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Minister of Finance Bill Morneau says he want to curtail “excessive risk” in Canada’s hot housing markets. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Minister of Finance Bill Morneau says he want to curtail “excessive risk” in Canada’s hot housing markets. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 5: Housing moves – too little, too late. 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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Too little, too late

Re Ottawa Tightens Home-Buying Rules (Oct. 4): By imposing stricter rules on mortgages, the federal government is actually making it harder for the average home buyer to purchase in an already expensive market. Wealthier buyers will obviously be more able to withstand the extra “stress test” on mortgages, and to continue buying up properties.

Whatever cooling-off effect these measures have isn’t likely to bring prices within the grasp of middle-income households in the priciest markets, such as Vancouver and central Toronto.

Conclusion: too little, and about a decade too late.

Charles Leduc, Vancouver

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Canadians are responsible about owning a home and paying their mortgage. It’s consumer debt that is hurting them, and it’s high time that Ottawa began to regulate the proliferation of consumer debt.

Canadians face a constant bombardment of messages to take on more and more credit card and general consumer debt, with ridiculous advertising enticing them to buy and buy and buy.

But Ottawa is scared to take on the banks. It would rather have Canadians pay credit card companies 21-per-cent interest and drive a new car than own a home.

Marc Whittemore, Kelowna, B.C.

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I find it quite bewildering that Finance Minister Bill Morneau wants to “protect borrowers from overextending themselves.”

What hypocrisy! This is the same Finance Minister under whose watch the federal debt has topped a whopping $634-billion. A classic example of “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

Brian Davis, Barrie, Ont.

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Do it. Or else

Re Trudeau Tells Provinces To Adopt Price On Carbon, Or He’ll Impose It (Oct. 4): Power has gone to Justin Trudeau’s head. Who does he think he is, speaking to the provinces like that?

If he carries on like this, he will quickly follow Steve.

Philip Jardim, Elora, Ont.

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So I guess he isn’t just a pretty face with good hair after all.

Marty Cutler, Toronto

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Carbon calculations

If the governments of the provinces were under the impression that there would be no top-down implementation of carbon prices from the federal level, it’s understandable that some of them are angry. But those claiming that their province cannot afford it are either playing politics or have genuinely not understood the situation.

Provinces will control the revenue. Any provincial government with serious concerns that its people will not be able to afford the increase in the cost of living can simply give the money from the tax back to the people.

Frankly, this is what every province should do. The point of a carbon price isn’t to make a bunch of money for governments, it’s to disincentivize carbon pollution.

If you take with one hand (e.g. at the gas pumps) and give with the other (tax breaks, or even direct dividends), the people still have the money.

They will be able to afford the new cost of living, and will start working to lower their personal carbon footprint. Businesses that help them to do that will be more successful. It encourages changing lifestyles and innovation, and the money still hasn’t “left” the province.

That kind of carbon pricing everyone can afford. What no one can afford is to remain inactive on climate change.

Jessica Vogt, Toronto

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Let’s be honest: $100 a tonne, or more, is needed to meet Canada’s emission-reduction target of 30 per cent by 2030. By itself, $50/tonne by 2022 won’t do it. The price needs to continue rising by some $10/tonne annually until the emission target is reached.

This might be generally acceptable if:

1) all revenue is distributed to the population as monthly dividends;

2) import duty and rebate protection exists for trade-exposed industries;

3) there are no free riders;

4) there’s a national response to industrial shrinkage in coal burning/producing regions.

Justin Trudeau’s pledge to recycle revenue within provinces addresses higher prices if the tax is at the consumer level, but does not address industrial shrinkage. In any case, the carbon fee should be applied at the production end to pre-empt free riders. Then the revenue should be distributed equally across the country.

Regional industrial shrinkage would still need to be addressed, perhaps by directed clean-tech investment.

John Stephenson, Toronto

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Theresa may …

What a breath of fresh air is British PM Theresa May (‘Hard Brexit’ Looming As PM Promises Total Break From EU – Oct. 3). A politician who says clearly and unambiguously what her party intends to do about a national issue.

No fence sitting, no running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. No half measures as taken by Norway and Switzerland. Along with the intention to make a clean break comes a reasonable statement of a time frame and the reasons for the decisions made.

I can think of a number of national leaders, ours among them, who could take a lesson form her.

So much for words: Now let’s see what she does. Theresa may, but then she might not.

Ashok Sajnani, Toronto

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Before settler law

Re Akwesasne Creates Historic Court (Oct. 3): Establishing this Mohawk court in Akwesasne is certainly a historic and newsworthy achievement.

But it is not “the first indigenous legal system in Canada outside a federal framework.”

Indigenous legal systems have operated across this land since time immemorial. They continue to do so in many indigenous communities, despite the relatively recent imposition of the settler-colonial Crown’s legal system.

The Akwesasne Mohawk court may be the first indigenous legal system successfully transposed into a court-based form easily recognized by settlers from Europe and elsewhere. Indigenous legal systems, however, have operated here far longer than Canada’s colonial legal system. Canadian courts have recognized this simple fact since the 1970s.

The sooner we settler Canadians and our media institutions catch up, the better off (and less ignorant) we will all be.

Chris Rapson, Toronto

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What’s worrying

Re Trump Charity Hit With Cease And Desist (Oct. 4): The real problem isn’t that Donald Trump didn’t pay taxes for years. It’s that he showed the “genius” and the “judgment” to lose a billion dollars. That is worrying.

Jean Wiseman, Vancouver

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When it comes to reality shows, especially given the recent revelations about his business affairs, Donald Trump would seem to be a better fit with The Biggest Loser than he is with The Apprentice.

Sharon Oddie Brown, Roberts Creek, B.C.

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