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A photograph of the CBC building in Toronto on April 4, 2012.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

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An education

Re Canadian Research Universities Largely Maintain Positions In Global Rankings and The Oil Industry’s Future Is Dire – And Canada Shouldn’t Spend To Revive A Dying Dream (Sept. 2): Two articles in the same edition of The Globe offered timely information for Alberta’s future direction.

One noted that eight Canadian universities were ranked in the top 200 worldwide; two of these are in Alberta, a remarkable achievement for a province of its size. The other offered yet another reality check of the idea that the oil patch is going to return to the good old days, arguing instead that we should draw on Alberta’s “high-skilled young workforce and great education” to develop new strategies for growth and prosperity.

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The Alberta government appears unable or unwilling to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of our current moment, pouring good money after bad into the oil industry while slashing funding to the postsecondary sector. It seems committed to squandering the one resource most likely to bring us out of the current fiscal mess: our world-class education system.

Jim Ellis Calgary

Re COVID-19 Has Cratered Alberta’s Economy – And Oil And Gas Won’t Be The Way Out (Aug. 29): I lived in Alberta for most of the 1980s and, to me, the province has not learned a thing since then.

I worked for a bank, and the three ruling assumptions seemed to be that the price of oil would increase forever, the economy would boom forever and inflation would eat our mistakes. The crash crushed those assumptions, but the Alberta government was unwilling to change course. Even today, it still refuses to consider actions such as instituting a sales tax.

Certainly Alberta has an educated population, good postsecondary education and an enviable lifestyle. With a little financial incentive, I am confident another source of wealth generation could be found that was not dependent on resource extraction or agriculture.

Jim Bertram Toronto

COVID check

Re Vast Majority Of Canadians Say Ottawa Has Handled COVID-19 Well, Study Finds (Aug. 28): I am not surprised by this news, given Canada’s media coverage of COVID-19, which I’ve found to be critical of the U.S. government but reticent of our own. Canada is doing better than the United States, but not so when compared to many other countries.

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Deaths per million is a prime indicator of performance, and Canada’s is poor. When ranking countries by order of highest death rates, Canada nearly ranks in the top 20. Among the 37 OECD countries, Canada nearly ranks in the top 10.

Tom Ham Ottawa

Re Clearing Backlog Of Postponed Surgery In Ontario Could Take More Than A Year, Study Shows (Sept. 2): Back in 2010, we faced a crisis of last-minute cancellations of “elective surgery,” due to high volumes of acute care beds being occupied by long-term care patients awaiting chronic care placements. We stopped using the term “elective surgery” after hearing the stories of suffering and emotional trauma these cancellations caused our patients.

The term “scheduled surgery” is a more appropriate moniker for someone who has been waiting, in pain, for 12 months to have their knee replaced. Clearing the backlog of scheduled surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 will be a long and arduous journey.

Bill Taylor Anesthesiologist, Windsor Regional Hospital; Windsor, Ont.

Must-see TV?

Re Erin O’Toole’s ‘Defund CBC’ Plan Is Bogus Policy (Aug. 31): The CBC is one of the few cultural beacons that glues Canada together. Having been raised in Alberta and lived most of my working life in British Columbia, and ridden my motorcycle across this great land for its 150th birthday, I can say that banning canoes or exterminating beavers would be more popular.

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CBC is a national treasure, albeit in need of some updating. But God help this country if it is defunded in favour of some politically driven conservative rhetoric.

John Edwards Langley, B.C.

There are many logical reasons to remandate, resize and de-commercialize CBC English Television, which is why the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is in the midst of its licence renewal process. One of the most logical involves CBC’s unmandated digital news platforms, which threaten the existential quest by Canada’s private-sector news organizations to transition themselves to digital survival.

By diverting many millions of its billion-dollar-plus federal funding to what is effectively Canada’s largest digital newspaper – providing free news online while selling advertising – it is doing to struggling newspapers and private broadcasters what Craigslist and Kijiji did to newspaper classified advertising.

Addressing this threat to smalltown and big-city news organizations would be far more logical than the Trudeau government’s selective bailout of failing, old-technology newsrooms.

Peter Kent MP; Thornhill, Ont.

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Sources say

Re Facebook Threatens To Block News Sharing In Australia (Sept. 2): It is heartening to read that Australia, as well as Canada’s Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, intend on addressing Facebook’s free ride. It is safe to say that the citizenry the world over is not better informed thanks to Facebook.

Critical thinking is already difficult when working with credible sources of information. When one introduces the additional garbage on these social platforms, it diminishes the value of real news and makes it all the more difficult to conduct oneself as a responsible citizen.

So Facebook may not allow sharing of news content if they have to share revenue? Good. Call their bluff. We would all be better informed, and news organizations could expect readers to seek them out directly or, perish the thought, have a paper delivered every morning.

David Roy Toronto

Help me hold onto you

Re The Struggle To Keep A Mysterious Shakespeare Portrait In Canada (Arts & Pursuits, Aug. 29): How about a crowdfunding campaign to raise the millions of dollars required to fully compensate the Sullivan family for their portrait of Shakespeare? The painting could be situated to dominate the entrance of the Royal Ontario Museum, where visitors would be thrilled to see the Bard as he was seen in his own time.

It was 54 years ago when then-Toronto mayor Philip Givens organized a fundraiser for Henry Moore’s The Archer in Nathan Phillips Square. Over $100,000 was raised in a few days (some of it came from me!) – a goodly amount for 1966.

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Mary Williamson Toronto

Powered by…

A letter-writer, after asserting that Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives have the same old ideas such as opening up the oil sands, asks: “How is Canada going to move to the future?” (Conservatives Incoming – Letters, Sept. 3). I don’t know, but at least the lights will be on.

Rudy Buller Toronto

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

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