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In discussing Elizabeth Warren, seen here on March 5, 2020, one reader writes that 'women should be encouraged to compete for civic leadership roles at every level and in any way possible, in all their fallible glory.'David Degner/The New York Times News Service

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Women and Warren

Re Blaming Sexism For Warren’s Loss Is A Disservice To Women (March 9): Contributor Debra Soh points out that Elizabeth Warren’s challenge was not being a woman, but rather that multiple gaffes contributed to her downfall in the Democratic race. Great leaders with a point of differentiation – be it gender, race, religion, sexual orientation – usually avoid it as an election tool. People elect leaders to lead, not to make issue with things that do not apply to the electorate in general.

I challenge anybody to point me to a moment when Barack Obama stated that being Black was an important component to his presidency, or when Margaret Thatcher stated that being a woman was a key criteria to her success as a prime minister.

John Budreski Vancouver

We should remember that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 U.S. election. Despite the oft-quoted dictum, it has been demonstrated that Americans will vote for a woman but, as The Globe and Mail’s Margaret Wente pointed out previously, Ms. Clinton “didn’t lose because she was a woman. She lost because she was the wrong one.”

Richard Seymour Brechin, Ont.

Contributor Debra Soh believes that sexism should not be the main takeaway from Elizabeth Warren’s loss. However, she also writes that “researchers found that for women, being likeable matters in every interaction they have, whereas for men, it only matters in interactions with the opposite sex. As unfair as it may be.” Is that not exactly how sexism works?

Inga Gusarova Calgary

I kept waiting for contributor Debra Soh’s punchline, but none came. When female political candidates are advised to ensure their campaigns are “infallible” and to refrain "from using rhetoric that alienates men,” it suggests an impossible standard. Consider the Oxford English Dictionary definition of infallible: “of persons – incapable of erring.” It implies that women haven’t come any distance since former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton (1951-56, 1960-64) remarked: “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.” Please say it ain’t so, and please don’t cloak it as feminism.

Women should be encouraged to compete for civic leadership roles at every level and in any way possible, in all their fallible glory. Thank goodness Elizabeth Warren persisted.

Linda Glover Toronto

Virus watch

Re Senior-care Facilities Are Especially Vulnerable To COVID-19 Outbreaks (March 9): The Ontario government has posted guidance that says hospital and home health-care workers who may be exposed to COVID-19 should be equipped with protective respirators (such as the N95 mask), but long-term care workers don’t yet require that level of protection. There is ample evidence that the virus is not discriminating between types of workers and patients, so why would the government?

Nancy Johnson Retired occupational health and safety specialist, Ontario Nurses’ Association; Sudbury, Ont.

Re Why The Coronavirus Represents A Global ‘Tipping Event’ (Opinion, March 7): The COVID-19 epidemic is obvious for all to see and has resulted in an immediate global response. Climate change, too, has been obvious for all to see, but it takes place more gradually and is often perceived to be of lesser urgency. The response to the coronavirus shows it is possible for the world to take swift action – which is how we should also respond to climate change, and prevent it from becoming a global crisis like the current epidemic.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Meanwhile in Ottawa

Re How The Coronavirus Will Reveal The Need For Change In How Ottawa Tackles Climate Change (Report on Business, March 7): The path to reduced greenhouse gas emissions is too often framed as a matter of technical problem solving. There are challenges on those fronts, but I believe the first and most daunting barrier to be overcome is political.

Cars, trucks, buildings, coal-fired generators and sequestration plants don’t vote, unlike people whose jobs, careers and communities face potentially severe disruption as we decarbonize the economy. Many people in carbon-dependent industries and regions in Canada and the United States are voting for conservative politicians who promise inaction on climate, and deny the economic and social risks such policy would bring. The foundation of a decarbonization strategy with any chance of success should be focused on the labour force and community transition, not unlike the transition programs in the steel, fishing and manufacturing sectors in the 1980s and 1990s, but on a much larger scale.

If the federal government does not soon offer a risk-management plan that vulnerable working people and their communities would vote for, Canada will likely have great difficulty meeting its climate-change challenges.

Rick Williams Glen Haven, N.S.

Re Trudeau Has To Choose A Clear Path Forward (March 9): Political writer Campbell Clark’s analysis of Justin Trudeau’s stewardship of the country during recent crises seems to have missed a critical evolution in the Prime Minister’s approach to governance.

In particular, I applaud his handling of pipeline protests and rail blockades. I found it reflected mature insight, as opposed to knee-jerk use of force that has been employed too frequently in the past, and cannot resolve the wound at the heart of the Canadian relationship with Indigenous people. That he chose a more restrained strategy in the face of popular opposition shows substance and character that looked buried under photo ops until now.

The sense of direction that Mr. Clark says is missing seems very simply a less aggressive and more nuanced approach, one that is very Canadian. Equally as important: The Prime Minister has demonstrated an ability to learn from mistakes.

Suzette Blom Toronto

Re Trudeau’s Experiment Ends With A Whimper (Opinion, March 7): As a former federal public servant, I can attest that “deliverology,” introduced with such fervour, amounted to little more than an unnecessary and largely superfluous paper chase, an exercise in colour-coding boxes to chart progress on files. I know – I had to fill them.

The desire for more rational policy making is laudable, but governing in a federation such as Canada is not simply a matter of filling boxes.

Michael Kaczorowski Ottawa


Re Fitness Has Become A Luxury Item. It Doesn’t Have To Be (March 9): I have been going to gyms on and off for many years. In the beginning, no one wore any fancy outfits or special shoes. Now it seems there is a fashion statement going on. Does the right outfit really help people go faster or lift heavier weights?

One would go poor purchasing all the clothes and equipment being advertised these days. I think Nike said it best: Just do it.

Bill Campbell Ajax, Ont.

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