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A used protective face mask is seen discarded on the ground in Vancouver, in May, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

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Power play

Re Test The System (Letters, Oct. 7): A letter-writer will give his vote to the first politician who puts a stop to private COVID-19 testing. I will counter that any politician who blocks private testing will lose my vote.

Testing in this country is currently in a woeful state. If some businesses can make a buck by making it faster and more accessible, more power to them.

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Jeff Breukelman Richmond Hill, Ont.

Plastic protections

Re Ottawa Set To Declare Plastics As Toxic In Blow To Alberta (Oct. 7): Bob Masterson of the Chemical Industry Association of Canada is concerned that designating plastic as toxic under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act would “create further confusion with consumers.” Consumers like myself do not want confusion – certainly not over the huge quantities of unnecessary single-use plastics that, as they break down, permeate the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink.

What is all this doing to us? Please, give us more clarity.

Andrew Vanderwal Toronto


Whatever happens on this issue, I sure hope that neither Ottawa nor Alberta are thinking that incineration qualifies as recycling.

Brian Tansey Ottawa

Keep them separated

Re Critics Question Whether Global Affairs Can Impartially Investigate Arms Exports (Oct. 8): The government’s internal dilemma is laid bare. When one is expected to simultaneously enable sales of weapons and protect human rights, the politics are immediately dodgy. Let’s remove the electoral liability.

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As critics insist, Canada should set up an independent, non-partisan oversight body focused on our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty. That way, potential job losses would not threaten the electability of parliamentarians, but rather inspire industrial conversion to alternative products and associated jobs.

Robin Collins Ottawa

Tech crunch

Re Superclusters Likely Won’t Create Promised Jobs: PBO (Report on Business, Oct. 7): I can understand why the Parliamentary Budget Officer questions job creation numbers and GDP estimates in the government’s proposal to fund startups. Often times, today’s startup culture contains a lack of fiscal discipline, regulation and structured management. We should allow the free market to dictate who succeeds and who thrives to instill job creation and GDP growth.

Perhaps government should cut taxes or reduce regulatory burdens that some of these startups face, rather than provide capital that may be earmarked for workplace happy hours.

Marcel Beauchamp Toronto

Spirit if…

Re Justice Served? (Letters, Oct. 7): I once handled a consulting project for Correctional Service Canada and learned a great deal about the operations of our prison system, and its costs.

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I have since wondered often what would happen if we took all the money we spend on housing and “rehabilitating” wrongdoers through punishment, and used it to eliminate the base causes of crime. Use it to counsel, educate and support potential offenders to become better people and better citizens.

I continue to wonder.

Ken Duff Vankleek Hill, Ont.


A letter-writer argues for criminal punishment to follow this principle: “Will prison make this person healthier or not?”

Thankfully, the authors of section 718 of Canada’s Criminal Code took a wider view.

Rehabilitation is there, in subsection (d), but the first objective of punishment, in subsection (a), is to “denounce unlawful conduct.” In other words, the first question should be: “What does this person deserve?”

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Rudy Buller Toronto

Hard to live in the city

Re Vancouver’s Missing Middle Is A Muddle (Editorial, Oct. 5): In 2018, New Zealand banned most foreign buyers from the country’s real estate, believing that New Zealanders should not be outbid at home. What does Canada believe in?

Predatory lending policies? Many lenders are approving ridiculously high mortgages and driving home prices up. What is next – 40-year mortgages?

And what should people do? Start caring about our children and grandchildren instead of the value of our homes. Every nation gets the government it deserves.

Miodrag Silobad, Toronto


Re Our Cities Will Thrive Despite The Pandemic (Opinion, Oct. 3): I believe contributor Joe Berridge’s perspective on urban resilience is based on a false premise that cities experience “probably less than 1 per cent change each year.”

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Perhaps it may appear, from the “back of a sailboat” or “the Zoom office,” that cities are not changing. Those of us who have stayed in the urban core have seen the rapid disintegration of main streets, the influx of tents into public spaces and the reshaping of redundant street capacity.

Many of the world’s great cities have changed significantly in short periods of time: Vienna in the 1930s, Tel Aviv in the 1940s, Berlin in the 1980s, New York in the 1990s, Dubai entirely, East London through the 2012 Olympics and so on.

All of that is not to mention the renaturalization of the Don River in Toronto, one of the most significant resilience projects in the world that will reshape much more than 1 per cent of Canada’s largest city.

Perhaps the answers to urban resilience cannot be found whilst floating down a creek in Prince Edward County.

Elliott Cappell Former chief resilience officer, City of Toronto

Mask on

Re A Letter To That Maskless Guy On The Streetcar (Oct. 3): Perhaps the man was maskless because no one cared enough to politely ask him to wear one. Fearing confrontation, perhaps someone could have at least reported the situation to a transit employee.

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As long as citizens continue to stay silent, and only complain after the fact, how can we expect change to occur?

Mark Warden Pickering, Ont.


Re Anti-masker Faces Jail Time For Violating Quarantine (Oct. 7): There’s a famous old line: “Your freedom to swing your fist ends at my face.” The personal freedom of anti-maskers should end when they enter an enclosed public space. And just as hitting me in the face should end with that person in jail, so should not wearing a mask when quarantined.

Jay AllenBox Hillcrest Mines, Alta.


I have less than zero sympathy for anti-maskers. In Indonesia, they make anti-maskers dig graves for the dead of COVID-19.

George Olds Hamilton

Touché

Re That Was Weird: Moderator Failure And A Fly Dominate Vice-presidential Debate (Online, Oct. 8): During the debate, I laughed very mouche.

Mel Simoneau Gatineau, Que


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