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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on March 26, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Home for a rest

Re Canada To Begin Enforcing Self-isolation For Travellers (March 26) and Go Home From The Airport. That’s An Order (Editorial, March 26): More than three weeks ago, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam stressed that the time to act is now, and that our window of opportunity was closing fast. I feel the government itself did not heed that sense of urgency.

It seems the Prime Minister naively expected that all Canadian travellers would respect the voluntary mandate to self-isolate. Knowing how quickly the virus can spread, it should have been evident that even 99-per-cent compliance would not be enough.

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Over three weeks, a non-compliant 1 per cent may have introduced many thousands of new cases into Canada – cases that could have been avoided had the Quarantine Act been triggered much earlier.

Phil Jacques London, Ont.

Short of driving snowbirds home in the back of army lorries and stationing guards outside their homes, politely asking travellers to go straight into self-isolation always seemed like a pipe dream. The government had many alternative measures at its disposal: It could have reminded them, bribed them, legislated them or forced them to comply.

We will know the government is serious about its COVID-19 rules if the army is called, which historically is how most wars have been fought. Until then, the rest of us may have to rely on prayer and a very indulgent God.

Patrick Cowan Toronto

Away we go

Re Government Urges Canadians Abroad To Return Home, While Planning For Those Who Can’t (March 26): A big shout out of support to Canada’s embassy employees around the world who are striving to repatriate tens of thousands of Canadians spread out in the hills, valleys, seasides and streets of multiple countries on different continents.

Theirs is not an easy task. Contacting men, women and children. Trying to assemble them in central locations where aircraft can land, while ensuring they have food, water and shelter. Obtaining local flight clearances. Liaising with Ottawa on aircraft availability and flight times. Checking documents and health status. Dealing with emotionally stressed people while remaining calm. Seeing everyone off safely while remaining behind.

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I managed an evacuation when law and order broke down in Indonesia in 1998. This is a much bigger global endeavour in unparalleled circumstances. We should, however, be confident in the professionalism of our representatives abroad to meet the challenge.

Gary Smith Former Canadian ambassador Perth, Ont.

My family was “evacuated” from Cuba late last week. The six of us – myself, my wife, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren – were blown away by the efforts of our government to get us through this crisis.

The airline could not have been more helpful in accommodating our needs. Canada’s diplomatic staff in Cuba let us know they were there for us. Our wireless carrier waived roaming charges. When we boarded the plane, we were welcomed as if everything was fine.

At the airport in Ottawa, border agents were welcoming, even at 2 a.m. Then, waiting for us, was a warm taxi with a friendly, well-informed driver.

Rod Grainger and family Ottawa

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Money moves

Re This Pandemic Could Trigger A Spiral Of Disasters – If We Let It (Opinion, March 21): Money should not be seen as crucial as one might think to the COVID-19 response.

There is ample proof in the work of a large number of empirical economists, unencumbered by free-market dogmas, that a sovereign state has the power to create money in any quantity it deems necessary. What limits there are would be political choices, such as fiscal prudence. Canada is such a state.

The real question should be: Do we have the human, institutional and material resources to do our share? Of course we do. Imagine the gloomy absurdity of a small battered residue of humanity sitting around in 200 years saying of us: “They had everything they needed to stop it, but they didn’t do it because they said they couldn’t find the money.”

Worrying about money in a time of great crisis seems like a fatal digression. Let’s get moving: Draw up the plan, gather resources and get to work. Now.

John Harrop Naramata, B.C.

Re The Markets – And Investors – Will Be Fine, If History Is Any Indication (Report on Business, March 25): How far back do we have to go to find stock prices as low as we’ve seen recently? Not as many years as the fingers on one hand, it turns out. If you look at the TSX total returns index – the best one to benchmark against, I believe, because it includes dividend income – it is still no worse than what it had dropped at the start of 2016.

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We’ve been here before. We got out of it then, we’ll get out of it this time.

Michael Moore Toronto

Coming attractions

Re A Tough Road Ahead For Independent Cinemas (March 20): I now count myself a near-addicted film-festival-goer, but my enthrallment with world cinema began in that lovely old theatre at 400 Roncesvalles Ave., in west Toronto.

I had the pleasure of living in the area from 1967-68 and discovered the somewhat rundown, but nonetheless functional, theatre. I recall Russian and Bulgarian films, but as much as I enjoyed them and had no difficulty with subtitles, I loved the gregarious nature of the audience.

It was not unusual for someone to open up a “picnic” prepared especially for the cinema: kielbasa, pickles and bread from the Polish neighbourhood. Somehow it made the movie experience a bit out of this world as we munched and watched and laughed and cried – and picked up our trash.

I am heartened to know that the Revue Cinema’s heart still beats.

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Mary Valentich Calgary

In sickness and in health

Re COVID-19 Wreaks Havoc On Wedding Season (March 23): My wife Josee and I just celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. Our honeymoon was a 61-day trip around the world. We decided that this would be a great year to go on our second honeymoon. Rather than travelling, we are spending this one at home.

For the next 61 days, we will prepare a special romantic candlelight dinner every night, read our honeymoon diary in bed, look at our wedding photos, watch romantic movies, plan our next post-COVID-19 vacation and reminisce about all the good times we’ve had in our marriage.

I bet the next 61 days will fly by even faster than they did on our first honeymoon!

Peter Dielissen Fredericton

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