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The U.S. port of entry into Blaine, Wash., is seen in Surrey, B.C., on March 18, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Home and away

Re Border-Closing Blues (First Person, Sept. 23): I’m a dual-citizen who now lives in Arizona. We were denied entry to Canada for our nephew’s wedding in Toronto. Yet my wife and I just returned from a trip to Budapest, where we had to pass two COVID-19 tests within five days of arrival to gain entry.

Why can’t Canada do the same? This feels extremely short-sighted – and dare I say prejudicial – and is greatly harming not only individuals, but businesses ranging from airlines and hotels to restaurants and retail.

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Peter Volny Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Among friends

Re Leader And Friend (Letters, Sept. 22): Over roughly 20 years of wilderness canoeing with John Turner, I can recall many anecdotes shared around evening campfires. One in particular, as we camped above the Big Thompson Rapids in Ontario, stands out.

It was in late May of 1993 that four of us – John Turner, Bill Nicholls, Rob Caldwell and myself – stood around a campfire, glasses in hand, enjoying the warm night, gazing at the stars in total silence.

I broke the silence. “What a wonderful treat. Here we are once again, enjoying the spring wilderness with our canoeing buddies. Just imagine: Where would each one of us be if we were not all together here tonight?” I asked, a question not anticipating a response.

John immediately replied. “My friends in the Rhodes Scholars Society are at this very moment attending a black-tie dinner in New York; one of our members has just been elected President of the United States – but I would rather be here with you guys!”

The lure of the Canadian wilderness is a truly powerful force, and what an outstanding example of establishing one’s priorities!

Fred Gaskin Cambridge, Ont.

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I’m with her

Re A Cynical Attack On Grassroots Democracy (Sept. 23): I am a resident of the York Centre riding and a member of the Liberals. It is true about there being several people looking to carry the party flag into the by-election. But in no way do I, nor anyone I’ve spoken with, feel like we’ve been attacked.

I understand and agree with the decision to run Ya’ara Sak and know that, if elected, she will do an amazing job representing her constituents.

Michael Anthony Toronto

School of thought

Re Private Lessons (Letters, Sept. 23): My thanks to a letter-writer for her excellent insights regarding “private” schools in British Columbia. It is the best deal going for those who buy into it.

I have no wish to deprive people of choice in education, but if the choice is for private schools, then the costs should not be subsidized by generous government grants nor tax receipts. The excuse that private-school users deserve tax receipts, because they pay taxes for an education system they do not use, is absolute nonsense to me.

I am 76 and not using the school system. But I continue to benefit from living in a society where everyone has the opportunity to be well educated, whether rich or poor.

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Sheila Morrison North Vancouver

Alone, together

Re Long-term Outlook (Letters, Sept. 21): I read with great sympathy a letter-writer’s thoughts on how pandemic loneliness affects those with dementia. It is hard to see suffering forced on those unable to understand, or do anything about it. But I would point out that, in general, societal loneliness is having seriously ill effects.

Many who live in such isolation, especially the single, are suffering greatly. Some people are becoming afraid and losing the ability to communicate meaningfully with each other. This can cause depression, and sadly suicide is sometimes the answer. There are many illnesses not being treated or even diagnosed, because many people are not seeing their doctor.

Loneliness was recognized as a growing problem in our cities before the pandemic. It has now reached epic proportions. When we finally have a vaccine, we may realize the true costs of what the virus has done.

We should be more thoughtful and humane about what we are doing to ourselves and each other.

Robert Metcalfe Toronto

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Cutie stuff

Re What Erin O’Toole Gets Wrong About The Faux-controversy Over Netflix’s Cuties (Sept. 14) and Cuties Is Unnecessarily Exploitative, And A Victim Of The Zeitgeist (Opinion, Sept. 19): I appreciate The Globe offering more nuanced analysis of the movie Cuties. I too found the film disturbing, but in a necessary way.

While the director should have cut some of the longer dance scenes, she really shows what girls are up against: a barrage of misogynist messaging in Western society, and a spectrum of patriarchal cultural mores that serve men, hurt women and are socially reinforced by women.

If we really want to protect our girls, we’d set standards for media and stop feeding them things such as L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, with their big eyes, pouty lips and provocative fashion. Has Erin O’Toole seen these things?

We should also stop giving girls high heels, makeup, skimpy sequined outfits and T-shirts with flirty sayings. Let them first discover their own inner voices.

Catherine Lake Toronto

Point of no return

Re Will Confessions From Myanmar Soldiers Help The Rohingya? (Sept. 18): One word jumped out at this reader: “repatriated,” and the lack of its possibility. I read contributor John Parker’s opinion as a complete repudiation of any repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar.

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The Rohingya have fled genocide. If they return to Myanmar, attempts at their eradication will continue. The government may say it is safe for them to return home, but the admissions of the two soldiers make it clear that a safe return is most likely impossible.

Governments of the world should realize what the Rohingya know: They are refugees who cannot return to their homeland, and they must be given permanent refuge in countries such as Canada.

Robbie Newton Victoria

Southern man, when will you pay them back?

Re Breonna Taylor’s Family And Supporters Criticize Prosecutor, Call For Release Of Grand Jury Transcripts (Online, Sept. 25): I was in my late twenties during the late 1960s and early 1970s. When I recently watched videos of Stephen Stills and Neil Young’s protest songs from that period – For What It’s Worth, Ohio, Southern Man – I was forcefully reminded that in regards to civil rights, racial prejudice, protests and unfettered police enforcement in the United States, things have not really changed much in the last 50 years.

I can only hope that, in 50 years, my grandsons will not have to look back on videos from 2020 and wonder why things hadn’t changed in their lifetime.

Ray Arnold Richmond, B.C.

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