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Dalhousie University in Halifax on May 22, 2015.

Darren Pittman/The Canadian Press

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Sure shot?

Re Not Exactly The Wisest Advice On Vaccines (Editorial, May 5): I have taken the AstraZeneca shot. I am in my 50s and it makes sense, given what we currently know. I think the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s affirmation that waiting for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may be preferable, in certain contexts and on a rational risk-based analysis, is a model of lucidity, rigour and even courage.

We want to use vaccines that are the safest. AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines make sense for some, but not others. The NACI should be commended, not criticized.

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Robert Girvan Toronto

So the message seems to be: If one is a well-paid white-collar worker who can work from home, then wait for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. If one works in a factory and lives in a multigenerational household, then AstraZeneca is just fine.

We’re all in this together – yeah, right.

Susan Harrop MD, Mississauga

Commission conclusions

Re Commission Probing Long-term Care Homes In Ontario Calls For New Model (May 4): Maybe I’m oversimplifying the situation, but according to the Ontario Ministry of Long Term-Care’s website, “By law, long-term care homes must provide residents safe, consistent, high-quality and resident-centred care.” At least 3,760 residents have died during this deadly outbreak, and we are well into the third wave.

So why hasn’t the Minister of Long-Term Care been fired? Simply put, I believe the people of Ontario deserve better.

Peter Bochsler Burlington, Ont.

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Our political leaders seem to think that they can’t be honest. To do so would require them to admit that the solution to long-term care problems will likely require billions of dollars, and almost inevitably a significant increase in taxes.

Maybe they fear that voters won’t be able to accept this reality. But without proper funding, thousands more may die.

Jim Bertram Minden, Ont.

Despite the care of family and the heroic efforts of too few staff, my 93-year-old mother will likely live out her days (as so many people are) in loneliness, boredom and confusion. Society does not seem ready to invest in the human needs that are part of old age.

Margaret Shaw Toronto

Italian internment

Re Trudeau’s Apology To Italian Canadians Could Need Its Own Apology (May 3): I am the daughter of Italian immigrants to Canada, so-called enemy aliens during the Second World War. Despite the fact that my mother and father both had living parents and siblings in Italy at the time, and had brothers serving in the Italian army, neither of them was interned.

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They also did not join fascist organizations or engage in related activities. Their transcendent loyalties were with Canada, to which they swore allegiance.

The government should have every right and duty to protect its citizens from subversive forces within. Justin Trudeau should not have to apologize. I see far more urgent matters requiring his attention.

Christine Whitelaw (née Fiorini) Nanaimo, B.C.

Internees like my grandfather were made to feel ashamed of their ancestry. My grandmother was ostracized and left to raise a large family and run a business while her assets were frozen. My mother and her siblings became the targets of discrimination at school. The experience haunted them their entire lives.

The experience also left an indelible imprint on my generation, who have been asked by our elders not to forget the wrongs that occurred. Contributor Michael Petrou’s views remind me that my generation must speak up with loud clear voices to decry the injustice committed upon the Italian Canadian population, and to plainly call it out for what it was: ethnic intimidation.

Anna Tosto Ottawa

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Academic adversity

Re Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Initiatives Do Not Belong In Academia (May 3): I agree that with recruiting in academic institutions, the prime focus should be engaging a person of bright and innovative mind. The epitome of the process should be to engage such a person regardless of whether or not they fit within diversity, equity and inclusion criteria.

Don Forsey Toronto

It is distressing to read of the way Dalhousie University has adopted a diversity mantra in its recruitment policy. Contributor Debra Soh’s conclusions should apply beyond academia to government and the private sector.

Michael Berry Qualicum Beach, B.C.

I find a certain irony in the plea, to “those who remain silent” about benefitting from diversity, equity and inclusion policies, to “consider how they would feel if it was the other way around, and they were being denied opportunities.”

It is precisely because they have experienced such denial of opportunities that DEI strategies have been implemented. No matter one’s view of such programs, those who are intended to benefit should have no need to consider the consequences.

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Philip Berger OC, Toronto

Contributor Debra Soh asserts that those who want to set aside cis white male postings are aiming toward an identity politics “utopia,” while not mentioning the roles of biases, power and privilege that have disproportionately benefited them for centuries.

Regardless of whether it is earned, white men are still prevalent in academia. It should be up to them to help redress inequities by sitting aside in some cases (this single job posting at Dalhousie University) and lifting others up in other cases where a lack of diversity exists.

Forget a fictional utopia; I’ll settle for more diversity in academia.

Katrina Ince-Lum Anthropology major, York University; Toronto

“You won’t be successful if you apply for promotion,” said my department chair in 2017. “You should explore other career alternatives.” In my case, an internal dean’s report called Faculty Norms removed my barrier to application. I was definitely in the right career. Promotion approved.

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We know that white cis-gendered men will often apply even if they don’t have the qualifications; that job ads are often barriers to applicants who are not white cis-gendered men; that performance feedback is so often biased. Relying upon academic gatekeepers to make unbiased decisions from a diluted applicant pool has often been a detriment to us all.

Any institution that is challenging the system should be supported. The argument of “why can’t we just hire the best?” should be met with “that is exactly what we are doing.” I wish all academic departments the very best in their searches. May we be truly better for them, finally.

Shoshanah Jacobs PhD, department of integrative biology, University of Guelph

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