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Workers unload a shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the FedEx hub at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on May 20, 2021.

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Share the wealth?

Re Dear America: Give Us Your Unused Vaccine (Editorial, May 20): I find it astounding that a country that refuses to allow more private medicine, because of perceived impressions of unfairness, then feels entitled to received vaccine surplus ahead of poorer countries that are far, far behind in vaccinations.

I guess fairness only applies to Canada.

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Serena Graham-Dwyer Bedford, N.S.

We might get somewhere on COVID-19 solutions with our U.S. neighbour if we also shared a land border that could be crossed. We have shut out our American friends for more than a year while still letting citizens of other countries come and go by air.

Open the border and maybe the big-hearted Americans will help us. They usually do.

Robert Pierce Toronto

Re This Week We Out-vaccinate The Americans (Editorial, May 18): While Canada might be getting “a lot closer to the end of the pandemic,” cases and deaths are soaring globally, with the World Health Organization predicting that the second year of the pandemic will be far deadlier than the first.

Vaccinations in high-income countries are coming at the expense of vaccinations elsewhere. Just four countries with less than half the world’s population have administered about 70 per cent of all vaccine doses. At this rate, some researchers estimate that the world’s poorest 92 countries will not be able to vaccinate 60 per cent of their populations until 2023 or later.

If we want to pit ourselves against the United States, let’s do so by leading the race toward vaccine equity, including by donating more funds and excess doses to the COVAX global vaccine program. To me, that would be something worth being proud of.

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Anne-Marie Schryer-Roy MSc, public health; Nairobi, Kenya

COVID-19 should not be considered over for anyone until it is over for everyone.

Last month, worldwide COVID-19 cases hit yet another daily record. This was not inevitable: By monopolizing the supply of vaccines, we believe wealthy nations – including the United States and Canada – are not only worsening this humanitarian calamity, but prolonging the pandemic’s economic hit.

Canada “out-vaccinating” the U.S. is the result of securing private contracts with pharmaceutical companies – at the expense of many low- and middle-income countries. This is not what it should look like to “win.”

Vaccination should not be viewed as a competition. Canada should lead the calls for a waiver of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Canada should rise above petty parochialism and join the global team fighting to end COVID-19 everywhere.

Madeleine Ballard Arnhold Institute for Global Health, New York

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Ananya Banerjee School of Population and Global Health, McGill University; Montreal

Protections, Part 1

Re Quebec Is Effectively An Illiberal Democracy (May 17): The rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are subject to reasonable limits prescribed by law, as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. In other words, none of these rights should be seen as absolute.

The courts decide whether a particular law violates rights that the Charter guarantees. This is hardly a science. In effect, judges legislate through their interpretations of the Charter. While I do not like the notwithstanding clause either, I don’t see how it can be removed without addressing the fundamental issue of whether appointed judges should be deciding on laws in a democracy.

Tony Manera Ottawa

I do believe that Quebec’s decision to put limits on overtly religious symbols and the use of English compromises individual rights and freedoms, and so makes Quebec less “liberal.” But I think it behooves us to pay attention to what is happening in the world.

Various national, ethnic and religious groups everywhere are feeling threatened and responding with authoritarianism, populism and, too often, violence. The social fabric is coming apart in all too many places as people find their identities undermined by all manner of forces. The resulting reactions are often not pretty, and definitely not liberal.

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Quebec is not perfect. But it also is one of the most stable and prosperous societies. In order to stay that way, most Quebeckers, which means most Québécois, should feel at home in their own province.

In this context, I believe some sacrifice of individual freedoms is a reasonable price to pay.

Jim Paulin Ottawa

Protections, Part 2

Re The Deeper Roots Of C-10, In The Thickets Of Cultural Nationalism (Opinion, May 15): I have lived in Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the United States and, of course, Canada. I have found that cultural nationalism is practised everywhere and, with the exception of Hong Kong, protective measures elsewhere are stronger than any doled out here.

While the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission came into being long after Canada’s first radio station, without it the country would probably not be as distinct as it is today. The internet has not been around for long, but long enough to see that some aspects of it, particularly those controlled by U.S. technology giants, can be subverted for insidious propaganda practices that are dangerous to civil society.

Should the U.S. ever decide to interfere in our affairs more than it already does, with a digital propaganda offensive, it might well be too late to then set in motion fresh legislative protection.

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Hal Hartmann West Vancouver

Political makeover

Re Avi Lewis To Run For Federal NDP Seat In B.C. Riding and Are The New Democrats Now Ready For Lewis’s Leap? (May 18): The candidacy of Avi Lewis gives rise to a thought: It’s still the NDP. Could this not be a long-due segue to a 21st-century version of the party?

Drop the harsh “Manifesto,” but keep Mr. Lewis’s “Leap.” Drop the P to create an iconic “ND” symbol (think CN Railway’s “CN” logo). Embrace all voices and govern with community-driven consensus and networking.

That sounds interesting to me!

Lyn Brooks Vancouver

Magical mystery

Re A Question We’re Still Asking: Who Sang The ‘Ahh’ Part In The Beatles Song A Day In The Life? (May 20): Who sings the line “in summer” on Penny Lane? Who sings, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah,” on the outro to All You Need Is Love? As for the “ahh” part in A Day in the Life, I believe the matter was resolved in 2017, when Giles Martin and Sam Okell remixed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for its 50th anniversary.

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The conclusion? Paul.

David Bryce Ottawa

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