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Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai signs large-sized tennis balls at the opening ceremony of Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Final in Beijing, on Nov. 21.via TWITTER @QINGQINGPARIS/Reuters

Pain, gain

Re What You Need To Know About Shots For Children (Nov. 19): Decades ago, my three-year-old and I needed our strep throats treated. The physician said, “I’ll get swabs – this won’t hurt a bit.”

To prepare my son, I went first and learned that actually there was both discomfort and pain. I said to him, “It hurts some – but it’s needed.” He then was also swabbed, calmly.

As we were leaving, the physician said, “I’ve never seen anyone talk to a child like that!” That statement still saddens me about other families.

Gord Hines Guelph, Ont.

All good

Re ‘It’s Heartbreaking ... To Watch Animals Who Are Absolutely Helpless’: Farmers Race To Get Food, Water And Help To Livestock (Report on Business, Nov. 19): Karl Loewen opens his farm to stranded cattle. “We’ll just take care of them like they’re our own.” What a world we would live in if people of conscience treated all beings, and even our planet, with such compassion.

Mary Gordon Stella, Ont.

Helping hand

Re Canadian Army Halts Supplies To Afghan Translator And His Family Stranded In Ukraine (Nov. 19): When the Prime Minister promised civilian Afghans who’d supported our troops safe harbour, did he include the Haqmal family, now languishing in Ukraine and denied even food by the military? Was it really his vision that these people should be supported by GoFundMe campaigns, private handouts from veterans and The Globe and Mail?

What is wrong with bureaucracy that it can’t get these people here before they run out of resources?

Alexandra Phillips Vancouver

Conservative concern

Re Don’t Blame Liberals For Inflation, But They Are Piling Wood On The Fire (Report on Business, Nov. 18): Conservative accusations that we are facing “Liberal” inflation are laughable to me.

If the inflation rate were really attributable to government policy, then the Liberals should probably be getting kudos for keeping Canada’s inflation rate relatively low (4.7 per cent) compared with the U.S. economy (6.2 per cent), with which we are so integrated. Recent inflation rates are a global phenomenon influenced heavily by the pent-up demand, supply chain disruptions and labour market shifts attributable to COVID-19. Britain and the Eurozone are also experiencing inflation rates of more than 4 per cent.

I recognize that it is the role of the opposition to be critical of government, but it is hard for me to take them seriously when the criticism becomes so, shall we say, inflated.

Tom MacDonald Ottawa

Re O’Toole Finds His Voice All Too Late (Nov. 19): Erin O’Toole refers to “holding the corrupt and disastrous Trudeau government to account.” Words and labels are important. They should be carefully chosen, perhaps especially when used by political leaders.

The word “corrupt,” in the profession I inhabit, is a particularly offensive and dangerous one. In political discourse it may also be that. It certainly is uncivil.

As our parliamentarians return to work, let’s hope that in these difficult days of COVID-19, climate disasters, fragile international relations and other pressing issues, civility is the other vaccine they are injected with.

William Trudell Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers; Toronto

United nation

Re Vive Le Saskatchewan Libre! (Editorial Cartoon, Nov. 16): I grew up in a French-speaking home with my maternal grandparents in southeastern Saskatchewan.

Albin was born in Belgium. He fought in the Second World War. He married Georgette, who was born in Paris. Together they immigrated to Canada in 1917. They homesteaded in Saskatchewan under the Soldier Settlement Act.

Although politics were not openly discussed in our home, I intuitively knew that my grandparents admired general Charles de Gaulle. However, after French president de Gaulle visited Canada in July of 1967 – and ended his speech on the balcony of Montreal’s city hall with the salute, “Vive le Québec libre!” – Grandma said his name was never to be mentioned in our home again. She knew, as perhaps only people who have lived through war know, that division is not the way forward.

Now is the time for Scott Moe to pull us together, not to divide.

Linda McCollum Edmonton

Record shows

Re Ontario Must Deliver On Its Promises With The Anishinaabe, Not Fight Us In Court (Nov. 17): Thanks to contributors Dean Sayers and Duke Peltier for making clear to Canadians – the colonists, old and newer, who were raised and educated on this land – just how short our memory can be and, therefore, how shallow our understanding.

I wonder how many of us, myself included, truly understand just how far back in history we need to travel to understand the ramifications of the government’s continued efforts to break its promises. We should consider what impact this has on reconciliation – and how to do our part to hold it accountable.

Alanna Rondi Toronto

Pull out

Re Peng Story Shows We’re All Compromised When It Comes To The Beijing Olympics (Sports, Nov. 19): First Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor held hostage. Now Peng Shuai gone missing. Will we, as Canadians, continue to sit idly by and excuse such disregard for human rights?

Forget a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics. Enough talk of “concern.” We should step up and do something within our control: Pull our athletes.

Suzanne Strasberg Toronto

What’s the 311?

Re Finding My Trees (First Person, Nov. 17): “My trees” are not in the wilds of Northern Ontario, but in the urban forest around me. Instead of planting hundreds of saplings with my bare hands, I call the city on my hands-free Bluetooth connection.

It’s simple. As I drive the streets of Toronto, I pay attention to places that look like city property in need of a tree: a boulevard near a building, a bit of grass by a bus shelter, a green space beside a junkyard.

Still in my car, my call connects me to a pleasant voice elsewhere in the city. After a discussion about my proposed location, I always request a native tree. If my spot passes inspection, I soon see a young tree in a water bag enjoying its new home. My contribution to the city forest grows as well.

I see “my trees” almost every day during my travels. Joy is my remuneration.

Lydia Lebed Toronto

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