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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at a cabinet retreat in Ottawa on September 14, 2020.

BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

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Speech, speech

Re The Throne Speech Must Focus On Boosting The Economy (Sept. 21): Contributors Kevin Lynch and Paul Deegan want a federal budget that spends on digital transformation, energy infrastructure and research and development (R&D). As important as technical infrastructure and productivity gains may be, it would be fatuous to focus on these areas without protecting our human capital: the work force, without whose health and skills no advanced economy can successfully function.

The government should spend whatever is necessary to contain COVID-19 and fully support families and the vulnerable until normal business operations can resume. What the contributors consider “expensive ornaments on the tree” may be the lifeline that enables many Canadians to pay the rent.

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The needs of grocery clerks and nurses deserve as much budgetary consideration as the leveraging of business elites by shovelling more money into their pockets.

Larry Kazdan Vancouver


Re Forget Politics. It’s Time To Fight COVID-19 (Editorial, Sept. 21): Yes, federal and provincial governments should put renewed focus on better and more rapid testing, tracing and treatment for the virus.

It could be another year or more before a vaccine is available. We cannot afford to fall back on lockdowns. People need to work to keep a rebuilding economy going.

Government leaders should forget any dream projects and focus on the job at hand: beating the virus.

Peter Belliveau Moncton

Too close?

Re ‘We Need To Do More In China’: Ambassador Pushes For Closer Ties With Beijing Despite Turmoil (Sept. 22): It seems that Dominic Barton refuses to see the true nature of dealings with China. It is obvious to me that the country does not come to the table trying to meet the other party halfway. And people are jailed there for years without open trials.

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For years, I’ve watched Liberal governments pander to China while its “investments” here often have a dark side. We have already allowed our economy to depend too much on that country, and the costs do not warrant the downside. Intellectual property is the tip of the iceberg.

Anne Robinson Toronto

Private lessons

Re Public And Private? (Letters, Sept. 16): A letter-writer from Ontario compares private health care to private schools. In British Columbia, where Brian Day has fought for more access to private clinics, private schools have actually been receiving subsidies since 1977.

There are close to 400 private schools in B.C. and, unlike public schools, they are exempt from the province’s Human Rights Code. As well, B.C. private-school donors receive tax receipts. This is glaring inequality at the outset.

To see private schools as “self-supporting” is simply not true in B.C. To make matters worse, provincial enrolment in private schools is nearly double the national average. Think about it.

Janet Henri Chelsea, Que.

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Come from away

Re Instagram Accounts Address A Culture Of Racism At Canadian Business Schools (Sept. 16): As senior trade commissioner at the Canadian embassy in Santiago between 2014 and 2017, it was my pleasure to address MBA students from Canada on international study tours. I spoke to about 10 such groups, some of which were from universities mentioned in The Globe’s article. I was struck during all these encounters by the diversity of these groups.

There was a mix of Black, brown and white faces, most of whom spoke with Canadian accents. I had the impression I was looking at the image of modern, open, racially diverse Canada. I was moved by seeing what Canada had evidently become.

I cannot speak to the experiences that undergraduate students at these business schools are now experiencing. It saddened me to read The Globe’s reporting. But what I saw in my encounters with some of these students was Canadian society in positive transition to a diverse and accepting society.

Geoff White Ottawa

Co-opted

Re MEC Co-op Members Object To Deal To Sell Outdoors Retailer To U.S. Firm (Report on Business, Sept. 16): I understand the growing wrath of MEC members, whose interests in preserving its viability as a Canadian co-op were ignored by its board. What I don’t understand is why no one has called out the “syndicate of lenders led by Royal Bank of Canada,” whose refusal to extend credit past Aug. 3 is the cause of MEC’s demise as a co-op after 49 years.

Before the pandemic, MEC had already embarked on a program to cut costs, improve customer service and return to profitability under a new CEO. Since then, COVID-19 travel restrictions have led to a surge of interest in outdoor activities. Who decided that MEC was incapable of executing a turnaround to catch this wave?

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MEC may well have been torpedoed by the usual bean-counters with tendencies toward the short term. I would point them out as the reason why some five million MEC members – not to mention other Canadians who benefitted from its social and environmental initiatives – can’t have nice things.

M.J. McKenty Winnipeg


Re End Of The Trail: Selling MEC Betrays The Co-op’s Members (Opinion, Sept. 19): My MEC experience began in 1995.

My husband and I had a momentous shopping spree to outfit ourselves for a camping trip to Yukon, using all the savings in accommodations to invest in equipment – which we still have. The staff knew everything about the merchandise, and there was always someone with great advice who had “been there.”

We outfitted our kids as babies (MEC fleece onesies), toddlers (MEC snowsuits) and teens (MEC Gustbusters). My Girl Guides group enjoyed an eye-popping tour of a store and all its eco-glory. Somewhere in there, though, MEC lost its way.

A shift in decision making was clear: its giant new Toronto location, fewer staff who knew the goods and a loss of that shared sense of adventure. I am sad that the current board couldn’t see the forest for the trees and get back to the basics that made MEC ours.

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Sandra Linsdell Toronto

Who said it?

Re Just Say No (Letters, Sept. 18): A letter-writer cites a Chinese proverb in support of her view that we should not believe promises uttered by Chinese leaders. There are also those in the West who have voiced synonymous tendencies.

What was it that Machiavelli warned in the 16th century? Oh, yes: “One must be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.” Or Theodore Roosevelt, who famously said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Alas, there is not enough room to list the prevarications uttered by the current resident of the White House.

Don McLellan Vancouver


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