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Re Fasten Your Pandemic Seat Belts (Nov. 9): It does not seem like “pomposity” to me that epidemiology experts would argue that we protect our most vulnerable while allowing our least vulnerable to resume their lives. Rather, they recognize the profound cost of lockdowns to livelihoods and the broader social fabric.
The idea that Canadians should emulate Melbourne’s 100-day lockdown seems out of touch. That some of our politicians are trying to find a balance, between measures called for by local health authorities and those by the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, is somewhat reassuring.
David Roy Toronto
As an avid Aussie-rules football fan, I watched the Grand Final last month and kept asking myself why Australia could allow 30,000 fans into a stadium with no physical distancing, no masks and lots of beer flowing.
The game was in Brisbane, as Melbourne was still under lockdown. While Melbourne suffered as a result, they are now experiencing that “truly open economy” mentioned by columnist André Picard, and thriving mentally and physically (one just has to watch those footie matches). Indeed, at last check, there were fewer than 90 active COVID-19 cases in Australia.
Forget Ontario’s colour-coded system – Australia seems to have nothing but green lights ahead.
Marianne Orr Brampton, Ont.
When COVID-19 arrived on the Canadian scene, the federal government quickly introduced national measures to address the pandemic. With the virus seemingly under control, the provinces then took charge and adopted a range of local responses, which, with the exception of the Maritimes, seem to have failed miserably in dealing with the second wave.
Maybe it’s time for the federal government to again assume leadership of this issue.
Marty Shukster Toronto
It is what it is
Re Ontario Unveils Budget With Record Deficit Fuelled By Pandemic (Nov. 6): It’s fine for Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to criticize the provincial budget for not including anything to make class sizes smaller. It’s no question to me that many classes are too large and contrary to public-health recommendations.
However, when weighing the pros and cons to reduce class sizes at this point in the school year, I find that negatives win the day. Students and teachers have spent weeks getting to know each other, and teachers have settled into their assignments.
The fewer disruptions that would rock the boat, the better. Already exhausted and stressed teachers deserve that much.
Ann Sullivan Peterborough, Ont.
Take the L
Re Can Trumpism Survive Without The White House? (Nov. 9): Whether Donald Trump thinks the ballot count is corrupt seems beside the point. To students of political science, one essential for a functioning democracy has a name: "losers' consent.”
The candidate who did not win must agree to a peaceful transfer of power to the candidate who did. Mr. Trump seems incapable of consenting to his own loss. His attacks on the electoral process, begun months ago, were attempts to ensure he would not be seen as a loser, but as an outraged fighter for his own “stolen” prize.
He cannot be the loser if he does not acknowledge the true winner.
Jane Hunter Toronto
Change at work
Re A Double Disruption Hitting Our Labour Market Puts Much Of The Burden On Workers (Report on Business, Nov. 3): As a former business owner, I believe retraining is core for the future of workers. But my experience with government offerings is that the people making decisions are lobbied by educational institutions that lack the same knowledge of what will be of use in the real world.
An institution such as the University of Waterloo, which has always had a closer relationship with a variety of businesses through its extensive co-op programs, would be a better source of advice. For skilled blue-collar jobs, a group of responsible employers who hire these employees would be a sensible choice.
Most importantly, there should be compulsory courses at the public-school level that teach responsible financial management, through organizations like Junior Achievement, to assist students in their future career choices. In Ontario, failures to improve math skills should be addressed. I find Quebec does much better with a simpler system.
Anne Robinson Toronto
Re Social Justice Isn’t Enough For True Diversity In The Workplace (Report on Business, Nov. 4): Surely creative change agents can devise illuminating ways to help employees understand that providing opportunities for everyone to succeed, and treating everyone with respect, dignity and fairness results in greater workplace harmony and productivity.
Let’s hope that most Canadians will not become fearful of social-justice initiatives, or suspect such policies and practices “smack of socialism,” in any sphere. How sad if we go that route.
Mary Valentich Calgary
Who is Alex Trebek?
Re Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Dies After Battle With Cancer (Nov. 9): Alex Trebek and I attended Grade 13 at Sudbury High School.
We sat at the back of Mr. Hackett’s history class along with a third kid, Doug Hooey. A kind man and good teacher, Mr. Hackett treated the back corners of his class with benign neglect. Alex, Doug and I spent every class talking quietly with each other.
Alex had lots of facts and opinions to share – we were all good talkers – but no personal details. Nothing about feelings or family or girls, just the world. While history lessons went on at the front, a fine current-events class was happening in our back corner.
We kept it up all year, and we all managed to pass the history exam in the spring.
Jim French London, Ont.
Growing up, my family would sit around the television after supper to watch Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek. Dad would spot me a few points and, in the unlikely event I answered the most clues correctly, he awarded me a crisp $50 bill. My love of learning and trivia began there. Today, I regularly hold trivia nights for friends with classic Jeopardy! categories such as “Rhyme Time” and “Before and After.”
Mr. Trebek united families across North America and beyond, providing a comforting voice five nights a week. He was also a philanthropist and activist, one of the reasons I was proud to attend the University of Ottawa, his alma mater.
Like so many, I felt as if I knew Mr. Trebek. I thought of him as my funny uncle whom I got to spend time with whenever I felt the call of trivia, which was often. He provided an enriching space for millions of people.
Rest in peace, dear Alex.
Maria Aylward Montreal
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