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Westjet passenger planes parked with covers on the engines at Pearson airport in Toronto.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

A fair air solution

Re Airline Customers Don’t Deserve Cash Refunds (May 30):

People who recently bought tickets on one of Canada’s airlines but weren’t allowed to fly now want the airlines to give them back their money. While Transport Minister Marc Garneau thinks that the idea makes sense, he maintains that requiring the airlines to reimburse the money would ruin them. And since we all need our airlines, he thinks that we shouldn’t compel them to give back the money.

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Admittedly, there’s a real dilemma here. There’s no doubt whatsoever that the would-be passengers have the absolute right to be reimbursed, and there’s also no doubt whatsoever that the country needs its airlines.

The solution is obvious. Let the government give the people their money and consider it a long-term loan to the airlines. Then, when things start going better, the airlines could reimburse the government. Not only is that an obvious solution, it’s also the only really fair one.

Gene Sauvé Gatineau

Missing the office

There would appear to be a strong correlation between the emotions of those newly working from home and those newly retired (Re Is The Office Era Over? May 30).

In both cases, there is the undoubted initial euphoria at the greater degree of freedom – total in the case of retirees – plus the joyful realization that the wasted hours and tribulations of the daily commute are now a thing of the past. But as the majority of retirees will surely attest, although the daily grind may be no more, there is an almost immediate sense of profound personal loss.

During those initial months, the absence of daily connectivity, be it merely water-cooler deep, can feel akin to banishment or perhaps even bereavement. With this in mind, those contemplating the implementation of a permanent policy of working from home need to realize that, although productivity may initially increase, our hard-wired basic human need to bond appears to offer scant guarantee that this will necessarily be maintained. No man or woman is an island.

Alan Scrivener Cornwall, Ont.

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Most people are reporting higher productivity with working from home. However, I do not buy it. I cannot imagine that many would report they are less productive at home, at a time when millions of people are losing their jobs. It is in everyone’s best interest right now, for job security, to appear more productive.

There is a big difference between being productive and working a lot. People are working a lot now because they are really well connected and it is a welcome distraction.

As a chief executive, I have accepted that my teams are not as productive as they once were. There is a lot going on. I want people to spend less time working and to be more productive when they actually are working. We shortened meetings to 30 minutes, eliminated meetings after 1 p.m. and cut our Slack usage in half, all to encourage more focus when working. We also introduced wellness days to encourage more time spent not working.

Kunal Gupta CEO, Polar Mississauga

An education in anti-racism

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri calls on leaders to call out racism (To Overcome Racism, We Must Raise Our Voices, June 1).

The best place to begin is in schools, especially where the student body is multicultural. Student stories about discrimination in their communities are strong vehicles whereby individual experiences with racism can be voiced and racism can be challenged with logic and compassion.

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Science tells us that there is only one race – the human race – and schools can demonstrate that differences in skin colour, culture and language are all part of variety in nature and not to be feared. Instead, differences can and should be celebrated.

Diane Sullivan Toronto

Get down to business

Re PBO Decries Time Limit On Spending Review (May 30):

Neither justice nor democracy is measured in time but in results.

On June 17, the House of Commons will have four hours to debate emergency expenditures. Some cry out that this is an abuse of democracy because the time is short and limited. But if members of Parliament treat this meeting as a business meeting and not as a political opponent-bashing event, then the time will be adequate. Businesses do this all the time. Everyone studies the material beforehand, focuses on the most important issues and agrees upon the common good. They don’t try to get their own version of a perfect solution.

We have a national crisis. We do not have the time for the Opposition to nitpick the government’s actions.

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Peter Fedirchuk Ottawa

What would Ali say?

Re ‘No Comment’ Won’t Keep Today’s Professional Athletes Out Of Politics (June 1):

Cathal Kelly’s column concludes by asking, “One would love to know what [Muhammad] Ali would have made of all this. Mostly, I presume he’d be disappointed to learn that 50 years on, America hadn’t changed all that much.”

Sublimely, Mr. Ali, in fact, left us his opinion: “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."

Charles Robertson Mississauga

Families on the front line

Re Connecting With Nursing Home Residents With Dementia A Challenge For Families During Pandemic (May 30):

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The major or only continuous “family” care-giver is usually the loving partner. Other family members usually have only limited time for care-giving.

I was the loving partner of my wife for nearly 62 years, both of us recently well over 80. She developed dementia about 10 years ago, subsequently diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. I cared for her at home until she had to be admitted to long-term care about 3½ years ago. She died on April 4. None of our immediate family live here.

She became physically and mentally incompetent, with no quality of life. This was devastating for all of our family. I was continuously involved with her personal care and therefore the loving partner most affected by the situation, psychologically and emotionally, followed by the distressing reality that she was gone forever.

I make these points to emphasize that serious attention should be directed to the role of loving partners of those with dementia, and studies be directed to how they are affected, and how they should be directed, handled and treated.

Nicholas Diamant MD Kingston

Stay or go?

Re Ottawa Hopes to Save the Summer with Cash Injection to Boost Domestic Travel (June 1)

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So, $30-million to discover our own backyard? But stay home from the cottage? Talk about mixed messaging.

Carol Town Hamilton

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