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April 21: Housing migraines, and other letters to the editor

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 migraines

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Foreign-buyer and vacant-house taxes likely won't solve affordability problems in Toronto (Ontario To Impose Rent Control, Vacancy Tax, April 20). But they can't hurt.

Moreover, the revenue from taxes on non-residents are like found money. What's not to like?

Foreign buyers are now moving east to Montreal. I suppose like Vancouver and Toronto, we will wait until the problem becomes acute before acting.

Bernard Lahey, Montreal

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If "decades of experience show what a mess [rent controls] can create," one might ask why most OECD countries employ them (Rent Control Isn't The Solution To Ontario's Housing Problem, April 20).

While landlord associations are arguing, unsurprisingly, that fewer rental regulations lead to increased supply, they conveniently leave out that government incentives have been the biggest factor in increases and decreases in rental stock construction in Toronto since the 1950s.

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If landlords sell their units as a result of expanded rental regulations, the increased supply in the number of apartments for sale will only boost affordability and see more residents able to transition from renting to buying.

This debate is in need of evidence-based, not interest-based, proposals.

Daniel Ribi, Ottawa

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By only introducing a 15-per-cent "non-resident speculation tax" in the Toronto swath known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe, all the Wynne government has done is make sure that foreign money starts distorting housing markets in the rest of Ontario. It's already started here.

The short-sightedness of politicians is truly staggering. Toronto's headache is about to become Ontario's migraine.

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Marsha N. Smith, London, Ont.

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Twice-paid fiasco

Re Ontario Court Bolsters Light-Rail Contract (April 20): So a judge's ruling has made it more difficult for Metrolinx to terminate its rail car contract with Bombardier. I must admit to having enjoyed a lively shiver of schadenfreude when this court battle began. Here was the bloated, overpaid, taxpayer-supported bureaucracy of Metrolinx in court with the bloated, overpaid, taxpayer-supported administration of Bombardier.

Alas, no frisson for me when I realized who would be paying for both sides of this fiasco.

Robert Cairns, Cobourg, Ont.

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Quebec's daycare

Re Provinces Should Be Wary Of Quebec's Daycare Model (April 17): Konrad Yakabuski warns against adopting the Quebec daycare system, and cites a study's claims that it results in prolonged increases in aggression, hyperactivity, crime, and a decrease in health and life satisfaction. Given that three of four Quebec children go through its daycare system, one would expect the streets there to be filled with sickly, hyperactive, grumpy, criminal young men.

But behold! An April report by the Conference Board of Canada gives Quebec top ranks on the Society Report Card: "Quebec is the second-highest ranked Canadian province thanks to low crime rates and high reported life satisfaction." So maybe things are not as bad as claimed?

Walter Schwager, Toronto

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Longer-leave risks

Re Longer Maternity Leave? No Thanks (April 19): From a career perspective, would 18 months away from work be more detrimental than 12 months? I don't know. Nevertheless, I agree with the possible long-term risks for women participating in longer maternity leaves.

Solid employment increases women's overall security. Too often in my practice, I witness the struggles women endure in the face of marital difficulties. Children often suffer as a result. This burden is greater for women who haven't been able to build their careers. We need to encourage men's participation in parental leave programs, as well as improving access to quality child care. This can be a win-win for couples and children alike.

Rosalind Ward-Smith, MD, Oakville, Ont.

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Wise up on dairy

Re Mr. President, You're Right: Supply Management Is Unfair (April 20): If Maxime Bernier took the time to drive into the dairying areas in Quebec, and Donald Trump took similar action in Wisconsin, they might just wise up.

Mr. Bernier would find neat, modest-sized, family-owned and -operated dairies, milking about 80 to 160 cows, using robots.

Mr. Trump would pass hundreds of small-sized, former dairy operations, now out of business due to the low margins and "boom and bust" marketplace for milk and dairy in the U.S. Finally, he would arrive at a large dairy factory, where several thousand cows are milked, not by robots, but by large teams of Spanish-speaking shift workers in gigantic milking parlours.

Mr. Trump would learn these factories are under constant pressure to prevent or repair water, air and soil pollution, and that many inject cows with growth hormone to squeeze the last litre of milk out of them near the end of lactation, endangering cow and consumer health.

Mr. Bernier, however, would find that the Quebec families produce high quality milk, under a carefully managed production and marketing system which monitors cow health and ensures minimal pollution of water, air and soil. Dairy Farmers of Canada is co-funding a massive study of our dairy cows to discover those genes that affect the efficiency of feed utilization and those that may reduce methane production in the modern dairy cow.

It would appear that ignorance knows no borders.

Edward (Ted) Burnside, professor emeritus, University of Guelph; Manotick, Ont.

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Principle, prayer

Re School's Muslim Support Sparks Death Threat (April 19): Here is what I believe is a simple, straightforward solution to the upset in Peel regarding Muslim prayer in school. The problem is that Friday is a special day for Muslims like Saturday is for Jews and Sunday is for Christians.

Protesters insist their objection has nothing to do with Islamophobia, but with the principle of religion in a secular school system. The solution is simple: Change the school weekend to Friday and Saturday and have school on Sunday. Everyone will be happy, right? Right?

Michael A. Gilbert, Department of Philosophy, York University

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Us. And not us

Re The Real Story Of Us: We Can't Agree On Anything (April 20): Mark Kingwell is right on when he describes U.S. history as "a self-sustaining industry of total media production." Given that most Canadians prefer to define themselves as not being American, perhaps the contentious CBC series should have been called Canada: The Story Of Not The U.S.

Peter R. Saunders, Toronto

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