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Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 17, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Coast to coast to coast

Re How Ottawa Can Get The Provinces To Do The Right Thing On COVID (Nov. 18): Not only does a one-size-fits-all policy not fit all, it may not fit any, and it could be the lowest common denominator.

Those advocating “national” standards should note that if Canada had them last March, Atlantic Canada and the West would likely have had far higher rates of COVID-19, because such standards tend to be Central Canadian ones – that region ended up hardest hit by the first wave.

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Fortunately, other provinces had provincial standards.

Ed Whitcomb Author, Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces, the Contentious History of the Canadian Federation; Ottawa

Red and blue

Re O’Toole’s ‘Principled Conservatism’ Is Really Just About Winning (Nov. 13) and The Tories Reinvent Themselves Again – Only This Time, As More Of The Same (Opinion, Nov. 14): I think Erin O’Toole is the best thing that has happened in Canadian conservatism, and I say this as a member of the Green Party. Mr. O’Toole is part of a long tradition of Red Tories who combine their use of the market with a sense of social responsibility for the environment and working people. I urge him to also commit seriously to fighting climate change.

Columnist Andrew Coyne asks if Mr. O’Toole was lying when he was in the Harper government, or if he is lying now. I prefer to believe that he sees the rise of neofascism in Europe, and realizes that Canadians have little appetite for the far-right.

When it comes to fighting an election as a Red Tory, he wouldn’t lose any votes from the Conservative base – for who else would the far-right vote? I may never vote for Mr. O’Toole, but he is a welcome contrast to the last Conservative prime minister.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

Have not

Re COVID-19 Shows How Our Health Care System Fails Marginalized People and Homeless Encampments: Shelter In A Storm (Nov. 14): Last Saturday’s paper was full of stories highlighting the immense inequality within Canada. Then, in direct juxtaposition, there was an ad for a new luxury development, with suites starting at $6-million!

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To me, that encapsulates perfectly the depth of inequality and insensitivity truly plaguing Canadian society. We should take the collective action required to reduce these inequities, starting with a basic income for all.

Dorothy Watson Toronto

Town and country

Re Urban Disturbance (Opinion, Nov. 14): For months, major media have featured stories of people fleeing Canada’s big cities for cheaper real estate and a more balanced life in suburbs, small towns or the country. Most writers typically see these areas as a blank slate for incoming city folk; at least contributor Robin Wiebe acknowledges that the new arrivals have an impact when they land in smaller communities.

I’m still waiting for an article that further explores the flip side: the role that the work-from-home crowd plays in driving housing prices out of reach for local residents making local wages.

Nancy Payne Lindsay, Ont.

Not forgotten

Re Guiding Fight (Opinion, Nov. 14): I disagree with contributor Andrew Potter’s analysis that Donald Trump will be missed “for the purpose he gave our lives,“ and that we “secretly enjoyed a lot of the past four years.”

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Mr. Trump’s behaviour often mirrors that of the classic batterer: narcissistic, disrespectful, cruel, rude, changeable of mind, unpredictable in mood. People on the receiving end of such abuse often describe lives of “walking on eggshells,” never knowing what will happen next.

The relief shown by many toward Joe Biden’s win feels visceral. The consistently kind words of the president-elect bring purpose to the way ahead – a balm for our collective souls.

Diana Ellis Vancouver

Regarding Donald Trump, contributor Andrew Potter writes that we “are going to miss him when he’s gone.”

However, Mr. Trump received more than 70 million votes, the second-most of any U.S. presidential candidate in history. Joe Biden’s victories in key battleground states have been by only hundreds of thousands. And now there is talk of Mr. Trump running again in 2024.

There seems to be a Trumpian government in exile; he’s certainly not gone.

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Oliver Irwin Vancouver

A tout le monde

Re In Quebec, A TV Show Is There To Bridge Tough Times (Nov. 14): The secret to harmony in Canada between the French and the English is in Quebec television. That’s what I think anyway.

Certain Quebec shows and films should be subtitled in English and advertised through the CBC for mass consumption across the country. There has been talk over the years about creating an English version of Tout le monde en parle. But why? The original is perfect as it is!

The show Tenir salon is another amazing example, about different hair salons in Montreal: Haitian, Italian, etc. It’s available on TV5 – in French only, of course. I wish Canada would give English-Canadians a chance to fall in love with Quebeckers.

Anglophones, and anglophone journalists, seem to love the book Cracking the Quebec Code – how about getting to know Quebec by cracking open our own hearts, right from within our living rooms?

Isabelle Lussier Ottawa

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This is us

Re More Than A Bust: Let’s Broaden The Scope When Celebrating Important Women (Opinion, Nov. 14): In 1958, I met Fern Blodgett Sunde in Peterborough, Ont., at her mother’s home. She was visiting from Norway. I was a passenger on a Norwegian cargo ship the previous summer and simply had to see this Nordic country. I thought perhaps Ms. Sunde could give me some travel tips for my upcoming adventure.

We had a pleasant visit over coffee and cake, and hoped to connect again. We did! In Farsund, in southern Norway where Ms. Sunde lived, we did coffee and cake all over again.

Thanks to columnist Elizabeth Renzetti for bringing back a pleasant memory of a fine lady who, indeed, should be remembered for her wartime efforts.

Nancy Sorensen Burlington, Ont.

Icy grip

Re Building The 15-Minute City (Nov. 14): One practice that has improved my urban lifestyle and carbon footprint is to add studded tires (at least on the front wheel) to my e-bike. I used to hang up the bike at first snowfall, dreading white-knuckled spins on icy roads.

Now, with studded tires, I’ll be pedalling all winter – except when its minus 20 C or below.

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Terry Anderson Edmonton

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