Bring it on
The economic downturn has thrown into stark relief that our political democratic process is broken. Politicians squander our long-term future: Why take a decision today if you can hand it off to the next elected bunch? Let’s not make decisions based on what’s best, let’s make them based on what will appeal to the electoral base.
Italy, Greece and now Ontario are relying on technocrats to do what the politicians are incapable of doing. Bring on the technocrats (Ontario’s Challenge ‘Unprecedented’ – Feb. 16).
Martin McMahon, Kelowna, B.C.
Until all public-sector workers are paid a free-market rate, they will continue to be overpaid (and over-benefitted). I suspect that the implementation of this one change alone, cost-wise, could equal the impact of all the Drummond report’s 362 recommendations.
Dennis Jordan, Huntsville, Ont.
The separate Catholic school system is a wasteful duplication of services that Ontario can’t afford. If Quebec and Newfoundland can get rid of public funding for Catholic school systems, Ontario can, too.
Amy McConnell, Toronto
Don Drummond’s points, while valid, aren’t new to anyone with any insight. We have perpetuated a provincial health-care system with increased spending and not enough accountability, and it is putting the province into the poorhouse. As a health-care provider, I have firsthand knowledge of what has evolved with prior attempts at “reform.” Spending has increased, while overall access to care and quality of care have not improved significantly. There is still obvious waste which, unchecked, contributes to rising cost.
After corresponding with the Ministry of Health last summer, I was “reassured” that the Auditor-General’s report would be examining whether or not we get our money’s worth. Even if this is true, whose responsibility is it to affect any change or ensure efficiency? To date, it hasn’t been done by anyone.
Might I sum up the solution to the problem in five simple words: real accountability, increased efficiency, now.
David Hughes Glass, MD, Kincardine, Ont.
Now we have the big, long, painful list of how Ontario might cut expenditures. Where is the corresponding list of how we might increase revenues? Let’s have the whole conversation.
Robin Wardlaw, Newmarket, Ont.
As far as I can tell, former TD bank economist Don Drummond didn’t recommend a bank tax. How then will bankers be able to share the pain with us? Perhaps they could consider donating a chunk of their bonuses – or encourage Dalton McGuinty to institute a financial transaction tax. Both would have an immediate effect on reducing the debt.
Now, where do I send my consultant’s invoice?
Barry Healey, Toronto
Blowing a joint
Gary Mason suggests that legalizing marijuana will produce policy complexities (Legalize Weed, Yes, But The Demon’s In The Details – Feb. 16). Here are just a few: 1) Marijuana makes people with some mental illnesses more prone to psychosis. How will we protect vulnerable people from this harm?; 2) Marijuana smoke is as damaging to physical health as tobacco smoke; 3) Because raw marijuana has been accepted as a “medication,” anti-smoking regulations must be strengthened so they can be applied even to those who claim they are taking medication; 4) Legal marijuana will become a gift worth billions to Big Tobacco. The industry will devote its vast resources to obfuscating research on health effects, resisting regulation, targeting youth and maximizing marijuana’s addictive qualities; 5) Roadside tests must be developed to detect and prosecute drivers impaired by marijuana.
We need careful preparation before we jump on this bandwagon.
Judith Anderson, Burnaby, B.C.
Re Paul McCartney Quits Smoking Pot To Be A Better Parent (Feb. 16): Maybe Sir Paul is just trying to get back to where he once belonged.
Douglas Cornish, Ottawa
Green exit strategy
A few people seem upset by Justin Trudeau’s thoughts on Quebec separating if Canada becomes increasingly repressive. Frankly, I’d like the option of a nearby, socially progressive country to move to when the RCMP and CSIS start to target me for Internet communication sympathetic to Greenpeace and PETA (Security Services Deem Environmental, Animal-Rights Groups ‘Extremist’ Threats – Feb. 16).
Martin Hyde, Ottawa
Judging from the lack of leg room and complimentary meals on very long domestic flights, I thought Air Canada already was a budget airline capable of competing with others (Cheap Seats – Report on Business, Feb. 15). It looks to me like the issue is more about the use of budget pilots.
Wade Nott, Vancouver
In a world filled with poverty, war, economic uncertainty and hardship, people are looking for a feel-good story. That story is Linsanity (No Cure For Linsanity – Sports, Feb. 15).
Jeremy Lin is the underdog basketball player who wasn’t offered a university sports scholarship after high school and went undrafted by the NBA after graduating from Harvard. His meteoric rise in the past few weeks has made him a real-life version of Hollywood’s Rocky Balboa.
Mr. Lin’s personal story embodies the hope of the average person that better days lie ahead, that all the hard work and sacrifice are worth it, that nice guys and girls finish first.
Robert Lynn, Toronto
The day has come when Margaret Wente and I are actually on the same e-page (I’m With The Child Pornographers – Feb. 16). She captures the problems with the government’s bill on state surveillance of online activity and its ongoing strategy to demonize those who question their approach. The cynical name of this bill – Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act – personifies the Harper government’s tendency to reduce complex legislation to a “you are either with us or agin us” level of discussion.
Demonizing opponents and rewriting what one said or did figure in Costa Gavras’s film Z (1969). This old, award-winning movie depicts a picture too close to 2012 reality. It has been a distressing week. First to watch this 40-year-old film and see behaviours not unlike today’s – and then to be in agreement with Ms. Wente. Enough already.
Kathy Moggridge, Halifax
The photo of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson reminded me of other pairings in popular culture (As Tories Storm The Firewalls, Opposition Reaches For Water Cannon – Feb. 14).
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, as producers for the Stones, called themselves “The Glimmer Twins.” Perhaps Mr. Toews and Mr. Nicholson, as producers for the Harper agenda, can call themselves “The Grimmer Twins.”
Peter Greenwood, Vancouver