$100 means $800
Re Tories Hike Donation Cap, Plan Electoral Reform Bill (Feb. 4):
Public subsidies based on election results were triggered by the 61 per cent of Canadians who cast votes in the 2011 election. Now, huge public subsidies will only be triggered by the less than 1 per cent of Canadians who make political donations.
A donor who writes a cheque for $400 to his or her party of choice can expect a $300 credit at tax time. With that $400 in hand, a political party can spend $800 in an election year, knowing they will benefit from a 50-per-cent rebate thanks to the electoral expense reimbursement. A net donation of $100 has now triggered $700 in matching funds from taxpayers.
Increasing the maximum that Canadians can donate will only allow parties to dig deeper into taxpayer pockets. The per-vote funding subsidy was a much more democratic way of funding political activity, but it didn’t serve the interests of the Conservative Party, which benefits the most from individual donors.
Susan Watson, Guelph, Ont.
The whole problem of the Israeli company SodaStream is really quite easily resolved (Message In A Soda Bottle – editorial, Feb. 4).
The factory can be moved into a recognized Israeli city, giving more than 900 jobs to very willing Israelis. The product would not be manufactured in the West Bank, there would be no need for any boycotts and everybody would be happy – except, of course, the more than 900 well-paid Palestinians who would lose their much coveted jobs.
Sheryl Danilowitz, Toronto
I take issue with the description of the boycott movement as having little interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Just like the “historical complexity” of the region’s politics, the boycott movement is not monolithic. Our own organization of United Church of Canada members and supporters focuses only on a boycott of settlement-related products and supports a two-state solution.
However, companies that operate in the settlements like SodaStream are more than a source of “controversy,” as the editorial postulates. The settlements are illegal under international law. By extension, the activities of Israeli companies that operate there are also illegal, and absolutely fair game as a boycott target.
Dale Hildebrand, co-ordinator, United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, Toronto
Coast to coast
Prof. Allyson Jule says the Trinity Western community is “accepting, caring and open” (Trinity Western – letters, Feb. 4).
Is it “accepting” of gays and lesbians in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” way, while also demanding that gays and lesbians deny who they are? Is it “accepting” of gays and lesbians while also using all its powers of doctrine and social pressure to change them?
Some people are straight; some people are gay or lesbian. All deserve the same human rights under our Charter, wherever they go to school.
Rebecca Garber, Nanaimo, B.C.
Rather than defending her employer, I would ask her to test the limits of its alleged inclusiveness. I wonder what would happen if Prof. Jule decided to risk her employment and refuse to sign Trinity Western’s required pledge.
David Bronskill, Toronto
The issue is not that TWU requires students to abstain from sex. It’s that it only allows sex for heterosexual married couples. That is no more a “minimal sexual ethic” than if it banned interracial relationships.
The school is entitled to believe what it will about same-sex relationships. But in offering a service to the public, it must not discriminate.
Derek Simon, Dartmouth, N.S.
Our export economy
As farmers, we are not opposed to Canada’s rail companies posting a profit (Bitter Winter Dampens CN’s Bottom Line – Business, Jan. 31). However, we are frustrated that it comes as the railways preside over the monumental failure that is our domestic transportation system.
We are being told to gear up to feed a growing global population while simultaneously finding out that there is no way to get a record-breaking crop out of the country on our railways.
We work hard to develop domestic and international markets for our crops. Unfortunately, we are unable to fulfill even our existing commitments due to rail transportation issues. This is a major crisis, and it is putting Canada’s international reputation at risk – not just for farmers, but for our entire export economy.
Our country was built on and by railways and farmers. We have to solve our transportation problems before it’s too late.
Matt Sawyer, chairman, Alberta Barley, Calgary
Jets are for Pearson
Robert Deluce’s letter, Sharing Toronto’s Waterfront (Feb. 3), totally misses the point.
Jets flying out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport are a threat to the rejuvenated waterfront and threaten to bring increased traffic, noise and pollution, as the Board of Health pointed out.
Pearson International Airport has capacity. A fixed link between Union Station and Pearson will be opened next year at a cost of $456-million in public money, long before the Bombardier CS100 aircraft that Mr. Deluce wants for Porter Airlines is available.
Please, Mr. Deluce, take your airline to Pearson, spare the waterfront and spare the public this totally unnecessary controversy.
Bill Freeman, CommunityAIR, Toronto
I very much enjoyed Russell Smith’s insightful commentary on the clichéd and hackneyed world of the pop song (Pop Music Is Stuck On The Same Old Song – Arts, Jan. 30). I fear he will probably have to wait a very long time before he sees any breaking away from the formula of four minutes of four-four rhythm.
In terms of pop’s transience, meaninglessness and overblown hype, it might be useful to think of the industry turning out “commercial sound products” rather than songs. That way we don’t confuse them with the offerings of say, a George Gershwin or a Cole Porter.
In the meantime, we do have music that constantly challenges, entertains and sustains – it’s called classical.
Malcolm Edwards, Calgary
Re Hydro One To Face Major Investigation As Billing Complaints Mount (online, Feb. 4):
Ontario’s Hydro One reminds me of Bob Dylan, except backward.
Dylan went from acoustic to electric, it seems Hydro One has gone from electric back to acoustic. Here’s a message to Hydro One: Go back to electric, because the answer, my friend, is not blowing in the windmills.
Terry Toll, Campbell’s Bay, Ont.