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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, March 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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Sooner than later

Re When It Comes To Vaccine Delivery, We Need A Compromise – Fast (March 25): The long, thin needle dug deep into my left deltoid on March 23. It brought no pain but relief, as well as a sense of gratitude toward the European Union for still sharing Pfizer vaccines. However, the timing for my second dose, four months away (four months!), brought home the message that there is an acute shortage of this clear-liquid gold in Canada and around the world.

The irony is that a Pfizer manufacturing facility lies just south of the border. I hope the needle of conscience starts digging into the psyche of U.S. decision makers. I hope it goes deeper to free up Pfizer vaccines for Canadians sooner.

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Prad Chaudhuri Mississauga

Domestic difficulties

Re Misuse Of Early Warning System Hurt Response To Pandemic: A-G (March 26): When the Public Health Agency of Canada began restructuring the Global Public Health Intelligence Network, it should have begun by dropping the word “global” and replacing it with “Canadian.”

It is apparent to me that PHAC was taking more of a domestic approach to hunting down pandemic threats. Risk-assessment tools are only as effective as the scope of the review undertaken in designing them. In the case of this pandemic, it proved to have disastrous results for PHAC.

Don Forsey Toronto

Top-down teardown

Re Change In The RCMP Starts At The Top (March 26): I have worked with and in Indigenous communities for more than 50 years. I am the parent of an Indigenous son. I presently teach Indigenous college students. As such, I have followed the many sad and frustrating stories of the depredations perpetrated by the RCMP on Indigenous people.

I find that the practice of discriminating against Indigenous people is not a glitch in the system; the regulation of Indigenous people was one of the primary principles on which the force was founded and is as much a part of its culture as its red serge uniforms.

In my view, the RCMP were and are a force of colonial oppression and cannot be reformed. It should be totally dismantled and replaced with a body that represents a non-colonial Canada.

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Lawlor Wm Lee MSW, EdD; Toronto

Carbon conclusions

Re Supreme Court Confirms It: Canada Exists (Editorial, March 26): Canada’s constitution gives the federal Parliament lawmaking powers over provincial matters in the pursuit of “peace, order, and good government” – the power relied upon by the Supreme Court to uphold Ottawa’s right to impose a national carbon pricing system. But in reality, what Canada is increasingly experiencing on the energy, health and environmental fronts seems to be conflict, disorder and bad government rooted in federal-provincial tensions.

My remedy? Passage of a constitutional amendment prohibiting federal legislating, taxing, spending and treaty-making in areas of provincial jurisdiction (such as natural resources) and joint jurisdiction (such as health and the environment) – unless the federal government secures the consent of affected provinces.

Most provincial governments would support such an amendment; what is needed to secure it is an ally with a majority in the federal Parliament.

Preston Manning Calgary

By dribs and drabs, the legislative authority of the provinces has been slowly leaking into federal constitutional territory. This decision by the Supreme Court arguably opens the faucet, representing a bold shift in the division of constitutional powers.

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That climate change represents a “threat of the highest order” to Canada and the world is not in dispute. The question is whether federal Parliament should be able to sweep certain provincial powers into its jurisdiction, despite the delicate balance of constitutional powers Canada has long enjoyed.

In the context of a global pandemic (another “threat of the highest order”) one cannot help but wonder: What provincial powers are next?

Nicole Chrolavicius Lawyer and lecturer, constitutional law, Osgoode Hall Law School; Toronto

Good luck with any expectation that this decision might do anything to reduce divisiveness in federal and provincial/territorial relations and ambitions. After all, even the nine top brains in the country voted 67 per cent yes and 33 per cent no.

Dave Ashby Toronto

Parliament’s authority to legislate in matters of greenhouse gas emissions was established by the Supreme Court in 1997, in a case where Ottawa successfully resisted a constitutional challenge from Hydro-Québec, which was emitting polychlorinated biphenyls in violation of federal environmental laws of the day. In essence, the latest judgment reads like a carbon copy.

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Had the case been decided otherwise, we could rename our highest court the Supreme Court of the Provinces.

Howard Greenfield Montreal

Conservative course

Re Court Deals A Blow To The Already-weakening Political Opposition To Carbon Taxes (March 26): Erin O’Toole doesn’t seem to get it.

First, he was embarrassed by a majority of Conservative delegates unable to accept climate change as a real threat. Then his response to the Supreme Court decision was a promise to repeal the law.

The right approach would be to consult with Conservative premiers, creating a joint plan to work with the federal government on improvements to the law consistent with conservative economic values. Continuing to fight against carbon pricing as a core policy platform will likely be a losing issue.

John McNicol West Vancouver

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Re The Tories Are A Party Without Ideas (March 24): It has always struck me as strange that politicians are expected to create new concepts. The reality is that the big ideas are on the table, be it universal health care, child care, addressing racism etc., and driven by public sentiment. It seems to me that the arc of society’s path is largely laid out, and that the only overall difference between conservative and liberal thinking is the pace of change and the government’s role in it.

My personal view is that change is inevitable, and while we can quibble about the pace, the critical issue is to elect governments that have integrity, intelligence and energy. The point being is that we are the “shareholders” of an enterprise called Canada. We should have an executive that manages it extremely well, no matter the political stripe.

Hugh Winters Toronto

Game misconduct?

Re The Firing Of Referee Tim Peel Changes The Nature Of Hockey’s Written Vs. Real Rules Conspiracy (Sports, March 25): I have watched Hockey Night in Canada for nearly 50 years. Countless games have included statements from commentators such as this: “The Leafs better look out, Jim; they’ve had five powerplays so far and the Canadiens have only had one. You just know that the refs will be looking to even things up now and give Toronto a penalty.”

I think National Hockey League officiating is a joke, and it always has been.

Trevor Amon Victoria

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