents (again, primarily mothers) will have to sacrifice their jobs, their educations and the parts of their lives that, in many cases, provide them with fulfilment and a sense of accomplishment, not to mention an income, effectively removing themselves from the career track, in order to fill the gaps.

I recognize that these times are unprecedented for most of us who are alive right now. But I still reject the notion that, as a result, an entire generation of women will be left behind emotionally, financially, and professionally, yet again.

Andrea Legato London, Ont.

Don’t look to Ottawa

Re Ottawa Urged To Help Build Standards For Long-Term Care Homes (July 3): The current pandemic has revealed serious inadequacies in our long-term care homes. These inadequacies were not new, but now they have nowhere to hide. To turn to Ottawa is unnecessary. There are some, maybe many, facilities with excellence in administration, food and laundry services, beautiful properties with grounds keepers, and some of these outstanding homes offer independent living with support, assisted living wings and nursing services. In other words, everything for a happy and healthy ultimate stage in life.

We do not need Ottawa to create a wasteful organism with the aim of discovering what these excellent homes do. Find three of them and send out intelligent and sensitive types with marching orders to pick their brains and get a feel for what they have done successfully.

If Ottawa needs to have the gold standard on a plate, they can give me a call. I’ve been there.

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Hugh McKechnie Newmarket, Ont.

Feeding China’s power

Re A Eulogy For ‘One Country, Two Systems’ (July 3): The observation that China sees itself as too powerful to have to keep its bargains is entirely bang on. However, we can expand on that; it's the rest of the world's complacency that feeds that power.

Pete Reinecke Ottawa

Hosting the virus

Re Toronto, Edmonton Front-Runners As Hub Cities For NHL’s Return To Play, Report Says (July 2): Last November, I booked a one-week vacation in Vancouver for this July. Then the pandemic broke out. Our leaders quickly urged us “to flatten the curve” and to help our hospitals and our front-line workers by avoiding non-essential travel. I complied and rebooked my Vancouver vacation for next year.

Now, just as we’re starting to see some success in our war against the virus, our leaders have permitted Edmonton and Toronto to be in the running to become “hub cities” for the NHL. Borrowing a phrase from Her Majesty, “I am not amused.”

Ben Labovitch Toronto

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