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A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with injection supplies at a clinic in Winnipeg, March 19, 2021.

JOHN WOODS/The Canadian Press

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Pandemic patience

Re To Reopen, We Need Vaccines. And Patience (Editorial, March 16): I am amazed how spoiled we have become. Our sense of entitlement seems outrageous.

We are incredibly privileged to have vaccines available in such a short amount of time. Let’s put things in perspective and accept that, in this most exceptional situation, the people in charge are doing their best.

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Of course they make mistakes. Of course things don’t run smoothly all the time. Aren’t we mature enough to know that is to be expected? Must we behave like children and want immediate answers all the time?

Life throws curveballs sometimes. It is our choice how to react: Whine and make everyone miserable, or carry on as best as we can? We are all in the same boat.

Monique Fischer Toronto

Yours to discover

Re Highway 413, Meet Spadina Expressway (Editorial, March 15): Experts found that Ontario’s Highway 413 would save only 30 seconds of travel time. I can hear all those regular commuters shouting, “You must be joking!”

These are the drivers who sit in stop-and-go traffic every day and see how many cars take Highway 401 eastbound to 400 northbound in the morning, and Highway 400 southbound to 401 westbound in the afternoon. The distance of the two routes is similar, but that 30-second time-savings looks to have been calculated outside normal travel intervals.

Yes, the environmental impact is important. But taking all those cars off Highway 401 would greatly speed up traffic and decrease those billions of dollars that Toronto-area congestion has been shown to cost the economy.

Don Bowes Burlington, Ont.

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The Globe and Mail is right to ask what the $6-billion allocated for Highway 413 could otherwise purchase. It would more than cover a crucial light-rail project: the $4.6-billion Hurontario line in Mississauga and Brampton, or Toronto’s $4.2-billion Eglinton East LRT.

Our decision on the 413 will define us as a society: Do we favour improved service to priority neighbourhoods using emissions-free public transit? Or do we prefer destruction of farmland and forests to facilitate the movement of gas-burning cars?

Gideon Forman, Climate change and transportation policy analyst, David Suzuki Foundation; Toronto

I sat on the citizen advisory group for the original environmental assessment of the Greater Toronto Area West Corridor. I believe Highway 413 is the opposite of the Spadina Expressway.

It is an inter-regional corridor that traverses undeveloped land. There are no neighbourhoods to bisect. The growth coming to these areas, three million new residents by 2051, can be smartly planned around this corridor. The 413 will likely be built in an era when clean electric cars and trucks dominate and need these efficient routes.

Imagine if we plowed down Ontario’s current 400 series highways and built condos. A trip from Mississauga to Toronto across Eglington Avenue would probably take about five hours.

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Experienced engineers should plan our infrastructure, not activists. Torontonians living 1,000 years from now will likely thank us. Over and over.

Greg Sweetnam Executive vice-president, James Dick Construction; Bolton, Ont.

Marshall McLuhan said that the planners of the Spadina Expressway were “19th-century men with a naive faith in an obsolete technology” who hadn’t the “faintest interest in the values of neighbourhood or community,” and “their failure to learn from the mistakes of American cities will be ours too.” I believe the same can be said about the Highway 413 planners.

Tim Jeffery Toronto

Re Minister Faces Storm Over Use Of Land-planning Powers (March 13): Previously, ministerial zoning orders had rarely been used because they avoid public participation. I believe the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is abusing this extraordinary authority while he is keeper of the Ontario Planning Act, where public notice, participation and rights of appeal form the foundations of the province’s globally recognized, democratically based planning system.

The ministry has long been a stalwart partner of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, where the code of conduct identifies a member’s primary responsibility as promoting involvement of, defining and serving the public interest. Justifying MZOs with resolutions from local councils, which avoids long-established and hard-fought public participation laws and assessment by planners, seems like obfuscation.

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It is hard for me to imagine any provincial planners supporting MZOs which ignore provincial policy.

Victor Doyle RPP, MCIP; Toronto

Re Ontario Scales Back Proposed Yonge Subway Extension (March 18): Millions of dollars are spent on studies, which just get overridden with each change of government. Bean counters convince politicians to delay or downsize much-needed transportation projects. Will someone just put a spade in the ground and start building extensions to Toronto’s woefully underbuilt infrastructure? Is there anyone who thinks subways will get cheaper to build, or that the city’s population will decrease?

However, construction should actually start on a relief line before we get serious about a Yonge subway extension. Continuing to load up the Yonge Street corridor with more condominiums – and now a proposed extension to the same overcrowded line before a separate relief line – defies my common sense.

Sally Plumb Toronto

But also

Re Derivatives For The People: Amateurs Shake Up The Arcane World Of Trading (Report on Business, March 6): Myron Scholes and Robert Merton won a Nobel Prize for their work on the pricing of options. But these two men were also principals in the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, which famously exploded in 1998 with over $1-trillion in default risk, and threatened to bring down the world financial system before a bailout.

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Blaise Salmon Mill Bay, B.C.

Bring ‘em home

Re Pandemic Led To Massive Scramble To Bring Canadians Home (March 15): I worked to repatriate our very sick mother from Costa Rica last April. Global Affairs Canada staff did everything right to arrange for repatriation flights.

I can only imagine the thousands of frantic calls the staff must have received during that time. They showed professionalism and sympathy. They were courteous and patient every step of the way.

In our case, it was WestJet that stepped up to bring planeloads of Canadians back from Costa Rica. Our mother was taken by ambulance and stretcher right up to the plane. Unfortunately, just before takeoff, she became unstable and had to be removed from the plane. She never made it back to Canada.

During an extremely agonizing time, Global Affairs staff were nothing less than miracle workers. I said many times that I was so proud to be Canadian.

Hilary Börner Oakville, Ont.

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Permanent daylight

Re Yukon’s 2020 Shift To Permanent Standard Time Zone Was A Success, Official Says (March 13): For reasons that remain unclear to this reader, the Yukon government decided to impose year-round daylight “savings.” As a result, we now spend the first half of our days in the dark and instead have increased light in the early evening. For what purpose?

I know that many Yukoners have experienced negative health impacts that many experts warned about: significant decrease in energy levels, alertness and sleep quality and, worse, increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Most jurisdictions that have removed the twice-annual time change decided to adhere to permanent standard time, not permanent daylight “robbing” time. Yukon should get with it.

Lisanna Sullivan Whitehorse

I’m packing my bags and hopping on the next plane to Whitehorse, where they have evidently discovered a way to slow down the rotation of the Earth for the local populace.

Barry Corbin Toronto

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