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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 21, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Probing power

Re Liberals Lose Vote, Will Face Probe Into Pandemic Response (Oct. 27): The extremely broad scope of the Conservative motion seems way out of line. Conservatives will likely insert themselves into the decision-making process and score points at the government’s expense – all without having to take responsibility for any proposed alternatives, nor any impact that deliberations may have on timelines to initiate action.

If this is how Erin O’Toole demonstrates his party’s readiness to govern, I believe he has failed miserably. An ability and willingness to obstruct does not equate to an ability to govern.

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John Anderson Ottawa

Too long

Re Hydrocarbons Found In First Nation’s Water Supply (Oct. 24): For 25 years, the Neskantaga people have been under a boil-water advisory. Little wonder why many Indigenous people in Canada have lost trust in government.

About 100 First Nations in Canada are under water advisories at any given time, according to the non-profit Council of Canadians. How many Canadians accept that institutionalized racism continues to be well and alive in our country? What is a proud Canadian?

Andrew Danson Danushevsky Port Hood, N.S.

Nuclear options

Re A New Global Treaty Bans Nuclear Weapons. But Why Didn’t Canada Sign? (Oct. 27): I believe Canada is correct not to sign the ban on nuclear weapons. It would be inappropriate for us to object to the weaponry of NATO members, then rely on those members to aid in our defence. If a policeman comes to stop a crime in progress, are we going to complain about the type of gun he brought to protect us?

Within NATO, we rank 20th in trying to meet the commitment of 2-per-cent defence spending as a percentage of GDP. We seem in no position to criticize the arsenals of other NATO states, in particular those who have met this commitment.

Brian Dougall Ottawa

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I believe nuclear war represents the gravest existential threat to humanity in terms of its immediacy and complete and utter devastation. Yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to sign the treaty and has been overtly hostile to it, and he has not met with Canadian Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow since she accepted the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize alongside the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

Public pressure is one of the only ways to move government to act. All our lives are at stake.

Mark Leith MD, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada; Toronto

Here and there

Re Embrace Of Mail-in Ballots Belies B.C.'s Poor Voter Turnout (Oct. 26): Political scientist Hamish Telford suggests that the poor B.C. turnout was not surprising: People were “preoccupied. People weren’t happy with the election being called" during a pandemic. Really?

Explain that logic to our U.S. counterparts with limited access to polling stations, who line up for hours, hope they are not turned away and pray they will not be harassed or intimidated, all while enduring some of the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rates.

We were fortunate to have a choice in how, when and where we could cast our ballot in this provincial election. We should never take the right – and opportunity – to vote for granted.

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Laurelle Shalagan Vancouver

Ballots rankled

Re Ford Executes A Sneak Attack On Local Democracy (Oct 24): As surely as the sun rises each day, a Liberal government will again come to power in Ontario, at which time it can re-enact legislation allowing ranked-ballot voting for all municipalities – along with an added clause stipulating that no future government can roll back this prerogative without first obtaining a majority vote from affected municipal councillors.

“Wonderful” may yet be possible as all things come to those who wait – at the voting booth.

W. E. Hildreth Toronto


It seems to me that Ontario Premier Doug Ford doesn’t like municipal ranked ballots because he’s afraid it is a stepping stone to provincial ranked ballots. It’s well known that left-of-centre votes are almost always in the majority.

In a ranked-ballot scenario, it would be highly unlikely a conservative government could be elected.

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Herbert Belman Toronto

Testing updated

Re Ontario’s Test Systems Outdated: Experts (Oct. 23): Ottawa’s COVID-19 Testing Taskforce, a collaborative including local hospitals, labs and health system partners, came together to better meet the needs of our city’s residents. We recognize that there is still a lot of work to do, but we are headed in the right direction.

Through this collaboration, there have been a number of significant changes to Ottawa’s COVID-19 testing strategy. We’ve moved to an appointment-based model to reduce wait times. Our partners at the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association have significantly reduced testing backlog, and residents are receiving results in as little as 24 hours.

EORLA is also planning for future demand by implementing new resources and staffing to increase daily testing capacity. As a group, we are assessing best approaches for point-of-care testing capability.

We also continue our efforts to ensure access for anyone who needs a test, including vulnerable populations, people experiencing homelessness and other high-risk community members.

Alan Forster Lead, Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce; Ottawa

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Unfair fees?

Re Loblaw Imposes New Fees On Suppliers (Report on Business, Oct. 24): I find this to be an appalling practice that puts vendors in a can’t-win situation. It seems no different than handling or booking fees that event ticket sellers and airlines charge.

Retailers chose to get into the grocery business just as vendors chose to get into the grocery supply business. Companies take risks and some get rewarded. Some make it, some don’t. Grocers should make money honestly with good service and competitive prices, not on the backs of suppliers.

Peter Simpson Toronto

Great expectations

Re Leave the EU, Get Nothing In Return (Editorial, Oct. 24): It is also worth remembering that former British prime minister David Cameron committed Britain to a referendum during the 2015 election in order to appease the anti-European wing of his party. Apparently he never expected to win a majority and so never thought a referendum would happen, let alone pass.

Such chutzpah on such an important issue.

Nigel Brachi Edmonton

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It’s worth noting that Britain’s revived blue passports are being produced by a French-Dutch company and printed in Poland.

J. Michael Pearson Montreal


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