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Health care workers from Switch Health administer the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Ontario Khalsa Darbar pop-up vaccination clinic at the Sikh Gurudwara in Mississauga, Ont., on May 4, 2021.CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

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By the numbers

Re Our Rate Of Vaccination Is Still Too Low (Editorial, July 7): There may be a tangible way to convince those who are still undecided. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health reports that, in a recent one-month interval, 83 per cent of new cases were in people unvaccinated, 16 per cent were partly vaccinated and just 1 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Let everyone know these numbers loud and clear. Put it in their vision and thinking on a daily basis. Put it on the front page. Report daily cases and deaths using the same criteria.

It may be the best and only way to get our vaccination rate to 90 per cent.

Val Rachlis MD Toronto

Parliamentary principle

Re Finance Department Defies Parliamentary Precedent (July 8): The government did not merely defy Parliament. It did not merely act contrary to federal law. It acted unconstitutionally.

The foundational principles of our Constitution and system of law and government can be found in the Bill of Rights, 1689. The first article, and top of mind for those looking to curb executive abuse and entitlement, clearly states “that the pretended power of suspending the laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority [the executive] without consent of Parliament is illegal.”

The government may not like the law. It may be flawed. It may be difficult to enforce. But it is the law. Parliament, and therefore the Constitution, has spoken. The government has no choice but to listen.

Steven Chaplin Former senior counsel, House of Commons; fellow, University of Ottawa Public Law Centre


Re Does Via Need To Run The New Rail Line? (July 7): Columnist Andrew Coyne appropriately sounded the alarm on Via Rail’s high-frequency rail project in terms of capital cost, timeline and subsidy levels, but I find the solutions he proposes to be questionable.

Privatizing passenger rail services and opening them up to competition would not avoid taxpayer subsidies. It would take intense tourism or highly profitable real estate developments on the rail route to offset these.

Via’s problems are rooted in policy that treats it as a taxpayer-funded, federal cabinet hobby rather than a critical national mobility service provider. Impending crises drive most policy decisions. The HFR project seems to perpetuate this with a piecemeal approach that is likely to cost 10 times the current estimate and may never get fully built.

The government has no plan B if the HFR project fails to deliver.

Ken Westcar Secretary, Transport Action Ontario; Woodstock, Ont.

In other words

Re Trudeau Skirts Language Symbols To Appoint A GG Who Expresses Hope For Indigenous Reconciliation (July 7): At a small lunch gathering, I thought of proposing a toast in Mary Simon’s honour. It would have been great to do it in Inuktitut, but I regret not knowing a single word of the language.

While Ms. Simon has said that she is going to improve her fluency in French, wouldn’t it be great if more of us non-Indigenous people learned even a few words of these non-official, beautiful languages?

Patricia Moore Paris, Ont.

Catholic crisis

Re Amid Shameful Residential-school Revelations, I Cannot Remain A Catholic (July 5): I don’t think contributor Bernadette Hardaker should feel “ashamed.”

She too is a victim. She was lied to, as I was lied to, by the Catholic Church and school system we were raised in. We were taught to believe that the church played a “civilizing” role in Indigenous life. No one was there to correct us. We were children, too.

She is right that we can no longer accept the lies they instilled. We should be honest with future generations about the abuse and trauma the church inflicted on First Nations, the legacy of which sadly remains today.

We should also work harder to reconcile with First Nations. We can hear their voices now, unlike when we were children. We must heed them. There is no other option if we are to mutually live together in peace, harmony and dignity.

That is the Canada we should build moving forward.

Paul Salvatori Toronto

I, along with many other Roman Catholics, have signed online expressions of horror at our church’s involvement in the abuse of Indigenous populations. I choose to remain a member of my community because, despite institutional flaws and the moral crimes of some of its leading members, the church remains Christ-centred and provides the spiritual direction and resources I need in attempting to be the best person I can be.

The church is defined as more than its pope, bishops, priests and other religious leaders; it is composed of “the people of God,” who are attempting to live according to the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. I, with my fellow Catholics, ask for forgiveness from our abused Indigenous neighbours, and forgiveness from our God.

Michael Goodstadt Toronto

Cool ideas

Re How Planting Trees Can Cool Canada’s Cities (Editorial, July 3): Scientists have developed drones to plant trees – anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 trees a day. The technology is programmed to shoot bulbs to a certain soil depth based on planting conditions. Justin Trudeau’s promise of a few billion trees by 2030 could be cracked in a few years.

To all the forestry ministries: Get with the technology of the day. It’s time to get drone-planting.

Thomas Vincent Collingwood, Ont.

It does take a lot to establish young urban trees, including finding space to plant them with lot sizes shrinking and hardscapes expanding.

In Elora, we created Tree Trust in 2019 to extend the lives of our legacy trees. We fund professional arboriculture care to address structural defects that can threaten older trees. The many benefits of large, established trees are well-documented, not least of which is their role in sequestering carbon.

There are now six Tree Trust chapters in Ontario communities and more are on their way. It’s a simple and unique concept: local charitable donations preserving local trees.

Toni Ellis Elora, Ont.

Good ol’ hockey game

Re It’s Just Hockey, But In This Season Of Seasons It Meant So Much More (Sports, July 8): Mes Habs played every game with stout hearts on their sleeves, true grit in their guts and deep respect for the game, their adoring fans and their weary country.

I feel grateful they are ours.

Paula Jessop Toronto

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