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U.S. Customs and Protection officers stand beside a sign saying that the border is closed to non-essential traffic at the Canada-United States border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge in Lansdowne, Ont. Sept. 28, 2020.LARS HAGBERG/Reuters

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Nothing personal

Re Home And Away (Letters, Sept. 27): I’m thankful that Canada has taken the bold step of extending its U.S. border closing to protect against COVID-19. As the phrase goes, “it’s not personal, it’s just business." In this bizarre year, personal health is everybody’s business.

Will certain businesses be affected? Will family gatherings be postponed? Will I have to cancel my trip? The answer is yes. A second wave has arrived because many people think it’s okay to have pre-COVID-19 "fun” activities. That is “extremely short-sighted.”

Soheil Baouji Toronto

Throne Speech fallout

Re Throne Speech Agenda Breaches Jurisdiction, Premiers Say (Sept. 25): Jason Kenney said that the Throne Speech addressed “kooky academic theories like intersectionality.” I take exception to him minimizing the idea that a person’s social identifiers, such as race and gender, interact to create their experiences, especially ones of disadvantage.

Rather than being a kooky idea, intersectionality is the actual lived experience of many Canadians once additional identifiers are taken into account, such as economic class, sexual orientation and physical or mental disabilities.

Erin O’Toole has indicated that there is a place in the Conservative Party for all Canadians. Mr. Kenney’s dismissive comment implies that may only be true if we leave our identities at the door.

Mary Daley Woodbridge, Ont.

Re Throne Speech Highlights Trudeau’s Unwillingness To Let The Federal System Work (Sept. 25): Perhaps, like many of us, Justin Trudeau is tired of waiting for programs such as truly accessible, affordable, high-quality early learning and child care. Why does Canada not have such programs (which have been deemed provincial responsibilities)? Why are most members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ahead of Canada in providing these essential services?

It seems every other day I read that we need women back in the work force. I for one support a national child-care program. I have been advocating for one since my granddaughters were born – they are now 14 and 16!

Margaret McGovern Toronto

We like to think of ourselves in Canada as less partisan than the United States, and the Prime Minister is fond of saying how we are “all in this together.” Yet a Throne Speech statement, that government will “identify additional ways to tax extreme wealth inequality,” conveys the unsubtle tone of moral judgment against those fortunate enough to have been financially successful.

This feels like politics of division and, in its extreme, class warfare. The goal of decreasing wealth inequality by lifting up those who are disadvantaged is surely one with which the vast majority of Canadians would agree. But to play a rhetorical game of “us” against “them” would not be a constructive path to achieving what should be a common goal.

John Abraham Toronto

Could Canada’s federal system actually “work"? Given that the provinces jealously guard their jurisdictions and standards, most services that need repairing or building lie in their hands. And they seem to have little interest in heavy lifting.

Where services exist, standards are different from province to province – health, education, welfare support – or poor or non-existent in areas such as housing, child care, long-term care and renewable energy. It is illusory to believe that Canadians are treated equally from coast to coast to coast.

Predictably, the Throne Speech has left premiers “united in their annoyance” – and united in clinging to barriers and different standards. A weak federal system would be better described as a strong provincial system that is ill-suited to the challenges of the 21st century.

Given provincial powers, much of any Throne Speech seems merely hopeful. Chastising the Prime Minister would be putting blame in the wrong quarters.

Ila Bossons Toronto

High hopes

Re Republicans Move Quickly To Confirm Top Court Pick Before Election (Sept. 28): Although, like many Canadians, I am dismayed by the appointment of a ferociously right-wing judge to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am hoping that her background and education mean she is at least thoughtful, principled, moral and honest.

It is the unethical, amoral and self-serving dishonesty of Donald Trump that is so appalling. I may not agree with hardline conservatives, but at least I can try to understand their decision-making, motives and beliefs.

Let’s hope that Amy Coney Barrett at least plays by the rules.

Nigel Smith Toronto

Co-op contributions

Re Monitor Urges Court To Approve MEC Acquisition Deal (Report on Business, Sept. 26): Tens of thousands of MEC members have signed a petition and raised funds to commence legal action to reverse the proposed acquisition deal. Why were those members not consulted by the MEC board or the monitor?

Many of us who bought our memberships back in the early days did so because we liked the co-op model and the idea of having a Canadian-owned outdoor equipment retailer. There are supposedly four-million-plus members. Something as simple as the creation of a $10 annual membership fee could have kept the company out of trouble or given it time to find its way back to its original purpose.

Hope Smith Calgary

Canada and human rights

Re PM Urges UN To Act On Global Human-rights Abuses (Sept. 26): It is commendable that the Prime Minister addressed global human-rights abuses with the General Assembly of the United Nations. However, if he is genuinely concerned about human rights, then let him lead by example: Stop fuelling the humanitarian disaster in Yemen by halting the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, and deal with the long-neglected human rights of our Indigenous population here in Canada, rather than continually making promises.

Ken Pattern Vancouver

Re The Trudeau Government Is Fuelling A Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen (Sept. 25): In addition to Canada’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia, I’d also point out the more obvious hypocrisy of Canada’s annual $3-billion-plus import of Saudi oil.

What is the moral difference between selling military equipment and providing the funds to buy it? Yet there seems to be no appetite for a pipeline to ship Alberta bitumen east, but a continuing appetite in Eastern Canada for Saudi oil.

Fuelling a humanitarian crisis? It sure didn’t start with the arms trade.

David McClurg Calgary

Re Canada Violated Arms Trade Treaty: Report (Sept. 23) and Canada’s Link To Riot Suppression In Belarus (Sept. 24): I am reminded of Tom Lehrer’s song about Wernher von Braun, “a man whose allegiance/was ruled by expedience … ‘once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?’ "

Honey Thomas Mississauga

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