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Should Unvaxxed be taxed? (Editorial, January 13): “Charging a fee to stay unvaccinated is no different from promising money to get shot. The latter didn’t work, which strongly suggests that the former won’t work either. I think this confuses two separate issues.
One is the effort to get more people vaccinated. The second is to raise funds to pay all the unvaccinated people who disproportionately end up in intensive care units. It may be true that a tax will not be effective on the first objective, but it should certainly be effective on the second. Intensive care for unvaccinated patients is expensive for the healthcare system (that is, for all of us).
At the very least, the Quebec tax sends the signal that there is a cost to the health care system of not being vaccinated – and it is precisely the unvaccinated who should bear this cost.
Mark Brooks Ottawa
Re Even The Unvaccinated Deserve Health Care (Opinion, January 8): Ideologically, I agree. The same goes for my brother, whose cancer treatment has been delayed three times while limited health care resources are allocated to COVID-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated.
The question shouldn’t be whether the unvaccinated deserve health care. It should be: Do they deserve it more than my brother? I do not think so.
Kerrie Hale Calgary
For those who insist on the individual right not to be vaccinated, wouldn’t it be noble of them to refuse health care as well?
Rather than being on the frontline for intensive care – after leaving a hospital protest disparaging frontline workers, then demanding the best care our system provides – instead invoke his right to refuse treatment. It would be true proof of his beliefs to make the ultimate sacrifice from the comfort of his home.
Some choices would be easier than others, right?
keith jones Norfolk County, Ont.
What does the West want in Ukraine? (Editorial, January 12): I find several problems with the argument that the West should impose neutrality on Ukraine and prevent the country from joining NATO.
In 2014, a neutral Ukraine was invaded by Russia and part of its territory occupied. Countries are also free to choose their own security arrangements; a proposed return to spheres of influence is a likely recipe for future instability.
More importantly, such a proposal would reward aggression and potentially spawn further aggression. It would be closer to Munich in 1938 than to Austria in 1955. Giving in to Russian aggression and colonialist ambitions would endanger the security of Europe, Canada and even the world.
Ihor Michalchyshyn CEO and Executive Director, Congress of Ukrainian Canadians Ottawa
Re Old Rivals (Letters, January 13): Can we stop pretending that Western intentions in the region are less malevolent than Russia’s?
It may be true that “these countries are sovereign, so Russia has no say in determining their policy”. But neither should the West decide what constitutes a security threat to Russia’s borders. The United States would not tolerate a Chinese presence in its sphere of influence and would likely use force to seek an expulsion.
As political scientist John Mearsheimer has observed, it’s “geopolitics 101.”
Ian Spears Associate Professor, Department of Political Science University of Guelph
Re How Toronto-based YouTube alternative Rumble became a haven for the MAGA crowd (Report on Business, Jan. 8): Rumble’s Chris Pavlovski appears to be a threat to civil society and an embarrassment to Canada. I think he is posing as an advocate for free speech and taking advantage of a platform for spreading misinformation, lies and hate.
Murray Jackson Ottawa
Re Endless Bummer: Notes On An Unrelenting Pandemic (January 8): Even if this pandemic ends or turns into an endemic state, we will not be off the hook when it comes to increased pressures on mental health services. Pandemics may end, but the physical and psychological scars will persist long after.
The term long-haul can also define the psychologically vulnerable people who are suffering from the isolation and anxieties of COVID-19, too many of whom cannot adequately access support. Much more needs to be done to address underfunding and unequal access to mental health services.
Pamela Paris PhD, psychologist Toronto
Are we done improving? (Opinion, January 8): I have seen an apparent addiction to self-help books and seminars in my practice.
The result can be a combination of debt, discouragement and a break from reality, with promises that the next workshop will be the one that finally brings about meaningful change or transformation. This can be a trap, because sometimes people seek to improve themselves out of feelings of not being good enough or out of shame.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote, “Happiness cannot be sought; it must follow. In my clinical experience, self-improvement appears primarily as a byproduct of self-acceptance, which tackles that shame at the root of most compulsive escapes – including the one that promises we’ll be soon a better person.
Conrad Sichler MD Burlington, Ont.
Re There’s Reason to Hope Amid the Environmental Gloom (January 8): My spirits lifted with the news of the emergence of the long-lost black-brown chatterbox. I’m confident that nature will prevail, especially with news about sea otters, humpback and blue whales, and some land animals that are no longer endangered.
As Milan Kundera wrote, “optimism is the opium of the people”, and I’m about to ingest a good dose of it!
Riva Ellinson London, Ont.
Not like the others
Re Real Estate Scion was convicted in 2000 of murder on suspicion of others and I remember Desmond Tutu (obituary, January 13): There they were: the wicked Robert Durst and the virtuous Bishop Desmond Tutu, who helped end apartheid in South Africa.
Seeing their photos together was a vivid reminder of the wide range of human nature. Our race seems capable of the worst as well as the best.
Anne Tait Toronto
feel it all
Re: What will save us all? Our Imaginations (Opinion, January 8): I felt vindicated after reading contributor Chris Jones’ treatise on human creativity.
It has always seemed so obvious to me that we ignore intuition at our peril. Analytics can point us in the right direction, but without human interpretation and creative applications, the numbers are one-dimensional.
The sixth sense cannot be underestimated. How can I know? Instinct, I guess.
Loren Plottel Vancouver
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