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President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, early Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Washington.Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

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General election

Re Why Do Americans Choose Their President Like This? (Nov. 2): The structural flaws of the Electoral College reflect the times and thinking of the U.S. Founding Fathers: Compromises were workable for the 13 original colonies (though three colonies overshadowed the others), women were disenfranchised and Black people were enslaved.

Until the U.S. Constitution is changed to reflect the realities of a modern, multicultural, postslavery country, there will continue to be many problems with the Electoral College, among others.

Tom Adlhoch Toronto

Don’t do it

Re MPs To Investigate Ottawa’s Approval Of Arms Exports To Turkey (Oct. 31): It should be no surprise that if one makes, sells and ships weapons – purpose-built to maim or kill people – then those weapons are going to maim or kill people.

If Canada doesn’t want to be complicit in that, then there’s a simple solution: We shouldn’t manufacture weapons.

David Kinahan Toronto

Done for me lately

Re RCMP Delays Prevent Release Of Findings On Boushie Investigation (Nov. 3): I find it disconcerting to know that the RCMP are four months late in responding to and publicizing the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission’s report regarding Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man shot and killed by a Saskatchewan farmer in 2016.

What is the reason for having a signed memorandum of understanding if there are no repercussions for missing an agreed deadline? What is the message being sent to our First Nation communities? I believe Commissioner Brenda Lucki and the RCMP have failed the Indigenous peoples of Canada. I do not believe that Commissioner Lucki is capable of the task at hand.

Janet Lenover Waterdown, Ont.

Penned in

Re A Jail System That Is Failing Everyone (Editorial, Oct. 31): Structured intervention units in Canada’s federal prisons look to me like a barbaric practice with a fancy new title. Different forms of solitary have been going on behind closed prison doors for forever.

On April 14, 1971, inmates at Kingston Penitentiary overpowered unsuspecting guards and instigated one of the most destructive prison riots in Canada’s history. They were protesting decrepit living conditions and brutal punishments. Those who stepped out of line could end up in the “hole,” an escape-proof cellblock where inmates were confined 23.5 hours a day.

Since 1982, the Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that inmates should not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment. Call it what one will, but an SIU is still akin to the “hole." Promised new standards and practices will likely remain elusive as long as Correctional Service Canada operates without stronger external oversight.

Catherine Fogarty Toronto

COVID-19 complications

Re Chrystia Freeland Reports Negative COVID-19 Test (Online, Nov. 1): Chrystia Freeland’s negative COVID-19 test result presents an opportunity to update the public on the effectiveness of the government’s alert app.

Government should take quick action to not only educate the public on using the app, but to also start publishing timely information on the number of downloads and the number of positive results. Neither step is rocket science nor expensive, but they would be giant steps toward realizing this tool’s powerful potential.

Kathleen Donohue Toronto

Re How COVID-19 Is Complicating The Fight Against Cancer (Oct. 31): To hear that patients are being turned away from cancer appointments and screenings – while it is fine to go for a massage, haircut or physiotherapy session – is unacceptable to me. The public should be outraged.

If protocols are in place to make massages and haircuts safe, can’t doctors and hospitals figure something out as well? I would like to see it mandated for doctors to see patients in person again. I believe the risk of COVID-19 infection, with proper protocols in place, is far less than the horrific ordeal people go through with undetected cancer.

Why is it okay for me to receive physiotherapy (for which I am grateful), while someone could die without receiving life-prolonging treatment?

Barbi Lazarus Toronto

Re Canada Has Become Careless About The Virus (Nov. 3): We are in a pandemic. No matter how long we lock down, COVID-19 will still be there when we open back up.

The second wave in Europe presents proof of this. Even the most optimistic proponents of a vaccine do not suggest one will be anywhere near fully effective, which means there will still be COVID-19 deaths after widespread vaccinations.

Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health reasonably states that “we need to be learning to live with COVID." Lockdowns have helped prevent the overwhelming of hospitals – not the eradication of an omnipresent virus.

David Barker MD Whitby, Ont.

Housing starts

Re Fifteen Cities To Get Share Of $500-million In Federal Housing Funds (Oct. 28): Affordable housing is on our lips and minds these days. Having lived through numerous campaigns over the years, I fear that more talk and projects will not solve the problem.

Lack of housing affordability is endemic because our economic system reinforces it. We allow housing to be a commodity that is bought and sold for profit; it should be seen as a human right.

We should put limits on how much housing and rental prices can increase. Yes, some of us will be less rich. But many more of us will be reasonably housed.

Renate Manthei Hamilton

Price check

Re Our Grocery Industry Needs A Code Of Conduct (Oct. 30): As president and chief executive of the Grocery Product Manufacturers of Canada from 1981 to 2003, supplier fees were the overriding issue bedevilling grocery manufacturers even back then. Since that time, Loblaw has become more powerful, having acquired Shoppers Drug Mart and other food outlets.

The control that Loblaw exerts on its suppliers goes beyond making products available to the public; it determines, among many factors, the placement of products, the availability of displays and the production of its own competing “store brands.”

I believe the big loser in all of this is the Canadian consumer, and government involvement is long overdue.

George Fleischmann Toronto

PCs in B.C.

Re What’s In A Name? The Answer Could Be Political Survival (Oct. 31): I too am tired of having to explain that the B.C. Liberals are not affiliated in any way with the Trudeau Liberals.

I have one renaming suggestion that would invoke a “big tent” image, be forward looking but also respectful of tradition and encompass people from across the political spectrum: What about the Progressive Conservative Party of British Columbia?

Derek Rolstone Winnipeg

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