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Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou speaks to media outside the B.C. Supreme Court following a hearing about her release in Vancouver, Sept. 24, 2021.JESSE WINTER/Reuters

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The aftermath

Re Kovrig, Spavor Returning To Canada After U.S. Strikes Plea Deal To Free Meng (Sept. 25): I see a story with zero heroes, no winners and colossal costs to Canada in money and international reputation.

We did dirty work for the United States at our expense. We are on record as Meng Wanzhou’s jailers for alleged crimes that the U.S. no longer intends to prosecute, and Canadians were used as bargaining chips to incentivize our government to move things along.

Canada’s inability to navigate this situation gives me little confidence that we will be treated as anything other than a resource pit or unpaid agent for two superpowers. This debacle should remind us there is often more respect for human rights and the rule of law in Europe than on this continent or across the Pacific.

Canada would do well to earnestly pursue the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade, instead of tripping over itself to keep costly subscriptions to status-quo arrangements with the U.S. and China.

Trevor Moat Victoria

For most of three years, China has protested that the arrests of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor had nothing to do with Meng Wanzhou. This has always been threadbare.

The haste with which China returned its two Canadian hostages after Ms. Meng’s release suggests to me that not only does the country engage in hostage diplomacy, but they also want the world to know it engages in hostage diplomacy. I am glad to see Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor back in Canada, but I am disappointed that Ms. Meng got off so lightly.

I think the point we should take away is that the Chinese government cannot be dealt with; nothing it says can be trusted. I am concerned about what actions it might be emboldened to take in the future.

Jeff Breukelman Richmond Hill, Ont.

The Xi government’s cynical heartlessness knows no bounds.

John McLeod Toronto

Global vaccination

Re Get Vaccinated Or Face The Consequences (Editorial, Sept. 23): While Canada’s vaccine rate passes 85 per cent, in low-income countries it is only 2 per cent. That means we are all still at risk, no matter how successful we are here in Canada.

UNICEF is leading in the procurement and delivery of two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries around the world – the largest mass immunization program in history. That will be enough to vaccinate essential workers and vulnerable populations, so their societies can begin to return to normal. Only then we will be at the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

As Canadians get closer to controlling the pandemic here at home, we should remember that our efforts will never be enough if we do not vaccinate the world. The pandemic does not respect borders, and it won’t be over for any of us until it is over for all of us.

David Morley CM; President and CEO, UNICEF Canada Toronto

Passports in Ontario

Re Medical Exemption Requests Increase In Response To Vaccine Passports (Sept. 22): Vaccines are designed to protect people. They are not perfect.

One can wear a bulletproof vest to a gunfight and get shot in the leg. That should not be an argument to leave the vest at home. I understand why people don’t trust politicians. I do not understand why they do not trust doctors.

This is not about individual freedoms to me. It is about protecting myself, my daughter who is too young for the vaccine and my neighbours.

I look forward to the day we don’t have to worry about masks or passports, but we aren’t there yet. As long as so many people decide to ignore data and exercise their individual rights in ridiculous ways, it will always be ahead of us.

Dave Strachan Stouffville, Ont.

Re Ford Urges Patience With Vaccine Passport (Sept. 23): In Ontario, we have entered yet another perplexing iteration of the political pandemic playbook.

It is now prohibited for unvaccinated contrarians to dine inside a restaurant or lift weights in a gym. However, it is permissible for them to attend a church service or go to a salon. Where is the scientific evidence comparing the precise level of danger of transmission in those four types of businesses? Furthermore, the vaccination status of workers in the above establishments is apparently immaterial.

These confounding policies continue to baffle me. There has been a profound erosion of respect for, and loss of confidence in the competence of, many politicians and public-health officials. Living with continual disappointment, anger and anxiety during a global health crisis may be eroding the foundations of our long-reputed Canadian “niceness.”

Jill Kannegiesser Toronto

Having attended a football game this week, I have to wonder if there is anything more misnamed than the Ontario vaccine passport.

Apparently two pieces of easily forged, soggy printer paper held out in the rain and a photo ID is equivalent to a “passport.” From what country on earth?

I support vaccination, but please do it right or don’t do it all. This is bush league.

Douglas Page Ottawa

Pecking order

Re Australia Bets Big On The U.S. With Submarine Deal (Sept. 23): The primary purpose of the Canadian submarine fleet, as I see it, is to simulate enemy submarines in exercises with U.S. hunter-killer SSN submarines. The proposed Australian nuclear submarines will likely serve the same purpose as pretend Chinese submarines.

Bob Halliday Saskatoon

Political hypocrisy?

Re Strict Punishment, Executions Will Return, Taliban Says (Sept. 24): Outrage about the Taliban’s “Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” seems selective, to the point of hypocrisy.

According to the website of the government of Saudi Arabia, that country has a “General Presidency of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.” Canada sold Saudi Arabia $1.3-billion of weaponry in 2020. For this, and for two years in a row, Canada has been named as one of the countries contributing to the war in Yemen (UN Panel Criticizes Canada For Fuelling War In Yemen – Sept. 9). The federal government seems to have no problem selling weapons to misogynists.

Perhaps Canadians need our own ministry for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice, albeit of a very different kind than that of the Taliban and the Saudi royal family.

Jack Hicks Shawnigan Lake, B.C.

Customer service

Re CIBC To Unveil New Logo As Part Of Revitalization Plan (Sept. 22): Wow, a new logo! As a shareholder and customer, I’d like to know how much the bank spent on the project.

Whatever the sum, it could have been better spent on reducing customer wait times on the phone; better training of staff who answer the phones when they finally do; ensuring they have the courtesy to call back when we get cut off while being transferred, rather than make us dial again, wait again, answer identity questions again, re-explain the problem again and get transferred yet again.

That’d improve the image of the bank a whole lot more.

Haroon Siddiqui Toronto

Old English

My late father was an academic who spent his life immersed in the golden age of Spanish literature. Perhaps that’s why his English vocabulary remained Edwardian.

From time to time, The Globe and Mail crossword reminds me of him, with words like “cropper” (clue: bad fall) and phrases such as “all the go” (the height of fashion). These reminders of my father are delightful, but I feel sorry for crossword fans who lack exposure to the language of almost a century ago.

Pamela Stagg Picton, Ont.

Put a bird on it

Re Research Shows Birds Thrived As Lockdowns Kept People At Home (Sept. 23): Glad the birds took advantage of the lockdown. But where are they now?

I live in midtown Toronto and have been concerned over the dearth of birds in the immediate area. My backyard is well protected with evergreens and my bird bath was well used by all species. On hot days, the robins used to get in the bath and just sit there, cooling off.

I haven’t seen a robin in ages, cardinals have disappeared, even sparrows are few and far between. I hope this is an aberration – maybe they’ve just moved to get away from the everlasting construction racket.

Helen Godfrey Toronto

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