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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said earlier in April that her government will introduce housing affordability measures ‘soon.’ (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said earlier in April that her government will introduce housing affordability measures ‘soon.’ (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

April 17: Housing prices, on the up, up, up. 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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On the up, up, up

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is the latest expert to warn of unsustainable rising prices in Canada’s housing market (Poloz Issues Toronto Real Estate Warning – April 13).

Bah blah blah.

Everyone and his dog knows there is a crisis, yet our political leaders are doing nothing.

Why?

Marty Cutler, Toronto

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How about providing the Bank of Canada with a renewed mandate, one that calculates interest rates on the basis of inflation? You know, real inflation: housing inflation, some 30-per-cent, year-over-year, rather than the BS inflation target of 2-per-cent we keep hearing about. A true inflation rate would require true interest rates and true mortgage rates.

It’s time.

Ron Beram, White Rock, B.C.

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Every sale of a residential dwelling which is not occupied by someone who is:

a) the purchaser;

b) a legal Canadian resident; and,

c) files an annual tax return showing Canada as their principal residence and further, pays Canadian income tax on world income, should be assessed with a) a twofold land transfer tax and b) ongoing annual twofold property taxes.

Enabling legislation should contain heavy penalties for those who attempt to cheat the system. I’d say the problem would disappear almost immediately.

Paul Nelson, Guelph, Ont.

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The volatility of today’s labour market means people are constantly changing jobs. This results in a lot of people moving residences. Between 2010 and 2015, 452,330 people (25 and older) moved to Toronto, while 390,775 people within this cohort moved out of Toronto.

The churn of the labour market stimulates a lot of house flipping; this is on top of the speculative house flipping. Reference only to Toronto’s net population growth markedly understates the supply-and-demand dynamic.

Paul Knafelc, Ridgeville, Ont.

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ABCs of scandal

The report calling for sweeping changes in the York school board should serve as a call to Ontario’s Minister of Education and the Legislature for an examination of school boards in general (Report Calls For Sweeping Changes To Scandal-Plagued York Region School Board, April 12).

Boards of Education were intended as local and regional overseers, under the minister. Eventually, the stipend paid to trustees grew from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. Alongside this growing financial obligation, school boards began to hire directors and superintendents and consultants. They put us where we are now. It is an inverted pyramid. Students get what is left after the enormous cost of the superstructure is satisfied. The pinnacle of the pyramid is at the bottom.

The situation in York is a clarion call. If we fail to answer, we enable the drift away from the high principles that founded our school system in the 1800s. I’m not suggesting that all boards are guilty of the same things, but they are all similar in empire-building at the expense of students.

The Hall-Dennis report changed a century of tradition in the 1960s. It is time to reset priorities from the ministry, to boards, to schools.

Hugh McKechnie, Newmarket, Ont.

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The fundamentals

Re More Science Please, But Hold The Bureaucracy (Folio, April 11): Barrie McKenna takes a critical look at the bureaucratic restructuring recommended in the recent Naylor report on Canadian science policy. One can share his concerns, but take hope from the stated topic: “A Review of Federal Support for Fundamental Science.”

“Fundamental science?” Imagine that. Federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan deserves high praise for turning the spotlight on a vital but neglected corner of science policy. For years, fundamental science has been neglected in favour of “application-driven” research. The result is that the government finds itself picking winners in the world of fundamental science. That is even harder than picking winners in commerce, which we know to be beyond any government.

The report’s central message is not one of organization. In their own words, the panel’s “single most important recommendation” is that the federal government “rapidly increase its investment in independent investigator-led research to redress the imbalance … favouring priority-driven targeted research.”

Stated simply, this is a plea that our fundamental scientists be given the resources and freedom to succeed. Today’s widespread concern that our attempts at commercialization be made globally competitive is no less important. But the edifice of innovation cannot be built on a foundation subject to neglect.

John Polanyi, Nobel prize in chemistry, Toronto

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Credential inflation

Re Tenure-Track Jobs Prove Difficult To Get, UBC Study Finds (April 13): Simona Chiose’s report on PhD career outcomes offers a moment of reflection about the role of the doctoral degree in Canada. According to 2016 OECD data, we retain the highest postsecondary-degree rate among citizens 25-64, but with employment still our first priority, is this an indication of anything but an over-reliance on credentialism to get a foot in the door?

Umberto Eco’s How to Write a Thesis reminds us of other ways to situate the PhD in an academic economy. This 1977 text describes the dissertation as a work usually undertaken by an older person, often in their 40s or 50s, because the project requires an act of discovery more probable after years of immersion in a given field.

In this model, humanities students in their 20s are better served by literature-review projects: to demonstrate mastery of their fields, and then to enter into them. In this way, Eco’s view reflects a mid-20th-century work force that saw more master’s-level professors heading university classrooms.

Should we be treating the PhD as a precondition to full workplace participation in postsecondary institutions – or is this, too, a symptom of degree inflation at a cost to doctoral work’s other possible benefits?

Maggie Clark, Kitchener, Ont.

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Known as ‘Wiggles’

Prime Ministers of Canada were inveterate golfers, too, chief among them Robert Borden, Louis St. Laurent and Jean Chrétien.

President Donald Trump may want to take some advice from St. Laurent who saw great value in diplomacy on the links. Affectionately known as “Wiggles” because of the way he moved when addressing the ball, he told the House of Commons in 1957: “I found … that the game of golf with one of those electric go-carts was about the best way to have an international conference, because you are getting off the go-cart quite frequently for only a couple of minutes, but for time enough to reflect on what has been said up to that moment and what is going to be said when you get back on the seat of the go-cart.”

J.D.M. Stewart, Toronto

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