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Former prime minister Stephen Harper arrives at a ceremony marking the one year anniversary of the attack on Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, 2015 at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Provincial pace

Re Rollout Reactions (Letters, March 15): My wife and I, both over 80, were pleased when we received our Pfizer shots last Saturday. However, we were shocked and disappointed to be informed that we won’t get second shots until July 3. An information package provided by the government said to get the second shot in three weeks – a bit of a disconnect.

This approach will enable more people to be vaccinated, but will probably result in more significant illnesses and deaths. It’s clear that those over 80 are at significantly higher risk of bad outcomes. It appears as if Ontario is risking our lives.

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Ross Reynolds Toronto

On Sunday, my under-65 wife received the AstraZeneca vaccine after booking on Thursday. The process was impressive. Total wait time online was maybe 10 minutes, during which time a countdown graphic indicated the number of folks queued ahead.

It is fair to complain about Canada’s delays. But with the federal procurement plan now seemingly in full swing, Alberta is getting the jabs going quite expediently.

Dave McClurg Calgary

Conservative cuts

Re Conservative Conundrum (Letters, March 15): Erin O’Toole should make clear to the social-conservative wing of his party that, while he may privately sympathize with their views, he is nevertheless leader of a national party.

The party’s role should be to craft and present policies of broad concern to the country as a whole. The moral ethics of a minority should not figure into policy, because it should not be the role of government to mandate the personal moral beliefs of its citizens.

If the Conservatives are to stand any chance of defeating the Liberal government, the right wing should be silenced. I find their beliefs are out of step with the majority of Canadians.

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Kathryn Vogel Toronto

Hold ‘em

Re Is Big Government Really Back? (March 10): Columnist Andrew Coyne gives a scathing summary of Canadian government failures during the pandemic. It is appropriate that we constantly be reminded that our governments should do better. But the lesson that he draws, that the best role for government is cheque-writing, seems to miss the mark.

As pointed out, we have learned democratic federalism’s weaknesses in dealing with a complex issue such as the pandemic. But it also has strengths: At the end of the day, its governments are accountable for successes and failures.

Canadians should encourage their governments to deal with the complex issues they face. They should drive them to do it well – and hold them accountable.

Toby Fyfe President, Institute on Governance; Ottawa

Monarchy no more?

Re Canada Should Prepare For An Inevitable Switch To Life Without The Monarchy (March 15): I hope the generation then in power will not turn its back on our unique history. We could still call our head of state the governor-general. We could ask members of the Order of Canada to elect him or her.

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Despite the constitutional intricacies, it could be a golden opportunity for the provinces, territories and federal government to foster national unity together.

Catherine Sinclair Thornbury, Ont.

As a former American, I found the history and ritual around the monarchy fascinating. I came to accept the monarchy.

Discussions around the monarchy seem to neglect its political role: separation of the head of state from the head of government. If we do finally abandon the monarchy, we should still find a way to replace the roles of governor-general and lieutenant-governors.

Bernie Koenig London, Ont.

Mind the gap

Re Gulf Between Privileged And Working Classes Must Be Addressed, Harper Says (March 13): I worked in the public service through a bit more than half of Stephen Harper’s prime ministership. It was a depressing time. So when I hear Mr. Harper say that public servants are being paid to stay at home, implying that they are on paid leave, I say it is time for him to hold his tongue.

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The many public servants I know, including family members, are working their butts off under difficult conditions. Many are juggling child care with exhausting video meetings, and working late into the night when the kids are in bed. And they are deeply appreciative of their good fortune in still having jobs when so many fellow Canadians have lost theirs.

These times are depressing enough without having a former prime minister once again attacking hard workers who are committed to public service, at a time when it is more important than ever.

Suzanne Gobeil Ottawa

Farm fears

Re Ontario Government Faces Lawsuit Over ‘Ag-Gag’ Legislation Targeting Farm Trespassers (March 10): It’s disappointing to me that Ontarians are being forced to sue the provincial government to safeguard free expression. We deserve to know where our food comes from. For many of us, this means understanding what life is like for animals confined on factory farms.

Where did our meal come from? And what did the animal endure before ending up on our plate? From what I can see, the farming industry already kills millions of animals without much government oversight or animal-welfare regulations. Surely these intensive animal agricultural operations shouldn’t be allowed to operate in secrecy.

Let’s allow journalists and investigators to do their vital work, ensuring that Canadians support only those industries that we can fully trust. Or do Ontario farms have something to hide?

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Cheryl Albuquerque Toronto

Give a little

Re Bored Canadians Are Splurging On ‘Quarantreats’ (Report on Business, March 15): Yes, we can all use some “quarantreats,” but how about giving a bit? Those museums, zoos and theatres we used to enjoy would appreciate our generosity. Food banks struggle to serve those now unemployed; we should step up and share excess savings.

If we who are fortunate to have stable incomes want a return to normalcy, we should take responsibility to keep our cultural institutions alive, to keep our neighbours fed and secure.

Catherine Schuler Ancaster, Ont.

Sweet ending

Re A Fondness For Fritters (First Person, March 12): I fondly recall sitting at Tim Hortons on North Front Street in Belleville in 1970, with a fritter in my left hand and my girlfriend’s hand in my right, and staring into her lively blue eyes.

Fritters were only 10 cents apiece then. That has changed, but those blue eyes still glow for me.

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Henry Kafka Belleville, Ont.

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