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Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 21, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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On the way

Re Separating News From Noise On Vaccines (March 16): The reality seems more complex: COVID-19 infection and severity is still probabilistic and not fully understood, and the “best” vaccine may depend on the measure of effectiveness, side effects, convenience and cost.

Health leaders may feel their authority requires providing definitive guidance based on the science, but the science can be provisional and guidance often includes practical factors. Early on, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam declared masks not essential in order to protect supply for front-line workers. It seems that current priority for swift vaccination requires playing down vaccine differences, not just regarding low efficacy, but also touting others as nearly 100-per-cent effective against hospitalization or death, even though trial sample sizes preclude statistical certainty.

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Authorities who minimize scientific complexities or practical tradeoffs will be open to criticism from “science deniers,” which may eventually undermine public confidence.

Chester Fedoruk Toronto

Re U.S. To Lend Canada 1.5 million AstraZeneca Doses (March 18): How wonderful for Canada that the United States is “loaning” us some AstraZeneca vaccines. By sheer coincidence, no doubt, that vaccine is not currently even approved for use in the U.S. The reality is that they have more than enough Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to go around.

We, on the other hand, are rationing the little Pfizer stock we have so that even our vulnerable 80-plus seniors have to go a shameful four months between shots. We are months behind the U.S. That gap, and its many devastating consequences, should be entirely on the Trudeau government.

D. R. Thomson Frontenac Islands, Ont.

Before we fall all over ourselves in gratitude to the United States, perhaps it is time to first express our gratitude to the countries of the European Union that did not forbid manufacturers from exporting vaccines. Without them, we would not have anyone vaccinated yet.

And maybe save some cheers for India, Russia and China as they supply most of the rest of the world.

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Anthony Jordan Calgary

Canada and China

Re Strengthening Canada-China Relations Can Economically Benefit Both Countries (March 19): It is indeed ironic that the Chinese ambassador calls for stronger Canada-China relations – on the same day that the government he represents tries Michael Spavor behind closed doors with no diplomatic representation.

John Shepherd Vancouver

The West should disengage from China. Trade reduction to zero over the next 10 years can be achieved. China will likely continue on its path no matter what we do.

Bill Reitsma Oshawa, Ont.

Passport to…

Re Vaccine Passports Would Discriminate Against Canadians If Used Here At Home (March 19): I could not disagree more strongly.

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We test the eyesight and cognitive ability of every senior before renewing their driver’s licence. We scan every airline passenger for potential weapons. We make every motorcyclist wear a helmet for their protection (and to minimize the socialized costs of their care if they suffer an accident). There are no opt-outs from these protections.

Why would we not make every Canadian, who wishes to mingle in the public square, be vaccinated against this horrible virus and prove it by means of a vaccine passport? Israel has shown the way on this. We would be prudent to emulate them.

Alex Graham London

We have small businesses hanging by a thread. If they can be saved by a lifeline of people with vaccine passports, this should be a no brainer.

It doesn’t harm anyone without a passport. If they feel aggrieved, they would have to get over it. I haven’t been vaccinated yet, but I would be thrilled to see others sitting in a restaurant and enjoying a meal. If there are medical reasons why a person is not vaccinated, they should be given a pass to engage in the same privileges as vaccinated people.

I believe the pendulum of fairness has swung too far in the wrong direction.

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Herbert Belman Toronto

Tale of two economies

Re Inflation Just Ain’t What It Used To Be (Editorial, March 18): The key to understanding our Alice in Wonderland economy: “wage-and-price” inflation versus “asset-price” inflation. Will someone please explain and justify this decoupling?

Last time I looked, it’s the same dollar I earn that pays for a mortgage, rent or anything else I buy. Yet central bankers seem to pretend inflation is low by ignoring the largest cost in an ordinary person’s life: their house. I think they are bent on maintaining low interest rates precisely because they serve the “asset” economy, rather than the one most of us live in.

Ron Beram Gabriola, B.C.

Public vs. private

Re Mind The Gap (Letters, March 16): A letter-writer rightly points out that many diligent and industrious public servants have worked throughout the pandemic on behalf of Canadians. But I think what she and others, including Stephen Harper, fail to appreciate is the near absence of any financial risk borne by public employees relative to their private-sector counterparts.

Paycheques backed by government seem immune to downturns in the business cycle. Meanwhile many private workers, whose jobs and wages depend on revenue generated in a normally functioning economy, are being clobbered by the pandemic-induced recession.

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It is no wonder, then, that in a labour market littered with such uncertainty and insecurity, landing a full-time, permanent gig in the public service is often the most sought-after job in town.

Alec Lalonde Ottawa

Political makeover

Re O’Toole Survives The Conservative Policy Convention, Leaving A Treacherous Path To Election Victory (Online, March 21): For Erin O’Toole, leaning to the centre means “almost Liberal,” while appeasing social conservatives would mean a sure loss in the next election. The majority of Canadian voters support policies that effectively combat climate change, encourage taxing the rich to provide for social programs, allow abortion – the list goes on.

Denying the obvious, and splitting the Conservative Party, would be good news for the other parties, and for citizens who desire a better future for Canada.

Gord Thompson Peterborough, Ont.

Re It’s Crunch Time For The Conservatives (Editorial, March 19): The Globe and Mail’s editorial lists the qualities Canada needs in a leader and their party: They should be pragmatic, responsible, honest, hardworking, efficient. It left off two that are also in the image of this country or, at least, I always hoped they were: compassionate and feminist. Not what comes to mind first when imagining a Bay Street lawyer.

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If the Conservatives want to run the country, then it seems overdue for the party and its leader to loudly espouse a commitment to both feminism and compassion.

Barbara Legate London, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

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