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Mary Simon speaks during an announcement at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on July 6, 2021.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Almost there

Re ‘It’s The Hesitant Group That We Need To Be Able To Convert’: First-Dose Vaccinations Plateau Across The Country (July 7): Our governments are close to fulfilling their responsibility to protect citizens by making effective vaccines available to all who want them. How long must restrictions on the vast majority be maintained to deliver an extensive program of communication, persuasion and cajolery to the hesitant minority?

The hesitant have made their choice and, providing hospital admissions remain manageable, reopening should continue and provide relief to the vaccinated majority. Britain is proceeding with reopening in order to restore freedoms for all, and is embracing a strategy of learning to live with the virus.

Just as with annual flu vaccinations where we accept a certain level of infection in the unvaccinated, the same approach is likely unavoidable with COVID-19. Canada should get started during the summer months.

Phil Surtees London, Ont.

A new era

Re Inuk Leader Mary Simon Named Governor-General (July 7): Much better to have done something truly bold and appoint Mary Simon to federal cabinet. Give her a seat at the table where legislation affecting Indigenous people is decided, rather than a ceremonial courtesy of offering assent.

It is not legally necessary for cabinet members to have a seat in Parliament. Just a tradition – like the Governor-General.

Darrell Horn Winnipeg

Re Trudeau Skirts Language Symbols To Appoint A GG Who Expresses Hope For Indigenous Reconciliation (July 7): At a time when the federal government has made a priority of shoring up French across Canada, and has even invaded provincial jurisdiction to do so, it feels cognitively dissonant to appoint a Governor-General who speaks no French.

Mary Simon doesn’t simply represent the Queen as an internal matter. She represents the head of state and the face of Canada abroad. It should be part of her job description to speak French. Many Indigenous people in high places do.

For a government seemingly preoccupied by the decline of one of Canada’s official languages, and excessively attached to symbolic gestures, this appointment appears to have swapped one symbol for another.

Howard Greenfield Montreal

It is nice to know that we have a new Governor-General and that she is Indigenous. However, as commendable as this is, it is sad to know that Justin Trudeau has turned a blind eye to a significant aspect of our Canadian heritage.

Mary Simon is not bilingual. As an adult Canadian, she should be. I am an immigrant from an English-speaking country and am fluently bilingual. She has spent more than 20 years in the diplomatic service and yet is not bilingual.

I believe Justin Trudeau has made an error in judgment. In spite of her protestations as to not having had an opportunity to become bilingual, it should be the responsibility of every Canadian who aspires to public office to truly do so.

Yes, she will be making an effort to become somewhat bilingual in due course, but that is not enough for me.

D.A. Morrison Toronto

The new Governor-General speaks two languages fluently. Have her accompanied by a translator and just get on with it in French that way.

The next appointee can be French and Cree, with an English translator.

Patricia Wales Calgary

I was the registrar at Trent University when Mary Simon was our chancellor.

On convocation day, the chancellor not only presides over the ceremonies, but personally confers each and every degree. My lasting impression of her is the warm smile, interest, humility and sincerity she showed each and every graduand, regardless if they were the first or the 500th and beyond.

Those looking at her biography will note she not only served as chancellor from 1995 to 1999, but also graciously returned to the role in 2002-2003 when her successor and friend Peter Gzowski died. This is also noteworthy because she took on the commitment in addition to her ambassadorial duties at the time.

Simply put, Mary Simon is a class act who, along with her vice-regal consort, will bring a sense of kindness and purpose to the role of Governor-General.

Paul Thomson Bath, Ont.

In conclusion

Re A Year After Police Killed Chantel Moore, Her Family Is Still Looking For Answers (July 6): This entire story may be summed up in five words: Shoot first, ask questions later. Truly disgusting.

Michael Vollmer Burlington, Ont.

Repent, repent

Re Catholic Guilt (Letters, July 7): The Roman Catholic Church is an association of human beings, led by a human being, as well as the Body of Christ (or part of it, depending on one’s view – mine is Anglican). The theological argument that the Church cannot sin applies to the latter, but not the former.

I believe, however, that calls for an apology are a mistake. There should be an ecumenical and national day (or week or year?) of prayer and repentance. We all, church members or not, bear our share of responsibility, if only for being slow to accept the truth of mistreatment and abuse that has been surfacing for years.

I feel the pain of a letter-writer, but I urge her not to abandon her church. The church needs her, and people of like conscience, to listen to the Holy Spirit and speak out.

Robert Stairs Peterborough, Ont.

There are many days I feel like throwing in the towel. The religion observed these days is embarrassing and corrupt. Its refusal to apologize to Indigenous people misses the first call out of Jesus’s mouth in the earliest gospel of Mark: metanoia, to change or to turn in Greek, or to repent.

Good religion calls us to constant turning. To humility at our arrogance. The Catholic Church’s refusal to apologize makes all religion look complicit and hypocritical. These are the very things Jesus challenged in his day.

I remain in my work, with a stole around my neck, encouraging good public religion that acknowledges, apologizes and seeks to turn anew. There is good in all religions; humans are the problem.

John Pentland Reverend, Hillhurst United Church; Calgary

Great moment

Re Machine-sliced Bread Is First Sold (Moment in Time, July 7): Do we happen to know what people said it was the greatest thing since?

Peter W. M. Blayney Toronto

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