Plus, Doug Ford's middle finger to Ontario, corporate media's climate cop-out, and the glow comes off Toronto Blooms in reader mail this week
Back in my native country, Ethiopia, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc. Because Ethiopia is a low-income country that cannot afford to procure vaccines independently, millions of people at risk will not receive a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 for years to come. This should concern us all because our only way to end the global pandemic, including here in Canada, is to make sure that vaccines reach everyone, everywhere.
What is appalling is that many low-and-middle-income countries, including in Africa, already do have manufacturing capacity to start producing their own vaccines and save precious lives but can only do so if intellectual property rights are waived. Not surprisingly, pharmaceutical companies are not sharing intellectual property, know-how, and data out of pure greed.
It is immoral that high-income countries are refusing to support the TRIPS intellectual property waiver proposed by South Africa and India to the World Trade Organization to allow scale-up of vaccine production. As we celebrate World Immunization Week on April 24-30, Canada must support the TRIPS waiver tabled at the WTO and put people’s lives ahead of publicly subsidized pharmaceutical company profits.
Hanna Belayneh – Ottawa
“We now face the real danger that even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the world’s haves and have-nots.”
These words, spoken by the World Health Organization’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, signals the deadly divide between high-income countries and low-and-middle-income countries.
The scientific community has mobilized in extraordinary ways since the initial outbreak of COVID-19. The development of COVID-19 vaccines moved at unrivalled rates. Given the global spread, vaccine rollout across the world is a critical aspect of bringing the pandemic to an end.
The past several months, however, have seen a competition between high-income countries racing to get access to these essential medicines. This approach will only prolong the pandemic, and greatly exacerbate existing inequities between the privileged and the marginalized.
Frances Walker – From NOWTORONTO.COM
Doug Ford should not have apologized for giving police more powers to enforce COVID measures (NOW Online, April 22). He should have stood by his decision and refused to compromise. There would be more dignity in it.
Charles de Gaulle made a number of inflammatory statements and some very unpopular decisions, but he never wavered or folded under pressure. In the end, he issued an ultimatum to the French people: “Either I get an overwhelming vote of confidence or I quit.”
Doug Ford could learn a thing or two from de Gaulle. He should flip Ontarians the bird and tell them that getting rid of me might help you let off steam but it won’t change the COVID-19 crisis one iota. Deal with it!
John C. Murray – From NOWTORONTO.COM
It makes me sick when I hear people praising Doug Ford and blaming Justin Trudeau for the current COVID mess (NOW Online, April 23). Ford is another Donald Trump. We have some very ignorant people in Ontario, they voted for Ford and they can’t admit they are wrong!
Marg Wood – From NOWTORONTO.COM
My main concern at this stage of the pandemic is how Doug Ford and his regime of bobbleheads are deliberately causing confusion about the vaccine rollout (NOW Online, April 11). WTF is happening?
Our “Dear Leader ” hasn’t been listening to anyone from the medical community, municipal, federal and provincial officials, union leaders and many other groups that have been in the line of fire of the pandemic.
When asked about his failure to listen to medical experts, as usual Ford got defensive and blamed others for his negligence. Meanwhile, Ford has been campaigning and fundraising whenever he can during the pandemic.
Ford’s response to the pandemic is deliberately undermining the successful rollout of the vaccines. He is using the power of his office to circumvent the election rules to tip in his favour. Ford’s neglect in response to the third wave and variants of concern have now pushed our hospitals and health care workers to the brink.
Nolan Strand – From NOWTORONTO.COM
Re Big Oil’s Climate Cop-Out (NOW April 22-28) Our elected representatives have failed us, but so has the mainstream news media when it comes to fighting climate change.
In Canada, we have a near-monopoly corporate news media (i.e. Postmedia) that are formally allied with companies involved in one of the planet’s greatest polluting solid forms of “energy” and the most polluting form of crude oil — bitumen from the tar sands.
Frank Sterle Jr. – From NOWTORONTO.COM
Last year, the Toronto Bloom cam was handled by artists (NOW Online, April 14). I was one of the two artists hired. Reanna Niceforo was the other. I am a Metis artist from the City working as a photographer and visual artist. Due to the fluid nature of the pandemic last year we had to work under extremely tight timelines to have a 24-hour stream set up wirelessly in days. This year, the Parks Department chose to hire Earthcam an American corporation doing tourist cams around the world instead of directly supporting local artists.
Phil Sutherland – From NOWTORONTO.COM
It is strange that every “solution” offered to make housing affordable (NOW Online, April 17) ignores the most fundamental cause — the escalating cost of land.
The wisdom of deep thinkers such as Adam Smith is ignored when it comes to solving the problem of rising land costs. Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations that the right public policy for any society is to impose an annual tax on land equal to the potential annual rental value of whatever land is privately held. Why? Because the value of a location has nothing to do with what the owner of the land does or does not do to improve the site. Location values are based on the advantages the location provides, and these advantages are directly created by the quality of public goods and services available.
If Toronto’s civic leaders want housing to become affordable, then land prices must come down. And, the only way this will occur is by moving to a land-only property tax system. This will have a benefit of ending the profit that comes from land speculation. This will have the secondary benefit of encouraging development where public infrastructure already exists, curbing sprawling development that eats up open space, agricultural land and imposes huge infrastructure costs on the public.
Edward J. Dodson – From NOWTORONTO.COM
Re Toronto Real Estate Experts Call For An End To Bling Bidding And Deception (NOW Online, April 25). I’m currently going through the home-buying process and it’s been a struggle from the beginning. Something needs to be done to protect buyers and make the market fairer. Thank you for shedding light on this subject!
Rosa B. – From NOWTORONTO.COM
Re The Second Coming Of Cannabis Legalization in Canada (NOW Online, April 5). Why am I going to pay $15 a gram from a store when I can get it from “my guy” for $80 to $100 an ounce?
Dan Rogers – From NOWTORONTO.COM