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Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka (9) shoots as Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, left, defends In the first half of an NBA basketball game, March 9, 2020, in Salt Lake City.

The Associated Press

Testing, testing

Re Doctors Warn Of Gaps In Virus Testing and Raptors Self-isolate And Await Test Results (March 13): A number of physicians in Ontario report that officials aren’t consistently clear who qualifies for COVID-19 testing. Those living in more remote areas have even more difficulty accessing services. But never fear: Although reports say no Raptors players or staff members have been infected, they all received tests in short order.

Who makes that decision? Doesn’t seem right to me!

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Ann Sullivan Peterborough, Ont.

Cancel culture

Re What Should You Consider Before Travelling, Or Staying Put, Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak? (Online, March 11): The conference my wife and I were to attend was cancelled less than 24 hours before we were to fly to Vancouver and Montreal. We had to call Aeroplan to cancel our flights, plus Travelzoo and the YMCA hotel to cancel our hotel reservations, all at very short notice.

Although some waiting times were long to get through to a live person, everyone we dealt with was very efficient, helpful and friendly. We would like to say thank you to all the folks in the service industry who provide such great service. Quite a feat in these trying times!

Peter Dielissen Fredericton

Alberta disadvantage

Re Price Drop (Letters, March 12): I believe recent letters attacking Alberta and Jason Kenney fail to recognize that, going into the current crisis, the playing field had been stacked against the province, and Confederation was not an equal benefit across Canada. There is Bill-69, the West Coast tanker ban, the quashing of so many pipeline and resource projects, and the failure to act decisively on blockades and court challenges. That’s not to mention Alberta historically paying more into the tax pool that feeds equalization payments, which I find greatly distorts the sense of fair play and equal opportunity in Canada.

If all was so fair, why did billions in investments flee Alberta? Why is there no tanker ban on foreign crude to eastern Canada? Why no stringent review and blockade of projects like Quebec’s cement industry?

We may be years digging out of the current mess. We should wake up and start working together on equal terms. I believe we currently live in a broken nation, and not one I want for our children.

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Chris Tworek Calgary

Oil kings

Re Most Pick Saudi Arabia To Win Global Oil Game Of Chicken. They Are Wrong (Report on Business, March 11): Columnist Eric Reguly describes the current oil-price collapse as a spat between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the second- and third-largest oil producers. What about the United States and Canada, the first- and fourth-largest producers?

Arguably, North America’s role began a decade ago when increased oil production here created a tsunami that led to the price collapse of 2014-15. The continent’s production doubled in 10 years, expecting OPEC countries and Russia to cut back. Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions hammered Iran and Venezuela, largely removing their oil from the world market. And Libya’s production remains chaotic after NATO’s 2011 military intervention.

I consider the U.S. and Canada complicit in the current market situation – one might say they started it.

John Foster Author, Oil and World Politics; Kingston

Class dismissed

Re There Is No Conspiracy Inside The Democratic Establishment To Stop Bernie Sanders (March 12): I found that columnist Konrad Yakabuski provided a reasonable explanation of why Joe Biden has taken the lead in the Democratic race over Bernie Sanders. However, I strongly question his claim that Mr. Sanders’s “class warfare” is “as toxic as Mr. Trump’s tweets.”

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In my view, policy proposals seeking to improve the lives of Americans are nowhere near equivalent to comments effectively demonizing segments of the population. Furthermore, why does the term “class warfare” only seem to be used to describe positions that “punch up” at the power of the wealthy and corporations, and not “punching down” when those actors push policies to their benefit, and harm those not as well off?

Michael Bohdanowicz Toronto

The last time

Re Transport Canada Was Warned On 737 Max In 2016 (March 13): After the fatal crash of a Cougar Sikorsky helicopter off Newfoundland, we learned that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration deemed the type of failure that downed that aircraft as statistically insignificant. It waived a test where a failure would have required modifications and delayed certification. To me, there’s no doubt that this type of oversight was considered industry-friendly. Were those who lost love ones comforted by the statistics?

Now, regarding the 737 Max, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said “we have all learned in the last year some very important lessons" – the Cougar crash was in 2009.

Jim MacDonald Halifax

Be our guest?

Re WestJet Cuts Capacity, Freezes Spending, As Virus Hurts Bottom Line (March 12): A WestJet spokeswoman makes reference to the safety of WestJet “guests." To put it politely, the characterization of customers as guests feels smarmy and disingenuous. WestJet is not alone in this: I’ve found that travel advertising has a long history of mendacious and misleading definitions. When was the last time one saw an ad displaying a beach crowded with all matter of misshapen humanity? Never.

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W. Selby Martin Toronto

Tear sheet

Re Wiped Out (Opinion, March 14): Many thanks to The Globe’s Adrian Lee for arguing for the bidet. The best below-the-belt years of my life were spent in a Vancouver apartment that included a bidet. When visitors emerged from the bathroom and asked why (or how) on earth anyone would use a bidet, the glass coffee table in my living room provided a handy analogy.

“Imagine chocolate pudding was smeared all over this glass table, and that we had only dry toilet paper to clean it off. We could never, ever get it properly clean. Now, imagine instead that we had a garden hose, with warm water and reasonable pressure, to clean the chocolate pudding off the table.”

By that point, my guests had usually seen the light. And most eventually excused themselves for a second visit to my loo.

Joanne Will Sidney, B.C.

Re Plenty Of Toilet Paper To Go Around, Canada’s Biggest Producer Says (Report on Business, March 13): As Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman says, “What, me worry?” I am an inveterate reader of the daily newspaper in good old-fashioned print, and I chuckle when I read news stories about the run on toilet paper. I can only assume the folks who are doing the buying and hoarding get their news in digital format.

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Ken Cuthbertson Kingston


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