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Bursting the real estate bubble
Re Out Of The Shadows, Focus (Sept. 10): Residents of Vancouver have known something has been very wrong with the housing market for a while. It is a real estate scheme fuelled by foreign money looking a lax system of oversight and enforcement with plenty of loopholes. Shame on the governments – local, municipal and federal – for their avoidance and ignorance. Now, can we have the courage to support the change that is needed to burst the bubble and change the system?
Sherry Bohn, Vancouver
How many in-depth articles showing the corruption of Vancouver’s real estate market are needed before government takes serious action? The questionable practices outlined in these articles are destroying a great city, where the cost of housing is becoming beyond absurd (same for Toronto).
Why should absentee owners from any country be allowed to invest in or buy homes they do not and will not live in? It seems our tax laws on home real estate only really apply to full-time resident Canadians. A principal residence is just that, the principal place where you reside most.
This industry needs serious regulation and oversight that applies to all, regardless of ethnicity or country of origin. And banks should be required to provide mortgages only to actual residents.
Peter Belliveau, Moncton
Correspondent Al Vitols (letters to the editor, Sept. 9) shares widespread misbeliefs about the serviceability of the navy’s submarine fleet. He says these subs are “atrociously expensive” and are simply mice for war games.
Canada purchased four British Upholder submarines and the accompanying training infrastructure for less than the cost of a single sub. Canada then transformed these boats into superior vessels that are quieter and stealthier than the U.S. Navy’s Virginia class subs, the world’s most modern fleet of nuclear submarines.
No vessel can remain at sea for 365 days, or conduct sustained operations without regular maintenance and upgrades. Our Victoria class is no different. We have one in full operation, another about to re-enter service and two others in deep refit.
The Victoria class sub do provide anti-submarine warfare training for Canadian and allied navies. But, among other things, they also conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, and, when necessary, provide coercive force to protect Canadian interests, shipping, trade and innocent passage.
Undersea operations are complex and information is shared only among allies with submarines in the water. If we are not in the water, then we are not at the table and have no voice in whose subs travel through our waters.
Tim Dunne, chair, security affairs committee, Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia, Dartmouth, N.S.
Re While Others Waver On Immigration, Canada Should Prospect For Talent (Report on Business, Sept. 9): Demographics and a shift to knowledge-based economies are driving unprecedented demand for talent around the world. By 2026, Canada can expect to see a shortage of about 1.75 million workers.
Canada can boast on many fronts: access to universal health care, public safety, a stable political system, a society that is welcoming to newcomers. We should leverage these realities. Our immigration department should become Canada’s HR department, and bring in the brightest and the best.
Some of those programs include expedited streams for in-demand skilled talent, and pathways to permanent residency for foreign students. We need to change the narrative about how important immigration is to Canada’s future.
Stephen Cryne, president and CEO, Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Toronto
Reading about Kellie Leitch’s proposal to screen immigrants on the basis of their acceptance of, and commitment to, “Canadian values,” I wondered how such a screening could ever be successful (Kenney Dismisses Leitch’s Screening Proposal, Sept. 10).
It reminded me of the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee and its attempt to ferret out communists in the 1950s. As a student during and in the aftermath of those witch-hunting years, I recall a professor of mine making the point that any true communists – even genuine traitors – would simply cross their fingers, affirm their loyalty to U.S. values, and recite enthusiastically the Pledge of Allegiance.
What is misguided about Ms. Leitch’s proposal lies in its naiveté. No terrorist, who by some chance passed through our already rigorous screening process, would have any trouble dealing successfully with her proposed procedure.
Terry Matheson, Saskatoon
Part of the job
Re Watchdog Sees Delay In Filing Gun Reports (Sept. 10): One would think that police and RCMP officers would be the last to ignore the Supreme Court of Canada ruling requiring them to “prepare accurate, detailed and comprehensive notes” after using their firearms on duty.
A fix for this problem should not be complicated. Police forces should simply make the requirement a “condition of employment.” Translation: If you want to work here, you write your required reports. If not, you find employment elsewhere.
To my knowledge, there are waiting lists of candidates for coveted law-enforcement jobs in jurisdictions across Canada, so there would be little problem in finding employees who are able to meet the job requirements.
Patrick McCue, Kingston
Hear the roar
Elizabeth Renzetti nails it about public acts of defiance (At Times, The Sound of Silence Can Incite The Loudest Roars, Sept. 10).
Freedom of speech and the right to protest are among the cornerstones of democracy. A cartoon making the rounds on social media shows Donald Trump saying, “America’s not great” and his adoring followers cheering wildly. But when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick says the same thing in his symbolic refusal to stand for the U.S. national anthem, he’s booed and vilified – often with racist sentiments.
While we may be inconvenienced by occasional protests from indigenous peoples, anti-poverty advocates and groups such as Black Lives Matter, their actions force us to focus on the big-picture issue of inequality.
Jim Hickman, Mono, Ont.
Not just an act
Re How To Win A Presidential Election (Folio, Sept. 10): Surely the question for American media and voters is not whether a candidate acts presidential but whether the candidate is presidential.
Heather MacFadyen, Canmore, Alta.Report Typo/Error
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