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Vimy Ridge, April ,1917. Today’s topics: taxing the rich; Vimy’s toll; cleaners’ wages; bagpipe ‘music’ ... and more (The Canadian Press)
Vimy Ridge, April ,1917. Today’s topics: taxing the rich; Vimy’s toll; cleaners’ wages; bagpipe ‘music’ ... and more (The Canadian Press)

What readers think

April 13: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Taxes? That’s rich

Oh, come on, Globe and Mail editorialists (Be Happy, Tax The Rich – April 12). Calling for a slight tax hike for the wealthiest (who have enjoyed lower and lower taxes over the past 50 years) is hardly “a form of punishment for success.”

If most Canadians see the logic in a slight tax increase, why not simply bow to the practical sense of a practical solution instead of protecting the interests of the well-to-do? Doctors for Fair Taxation sees the logic; so did Warren Buffet in the U.S.

Brian Wickers, Toronto


Is a 2-per-cent rise in marginal income tax rates for $500,000-plus earners still “punishment for success” when one takes into account that capital gains tax rates – only 50 per cent of realized capital gains are taxable – overwhelmingly benefit the rich?

Joel MacDonald, Saskatoon


The rich are not rich because they are stupid. Soaking them is one of the reasons there is so much money in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens. Of course, taxing the rich is also a populist idea promoting class division. What the Broadbent Institute can do is campaign for a simpler tax form – one I can fill in without cursing.

James Marvin, Toronto


Too many lives

“Canada, its four divisions fighting together for the first time, had come of age” (Canadians Take Vimy Ridge – A Moment In Time, April 12). Maybe, but was the killing and wounding of 70 per cent of the 15,000 Canadians who went over the top worth it? Out of a total population of eight million Canadians in 1917?

I agree with Pierre Berton in his book on Vimy: No.

Doug James, Calgary


Cleaned slate

I had to respond after reading Doug Ford’s reaction to Toronto city council’s taking control over outsourcing work done by cleaners: “God bless the cleaners, but just my personal opinion, we shouldn’t be paying cleaners $22 an hour” (Ford’s Drive To Privatize Stalled As Councillors Take Control – April 12).

Does the councillor understand just how hard it is for the average person to maintain a decent standard of living in Toronto today? Many Torontonians are forced to work more than one job to support their families.

For that matter, how much is a city councillor worth an hour?

Aubrey Zimmerman, Toronto


So, the city council that is telling us we can’t afford a subway voted to ensure its right to award contracts paying office cleaners twice the minimum wage? The Working in Canada website reports the average hourly wage for a light duty cleaner in Toronto is $13.09 an hour. What warrants municipal-building cleaners earning as much as $24.37 an hour, plus benefits?

Tear-jerking as councillor Ana Bailao’s story of immigrant hardship may be, it has no relevance for the thousands of Torontonians whose transit system has been compromised by a council determined to stonewall Mayor Rob Ford, hiding under the ruse of fiscal restraint. The same council opposing privatization of city services is willing to ignore the proven savings in doing so.

Next time a city councillor says Toronto doesn’t have money for subways, I’ll offer to clean their office for the average wage.

Tony Sturman, Toronto


2032, give or take

Hurray! Our refitted submarine HMCS Windsor actually made it back into the water in Halifax this week (A Troubled Submarine Finally Back In The Deep – April 12), its first dip since 2007. But wait: It’s only travelling a few hundred feet to another berth for more work. At this rate, by rough calculation, our sub should make it to the mouth of the harbour some time in 2032. Well, it’s progress.

Gordon S. Findlay, Toronto


Means, ends

If the only condition on Jim Balsillie’s support for a new international law program between York University and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) had been an undertaking that the research would be in the domains of trade and finance, intellectual property and the environment, I would have supported it (Academic Freedom? More Like Myopia – April 11).

This was never the only condition. Others involved CIGI’s right to be consulted and give advice on core academic matters, including curriculum, faculty hiring and research plans; its ability to enforce these and other rights against York via binding arbitration, while its own commitments to respect academic freedom were not enforceable by York or affected faculty members.

It is neither backward nor myopic to insist that public universities can only perform their essential function of fostering independent thinking if they are free from this kind of interference by private donors. I am proud to be a professor of the law school that took this courageous stand on an important matter of principle.

Stepan Wood, associate professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University


The mission of the Centre for International Governance Innovation is, as its name suggests, to seek creative solutions to governance problems – not, as letter writer Irwin Silverman suggests, to promote co-operation among business, government and universities (More Like Hyperopia – letters, April 12). That is a means, not an end.

Prof. Silverman is correct, however, that the mission of a university is “the unbiased pursuit of truth.” The pursuit of truth is absolutely necessary for finding creative solutions to governance problems. My colleagues at CIGI know this, which is why I value working with them.

David A. Welch, director, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Ont.


Nightmare waits

Two days ago, my husband and I stood in line at Heathrow Airport for an hour and 10 minutes for a passport check (Heathrow Nightmares Expected For Olympics – April 12). We had the same experience on our arrival a month earlier. The Heathrow nightmare appears to be now, not just for the coming London Olympics.

Julie Beaudoin Pearce, Victoria


Define ‘music’

Re Vancouver Changes Tune On Bagpipes (April 12): At my obscenity trial for selling the rap CD by the 2 Live Crew Nasty As They Wanna Be in London, Ont., in 1990, part of the evidence introduced in my defence pertained to the historical use of bagpipe “music.”

The Scottish clans developed bagpipe music to announce an impending attack on a community. In the night hours before an attack was launched, bagpipers would incessantly play all night to prevent the defenders from getting any sleep. In laying siege to a defended target, bagpipers would play non-stop for days to lower morale amongst the enemy, often driving the community under siege to despair, derangement and, ultimately, surrender.

Bagpipes were invented as a weapon to assault an individual’s senses and sensibility. It’s no surprise business fails to flourish and customers flee when bagpipes in the vicinity carry on for hours on end.

Marc Emery, #402520867, medium security federal prison, Yazoo City, Miss.

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