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A sign outside a building at Statistics Canada in Ottawa, on March 12, 2021.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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Sound science

Re Science Is Messy – So Don’t Lose Trust (May 10): Theresa Tam recently stated that the science around the AstraZeneca vaccine is “evolving,” a term she has used before. As an applied scientist and professional engineer with three degrees and 35 years of experience, I know that science doesn’t evolve. Apples were falling for a very long time before Isaac Newton “discovered” gravity – he simply (and brilliantly) figured out why.

The scientific knowledge of individuals such as Dr. Tam, members of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and provincial public health officers is increasing over time. They should acknowledge that they are not omnipotent but are trying their best, under difficult conditions, to understand the evidence.

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Blaming “science” is a fallacy that is usually soon exposed, sowing doubt and skepticism. Admitting vulnerability will likely be far more successful in keeping Canadians “on side,” as opposed to treating us as dullards.

Alan Humphries PhD, P.Eng; Victoria

Dig deeper

Re No Vaccine-menstruation Link, Experts Say (May 12): I read this article with dismay. These experiences are being widely observed and should warrant further investigation. The initial expert response, that “anecdotal reports about irregularities are not cause for concern,” seems itself of concern.

It was not too far in the past that unexplained symptoms anecdotally reported by women deemed them hysterical. We should work to validate women instead of dismissing their complaints.

Jennifer Krische London, Ont.

Last stop

Re Greyhound Cancels The Rest Of Its Routes In Canada (May 14): The federal government has given the airline industry hundreds of millions in bailout money, yet Greyhound got nothing to subsidize its operations during the pandemic.

So much for bus service to small towns from coast to coast. So much for all the students, seniors, ordinary working people and anyone else without a car who can’t afford to fly or take the train (if service is even available) when they must travel.

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Sadly, this looks like another glaring example of what income inequality is all about in this country.

Ken Cuthbertson Kingston


Greyhound has thrown Canadians under the bus. Imagine the uproar if the Toronto Transit Commission announced, on a mere two days’ notice, that it was forever ending operations.

What are rural people to do? Many people are car-free by choice, economic circumstances or health conditions. How are grandmothers going to visit their relatives? How are Indigenous women going to access medical care in cities? How will students get to university, or workers to jobs?

We should withdraw the billions of dollars in taxpayer gifts to the fossil fuel and airline industries and instead invest in a dignified ground transportation network for passengers throughout rural Canada.

Anne Hansen Victoria

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Appearances

Re Trudeau Didn’t Break The Law In WE Charity Scandal: Ethics Czar (May 14) The Ethics Commissioner reports that there was no personal friendship between the Prime Minister and the Kielburger brothers. If this is a determining factor as to whether or not there is a conflict of interest, it makes one wonder about the rigour of the Conflict of Interest Act.

The Prime Minister may not have broken the law, but he wouldn’t pass a smell test.

Kaz Shikaze Mississauga

Changing lanes

Re Economy Won’t Heal Until Inequity Addressed, Macklem Says (Report on Business, May 14): I was surprised to read that the Bank of Canada Governor is wading into fiscal policy by commenting on social issues in the public thoroughfare.

The role of the bank is to set monetary policy, not to offer political or social advice to the government. The latter is the role of the Department of Finance.

Tiff Macklem’s job is primarily to set interest rates to support price stability. Perhaps he should stick to the knitting, as the expression goes.

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Brian Marley-Clarke Economist, public servant (ret’d); Calgary

Regulators, we regulate?

Re Even With New Green Finance Council, Inertia Will Be Hard To Overcome (Report on Business, May 12): I find it telling that Ottawa has struck yet another voluntary committee composed of private financial sector actors to advise it on sustainable finance. This would be consistent with Canada’s “hands off” approach to regulating our banks and pension funds, which continue to pour hundreds of billions into fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, other countries such as New Zealand and Britain use regulatory powers to, well, regulate, since voluntary measures likely won’t fix our high-carbon financial sector. Left to their own devices, our banks and pension funds may define “sustainable finance” to mean whatever they are doing right now.

Meanwhile the risk to our financial sector, and to the public in general, grows every day we put more money into making the climate crisis worse.

Adam Scott Director, Shift Action; Toronto

I am Canadian

Re Why ‘Canadian’ Shouldn’t Be An Option On The Census (Opinion, May 15): My family on both sides has been in Canada for over 150 years. I cannot reliably identify a non-Canadian antecedent in my family after Confederation. Though both my maternal and paternal names are Scottish, to identify myself as Scottish would be absurd. I am Canadian, or I am nothing.

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I repudiate anyone who attempts to tie this identity to claims of superiority based on tenure. They are wrong, and contributor Daniel Panneton is correct to identify their arguments as racist at the core. But to argue that this identity should not exist as an option on the census is to invalidate the many people for whom Canadian is the only identity we have ever known.

Graham David MacDonald Toronto

Clap, clap, clap, clap

Re The Bird Dance, A Craze Rooted In Canada, Is 39 Years Old. Celebrate With Five Easy Steps (May 14): In a world consumed by a pandemic, Middle East conflict and the climate crisis, I was surprised to see two full pages devoted to a history of the Bird Dance. But then my teenage son wandered to the breakfast table, glumly staring at his cereal while hoping to catch his inhumanely early bus to junior high.

So I hunted up the Bird Dance music on my streaming service and we started, making beaks with our hand, shaking our tail feathers and clapping hands. It all made perfect sense at that point.

John Sandlos St. John’s


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