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Pedestrians wear face masks while waiting to cross the street as the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, in Montreal, Nov. 12, 2020.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

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Re Do Province-wide Mask Mandates Work? (Nov. 13): My wife and I recently returned from our home in France.

France has a legal requirement to wear masks in all public stores, offices and establishments – no exceptions. As well, we found liberal supplies of hand sanitizer at store entrances, and throughout the building at larger businesses; many of them require customers to use sanitizer prior to entry.

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Of course France is suffering a much higher COVID-19 infection rate than we are. But this should not mean that we cannot learn from how others are evolving measures. If we don’t take even the smallest of precautionary measures – and, to me, being required to wear masks in public places is no more onerous than being required to wear clothes – then we risk becoming yet another of the world’s hot spots.

I know that masks are not an absolute solution, but there are plenty of published data suggesting that they contribute to lower transmission. Why haven’t all our health authorities already mandated this simple step? What am I missing?

David Raffa North Vancouver

Climate cash

Re Central Bankers Grapple With The Role Of Monetary Policy In A Rapidly Changing World (Nov. 10): I hope the Bank of Canada is taking notes on how central bankers can play a greater role in fighting climate change and other global challenges.

While the BoC has identified climate change as a key risk to the stability of our financial system, and launched a research program to better understand that risk, it has so far failed to integrate climate risk into its approach to monetary policy. In contrast, the Bank of England is exploring how to incorporate climate risk into its asset purchasing, and the European Central Bank is looking at using its asset purchase programs to drive green objectives.

The world is changing and climate change poses a severe risk to the Canadian economy. The BoC should update its approach to monetary policy to reflect this fact.

Alex Speers-Roesch Greenpeace Canada, Toronto

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Pay now …

Re Payroll Taxes, CPP Rates To Rise Even As Pandemic Cuts Into Profits (Report on Business, Nov. 7): The rise in Canada Pension Plan contributions for employers and employees reflects a previous agreement between the federal government and every province and territory. These are the first increases related to plan improvements since the CPP’s inception. Enhanced CPP benefits, when fully implemented, will fill the void created by the private sector’s retreat from the sponsorship of workplace pensions.

That the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is opposed to CPP premium hikes is not new, and certainly not related to the pandemic. It has opposed CPP enhancements consistently.

Increased CPP premiums are no question a challenge for some. But those issues should be subordinate to the public interest being served, by giving all Canadians a better shot at retirement with a decent level of pension income.

Paul Moist Winnipeg

Cleanup time

Re There’s No Limit To What Trump Might Do (Nov. 11): I do not know who first referred to the “pollution of the information ecosystem,” but it seems an apt description of what has happened in both mainstream and fringe news media over the last few years. While we tend to blame fringe media for tirelessly reiterating Trumpian political discourse in the United States and elsewhere, I believe we have paid insufficient attention to the role of mainstream media in normalization.

After gazing into the dirty water of U.S. political culture for so long, it is worth remembering that even terribly polluted waters still ebb and flow, still support life, still can recover from the poisoners. Now that Donald Trump has lost the presidential contest, is it not finally time to take away the megaphone handed to him for so long by serious and fringe media alike?

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Stop the endless repetition, the catastrophizing, the fear-mongering. Like the natural ecosystem, media needs time to recover. But this cannot take place until we stop saying the same poisonous things over and over, and expecting a different result.

Nancy Bjerring London, Ont.

Claim to fame

Re English Soccer Head Quits After Offensive Remarks (Sports, Nov. 11): Football Association chairman Greg Clarke certainly outperformed. When a footballer scores goals with her head, left foot and right foot all in the same game, it is a “perfect hat trick.” It seems Mr. Clarke went one better when he made remarks offensive to Black players, South Asians, gays and women, all in the same hearing.

Chris Reed Toronto


Re We Can’t Deny It Any Longer: This Is Going To Be The Worst Masters Ever (Sports, Nov. 12): True, the famous roar of Masters patrons will not be heard, and it is being played in November sans azaleas. But who cares!

The ingredients of a fabulous tournament are still there, with “bombers” (Bryson deChambeau, Matthew Wolff) and more conservative golfers battling it out on arguably the finest competitive course in the world. I am sure we will be treated to the usual drama on Sunday afternoon, when the leaders go into the great back nine and leads could change every 10 minutes.

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For me, watching the best golfers on the best course obliterates the disappointment of no crowds at a different time of year. I think this Masters is already up there with the best, with organizers and golfers giving their all so that we can watch from the safety and comfort of our homes.

Really, there is no “worst” Masters.

John McMahon Thornhill, Ont.

Referring to Tiger Woods and his “neat” comments, columnist Cathal Kelly writes that “if golf maintains an advantage over its peers, it is in its propensity for homeyness. For using words such as ‘neat,’ which you could no longer imagine coming out of the mouth of a tennis pro or a hockey player.” As it happens, somebody in hockey is still using the word.

In the same paper, it is reported that Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens thinks it would be “pretty neat” as “NHLers Weigh in On an All-Canadian Division” (Sports, Nov. 12). Now ain’t that neat, that “neat” has cemented itself in our collective North American vernacular.

Nancy Manning Chelsea, Que.

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Re The Fix Is In (Arts & Pursuits, Nov. 7): While applauding the enterprising people pursuing do-it-yourself projects, I feel obliged to comment.

As to safety: One woman pictured working on her deck is wearing sandals where insulated steel-toed work boots should be a must; she has zero sound protection; she is wearing shorts, comfortable but no protection from splinters; she is using a power saw while a garden hose runs under her cutting area. Picky perhaps, but as a retired fence and deck contractor, I know that a safety inspector would shut down my job site for those infractions in a heartbeat until rectified. A great-looking deck, nonetheless.

Even DIY projects should conform to rules and safety regulations set by the province and municipalities. One cannot help but wonder if there has been an increase in emergency room visits since the onset of the pandemic, due to DIY injuries.

Malcolm Lowe Unionville, Ont.

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