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Members of the public file past after waiting to see the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall on Sept. 15 in London, England.Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe

Lessons learned

Re And The Pandemic Postmortem Begins (Sept. 20): The absolute of surgery is that there is no eraser on the end of a scalpel. With the Canadian COVID-19 death toll surpassing that of the Second World War, one might apply similar constraint to virus activity.

In other words, scalpels, bullets, bombs and viruses should be addressed with similar regard. COVID-19 is not a kid’s game.

Douglas Martin Hamilton

Fake it

Re IRCC Says Documents Senator Sent To Afghan Family Not Authentic (Sept. 21): Were I to produce a facsimile of a document for preferred access to a government program, I suspect it would be called a “forgery.”

Is there different terminology for senators, or am I missing something?

A.S. Brown Kingston

Royal review

Re Funeral, As Seen On TV, Was Visually Sumptuous And Quietly Revealing (Sept. 20): The day before the Queen’s funeral, I spent $5 to add the BBC news channel to my monthly television subscription. On Monday morning, I rose at 2 a.m., took my pillow and blanket to the couch and stayed there for more than six hours, transfixed by the images from Britain.

I bounced around some channels and listened, briefly, to the inane and redundant comments from various commentators. But ultimately I stayed tuned to the BBC, where I could watch the entire event without half the screen covered by logos, distracting news tickers or obvious descriptions of what was happening. And because commentary was minimal during the most profound moments, I could just watch and feel.

My thanks to the BBC for the sombre and enjoyable coverage that I will remember alongside the ceremony and celebration of a historic reign.

Julie Case Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Re To Rest (Letters, Sept. 21): I would bet that the media in Lahore give more coverage to three Pakistanis who die in a building collapse than to 100 British people killed in a plane crash.

We are tribal, parochial. The media know that.

Richard Harris Hamilton

Crown affair

Re Canada Is Ready To Become A Republic (Opinion, Sept. 17): Yes, Queen Elizabeth was a remarkable woman. As a 12-year-old, I adoringly watched her coronation at an arena. I even adopted Elizabeth as my confirmation name.

But the connection didn’t take and I long ago dropped that name. The Queen was not “my Queen.” My father reached Canada’s shores in 1925, my mother in 1939, but they did not necessarily experience the warmest of welcomes as immigrants. The monarchy belonged to Canadians of British, Irish and Scottish origins.

I realize that our constitutional monarchy is a stable form of government and dropping it is difficult. However, humans created our constitutional rules, and humans can figure out how to change them without destroying the country.

Let us proceed with changes, perhaps incrementally, in keeping with Canadians’ evolving realization that we no longer need to be in a child-like state, tied forever to Britain.

Mary Valentich Calgary

The Crown is no longer a symbol of power, but it remains a powerful symbol.

Every step of Canada’s constitutional progress, from the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 until patriation in 1982, was met with resistance by those who believed in the status quo. Today, many of us no longer believe in God or kings, but the power of symbols may yet get in the way of the final stage of Canada’s constitutional evolution.

Quebec’s sovereigntist governments proposed symbolic gestures, small acts shy of independence, which would predispose the populace to voting yes once a referendum was held. Such was the plan. It met up with the simple reality that a majority of Quebeckers were either too attached or too indifferent to Canada to leave.

I suspect that’s the way most Canadians feel about the monarchy. We are fortnights away from the stroke of the pen that makes us a republic.

Howard Greenfield Montreal

Out of time?

Re For Today’s Republican Party, Human Suffering Is Just Part Of A Game (Sept. 20): I am reminded of recent history. In the post-First World War period, it was Germany and Italy’s rising fascist leaders who engaged in the “wanton destruction of democratic and civic norms … mobilized the base through appeals to loathing … until violent rhetoric becomes physical violence,” using this proven political playbook to get themselves – and their ideologies – into power.

Is hope for democracy to continue in this time and place still possible? Or is the scenario described now North America’s path of inevitable history in the making?

Michael Tukatsch Toronto

Tax included

Re Etsy Sellers Frustrated By Company’s Sales-tax Approach (Report on Business, Sept. 20): As a long-time Etsy seller, this failure to apply tax rates correctly has impacted my business in a number of ways, all negative. It affects Etsy buyers as well.

Whereas before customers could see how much tax was added to an order, now they do not see the amount separated out if a seller is registered. If the purchase is a business expense, they will not realize that tax was included and thus not claim it back. Even if a purchase isn’t a business expense, every buyer has the right to know what portion of a total is tax.

Etsy couldn’t have done a worse job in implementation. The company had more than a year to address this requirement, not to mention other platforms have been able to correctly make the necessary changes.

Rachel Hershfield Cornwall, PEI

Teaching priorities

Re A Lesson In Body-shaming (Sept. 21): Teachers of every identity – straight, lesbian, gay, Two-Spirited, transgender or simply different – should be free and empowered to serve students.

When a teacher’s actions, behaviours or personal wishes distract or detract from serving students, they put themselves on the wrong side of the education equation.

Jim Young Burlington, Ont.


Re Pioneering Recycling Program Is Launched In Kitchener (Moment in Time, Sept. 17): While it has been 40 years since the launch of recycling in Kitchener, Ont., it is incredible that the best we can do as a country is around 10-per-cent annual recovery of plastics. In Ontario, that is an annual cost to taxpayers of $250-million. How many billions of dollars have been wastefully spent for such dismal results?

Government and consumers across this land ought to be ashamed. The brain power is there, the will not so much.

Greg Dolhan Ottawa

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