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The Suncor oil sands facility seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray on July 10, 2012.Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press


Re Is A Third COVID-19 Shot The Charm? (Oct. 19): Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Israel all offer booster shots to seniors. When will Canada get the message?

Douglas Clarke Toronto

Re Ontario Hospital Association Says Most Members Agree Province Should Mandate Jabs For Sector (Oct. 22): I am a fully vaccinated physician with unvaccinated clinical colleagues. Now facing loss of employment, their disappearance will likely harm service availability.

It is easy to say, “They should all be vaccinated.” From my reading of the literature, I agree. However, most of my hesitant colleagues are in real emotional distress.

While I disagree with their evaluations, most are not cavalierly disregarding public-health orders, but doing so with fear for their health and livelihoods. Some are hesitant over mRNA technology, seeking options such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is approved, but not available. This lack should be inexcusable.

I believe the vaccine-hesitant must come around, but nevertheless they deserve to be treated with support and dignity for their distress. Our condemnation should not be against those who respond to misinformation, but instead directed against its purveyors, especially the irresponsible social media that uncaringly promotes it.

A. Donald Milliken MHSA, FRCPC; Victoria

No more

Re Hospitals Tackling Abuse Against Staffers (Oct. 21): The crisis of unmitigated violence poses a threat to health care staff across Canada. It is so pervasive that assaults are now perceived as part of the job. As 85 per cent of staff are female, one should also acknowledge that this is another egregious manifestation of societal violence against women.

As we point out in our recent book Code White: Sounding the Alarm on Violence against Health Care Workers, Canada has chronically underfunded and understaffed the sector, fuelling the conditions that precipitate frustration and anger. These problems are aptly illustrated in Ontario, where bed shortages, wait times and understaffing plague the system.

In 2019, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported that Ontario tied for last place with Mexico in terms of capacity, having fewer beds per capita than any other member country of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

James Brophy and Margaret Keith Tecumseh, Ont.

Help wanted

Re Ontario Looks To Remove Catch-22 Stifling Immigrant Workers (Oct. 21): Kudos to Ontario for planned legislation to make it easier for skilled immigrants to work in their fields of expertise. It is a long overdue step to address barriers that historically have kept many immigrants from their chosen professions, by artificially and unfairly devaluing foreign credentials and work experience.

But hold back on celebrations. That legislation should be seen as only a first step that needs to be followed quickly by expanded legislation aimed at similar barriers in other sectors. One such example is the health field, where there are severe shortages of practitioners needed to meet the needs of the Canadian public

John Kelly Peterborough, Ont.

Bank on it?

Re Carney’s Green Initiative Will Empower Undemocratic Countries (Report on Business, Oct. 20): The Net-Zero Banking Alliance? I’ll believe it when I see it.

What my 17-year-old quickly pointed out is how will these banks be held accountable for their “commitment” to shift lending practices away from those that generate greenhouse gas emissions? Indeed, they made no explicit commitment. No enforcement, no penalty – just talk.

What is the point of such an alliance? To make themselves look good, it seems, just another round of corporate greenwashing.

Michelle Sheardown Director, Drawdown BC; North Vancouver

It may seem counterintuitive, but empowering the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries should not be the answer during an energy transition.

Democratic oil producers such as Canada, where emissions from oil extraction are measured and declining, are paying more than their share: all the costs everyone else pays and the loss of income, too. If one is an oil consumer country without its own oil, then costs go down as that country transitions.

This is a tough file for this country. Canada should do everything it can to reduce the market for fossil fuels. But in any market, even a declining one, fighting for share should not be viewed as evil.

Chris Stoate Oakville, Ont.

Re Canada Needs A Strategic Rethink Of Its Climate Change Plan (Report on Business, Oct. 21): Royal Bank of Canada’s president and chief executive officer Dave McKay writes that we are not tackling climate change fast enough to cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030 and achieve “net-zero” by 2050. Indeed. But why does Mr. McKay make no mention that RBC, as part of a larger group of banks, recently invested $1.5-billion in Enbridge, the energy company behind the highly contested Line 5 pipeline?

The International Energy Agency’s latest report plainly states that there is “no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply” in a net-zero 2050 pathway. If RBC were truly in step with tackling the climate emergency, then it would heed the IEA’s advice and come clean on its investments.

Stephen Douglas Toronto

Profanity pros

Re A Proficiency In Profanity (First Person, Oct. 21): Essay-writer Gina Clark’s counting of F-words in a podcast reminded me of one of my less-than-stellar parenting moments.

My daughter wanted to watch Bridget Jones’s Diary. She was too young at the time. But rather than exercise a reasonable parental No, I made her keep track of all the swear words in the movie. Why? Who knows?

I doubt that exercise had a big influence on her or my use of profanity and only proves that parents are dumb sometimes.

Trish Crowe Kingston

What shall we do when we really need an explosive word, when all the usual bad words are no longer bad?

We swear by what we fear. Religious swears are losing force in this secular age. Sex words seem no longer to be anything but punctuation. Potty words and body-part words are fading, too.

What do we fear now? Thunderstorms, earthquakes, rising sea levels. Maybe we’ll have to reach out to the past and swear by Thor, Vulcan or Poseidon. Atomic warfare? I can’t see “A-bomb,” “fallout” or even “H-bomb” as useful swears. Plagues? “Oh, flu!”

No, none of them work. We’ll have to start rationing the old words, so they become precious again.

Robert Stairs Peterborough, Ont.

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