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An Air Canada plane prepares to take off at the Benito Juarez International airport, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2020.


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No distancing in the sky

Re WestJet And Air Canada To Start Selling Middle Seats On Flights As Of July 1 (Report on Business, June 27): So Air Canada and WestJet, along with other international air carriers, are set to resume pre-COVID-19 side-by-side seating as of July 1, notwithstanding the considered advice of the World Health Organization, Canada’s federal and provincial health officers and epidemiologists regarding the critical importance of physical distancing and other measures, if we are ever to stop a vicious spiral of shutdowns and premature reopening of our societies and economies.

Worse still, the WHO continues to insist that globally we have yet to reach the peak of the pandemic, and key U.S. states are experiencing major new outbreaks after recent reopening of their economies. It is time for our Prime Minister to act in the national interest and reverse this reckless move by our major airlines, which, if carried out, risks to jeopardize the hard-earned progress back to some kind of normalcy.

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Scott Burbidge Port Williams, N.S.

WestJet and Air Canada have now proven beyond doubt that they put profit above passenger safety.

Rona Altrows Calgary

Tale of two pandemics

Re No Good Options: CEO Wealth Evaporates As Shares Lose Value and Forget The V-shaped Recovery. Millions Of Americans Can’t Pay Rent (Report on Business, June 27): If you need more evidence of the unequal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, look at the June 27 paper edition of The Globe and Mail. Two articles appeared side by side: One article talked about 10,000 people lining up for groceries at a food bank. The other article talked about a corporate CEO whose pay package sunk to “just $5.8 million.” The contrast is incredible.

Paul Carvalho Hamilton

Sustainable forest products

Re U.S. Toilet-paper Makers Get Failing Grade From Environmental Group For Using Fibre From Old-growth Canadian Forests (June 25): Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, Canada’s forest products industry has been a vital part of a supply chain, producing products such as masks and gowns for the health care sector and hygiene products such as tissue and toilet paper. A new report from the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) does not recognize that forest products from Canada’s boreal region are often seen as being among the most responsibly made in the world. Canada’s forest sector was validated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in 2018. As well, fibre in toilet paper is made from waste materials – the byproducts of making lumber.

In Canada, sustainable forest management is the law, and our member companies must have third-party sustainable forest management certification, further proof of commitments to the environmental, social and economic pillars of sustainability.

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Derek Nighbor President and CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada, Ottawa

Vaccinate for common survival

Re Why It Matters That You Get A COVID-19 Vaccine When It’s Available (June 29): Paul Taylor is right to argue for vaccination in advance of its development because unless Canadians in greater numbers are persuaded to take a needle for the team now, the only realistic medical cure for COVID-19 will be unused and thus be ineffective.

Recent polling indicates that 72 per cent of Canadians approve of compulsory vaccination. However, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says future vaccinations will be voluntary. Such a contradictory message is inexcusable by those elected to serve and protect us during this pandemic. In fact, removing a 28-per-cent blind spot in Canada’s future planning needs to be undertaken immediately because herd protection may only be achieved by an estimated “60 per cent ... 85 per cent” vaccination usage.

Society’s compliance with vaccination will maximize its efficacy. A medical fix with not enough users is self-defeating. We must marshal the public will, medical knowledge and legal authority to behave better toward each other. Compelling vaccination is pro-social goodwill that protecting each other ensures our common survival.

Tony D’Andrea Toronto

Paid volunteerism?

Re Volunteer Canada Declined To Work For WE Over Wage Concerns With Student Grant Program (June 29): Rather than questioning whether WE Charity should administer the Canada Student Service Grant program, we should be questioning why we are even starting a Canada Student Service Grant program. Bravo to Volunteer Canada and chief executive officer Paula Speevak for declining the offer to work for WE Charity in this oxymoronic advancement of paid volunteerism. If we are a country where a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, then are we a country where a volunteer is a volunteer is a volunteer?

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John Budreski Vancouver

B.C. leads the way

Re Vancouver Out Of Running As NHL Hub City, Canucks Say (June 26): As a life-long Leafs fan, I want the return of hockey and the economics that come with it as much as the next Canadian, but congratulations to British Columbia, the gold standard for North American pandemic management these days, for setting a bar that prioritizes their citizens’ health over tempting, but short-term, economics. The NHL’s decision tells us all we need to know about where its priorities lie. I sincerely hope that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are paying attention and follow B.C.’s strong leadership.

John Lahey Toronto

How we can upskill

Re Is It Finally Time For A Revolution In Reskilling? (Report on Business, June 23): When it comes to reskilling and upskilling our work force, many excellent solutions can be found in our own country.

For example, at St. Lawrence College, we worked with Shopify to create a micro-credential program that teaches business marketing students about e-commerce. And there are many similar examples throughout the country. In Ontario alone, there are more than 600 micro-credential programs already in existence at colleges.

This approach has been embraced by colleges for some time. They are building on that success and working with business leaders to further address reskilling challenges as we emerge from lockdown.

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Glenn Vollebregt President and CEO, St. Lawrence College; Kingston

A different election soundtrack

Re Which Campaign Will Strike The Right Chord In The U.S. Election? (June 29): Contributor David Shribman says Joe Biden could be compared to the music of Shania Twain, while Donald Trump reminds him of Dean Martin’s 1950s vibe. A more apt avatar for Mr. Biden would be Sade (Smooth Operator); for Mr. Trump, I would suggest Meat Loaf (Bat Out of Hell).

Manuel Matas Winnipeg

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