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Bumper boats at Ontario Place in Toronto, August, 2004: Today’s topics: the old, the young; rage and justice; Inuit and training; Ontario Place's future; political enemas ... and more (Richard Buchan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Bumper boats at Ontario Place in Toronto, August, 2004: Today’s topics: the old, the young; rage and justice; Inuit and training; Ontario Place's future; political enemas ... and more (Richard Buchan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

What readers think

Feb. 3: Letters to the editor Add to ...

The old, the young

Barefaced ageism constitutes Margaret Wente’s calling card ( The War Against The Young – Feb. 2) as readers are treated to populist railing against “the tsunami of geezers that’s about to crash on our shores and suck the wealth of future generations out to sea.”

Seriously? The insidiousness of the crude “tsunami” metaphor aside (is the instantaneous destruction of cities, food and water supplies really equivalent to the progressive aging of society?), such opinions are uninformed by actual studies conducted by organizations like the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and UBC’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research that indicate such fears are greatly exaggerated.

Andrea Charise, research associate, Specialized Geriatric Services, Parkwood Hospital, London, Ont.

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I object to Margaret Wente’s use of “geezer” to refer to our senior citizens. I am a senior citizen and find this word offensive.

Colin Dyack, Scotsburn, N.S.

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Thank you, Margaret Wente, for being bold and hilarious. CARP’s members are always carping about something! The reaction to raising the age to collect OAS from 65 to 67 has been angry and loud, but not surprising.

Late “boomers” like me, who have kids in university and college, watch them trying to pay rent and buy textbooks that often cost over $100 each. They finish school with huge debt loads and no guarantee of jobs in their fields. If they do find a job, it’s often without health or pension benefits.

It would be healthier for all of us if we dropped the delineations of age and merit and the idea of what we are “owed” based on age and “years of service” on this planet. If we are all alive at the same time, folks, we’re all on the same life raft. We can’t afford to have one age group insisting on rights independent of the financial and demographic facts that face us all.

Jeannine O'Reilly, Newmarket, Ont.

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If the OAS debate is about sustainability, let’s talk dollars and sense. From our rough calculations, raising the eligibility age will save $2-billion or $3-billion a year. Revamping the health-care system by bringing in pharmacare and diverting demand by providing continuing care at home and decent palliative care could save tens of billions of dollars a year. Provincial support programs, including drug coverage, are dependent on GIS or OAS eligibility. Raising the OAS age will target those least capable of doing without it.

OAS was universal but is now progressively clawed back starting at about $67,000 of income. Since CARP’s message is to get the savings elsewhere, we’ll let the government propose that solution. They might first want to consult Brian Mulroney, who brought in the clawback and later resigned as one of the most unpopular prime ministers ever. Maybe it was the GST – or the clawback – I’m just saying.

And thank you, Ms. Wente, for reminding readers CARP is a membership organization and depends on their support to make our voice heard when governments attack our social safety net. Our phones have been ringing off the hook.

Susan Eng, vice-president, advocacy, CARP

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As a senior, I am sick of listening to Susan Eng and her selfish bunch. A fictional story I read prognosticates a coming youth-versus-senior conflict. An interesting concept it presents is the thought that since you can’t start voting until you are a certain age (18), why not stop voting eligibility at 85?

Canada’s future in this very competitive world is a well-educated, involved younger generation.

David Chalmers, Toronto

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As a 16-year-old, I admit I am biased against the OAS, but let’s be realistic. Fear-mongering by opposition parties must stop and we should continue to strive for a balance between lifting pressure off future wage-earners while maintaining a robust social safety net for the men and women of yesteryear.

Connor Hammond, Oakville, Ont.

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Quantifiable evidence, reached independently by three reputable researchers and academics, concluded OAS is sustainable, when the Prime Minister states otherwise and argues that changes must be made ( Warnings On Old Age Security Contradicted By Expert Report – Jan. 31). Canadians should ask themselves whether we want policy based on evidence or ideology.

Jennifer Ross, Kitchener, Ont.

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Give Inuit hope

What young Inuit need and deserve is access to training that is relevant in today’s complex economy (Tragedies Neglected – editorials, Feb. 1). As a start, let’s build a technical college in Iqaluit similar to SAIT in Calgary. Give young Inuit hope for a future. I know from experience that the Inuit are some of the most resilient, resourceful people in the world. Once the youth sense they have a future there will be no need for them to be educated in how to cope with stress and disappointment. How would you like to be told your future was to be one of stress and disappointment but we will teach you how to live with it? Some future.

John Alston, Calgary

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Fond memories

I have many fond memories of Ontario Place, which is being shut down indefinitely (How A Beacon Became A White Elephant – Feb. 2). Whatever happens, please, no condos, no large Ferris wheels and definitely no casinos.

Rein Kao, Cambridge, Ont.

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Rage, justice

Considering that his daughter was raped and killed 10 years ago, it’s understandable that Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu wants to encourage murderers to hang themselves (Give Murderers Suicide Tools, Tory Senator Says – Feb. 2). As much as I understand his feelings, I would argue that the senator’s horrific personal loss makes him a worse – not a better – reformer of Canada’s laws when it comes to crimes such as murder.

During a trial, a judge might be influenced by victim-impact statements, but ultimately it’s the judge – not the victims – who has the dispassion necessary to determine a just sentence. We don’t discipline children when we’re in the midst of a meltdown. Neither should Canada’s treatment of offenders be determined by the (understandable) rage of their victims.

Mark Morton, Kitchener, Ont.

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Silence is golden

If Michael Healey’s play has been rejected by the Tarragon Theatre solely because it fears Stephen Harper’s revenge in the form of a legal action (Play With PM-Based Character Yields Much Drama At Tarragon – Feb. 2), Mr. Healey might consider capitalizing on the recent success of The Artist and mount a silent version of Proud. Canadians are getting awfully good at understanding pantomime these days.

Joanne Mackay-Bennett, Toronto

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Enigmatic indeed

Doug Ford says he thinks the Toronto Transit Commission “needs a complete enema” (Adviser Raises Road Tolls As An Option – Feb. 2). As far as lot of us are concerned, he and his-brother-the-mayor are Public Enema No. 1.

Gillian McDonald, Toronto

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Poor old TTC: With friends like Doug Ford, who needs enemas?

Sheila Fletcher, Toronto

 

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