Today’s letters: Ottawa’s public servants shouldn’t return to the office

Tuesday, Dec. 20: It’s better for the environment when people can work from home, says one writer. You can write to us at letters@ottawacitizen.com

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Return to office is short-sighted

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Re: Government mandates public servants to return to office 2 to 3 days per week by April, Dec. 16.

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Remember two years ago when all offices closed down, businesses were shuttered, and workers set up home offices? It was noted that, worldwide, pollution dropped significantly: noise pollution, carbon emissions, traffic congestion. It was NOT noted that productivity faltered; in fact, it improved in many areas.

While a conference on biodiversity was held in Montreal — a conference that encouraged climate and environmental protection — the federal government mandated the return to downtown offices for the majority of its employees. The result will be: more vehicles on the road, more noise pollution and more carbon emissions, all in an effort to boost small business in the downtown areas and ridership on the public transit system.

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This is at best a Band-Aid solution to prop up small business, and at worst an attempt to control employees’ work habits. What an embarrassment it would be to attend that conference under the banner of either the federal or provincial governments, both of which seem bent on destroying the natural environments that make our capital city a gem.

Glenda Jones, Carp

Great satire about public servants

Re: Let federal employees work from home, Dec. 17.

I had thought satire was a lost art until I read Brigitte Pellerin’s column. Imagine comparing the smoke-filled, sweaty offices of the 1950s with the climate-controlled, ergonomically designed offices of today. Brilliant!

And then for columnist Brigitte Pellerin to further explain how workers in offices are constantly interrupted by colleagues, when the last time I called a federal government office all I heard was a screaming kid who wouldn’t go down for her nap. Hilarious!

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And then to tell us how much better home-made lunches are than the fast-food lunches office employees must eat at their desks was great stuff!

Today’s federal employees have an extremely strong union protesting the exact conditions and responsibilities those employees signed up for, but this appears to be lost on the writer. Comparing today’s federal employees with 1950s’ automatons — ha ha ha. Terrific.

Unfortunately, totally untrue. Back to work with the lot of you, I say! Enjoy your great pay, benefits and pensions

Edward Pines, Almonte

Moore’s mask argument makes no sense

Re: Ontario’s chief medical officer of health links viral surge to ‘negative consequences’ of extended mask mandates, Dec. 15.

Sorry, Dr. Kieran Moore, I don’t buy your justification for not recommending masks in schools. The theory is that lack of exposure in the last two years has led to our present crisis in pediatric illness. While it may be true for RSV, it doesn’t make sense for the flu or COVID.

We continue to get the common cold because we build no real immunity to it. The same is true for influenza and COVID.  How could it possibly hurt children to keep them safe from these circulating viruses? Masking in public has been a common practice in many countries such as Japan, Korea and Thailand, and children have not suffered because of it.

Cathy Haley, Ottawa

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