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B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have focused on off-shore speculators in measures aimed at curbing housing speculation. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne have focused on off-shore speculators in measures aimed at curbing housing speculation. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 24: Housing: A, B, see? Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Housing: A, B, see?

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, like B.C. Premier Christy Clark, continues to pussyfoot around the issue of housing affordability, while doing nothing to address the real problem. Scapegoating foreign investors is easy, because they can’t vote. But they are also not necessarily the problem.

What is the problem, is real estate speculators, foreign and domestic, driving up home prices while the rest of us and our kids get stuck with the costs. The direct way to deal with this is a tax on speculative capital gains on real estate from short-term flipping: 100 per cent for less than a year, 95 per cent for less than two years, and so on, until the activity stops, and the economy is brought back to stability.

Premiers Clark and Wynne are so busy protecting those who profit from flipping that their supposed measures are completely ineffective. If the provincial premiers don’t have the guts to do it, where are Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Toronto Mayor John Tory when they could be doing more?

Malcolm McSporran, Vancouver

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I am confused. Ontario’s “multipronged” attack on the housing problem includes: a) A five-year, $125-million plan to “encourage construction of new rental buildings” and b) imposing rent control on all rental units.

I looked in my old Economics 101 text to figure out how “b” could encourage “a” without success. I’ll have to check my grandson’s more advanced literature.

Andrzej Derkowski, professional urban planner (retired), Oakville, Ont.

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I am delighted to see rent control expanded. It’s hard enough trying to make the rent without worrying about double-digit hikes, especially after going through a bidding war where we “offered” (it felt more like extortion!) over the posted rent to get the place after losing out on two others.

Nancy Saunders, Toronto

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Having lived in several European countries has allowed us to see how different societies handle housing issues. Here, it seems that in our urban planning, we are handcuffed within a box of our own making.

For example, in the unlikely event of a downtown subway relief line going ahead (say along a significant portion of Pape Avenue), would it be possible to expropriate the land on both sides of the street, give owners a fair premium over market value and rebuild with five- to six-storey, mixed-use buildings of retail, condo, rental and subsidized housing? That would provide several thousand housing units where people want to live and help bring down pricing.

Is that possible? Of course not: We can’t imagine the government expropriating land on that scale to increase density. Hence, our resorting to plowing under more farmland in the outer suburbs.

Emile van Nispen, Toronto

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Stop dithering

Re Criminal-Pardon Fee A ‘Significant’ Barrier (April 21): Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was briefed by officials in September, 2016, that the pardon fee is “an insurmountable financial burden.” Seven months later, the parole board is “exploring … options.” What a sparkling demonstration of the pathetically glacial pace at which government bureaucrats operate. If I did my job this slowly, I wouldn’t have one. Stop dithering and help poor people improve their lives.

Christopher Price, Toronto

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Milk, markets

The price of milk in the United States has plummeted 40 per cent, and American producers need a place to move it. Read: dump it (U.S. Farmers Sour On Canadian Dairy: The Final Nail In Supply Management’s Coffin? – Report on Business, April 21).

So, let’s get on board with the Americans, and have an up-and-down, now-collapsing, now-high-flying milk market that puts farmers on the sidelines and offers consumers erratic pricing?

Let’s accept milk that contains highly questionable growth hormones. Let’s put Canadian milk producers out of work. Let’s join the world of oversupply with the Americans, Australians and New Zealanders. Let’s turn our back on an industry that has consistently provided Canadians with excellent quality milk, produced close by your neighbourhood, by individuals who raise families, and pay taxes that help all of us.

Let’s further support the emptying of our rural communities.

Peter McAuslan, Sutton, Que.

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Anti-Muslim talk

Re School’s Muslim Support Sparks Death Threat (April 19): I am a student in the Toronto District School Board. I am from a Muslim family and I am becoming increasingly concerned about the acceptance of different religions after hearing about some of the threats associated with Islamophobia.

No one deserves to feel concerned about their safety, like Ibrahim Hindy, an imam in Mississauga, simply because of suggesting an opportunity to have equal accommodations for all students. It seems that critics are not only against the idea of religious accommodations in the Peel District School Board, but they are contributing to the anti-Muslim hate.

Religious accommodations are already present in the school calendar as we receive days off for Good Friday and Christmas, and no one seems to be against that. However, as soon as we look for other accommodations, people are using this issue to step up the anti-Muslim rhetoric, which is becoming a great concern to the Muslim communities.

Fuad Khayer, Toronto

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A grateful vet

Re Family Seeks To Reclaim Veteran’s Medal (April 18): I was delighted to read about the family seeking to reclaim a veteran’s medal after its loss 40 years ago. I had a similar experience with my two British Army service medals, which were stolen when our home was broken into while we were at the Santa Claus Parade.

Forty years later, I, too, spotted them on an auction site. A representative of the auction house in London, Ont., was most helpful in retrieving them from the last purchaser, who I am sure did not want to possess stolen goods.

I am still grateful for the wonderful efficiency of yet another of our auction houses.

Rodney Travers-Griffin, Toronto

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History: ins and outs

Writing about the reaction to the CBC series, Canada: The Story of Us, Mark Kingwell rightly complains about the presumption that, in speaking or writing, one should not leave anything out (The Real Story Of Us: We Can’t Agree On Anything, April 20).

Gertrude Stein made the same point decades ago. She had been invited to give a lecture at Oxford on contemporary literature, and the first question when she finished was, “What about the woman question?” Stein’s reply, as related by historian Tony Judt, should be posted on every college notice board: “Not everything can be about everything.”

Time to chill, I think.

Hamar Foster, Victoria

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