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Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Dec. 22, 2020.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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Pandemic priorities

Re Tam Criticized For Supporting ‘Indefensible’ Assessment Of COVID-19 Risk (March 29): Once again, the Auditor-General looks back with 20/20 hindsight and says “you should have known better.”

Frankly, I think Theresa Tam deserves the Order of Canada.

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Martin Wale Dorval, Que.

Canada is busy pointing fingers over the lack of advanced warning about the pandemic, but I wonder what we would have done with the information if we had it.

Last summer, Bonnie Henry predicted a second wave in British Columbia and we were not able to prevent or slow it. Now we are lifting restrictions even as we are in a third wave. What’s the point of having this information if we don’t act on it?

Linda Peritz Vancouver

Re Ontario’s COVID-19 Triage Plan Includes Online Care Calculator (March 29): It sounds prudent to establish a triage system to weed out those less worthy of limited intensive care. That we even need such a tool is the irony of our day. If the evidence-based public-health tools available to government were deployed with the same kind of transparent objectivity and implicit compassion, the need to make such difficult decisions would not be imminent.

James Handyside Lucan, Ont.

A triage protocol to determine who gets life-saving equipment or care would, by definition, be discriminatory. There seems no way around it. Some will have to die to let others live.

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This nightmare scenario could have been avoided if we had taken the advice of our health experts as we went into a third wave instead of relaxing restrictions. Canada’s response to the pandemic has largely been reactive rather than proactive.

Jo Balet Mississauga

Last year, The Globe and Mail published my essay (As A Senior, What Is My Life Worth? – First Person, March 30, 2020) where I made mention of the possible need for triage if ICUs were to become overwhelmed: “Over and over, I think of that battlefield scene in Gone with the Wind, where doctors walk helplessly among an endless array of men who groan and die in agony.” Yet here we are today, a year later, grappling with an opaque, contentious emergency triage protocol in Ontario. “This could be battlefield medicine. We may end up having to improvise,” says Michael Warner of Michael Garron Hospital.

If I, a lay person with no medical training, could predict what might lie in store, how on earth could our government not have?

Jo Meingarten Toronto

Re AstraZeneca Is Manufacturing An Epic Failure Around Its COVID-19 Vaccine (March 25): Interesting opinion about AstraZeneca and how not to communicate to the world about what may or may not – who knows! – be a fine product. The comparison to the Ford Edsel was catchy, but comparing that vehicle and its tribulations to what AstraZeneca has managed to accomplish is incredibly insulting to the Edsel.

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Patrick Stewart Toronto

Quebec and racism

Re No, Quebec Is Not Canada’s Alabama (Opinion, March 27): No, but to some non-white Canadians, especially Muslims and Sikhs inside and outside Quebec (and as comedian Hasan Minhaj points out in his show Patriot Act), it may be Canada’s Boston: socially progressive, but if one is a racialized minority, it may be best to know one’s place in society.

As columnist Konrad Yakabuski points out, Quebec is the rare holdout in North America in denying the existence of racism. Yet there is Bill 21, which I find to have eerily similar sentiments to those expressed by the “immigration code of conduct” brought forward by Hérouxville, Que., in 2007.

Yes, Ontario New Democratic MP Matthew Green’s assertion of “white supremacy” may be offensive stuff. However, to us racialized minorities, so is denying the existence of racism.

Karim Fazal Oakville, Ont.

Columnist Konrad Yakabuski thinks it’s unfortunate that Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon stepped up to defend Quebec and Quebeckers. But if Quebeckers and particularly Quebec politicians don’t do it, who will? Apparently not English Canada.

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Quebeckers have been on the receiving end of racist attacks for decades. I have no doubt English Canada will use the impending judicial decision of Quebec’s Superior Court on Bill 21 as another opportunity to attack us. I think it’s time we say enough is enough and expose the real racism in this country.

Yvan Giroux Gatineau

Price of carbon

Re Carbon Conclusions (Letters, March 29): The Liberals and Conservatives have so politicized and distorted the climate-change debate that even they do not seem to understand the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the so-called carbon tax.

The court did not uphold the Liberal “carbon tax.” It upheld federal regulations which it said were not a tax, but were similar to fees or deposit-refunds used to discourage the use of plastics.

For five years, the Liberals have said that only taxes will succeed while the Conservatives have defended regulations, and all this time the Liberals have been implementing the Conservative policy of regulations to the annoyance of Conservatives!

It should be time for the Liberals to call their carbon tax a regulation, and for the Conservatives to stop saying they will cancel something that does not exist. They should instead tell us how they will change or improve the Liberal regulation policy.

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Ed Whitcomb Author, Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces; Ottawa

Re Supreme Court Carbon-pricing Decision Is A Win For Liberals And ‘Trudeau’s Climate-change Policies’ (March 26) and The Supreme Court Rules. And The Winner Is … Erin O’Toole? (Opinion, March 27): The portrayal of the Supreme Court decision as a win-lose proposition is troubling to me. It seems to diminish the value of our actions toward climate change by framing them merely as part of a political game.

Casting those opposed to carbon pricing as losers risks increasing their sense of alienation when what we urgently should have is collective action. The words “Liberals” and “win” in the same headline is enough to intensify polarization for some.

Global climate disruption should not be seen as a game that anyone can play to win or lose.

Jamie Esko Vancouver

I did some calculations. I figure I paid perhaps as much as $100 extra at the gas pump this year, and probably that much or more on natural gas to heat my home. But I just did my taxes and I got a $450 credit! The carbon price is refunded.

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If one uses less carbon than average, one wins. Most of those hard-done-by folks that Jason Kenney talks about are probably better off with carbon pricing than without it. I certainly am.

Andrew Hodgson Ottawa

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