Let’s talk transfer
Re Judging Harper By His Own Fiscal Standards (June 5): Quebec’s decision to offer services such as quasi-free daycare or heavily subsidized postsecondary education has no direct connection with how much money the federal government transfers. For example, the Canada Social Transfer is distributed on a per-capita basis, while equalization payments are distributed on the basis of fiscal capacity – the ability to generate tax revenues. The only way a provincial legislature could influence equalization once it is in action is to impede the province’s economic growth.
To have an honest discussion about federal-provincial transfers, we have to set aside this myth perpetuated by the Canadian Taxpayers Association that Canadians as a whole pay for Quebec’s generous programs. Quebec’s spending is borne by Québécois: health premiums, second-highest sales tax, highest income tax in Canada and the highest business taxes in North America. At the same time, Quebec has almost doubled its provincial debt in the past decade.
If Alberta wished to provide services equal to Quebec, it would only need to ratchet up taxes and start borrowing like there is no tomorrow.
Graham Adria, Edmonton
There is a significant moral and ethical difference between negative advertising and attack advertising (How Ads Stand Or Fall – editorial, June 5).
Negative advertising is allowed in product advertising by advertising standards councils, as negative comment is in debate generally. The criteria is to be factual, it is not to contain “some degree of truth.” There is nothing wrong with bias. It’s as common as hair or lust.
Attack ads, on the other hand, may be identified by various components, none of which contain enough “degrees of truth.” They are overwhelmingly personal in nature. They take a subject victim’s statements out of context. And they are always unfair.
Graham Watt, Sackville, N.B.
The NHL’s decision to make hockey visors mandatory sends a message that will go a long way to reduce the potential loss of vision due to sports eye injuries (The Eyes Have It – Sports, June 5). A recent study conducted by CNIB showed that every year, an estimated 62,000 Canadians incur a sports eye injury; 90 per cent of those injuries can be prevented by wearing proper eye protection.
Keith Gordon, vice-president, research, CNIB
Immediately below the story on mandatory visors, a photo shows Sidney Crosby jumping over the boards with his helmet (and visor) strapped on so loosely that it couldn’t possibly stay in place (Crosby At Centre Of Any Potential Penguins Comeback – Sports, June 5). The chin strap is meant to keep the helmet secure, not act as some sort of decoration. What’s the point of more helmet regulations without addressing the chin-strap issue?
Frank DeMont, New Glasgow, N.S.
Maybe, maybe not
Re T.O.’s Troubles (letters, June 4): Calling for the introduction of responsible government in city governments, so council has the ability to turf a mayor? Perhaps a good idea, perhaps not.
What would happen almost certainly is the emergence of political parties led by mayoralty candidates seeking to have assurance that turfing is minimized. Over time, leadership, authority and power would be centralized in the mayor’s office.
Perhaps a good idea, perhaps not. Be careful what you wish for.
Peter Woolstencroft, professor emeritus, political science department, University of Waterloo
The PM’s appointees
Re Timetable Of Wallin’s Audit Takes Shape, PM Faces Grilling (June 5): As a first step to abolishing the Senate, why not abolish the practice of appointing journalists, such as Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy? (I digress, but while we’re on the subject of former journalists, Peter Kent’s abysmal performance as Environment Minister springs to mind.)
Roderick MacGregor, Red Deer, Alta.
I can’t begin to express the depth of anger I feel that Mike Duffy is still a member of the Senate and continues to feed off the public purse. While I do not support the Harper government, I do admire character and public service: We have all lost something with the resignation of Nigel Wright; we all continue to lose with Mr. Duffy and his ilk sitting in the Senate.
Don McDonald, Dartmouth
Re Government Takes The Reins Of RMC Principal’s Appointment (June 5): One hopes the Harper government will do a better job picking the Royal Military College’s new principal than it did when Stephen Harper appointed Arthur Porter to head the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which monitors the work of CSIS (Porter Plans To Fight For Extradition And Bail In Panama: Lawyer – May 30).
Frank Sommers, Toronto
Re Ontario To Cut Supply Of New Teachers (June 5): It seems Ontario’s proposed solution to the oversupply of new teachers is to increase the training period and decrease the annual cohort to 4,500. If the government wanted to act in the best interests of taxpayers, it would reduce teacher remuneration and benefits and let the law of supply and demand solve the problem. However, despite Ontario teachers being among the best compensated in North America, there is little probability of the government doing anything this politically difficult.
Jan Holland, Vankleek Hill, Ont.
If the Ontario government were serious about addressing the staggering number of new teachers who cannot find work, it would reverse misguided changes to hiring rules that emphasize seniority. Under these rules, boards can only select from among teachers with the most seniority to fill a long term vacancy. This virtually guarantees that new teachers will be shut out of many jobs, which is not in the best interest of students or the teaching profession.
Sachin Maharaj, assistant curriculum leader, Toronto District School Board
There was another time when St. Edward’s Crown left the Tower of London (60 Years Of Service – June 5). Terence Cuneo was the official artist commissioned to paint the Coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey. During the many rehearsals, a replica was used. However, when the Queen posed for him in the Buckingham Palace studio, he wrote in his autobiography The Mouse and His Master: “I turned the key to the door of the box and there, in all its glory, stood the St. Edward’s Crown. … I was immediately conscious of its massiveness and particularly of its weight.”
There was much speculation as to whether Cuneo had hidden his trademark mouse somewhere in the massive 11-foot canvass that hangs in Buckingham Palace.
Annabelle Lovering, Terence Cuneo’s goddaughter, Coldwater, Ont.