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Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The Liberals’ budget did not offer a strategy to reduce the debt that will increase with continued deficits. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The Liberals’ budget did not offer a strategy to reduce the debt that will increase with continued deficits. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

March 24: 10 per cent, spent on interest. 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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10 per cent …

I was disappointed to see that your budget editorial focused on the debt-to-GDP ratio, but made no mention of the annual interest expenses required to service Ottawa’s growing debt (But Just Wait Until Next Year, March 23).

The Budget Summary Statement of Transactions shows public debt charges of $24.3-billion in the current fiscal year. This is forecast to rise by $9-billion to $33.3-billion by 2022 – a 37 per cent increase over five years.

In five years, the $33.3-billion in interest payments will amount to 10 per cent of total program spending. Any middle-class Canadian who spends 10 per cent of their budget on interest knows they are in trouble. Given that interest rates are historically low, this problem can only get worse.

James McIlroy, McIlroy & McIlroy Counsel on Public Policy, Toronto

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Slicing the pie

Re Liberals Table Wait-And-See Budget (March 23): Middle-class retirees are in the crosshairs of the Liberal government and its left-leaning supporters.

I’m retired and live a quite middle-class life. Unlike MPs, who obtain a generous and secure pension for the rest of their lives after only six years of service, I am on my own. My only source of income in retirement is investing in the stock market. I have no security and must ride the ups and downs of the market year to year with the hope of generating some income.

The Liberals have forgotten the capital gains exemption is neither a loophole nor a perk. It exists to compensate investors for the inherent risk they take every day.

Before any changes are made to close the “loopholes and perks for the rich,” the Liberal government should think carefully about who they are really attacking.

Bill Cooksley, Vancouver

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After all the negative commentary and general angst about the Trump presidency, at least there are some Canadians who can be thankful. Without Donald Trump’s promise to cut taxes, the Liberal government would have continued its campaign to extract more tax revenue from higher income Canadians.

I speak of Canadians who have successful careers, due to hard work and consistent effort, and are saving and investing to fund their own retirement. As a result, they have a higher than average income and are an easy target due to their T4, T5 and T3 forms. It reminds me of the line, “Round up the usual suspects.”

To be clear, these are not the über rich who have the flexibility to structure their income to minimize tax. So a thank you to President Trump for giving the Liberals pause. Maybe they will discover a country cannot tax its way to prosperity – but I doubt it.

A. Murray Eastwood, Toronto

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While the the Liberals put off tax hikes on wealthier Canadians, how many twentysomethings, working two jobs at 30 hours a week each, making minimum wage, does it take to pay enough federal tax to cover just the salary of, say, the Finance Minister?

Taxpayers are so-o-o screwed.

Richard Seymour, Brechin, Ont.

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It is good to see the federal government taking steps around child care, but it is far from sufficient to stem the crisis that families of all income levels face.

I live in Toronto’s east end, not far from Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s constituency, and had to spend several additional months out of the work force, unpaid, until a child-care space could be found for my son.

I am paying $18,700 a year in fees for just one child, and the costs at our centre will be increasing 12 per cent this year alone.

The government needs to move forward with the provinces on a child-care system similar to Quebec’s and what exists in Scandanavia. This is needed for advancing women’s equality, for empowering working families, and for providing the best possible start for a generation of children, who deserve better than this budget.

Sara Ehrhardt, Toronto East Enders for Child Care

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The Globe and Mail’s editorial writers are right (Move Along, Nothing To See Here – But Just Wait Until Next Year, March 23). There is nothing to see. Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos had promised to roll out a poverty-reduction strategy in the fall. Finance Minister Bill Morneau forgot to fund it.

Sid Frankel, associate professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba

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Water obligations

Re Water Inequities (letters, March 23): Why connect the $2.5-billion in bottled water sales in Canada to First Nations water system issues? First Nations water systems, a federal government treaty obligation, are indeed “a travesty.” However, the answer is for the Government of Canada to fulfill its obligation.

If we citizens feel the government is failing to act, we could take direct action. If, starting today, every Canadian were to stop buying bottled water, and save that money for six months; collectively we could then give that $1.25-billion to First Nations to fund local water treatment systems.

As an added benefit, this would eliminate the production/pollution of all those plastic bottles.

Michael A. Tukatsch, Toronto

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Extreme drinking

Re Binge Drinking (letters, March 23): Women should be able to expect that if they become vulnerable, for any number of reasons, that they are not immediately seen as legitimate prey for abusers. The problem is with some men and their behaviour toward women who after consuming too much alcohol become vulnerable. That’s where the outrage should be directed.

John Roy, Toronto

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The argument that young women need more education on the problematic impact of extreme drinking is well taken. An important point, not mentioned, is the importance of educating young men as well. The price of drunkenness may be higher for young women, but partners must learn and accept their shared responsibility for this cost.

Geoff Smith, Kingston

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Island economics

Re Tories Take Aim At $127,000 Bill For Trudeau’s Trip To Aga Khan’s Island (March 21): Now that the Trudeaus’ vacation is before an ethics review board, and documents filed in Parliament disclose spending of $127K, even more people are outraged.

Personally, I was happy to pay my share ($0.003) so that the family and a large entourage could have a warm tropical experience. This seems exceedingly reasonable in light of security costs for President Donald Trump’s repeated Florida golf vacations, and more reasonable still considering the multimillion-dollar weekly price tag to guard his wife and son while they live in Manhattan.

In fact, considering the successful transportation of a large group of high-ranking people to the Aga Khan’s remote island, I applaud their relative economy, and challenge anyone to find a cheaper way to have the same experience themselves.

Robert Murdoch, Toronto

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