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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, not seen, during a press conference in Ottawa on Oct. 6, 2021.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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Fall plans

Re Does Canada Have A Plan For Kids Shots? (Editorial, Oct. 6): Did Canadian vaccination efforts occur “slowly and less competently” than in other countries? Slowly maybe, less competently I think not.

Canada’s eligible population is about 72 per cent fully vaccinated. Most countries doing better are smaller, with centralized health care systems that are easier to whip into shape. Israel and the United States, countries which got to “the front of the line” for doses before Canada, have fully vaccinated about 62 per cent and 57 per cent of their eligible populations, respectively. Even with some provinces acting more like Texas than Canadian jurisdictions, we are doing well.

There should be no grounds to assume that we will do less well with our younger children in the coming months.

Don Langille MD, Halifax

Re Every Health Care Worker Must Be Vaccinated – Or Find A New Job (Oct. 5): All leaders – whether in politics, business, religion, education, health care, unions, et cetera – should demand that those they lead be protected from all who threaten our health and safety. Refusal to be immunized from a deadly disease should not give anyone the right to inflict danger to others.

No one should be forced to work where their very lives are unnecessarily threatened.

Patrick Mason Stittsville, Ont.

Is it too late?

Re PM Apologizes For Tofino Trip On National Day For Truth and Reconciliation (Oct. 7): I have voted Conservative almost my whole life, but we should stop pummelling Justin Trudeau for taking a family vacation after a gruelling national campaign.

As a child of a parent who was an MP, senator and ambassador, I know something about the strains that public life can put on family. And that was before the vituperation of social media reared its ugly head.

Of course, reconciliation is a top priority. But it is not the only one. There are other urgent matters that Canada must deal with, including the climate crisis, rising inequalities, authoritarianism, peace and security, refugees and maintaining economic competitiveness.

Give Mr. Trudeau a break. Then let’s tackle the real issues.

D. Francis Roche Toronto

The Prime Minister is nothing if not consistent – consistently disappointing to me, that is. The first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was a milestone. It deserved to be celebrated and amplified in every possible way.

When the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie placed his trust in Justin Trudeau at their final concert, I was very moved. I felt hopeful that we were finally about to see real progress.

While I believe we are making some progress, it’s despite Mr. Trudeau’s seeming indifference to the cause. To borrow a phrase from Perry Bellegarde, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, when he described former senator Lynn Beyak on This Hour Has 22 Minutes: Mr. Trudeau “really puts the ‘wreck’ in reconciliation.”

Ian Newall Toronto

Nowhere in Justin Trudeau’s mea culpa is the word “sorry” uttered. Admitting a mistake, yes. A regret? Of course. Regretting what, exactly? Getting caught, it seems.

Clay Atcheson Kitchener, Ont.

Climate vs. population

Re Pandemic-driven Fertility Decline Is A Crisis For China (Oct. 7): Years ago there was a massive campaign from Population Connection, formerly named Zero Population Growth. It was a recognition that resources are finite and continued population growth was unsustainable.

Here we are, decades later with billions more people – zero population growth as a concept was a failure. In the meantime, our planet’s devastation has continued and has been exacerbated by climate change.

Global population may be in decline, a consequence of COVID-19. Columnist John Ibbitson positions this as a bad thing, negatively impacting economic growth. There is a silver lining: One of the largest factors in our planet’s ruination might get smaller, namely the number of humans.

Zero population growth looks to be back. Who would have thought that a pandemic would bring such a benefit to us all.

David Kister Kingston

The world’s population now exceeds seven billion people, with some estimates forecasting 8.5 billion of us by the end of the decade. And we are not exactly treading lightly on the Earth.

The planet is on fire, icebergs are melting, droughts are causing crop failures and famine, oceans are awash in plastics, coral reefs are dying, our encroachments on wild animal habitats are causing mass extinctions and novel viruses – I could go on.

Declining fertility rates shouldn’t be seen as dangerous. More of us are worse.

Michelle Gage Toronto

Climate vs. costs

Re Back To Reality (Letters, Oct. 7): I heartily endorse a letter-writer’s plea for “a reality-based plan to fight climate change” and “public reporting of our progress.”

Surely the Prime Minister’s Office has reports on the timing and costs of climate commitments. Surely the government should level with the public and make clear that serious reductions in emissions will be slow and costly.

How will it all be paid for? By adding to the national debt and delaying its cost to voters, or by tax increases? People today are worried by inflation, but they have seen little of what climate change will cost them in the years ahead.

A. P. Bell Toronto

Better than all the rest

Re Eliminating Gifted Programs Deprives Talented Students (Oct. 4): Contributor John Barsby highlights some silly policies of our governments and an inability to yield to majority opinions in a desire to bend to vocal minority groups.

If the same approach were to be applied to athletics as is currently being applied to gifted programs and education, then we would have no gold medalists at the Olympics, indeed no participants at all, nor any players worthy of the National Hockey League.

Any glimpse of better-than-average performance in any endeavour should be encouraged, not “averaged down” to a low common denominator. It would ultimately lead to a country’s performance being similarly dragged down into oblivion.

Peter Hickman Maple, Ont.

Feline features

Re Cosmo The Cat Ran Our Lives (First Person, Oct. 5): A friend of mine also had no idea where his cat would disappear to for days or weeks on end – until he took a closer look at his neighbour’s real estate listing. There in a photo, lying contentedly on the neighbour’s (possibly much more comfortable) bed, was his cat.

Kaia Toop Toronto

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