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Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead, Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force, draws a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Winnipeg, March 19, 2021.

JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

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Pandemic life

Re U.S. To Lend Canada 1.5 million AstraZeneca Doses (March 18): I was one of the lucky 64-year-olds to get an AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy this week. I have felt zero side effects since.

Although Europe might have issues with production, I believe our supply is safe and now feel halfway free. My next shot is June 30, which means by August I should be able to see my 85-year-old mother, who has endured the deaths of her long-time companion and brother more or less alone this year.

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If offered the AstraZeneca vaccine, please don’t let hype deter one from getting a shot that still offers protection against the worst COVID-19 outcomes: hospitalization, intensive care, intubation and death.

Howard Shrier Toronto


Re Canada’s Bishops Are Exploiting A Health Crisis (Opinion, March 13): Fear not: If Canadian Catholics heed calls from their bishops to decline vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson with the same zeal they heed directions on birth control, co-habitation outside wedlock and visits to the confessional, there will likely be no discernable impact on vaccinations from these manufacturers.

Mark Roberts Calgary


Re 2020 Hindsight: 365 Days, 365 Shots (March 13): Thanks to contributor Lucy Lu for sharing her poignant photography project. The past year has been challenging for everyone and devastating for so many.

We have seen hundreds of haunting images from the pandemic, but very few that capture a person’s internal struggle to get through each day under the invisible cloud named COVID-19. It was comforting to see the visual expressions of Ms. Lu’s experiences, since I can relate to the joy and pain evoked by the small things we’ve all seen and done during a surreal year.

Margaret Williamson Halifax

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Not like the other

Re China Conducting Spavor, Kovrig Trials In Secret and B.C. Judge Questions Thoroughness Of Covert Criminal Investigation Alleged By Meng’s Legal Team (March 19): The ironic juxtaposition of these two stories should not be lost on readers.

Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have experienced isolated incarceration for more than 830 days, with limited access to legal and consular services. Canada has already been denied rights to attend their trials in a court system known for near-guaranteed convictions.

Meng Wanzhou, on the other hand, has waited out her trial in the luxury of one of her Vancouver mansions. She has full access to an army of legal advisers. Her legal proceedings are taking place in full view of the press and other observers.

While lawyers owe their clients a duty to fully argue their cases, I don’t believe Ms. Meng’s lawyers can fairly claim abuse or a flagrant disregard for her rights – especially when compared with China’s retaliative actions.

Cynthia Rowden Toronto

Home sweet home

Re Left Adrift (Opinion, March 13): My parents, at 98, still live at home with support, owing to my father’s amputated leg (that is another long story).

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His personal support worker services of 14 hours a week have gone down to six hours because of staffing shortages during the pandemic. Thankfully, a grant from Veterans Affairs allowed us to hire caregivers privately. Since they are not paid by an agency to provide only for my father, the PSWs I found now also care for my mother.

When my father’s crisis happened six years ago, I was advised to put him in long-term care because “he is 92 years old.” I believe he would have died within months. My family is fortunate to have the financial support and now the care both my parents need. So many others in the same position are not as lucky, and that should not be the case.

Susan Montgomery Mississauga

Crown and country

Re The Worst System, Except For All The Others (March 17): Our parliamentary democracy should not be viewed as a gift of the monarchy. Instead, I see it as having evolved by progressively marginalizing the monarchy, from the Magna Carta to the final extension of the franchise in the past century.

In Canada, the King-Byng and Harper-Jean affairs have effectively rendered the powers of the governor-general moot. If Canadians decide to jettison the monarchy, there would be no need to bring down the entire constitutional tree. Simply changing the ornament at the top would suffice.

Michel Côté Ottawa

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The Crown has been a symbol of the state in Canada for centuries. Those who represent it, including the Queen, the governor-general and the lieutenant-governors, may carry out their duties from different backgrounds and with differing talent, and therefore generate both positive and negative reactions. However, they are not the Crown.

The Crown has no opinion or bias, except that which has been given by the people through laws made by elected representatives. They are passed and enforced in the name of the Crown.

The Crown is the fount of all honours and the symbol of government, including its legislatures, courts, police services and armed forces.

Gerald Pash Victoria

Clear cut

Re Old-growth Logging Continues As B.C.’s Commitments To Change Bog Down (March 15): It’s not just old growth in temperate rainforests that is disappearing: Logging at high elevation continues in many parts of British Columbia where old growth persists.

In the south Okanagan, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development’s recent 10-year review of the annual allowable cut includes projections that would remove all old growth in favour of more productive, younger forests that will be harvestable in 75 to 80 years. This would go against the Okanagan-Shuswap Land & Resource Management Plan of 2000, which agreed to set aside “Old Growth Management Areas.”

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From what I have seen, areas protected as parks and reserves are becoming isolated islands owing to adjacent clear-cutting; recreational users find more and more clear-cuts where there were well-used trails previously.

Forest management in B.C. appears not sustainable, in spite of commitments from government to change how this public resource is used.

Rick McKelvey Penticton, BC.


B.C. Forests Minister Katrine Conroy says “we can’t rush this.” The implementation of the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest agreement continues to proceed at a snail’s pace five years later. No one is accusing the government of rushing.

Some of the trees meant to be protected are centuries old. If ever there was a time to rush, it should be now. There are no second chances for 800-year-old trees.

Roy Schneider Regina

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The pun-demic

Re How Will We Face The World Again? (Opinion, March 13): On our shared COVID-19 journey, “there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.” I think, rather, that we are on the road to demask us.

Martin Birt Uxbridge, Ont.


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