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The Peace tower on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on Sept. 20.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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To rest

Re Queen Played An Irreplaceable Role’ In Canada’s Achievements, At Home And Abroad (Sept. 20): I have never been a fan of Brian Mulroney, but my goodness he delivers the most stunning, poignant and perfect eulogies. Well done.

Gerret Kavanagh Thornhill, Ont.

Re Thousands Gather To Greet The Queen At Final Resting Place (Sept. 20): As my partner and I made our way toward Shakespeare’s Globe last Wednesday, planning to be groundlings, we were passed by scores of people – many in black – on their way to join the monumental queue outside Westminster Hall.

As usual, Shakespeare in matters both royal and mundane got it right when Prospero muses in The Tempest that “our revels now are ended … and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

The muted tolling of Big Ben is a sound that we all eventually must pay attention to.

Geoff Rytell Toronto

So much important news, notably worldly suffering and tragedy, has been mostly overridden and omitted to make available as much newsprint and broadcast time as possible for the passing of Queen Elizabeth.

With all due respect, she’s one person, however beloved and special to many people. Am I the only news consumer troubled by this inequity in coverage? Every time I turned to CBC News Network, day or night, it was various forms of this.

A renowned newsman once justly implicated the Western world’s news coverage and consuming callousness and imbalance: “A hundred Pakistanis going off a mountain in a bus make less of a story than three Englishmen drowning in the Thames.”

Frank Sterle Jr. White Rock, B.C.


Re Afghans Stranded In Pakistan Plead For Ottawa’s Help (Sept. 19): As a member of a private group that is sponsoring two young Afghan women now living in Pakistan with expired visas, I hope someone is listening to these stories and will act.

We have raised the required funds, as well as send them monthly support for living expenses in Pakistan. Otherwise, they would be unhoused and starving.

Their applications have been waiting for approval from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for two months. A safe home awaits them here, but instead they linger in Pakistan in fear. Will someone at IRCC please help us to help them, and approve their applications?

These women speak English and are well educated. They are in danger and longing to live productive, fulfilling lives in Canada.

Why the long delay?

Patricia Houston Victoria

By example

Re As Safe-supply Study Appears To Show Benefits For Drug Users, Critics Raise Warning Flag (Sept. 19): Author and doctor Vincent Lam wonders whether safe-supply clients are improving owing to wraparound care or a safer supply of drugs. It shouldn’t matter: That wraparound care is a part of the program. If someone brings their old car in to be painted yellow and they’re offered a seatbelt and airbag too, the point should be that they’re safer.

Safer supply is not being offered to people instead of traditional treatments. Methadone and buprenorphine work well for many people, but safe-supply recipients have already tried those treatments and found they did not work for them.

Safer supply is some people’s last chance. It should be one among many options in our toolbox.

Robyn Kalda Knowledge mobilization specialist, National Safer Supply Community of Practice; Toronto

Professional doubters of safe supply of opioids to drug users should look no further for its benefits than a Toronto hotel, set up last year to temporarily house people with COVID-19 who were homeless. I, along with other physicians, prescribed barrels full of opioids to drug users there.

Provision of these medications eliminated the need for drug users to leave the hotel to acquire drugs and become a source of COVID-19 in the community. It was a creative, humane and practical public-health measure which reduced the likelihood of COVID-19 spread.

Philip Berger OC, MD; Toronto

Total travel time

Re Air Canada To Purchase 30 Electric-hybrid Planes, Invests In Aircraft Firm (Report on Business, Sept. 16): New technologies, such as short-haul hybrid planes apparently arriving in 2028, won’t reduce total aviation emissions if air travel continues to soar. (The International Air Transport Association projects 10 billion air passengers by 2050.)

European countries are realizing this, and are starting to cap airport capacities and ban short-haul flights to reduce near-term emissions. All eyes should be on Canada’s new aviation emissions plan to see whether it includes strong measures to limit and reverse growth in air travel – or whether it relies solely on technological changes scheduled for future arrival, for a climate problem that’s already here.

Albert Koehl Toronto

Get smart

Re Can Smart Traffic Lights Ease Congestion, Reduce Emissions And Make Streets Safer? (Sept. 15): I don’t doubt that smart traffic lights could do a lot to ease congestion and might, in some situations, be a good idea. There is, however, a cheaper and more reliable solution to some of our traffic woes: the roundabout.

And not just a single-lane traffic circle, but a proper multilane roundabout such as is widely used in Europe. The advantages are many: They reduce the amount of time spent idling, improve traffic flow, continue to work when the power goes out and don’t carry ongoing fees for use. Collisions, when they occur, are glancing, not T-bones.

Roundabouts are not appropriate for every intersection, but they are for a great many. I’m sure that North American drivers could soon learn to navigate them.

James Duthie Nanaimo, B.C.

Squirrel away

Re Banff’s Housing Struggle Falls Hardest On Disadvantaged (Real Estate, Sept. 16): Although I did try to read this article with compassion, I laughed out loud when I came across Parks Canada’s assessment that local ground squirrels were breeding outside the property line of the YWCA Banff building project.

I would say it’s more line of sight than property lines that determines a ground squirrel’s choice of breeding location. It has been my experience in another mountain park that ground squirrels breed indiscriminately, particularly on residential properties: under woodpiles, sheds, stairs – anything with cover just in case a natural predator finds them.

I once saw an owl clutching a ground squirrel in its claws as it flew to the neighbour’s roof, where it proceeded to tear the little rodent to pieces. I quietly thanked her.

Lesley Little Lethbridge, Alta.

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