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A Chinese flag is illuminated by sunshine in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sept. 22, 2016.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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CHINA CRISIS

Re Alberta Orders Universities To Curb Research Ties With Ottawa (May 24): China has made, and continues to make, remarkable scientific progress. Co-operation is not a one-way street with China taking the benefits of Canada’s intellectual property. We receive as much as we give if not more. Scientific research is international by definition. Any effort to change this must be handled with caution and care and blunt political dictates are not the way to go.

D.R.F. Taylor Ottawa

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As of Friday, China will have jailed Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig for 900 days. Each day brings pain and frustration to the two innocent hostages and should be a source of increasingly acute embarrassment to the Canadian government. This is a major debacle for Canadian foreign policy – freezing a difficult but hugely important relationship and inhibiting our ability to freely assess Chinese policy. Given the magnitude of the crisis, there must be good reason for the government’s failure to negotiate a swap of Meng Wanzhou for the two men. If so, the evidence is not visible. And with time, the crisis only becomes an increasingly bigger and more damaging albatross on the government’s back. Inaction leaves the impression that these two Canadians are expendable.

John Graham, former ambassador, Ottawa

STATE OF VACCINATION

Re The Reopening Is Not A Free-For-All (Opinion, May 25): André Picard says the missing component of the reopening plan is a commitment to “slam the doors shut” if numbers start to rise again. Another glaring omission of Ontario’s reopening plan is that there was no mention of reopening schools. Aren’t schools important?

Manuel Matas Winnipeg


Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s three-step reopening plan is largely contingent on vaccination benchmarks. I hope he takes into consideration that thousands of people like me, whose Ontario Health Insurance Plan accounts suggest they have not received one shot, have actually received both jabs elsewhere. The federal agent who paid me a surprise visit to ensure I was complying with quarantine reported that almost every traveller he visited was fully vaxed.

Lesley Barsky Toronto


I applaud the Ontario government for establishing a standard for removing lockdown restrictions, but why is COVID-19 the only thing that matters? Establishing vaccination as the sole criterion for lifting the restrictions seems very myopic. What about other health-related considerations, such as the number of suicides, delayed cancer surgeries or deaths from drug overdoses, to name a few?

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Many of the Ontario government’s health advisers are medical doctors. Where does the full impact of the lockdowns on the health and lives of Ontarians fit into their Hippocratic oath and their advice? How have we reached the point in this journey that nothing else matters?

Douglas Nix Burlington, Ont.


Re Albertans Line Up At U.S. Border For Vaccinations In Montana (May 19): The kilometres-long lineup of cars at the Blackfeet Nation’s cross-border vaccination clinic is ample testimony that many Canadians do not find vaccines “widely available,” as the Public Health Agency of Canada claims. The agency’s bureaucracy has learned nothing from its smothering of the Global Public Health Intelligence Network and blithely continues in blocking initiatives to save Canadian lives that have not been approved through several layers of bureaucracy.

It’s far past time to get rid of the MBAs and put medical professionals in charge.

George Haeh Lethbridge, Alta.

HOUSING HORRORS

Re Wealth Shifts To Next Generation As Parents Help Kids With Down Payments (Business, May 24): Kudos to real estate reporter Rachelle Younglai for shining a light on the sad reality that parents “are increasing their own liabilities to let their children purchase property.” What has the Real Estate Council of Ontario been doing to prevent this from happening? The truth is that RECO and others stand to benefit from the rising real estate market. If examined closer, we would see the deception and manipulative tactics of those involved. The purchase of a home is the single biggest expenditure of one’s lifetime. Should it not be under more severe regulations? Should we, as consumers, allow the unfair tactics such as the blind bidding process to continue?

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Jennifer Jones Mississauga

NOT SO FAST

Re Going 20 Or 30 km/h Over The Limit Really Is A Big Deal (May 21): A letter published on May 25 suggested that speeding alone does not cause accidents. The scientific evidence strongly indicates otherwise.

In 1974, in response to the oil crisis, the U.S. federal government lowered highway speed limits to 55 miles an hour. The move, while unpopular, resulted in a decline of nearly 10,000 fatalities annually.

In British Columbia, the provincial government increased speed limits on a number of rural highways in 2014. This was followed by a 40-per-cent increase in insurance claims and a doubling of highway crashes.

There are many factors that result in motor vehicle accidents: alcohol, distracted drivers, fatigue. But clearly speed is an important issue that cannot be ignored.

Jeffrey Eppler, MD, Kelowna, B.C.

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THE PRICE OF $500

Re The Postpandemic Failure Goes On Your Children’s Tab (May 24): I nominate highly respected retired former federal economist Don Drummond to be in charge of Canada’s finances. It is made clear daily that Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and her boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who think the budget will balance itself, are ill-suited to manage Canada’s economy. Alarm bells are ringing over provincial indebtedness, rising health care costs and out-of-control spending. This government is clearly more interested in vote-buying (think the $500 gift to senior citizens) than in being good fiscal managers. My wife and I will be giving the $500 bribe to a local food bank. I urge all senior citizens who are not in need to do the same.

Bob Erwin Ottawa

BIENVENUE À QUÉBEC

Re Parlez-Vous Français? (Letters, May 24): Eva-Maria Wustefeld’s letter regarding positive feedback on her use of French in a Quebec City restaurant reminded me of a somewhat similar experience I had 20 or so years ago.

I was a relatively senior federal civil servant, ostensibly with bilingual credentials, but a bit shy of using French, when I went to address a rail safety forum in Quebec City about the Transportation Safety Board, my employer, and its rail investigations.

I was introduced to the 70 or so attendees and went to the podium. I commenced my talk by announcing that it was the first time I had ever given a speech in French and apologized for the potentially poor quality of my delivery. I was astounded that everyone in the audience immediately stood up and applauded me. What a wonderfully memorable moment!

Ian Naish Ottawa

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