Tax tactics’ bad taste
The new company being formed from the merger of Burger King and Tim Hortons will benefit from lower corporate tax rates in Canada (Doughnuts Go Deeper Than Potash – editorial, Aug. 26). But ethically, it is axiomatic that taxes ought to be paid where the profits are made. Any other arrangement should be prohibited by international law.
Robert O’Kell, Winnipeg
I question a transaction based mainly on tax reasons versus one that is driven by growth as the primary benefit. This is a short-term strategy, as governments will adjust their tax codes to address this tax-avoidance tactic.
I find it hard to see how this will benefit Tim Hortons’ shareholders or consumers in the long run.
Ray Kearns, Mount Albert, Ont.
Paper’s simpler, so …
Re What Do We Pay For Paper Bills? (Aug. 26): Assigning higher meaning to the preference for paper bills is rationalization. A simpler explanation for most Canadians’ preference for paper over digital is that most don’t understand how to archive digital copies. The fault lies with those corporations and agencies that have set too high a bar for what should be the trivial task of saving bills and receipts in PDF format.
Brian J. Lowry, Fredericton
Assistant professor Joanne McNeish illustrates wonderfully the gap between business intellectuals and those who actually conduct business. She argues that consumers should not be willing to pay for the cost of paper billing (which is more expensive than ebilling to produce and distribute) because these are “something that is … a cost of doing business.” Really? Who but the consumer should pay for the costs of the services and products they buy? Santa Claus, perhaps?
Jeff Fairless, Kanata, Ont.
Allan Rock replies
The University of Ottawa’s decision to suspend the men’s varsity hockey program has been widely supported by many on campus and beyond, but it has its critics – including The Globe and Mail (Two Minutes For Putting Justice On Ice – editorial, Aug. 25).
Our critics assume that the sole reason for suspending the program is that the two players were first suspected of and then charged with sexual assault. In fact, the suspension for the entire 2014-15 season was imposed only after we received an independent report about what occurred during a team road trip to Thunder Bay. It disclosed widespread behaviour that was disreputable and unbecoming of representatives of uOttawa and suggested an unhealthy climate surrounding the team. We needed a time-out to change that climate.
This approach is in keeping with a well-established practice commonly applied in recent years at other Canadian universities in similar circumstances.
Any other course of action would have been less than responsible. It must be remembered that universities are primarily institutions of learning and discovery. At uOttawa, we value the discipline and leadership that sports can teach. But when a team’s leadership falters and its behaviour embarrasses the university community, it is time to pause and regroup. That’s what we are doing at the University of Ottawa.
Allan Rock, president, University of Ottawa
Eugenie Bouchard’s made it to (at least) the semis in all three Grand Slams this year (a feat no other woman has accomplished), yet Cathal Kelly contends she “climb-ed the mountain, enjoyed the view for 48 hours, and is temporarily picking up speed as she heads down the other side” (Out With The IT Girls – Sports, Aug. 26).
Both Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova believe she has the potential to be No. 1 and that she will win Grand Slams. So, if Eugenie is feeling a little pressure of expectations (and they’re mostly her expectations of herself), we need to take a deep breath, relax and celebrate that she has had the best tennis singles season of any Canadian, man or woman, in history – even if she doesn’t pick up a racquet from today until the end of the year.
And if women tennis players are “expected to be innocently cheeky and demure and friendly with everyone” and “every single female star has fallen victim to this double standard,” please explain Serena Williams, certainly the most disdainful and ungracious female No. 1 who has ever played the game. Just ask the U.S. Open line judge she told: “I swear to God, I’ll f---ing take the ball and shove it down your f---ing throat.”
Bruce Reid, Toronto
Congratulations to letter writer Thomas Ward and other Californians for reducing their water consumption (My Lawn Is Dead – Aug. 26). But judging by what I saw in the state’s desert area last year – sprayers being used to water crops, rather than drip irrigation, a hotel parking lot being cleaned by pressure washers, downtown pedestrians being sprayed with a fine mist so they could cool off – Californians still have some cuts to make.
Colin Read, London, Ont.
Fare weather friends
The rumoured $20 to $30 fares for the new (taxpayer-funded) rail to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport add insult to injury for passengers using what is already one of the world’s most expensive airports (Keep Union-Pearson Rail Link Affordable, Councillors Urge Metrolinx – Aug. 21). The city seems to operate on a “build it and they will pay” philosophy for every aspect of air travel. How is it that other cities in North America have discovered that public transit should be operated for the benefit of the public?
Accessing San Francisco International on the area’s BART is $8.95, with the distance exceeding that from Union Station to Pearson. Atlanta’s fare to its busy airport is $2.50 from any station on the MARTA line. Chicago’s CTA is under $6 for the ride from downtown to O’Hare airport.
Get to or from Boston’s Logan airport station from $2.50. Dallas’s $10 day pass gets you between Dallas, Fort Worth and the distant DFW airport. And in high-cost Vancouver? The Canada Line YVR AddFare is $5.
Perhaps it is time in T.O. for an in-depth investigation into the issue of fares, complete with a microscopic look at the pols who instigated this deal.
Lynne Marriott, Thornbury, Ont.
Smile – and duck
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s latest photo op tour of the North came up with a doozy that appeared on Tuesday: The heroic pose of a lone hero standing resolutely (well, sort of: his gloved hands were holding the rail; kind of chilly out there) at the bow of the navy’s HMCS Kingston as it coursed through Eclipse Sound (You Can Sail The Seven Seas – Aug. 26). Unfortunately (for the imagery), the only readily visible weapon – a 40 mm cannon – appeared to be pointed directly at the PM. Surely a coincidence.
Doug Rushton, North Vancouver