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U.S. President Donald Trump in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Nov. 24, 2020.

HANNAH MCKAY/Reuters

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In isolation

Stores closed, stay-at-home orders, no mingling: When I find myself feeling a little squirrelly with all the restrictions, I remember Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. They have spent 700-plus days in solitary isolation, as The Globe tracks on its front page.

There is no good reason for their imprisonment and no end in sight. Thanks to The Globe for the daily heartbreak of remembering them. It sure gives my life a different perspective.

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Roger Pepler Toronto

Prolonged pain

Re Relatives Of Crash Victims Press For Closer Scrutiny Of Max Jet (Nov. 25): This is one of the saddest sentences I’ve read in my life: “The difficult thing in life is when you live in a world full of millions of people, but you just feel alone all the time,” said Paul Njoroge, who lost his wife, three children and mother-in-law in a Boeing 737 Max crash.

It is appalling to me that he and others have not been allowed to testify until now, outrageous that there has been no public inquiry, troubling that Canada will likely allow this plane to fly again. Many experts are not reassured by the “fixes” Boeing has made.

To Mr. Njoroge and all who lost family in these crashes, I say that your persistence in the face of tragedy and government foot-dragging is remarkable. I will never forget your bravery and suffering.

Marilyn Gear Pilling Hamilton

French first

Re A Quebec Liberal MP Learns The Hard Way To Stand Up For French (Opinion, Nov. 21): My husband and I immigrated to Canada 53 years ago and have lived in Montreal ever since. We immediately took French immersion courses.

One day I went to Eaton’s and addressed the saleswoman in my hilariously broken French; she nicely answered in broken English. Both of us laughed. It was a camaraderie that I will never forget.

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We placed our children in French schools. Ditto our grandchildren. They all speak and work in French. We also support Bill 101.

Montreal Liberal MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos should have had the sensitivity to speak the language of Quebec in the House of Commons. Allophone immigrants, especially their children, should learn to speak the language of their adopted home. Knowledge of a local language also introduces one to its character, argot and culture, which greatly eases communication.

Needless to say, our children and grandchildren still correct our spoken French!

Merlie Papadopoulos Montreal


If Bill 101 made French the official language in Quebec, then how can it be in decline? There must be something else going on.

Perhaps Bill 101 was, in reality, Politics 101, and ordering people to speak, or not speak, a certain language has never been historically successful. The marketplace usually dictates the outcome, not artificial or legislative means to keep a language alive.

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I don’t speak my ancestral language of Gaelic on my mother’s side, nor Cornish on my father’s side, but it doesn’t bother me. I can’t live in a 400-year-old time warp. Not speaking my ancestral language doesn’t define me, and speaking English doesn’t define me either.

Douglas Cornish Ottawa

Medium, message

Re The Antidote To Authoritarianism (Opinion, Nov. 21): I was struck by how transparently Orwellian some regimes are with the tactics they use. It’s as if 1984 was used as a training manual for their propaganda machines.

The only difference between our current world and that of Oceania is the delivery system. Today it is social media that is used in “servicing the target” with “Newspeak” and “Doublethink,” while our politicians and regulators engage in endless “bafflegab.”

Please pass the “Victory Gin.”

Gerrard Weedon Toronto

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I believe contributor Michael Petrou justly points to “the weakening of journalism as a democratizing force.” But in arguing for a popular press that is credible to an “oppositional audience,” he seems to stop a trifle short of a practical solution to what ails this age of media misinformation.

What‘s needed is journalism that dives deeply and objectively into policies and outcomes, as Mr. Petrou suggests. But surely social media has demonstrated that it cannot be the “shared public space” where this should occur. Perhaps a radical notion, but what if our (still) democratically elected governments, public institutions and progressive organizations were to reject toxic and manipulative platforms altogether (including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram)?

Continuing to feed the beast that is social media would only serve to further polarize and misinform.

Kristen Dolenko Ottawa

Dark comedy

Re Murder’s Warm Embrace (Opinion, Nov. 21): As an author of cozy mysteries (set in Canada, no less!) I take issue with the description “silly mysteries.”

Humour has always been a way to make it through difficult times, and who knows that better than Canadians? Between the winters and the mosquitoes, if Canadians didn’t have a sense of humour, this land would be a grim place indeed. So humour is needed now more than ever in these times when truth is truly stranger than fiction, when even simple hugs are not allowed to comfort one another.

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There’s nothing silly about trying to find a way to laugh in order to keep from crying.

Pamela Kenney Calgary

Trump transition

Re Should We Call It A Day On Friends Whose Views Are Hard To Swallow? (Nov. 24): Relationship columnist David Eddie does not consider a person’s view regarding Donald Trump worthy of losing a friend. However, he would understand doing so “if your friends advocated or perpetrated some act of moral turpitude.” But for me that is exactly the point.

Most anti-Trumpers can accept his policies even if they don’t agree with him. What they find abhorrent are his racist, misogynist and divisive words, lies and behaviour. They have great difficulty understanding why any decent person would ignore such deep character flaws, no matter how much one supports a policy.

They believe we elect leaders who reflect not just our policy preferences, but also our values. They struggle to maintain friendships with those who accept Donald Trump’s values.

John Rankin Burlington, Ont.

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Slow start

Re The Pandemic Is The Book Leave We Didn’t Ask For (Arts & Pursuits, Nov. 21): Like columnist Cathal Kelly, I had plans to do something of significance during the time afforded me in various lockdowns.

I even had an idea: a book on the seven deadly sins. First step, research. Unwisely, I started with sloth. I was so enamored by the sin that takes the least effort, I never got any further.

Sloth: the sin for when one has too much time for the other six.

Stephen Shevoley Amsterdam


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