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Business as usual
Re Businesses Call On Ottawa To End Meng Case (Oct. 14): Olivier Desmarais and the Canada-China Business Council demonstrate to me exactly why Canadians are right to be suspicious of business influence in Canada’s politics.
In the same meeting, they cheer Chinese demands to free Meng Wanzhou and are silent when Canada calls for the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. After all, there are deals to be done and it’s frustrating to have the law stand in the way.
Meanwhile, most Canadians look around to Hong Kong, Belarus and beyond, see what contempt for law means for the lives of regular people, and are grateful that, so far, our own government is with us.
James Russell Ottawa
Re Trudeau Blames Cuts Under Harper For PHAC’s Ills (Oct. 14): Stop the blame game! Justin Trudeau has acknowledged serious problems at the Public Health Agency of Canada, but in typical fashion places most of the blame on the previous Conservative government for cuts to its budget. Despite Liberal promises to rectify the situation, apparently not much has changed since the last election.
I am getting tired of the finger-pointing whenever problems are detected. Remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic. What we shouldn’t have is yet another federal review. To both parties: Stop blaming each other and just fix the problems.
Michael Gilman Toronto
Re No Prairie Dogfight: Scott Moe Is Primed For A Landslide In Saskatchewan (Oct. 9): Scott Moe will very likely win, and it appears accurate that there has been a swing to the right in the province where the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation once governed. However, I don’t believe Mr. Moe’s Saskatchewan Party had “done a pretty good job of keeping the province’s fiscal house in order.” The numbers don’t seem to support this.
The Wall government rode a resource boom that had Saskatchewan at or near the top in provincial GDP growth for a decade. This came to an abrupt halt when resource prices crashed. Now, under Mr. Moe, we have a record deficit of $2.1-billion. The size is due to the pandemic, but the province was already on the deficit treadmill before COVID-19 entered our vocabularies.
Mr. Moe has said the budget may be balanced by 2024-25, although this sounds more like wishful thinking than a firm projection. What we do know is this year’s budget resulted in Saskatchewan’s first credit rating downgrade in almost three decades.
Good fiscal housekeeping? I think not.
Roy Schneider Regina
Back to basic
Re Basic Income: If Big Business Supports It, Be Skeptical (Report on Business, Oct. 10): I’m reminded of the Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a tech millionaire defending other tech millionaires, camouflaging it with his advocacy of a universal basic income. His was a clear attempt to deal with all the inconvenient have-nots – without having the tech aristocracies taxed, or their monopolistic tendencies addressed. Where this is inexorably going is embracing aspects of social democracies that do not have a UBI – but come closest.
Addressing income inequality and taxing the 1 per cent (including Big Tech), who own half of all capital in the world, is inevitable. It will surely be driven by economist Thomas Piketty’s respected data pointing to the middle class disappearing otherwise. Joe Biden, guided by Elizabeth Warren, hopes to start implementing such policies soon, to fund the change he is promising.
The 80-per-cent plus want the man behind the proverbial tree to be taxed, which happens to be where half the money is.
John Penturn Toronto
Hear ye, hear ye
Re Supreme Court Pick Dims The U.S.'s Reputation (Oct. 12): I find contributor Preston Lim’s unapologetic liberal internationalism astounding, as if we were still in the euphoria of the immediate post-Cold War era.
The “end of history” had arrived. All that remained was the steady project of extending Western democracy across the globe. The United States had not yet invaded Iraq. There was no euro zone crisis. No Brexit. And no questioning of the U.S.-led liberal international order.
We live in 2020, not 2000. Liberal internationalism has been the subject of sustained criticism. Former Soviet countries, which had enthusiastically embraced U.S. norms, are now growing increasingly illiberal and authoritarian. Western democracies are increasingly turning toward populism.
The world is rethinking U.S. liberalism. Perhaps those who view the U.S. Supreme Court as the font of liberal international values should do the same.
Stephen Armstrong Toronto
Re The Amy Coney Barrett Hearings Could ‘Bork’ Biden (Oct. 14): If the acrimonious hearings over the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett become a nightmare for Democrats, it will be a nightmare of their own making. There is no provision for Democrats to refuse to hold these hearings, and now they are faced with a well-qualified candidate in Justice Barrett.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg blazed a trail for all women – not only for women who shared her views on legal issues. The suitability of a candidate should depend on her qualifications, experience and ability to interpret and apply the law fairly – not on her views regarding issues upon which reasonable people may hold different, even opposing, views.
Ashok Sajnani Toronto
As a gay coreligionist of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I’m left to hope and pray that my queer peers down south can trust Amy Coney Barrett to not start discriminating according to sexual orientation, even if she wants to believe it’s a “preference.”
May she prove able to remember we are God’s equal children and therefore vote to avoid being hypocritical, if she winds up getting confirmed.
Amy Soule Hamilton
No place like this place
Re The Tragic Story Of A Store That Meant More Than Shopping (Oct. 8): I loved television critic John Doyle’s account of his $12 raincoat with the leather trim, bought at Honest Ed’s in Toronto, and his review of the documentary about its demise. I’m a privileged white woman, not among the immigrants who were Ed Mirvish’s major customers, but I vividly remember my first “door-crashing special.”
I had a low-paying job in TV production, living in my first apartment with a husband doing his PhD. We needed bargains, so I lined up on Bathurst Street for hours before the store opened to buy my first iron – and stayed to buy more bargains throughout the store.
Years later, the Mirvish family hired me as a casting director for two plays at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. They were people who actually earned the nickname “honest” – and I still have that iron!
Anne Tait Toronto
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