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Houses with real estate signs are pictured in Leslieville, Toronto on Oct. 21.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

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Questions unanswered

Re We Need Answers On Canada’s COVID Response (Nov. 25): Indeed, the appropriate time for a full investigation should be now. And it would be essential for such an inquiry to examine the effectiveness of public communications throughout this pandemic, at every level.

Inadequate or inconsistent public engagement can become the Achilles’ heel of even the most robust warning, risk-assessment and preparedness systems in the world.

Andreas Souvaliotis Toronto

Government policy

Re Liberals Under Fire After U.S. Hikes Softwood Duty Rates (Report on Business, Nov. 26): Our government is “disappointed” by duties being imposed by the United States on Canadian softwood.

Perhaps our leaders are also “concerned” about Canada’s massive, and growing, trade deficits with China and the European Union. Possibly they have “taken note” of prominent think tanks shouting loudly about critically low levels of capital investment in Canada. Maybe they don’t want to “rock the boat” with bold measures to lower drug costs or tax the Canadian profit of internet giants.

If our leaders won’t fight for Canadians, our businesses and the economy, Canada will increasingly be buffeted by outside interests. The country’s prosperity depends largely on strong two-way trade and private investment in Canada. Our leaders should wake up and take a serious interest in our economy.

Tony Hooper Toronto

Re Throne Speech Suggests Trudeau Is Eager To Establish His Legacy – And Hang The Consequences (Nov. 25): Columnist John Ibbitson asserts that the Prime Minister has “a weak electoral mandate” to move ahead with key priorities such as reconciliation, combatting climate change, new housing supports and a national child-care program.

The policies of the NDP on these issues during the last campaign were at least as progressive as those of the Liberals, and taken together they won a majority of votes. Given that, wouldn’t a failure to proceed with these initiatives, rather than proceeding with them, be the undemocratic approach?

Doug Ewart Toronto

Going up

Re BoC Warns Of A Destabilized Economy With Rates Set To Rise (Nov. 24): If a young couple in Toronto or Vancouver is paying $2,500 per month in rent, that same $30,000 over a year can carry well over $1-million at current borrowing rates. If they can come up with savings or family help for a down payment, we can see why the demand for houses far exceeds the supply with rising prices.

This was not possible when many of us paid between 7 per cent and 12 per cent for mortgages in the past. Money is now rapidly losing its value through inflation.

Only when interest rates rise appropriately will we be able to see a more equal balance between supply and demand.

Laurie Kochen Toronto

Climate fight

Re New Report From Non-profit Asks Canadian Companies To Put Purpose Over Money (Report on Business, Nov. 25): Purpose can help companies make more, or lose less, money. The report does not ask them to eschew self-interest, only to practise it in more nuanced ways – to pursue good as a means for doing well, not as a moral end in itself.

Joel Bakan Vancouver

Re The Costs Of Ignoring Canada’s Climate Reckoning Are Enormous (Nov. 24): Reducing the amount of damage from future climate devastation demands bold investments in adaptation, from more effective early warning systems to more resilient roads, bridges and levees.

While the upfront costs may seem formidable, the Global Commission on Adaptation estimated two years ago that the benefits significantly outweigh costs by four to one. In Canada, the federal government has only recently begun to address the need for an adaptation plan.

It should be spearheading an urgent national process, bringing together provincial governments and municipalities across the country, as columnist Gary Mason says, “to establish a comprehensive climate adaptation plan that begins now. Not years from now.”

Roy Culpeper Chair, Group of 78 Ottawa

Channel challenges

Re France, Britain Spar Over Migrant Crossings After Drownings (Nov. 26): So continues the ever-growing litany of tragic stories of those seeking security and freedom from want in Western Europe.

Having endured goodness knows how many hardships and dangers to reach Europe, why are so many refugees prepared to take yet another gamble by risking such perilous crossings of the English Channel? That these numbers have tripled this year suggests to me total desperation, the root of which it should be imperative to examine and find a remedy.

Rather than swallowing the explanation that Britain is at fault because of its lax immigration policy, surely the boot is on the other foot? Such refugees in France receive no government support. Their statuses remain insecure, often for years. Until this complex issue receives adequate attention on the continental side of the channel, such tragedies are likely destined to continue ad infinitum.

Alan Scrivener Cornwall, Ont.

Men and women

Re Femicides Are On The Rise, Inflamed By The Pandemic, Data Show (Nov. 25): As long as I have been a member of the Canadian Federation of University Women, our organization has advocated to end violence against women and in particular femicide. Basically, we have made no progress and I don’t believe we will – until more men start to take these gross assaults on human rights as a serious issue.

We know men are most often the perpetrators of domestic violence. But when have those men heard from other men that such behaviour is unacceptable? When have other men refused to laugh at their crude jokes or support their degrading language? We know these things happen, and we know there are men who ignore it.

Until femicide becomes an issue for all men, women will likely continue to be murdered by their intimate partners or men who know them. A request to men: Step up and speak out to end this abhorrent situation.

Linda Sheppard Toronto

Death is a funny thing

Re A Sign Of Our Debased Times: Vulgarity Is On The Rise, Wit Is In Decline (Nov. 26): The late Norm Macdonald once appeared on The View, ostensibly to atone for some perceived moral transgression. To the incomprehension of the hosts, he observed that everything is over the line in comedy.

This explains why, when culture is reduced to politics, comedy must be crushed. Both sides seem to know this, hence the right’s vulgarity, which aims to smother wit, and the left’s policing of speech, which intends to kill spontaneity.

Where comedy dies, a totalitarian culture emerges.

Ryan Whyte Toronto

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