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Real estate agents say home sales continued to fall dramatically in the Vancouver area. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
Real estate agents say home sales continued to fall dramatically in the Vancouver area. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 4: Housing ‘loophole’ – 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 ‘loophole’

Re Ottawa To Close Foreign-Buyers Loophole (Oct. 3): You report that Ottawa is going to close a “tax loophole” applied to foreign home buyers.

What an interesting term: “loophole.” The word conjures up images of a slithery, unknown escape. Not so. Why not say that Ottawa is finally considering stopping “a massive tax giveaway”? I’m pretty sure the feds have known about this all along.

Cathy Harrop, Canmore, Alta.

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If you are a foreign buyer, you should not be able to own land here. Period. Letting the practice continue only contributes to speculation and market bubbles.

Pete Reinecke, Ottawa

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Man bites breed

Re Should We Ban Dogs, Or Bicycles? (Oct. 3): Stanley Coren suggests that governments consider requiring obedience lessons for dogs above a certain size if they are allowed out without a muzzle, and initiating bite-proofing programs for children.

But why should we require such government spending and responsibility for a breed that causes half the severe bites, despite being 1 to 2 per cent of the dog population!? I cannot recall a bicycle straying from its owner to bite and forever scar (physically and emotionally) or kill a person. The comparison between dogs and bicycles is absurd.

I support Montreal’s ban and am discouraged by those here in Nova Scotia inclined to “rescue” pit bulls when we face so many compelling needs for animals.

Rob Aske, Halifax

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Stanley Coren tells us pit bull-type dogs form 1 to 2 per cent of the dog population but are believed to account for about half of human deaths from dog bites (and likely a lot of other dog and cat deaths I suspect). If unicycles made up 1 to 2 per cent of bikes in Canada and 50 per cent of the bike fatalities, I would support their ban, too.

Steve Brass, Ottawa

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Simulator pilots

Re Pilots No Longer Have To Fly Real Aircraft To Keep Valid Licences (Oct. 3): There is a simple solution to this bizarre only-in-Canada edict. Don’t fly with Canadian airlines. That should create enough pressure to have the decision reversed in a very short time.

Gail Singer, Toronto

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Superstition, greed

Re Can ‘Harvesting’ Its Horn Save The Rhino? (Focus, Oct.1): Legalizing the trade in ivory or rhino horn is indeed risky, as Geoffrey York writes.

On a recent trip to Taiwan, we stopped to admire the spectacular Taipei 101 skyscraper. Below the stunning viewing platform and on the way to the exit, there is an equally stunning souvenir shop, where a key product advertised is beautiful jewellery and art made from red coral.

The printed sales pitch left no doubt about the attractiveness of the pricey artifacts: “Red coral art work will gain in value as result of extinction.”

This is a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes a mockery of sustainability. Unless ivory art and aphrodisiac investors change their attitude, elephants and rhinos will fare no differently, their extinction guaranteed by a devilish combination of superstition and greed.

Boudewyn van Oort, Victoria

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Taxed by Trump

Re GOP Nominee’s Allies Spin Recent Revelations (Oct. 3): The revelations about Donald Trump’s tax returns and the efforts by his supporters, including Rudy Giuliani, to convince us of his unparalleled business acumen once again show that there is no limit to what the political spin doctors will try to foist on the electorate.

If not paying taxes only confirms Mr. Trump’s unparalleled business acumen and his ability to lead the United States to a brighter economic future, one might ask why he has been so reluctant to release all his returns. This is something he should have done months ago so all of us could see his “true genius.” I think we, including Mr. Giuliani, know the real reason.

Michael Gilman, Toronto

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Procure a win?

Re Teachers Asked To Extend Contract (Oct. 1): The Ontario Liberals are starting early in another bid to procure an election victory.

Their early strike is to convince the secondary school teachers of the province to extend their current contract until after the next election. They want no labour strife during an election year. There is little doubt if they are successful in convincing the secondary teachers, their next target will be the other teacher unions.

It will be interesting to determine what the quid pro quo will be, as Kathleen Wynne has indicated already that there will be more money for the public sector in the next round of negotiations. They need the teachers and the teachers need them.

Dick Dodds, Napanee, Ont.

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Finding the balance

Re Ottawa Tries To Find The Balance (editorial, Oct. 1): Pimping Canadian tar sands oil to the rest of the world while trying to break the addiction at home is harebrained logic at its finest.

Frank de Jong, Faro, Yukon

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Collectively, we are addicted to oil. Like any other addiction, the solution is a gradual tapering-off combined with lifestyle changes. Cutting off the local supply isn’t a solution. Producing and installing the machinery and equipment we need to make a green-energy planet is itself very energy intensive. In practical terms, the required energy for that change will unfortunately have to come largely from burning carbon-based fuels.

Since LNG is among the least environmentally harmful of those fuels, it makes sense that we should be making it available to the world, persuading others to substitute it for the more carbon-concentrated fuels as soon as possible. It’s not a long-term solution, but it’s the best short-term one we have. The environmental effort should be on the lifestyle changes we need to institute, not wasted on a ridiculous crusade against natural gas pipelines and LNG.

Alec Mitchell, Vancouver

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Most stylish PM

I don’t doubt that Pierre Trudeau was one of our more dashing prime ministers, but I do take issue with John Ibbitson’s contention that he was “certainly our most stylish PM” (Pierre Trudeau’s Funeral – Moment In Time, Oct. 3, 2000).

Sir Wilfrid Laurier cut an impressive figure, what with his horseshoe tie pin and impressive mane. What is more, Maclean’s magazine in 1915 described Laurier in dress as “a symphony in grey,” and noted his red tie that livened it all up. Hard to beat Sir Wilfrid on style points (and many other things).

J.D.M. Stewart, Toronto

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