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Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, on April 20, 2020.

BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

Why?

Re Nova Scotia Mass Shooting: What We Know So Far About The Victims, Suspect And Timeline Of Events (Online, April 20): We as a society should start asking more questions about why men – at what seems a more regular basis – go on shooting rampages. There is even humanity in the “mad” among us, and we should not let our anger at their actions cloud the potential for this necessary inquiry.

We would better understand how to prevent future tragedies and even perhaps about ourselves.

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Paul Salvatori Toronto

Public vs. private

Re 'Shovel-ready’ Projects Eyed For Post-shutdown Stimulus Plan (Report on Business, April 16): A rapid, targeted response to reboot the economy will be essential in the aftermath of COVID-19. As president of Canada’s largest union, I support the federal government’s plan to ramp up major infrastructure spending in the coming months to create good jobs and rebuild communities. However, we strongly disagree with federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna that the Canada Infrastructure Bank can or should drive our postpandemic recovery by soliciting more public-private partnerships.

Study after study shows these for-profit infrastructure arrangements can lead to high costs for the public. The global trend – after years of failed experiences – is to move away from these arrangements and instead invest fully in public infrastructure and services. The CIB should provide grants and low-cost loans to municipalities for fully public projects.

Many industries will desperately need government support to get back on their feet when this is all over. Investment firms shouldn’t be one of them.

Mark Hancock National president, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE); Ottawa

All’s well that ends well?

Re Cheque, Please (Letters, April 20): A letter writer asks why taxpayers have to pay to clean up abandoned oil wells. It’s because we seem to have socialism for corporations subsidized by taxpayers, and capitalism for small-business owners and ordinary working people who survive on their own.

Reiner Jaakson Oakville, Ont.

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City blues

Re Toronto Faces Massive Budget Shortfall (April 18): The nerve of Toronto asking Ottawa for money and still not taxing their properties at market value! I was on Barrie City Council for 27 years, with 12 of those as mayor. I worked hard with other city mayors to push for market-value assessment being the fairest assessment method. Toronto opted out of that agreement and for decades has not collected taxes at the same rate as the rest of Ontario. One only needs to look at the real estate section of this paper to see that the million-dollar properties are generating less tax than the average in other communities.

When Toronto starts collecting market-value taxes, other municipalities might not resent the city asking Ottawa for some of the money others have already paid.

Janice Laking Former mayor; Barrie, Ont.


The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the archaic and woefully inadequate revenue with which towns and cities have to finance their responsibilities.

Academics and municipal politicians have been arguing for additional revenue tools for decades. Now the pandemic threatens to erode cities’ abilities to provide basic services and some with virtual bankruptcy. Giving cities the ability to run deficits is not a solution. Giving cities enhanced revenue streams, such as a share of sales taxes, should be the way to go. If this pandemic helps to resolve this chronic fiscal imbalance, that would be a positive outcome among the many negatives.

Steve Parish Former mayor; Ajax, Ont.

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The Prime Minister

Re Great Responsibility (Letters, April 19): A letter writer questions how Justin Trudeau will repay the billions being spent on COVID-19 relief. Not to worry: It looks like we’ll have a lovely decade or so of extreme austerity under the next Conservative government. We would just have to pretend that austerity isn’t killing as many as the coronavirus. And when the next pandemic hits, we’ll likely be even less prepared.

Dana Still Parksville, B.C.

One direction

Re One World Concert: 12 Things We Noticed About The Performances (April 20): One important aspect of the One World charity concert that I noticed: It felt like a direct and intentional rebuke of the Trump administration.

There was no reference to him or his government, but numerous testimonials in support of the World Health Organization. This was an encouraging start. Too many Americans seem mesmerized by fame; for them, it trumps competence and character. Accordingly, leading up to the November election, there should be a coalition of vocal anti-Trump advocates drawn from the entertainment, music and sports sectors. Given the current state of U.S. culture, publicity for the views of such a group could be more influential than politicians themselves. In the 1960s, such popular figures knew how to lead rallies against unpopular wars, nuclear threats and racism, among other causes. That public spiritedness is needed now as much as ever.

J. David Murphy Barrie, Ont.

Our bad

Re Things Are Looking Up, Thanks To You (Editorial, April 18): The Globe and Mail’s editorial describes being as Canadian as possible as "tolerant of that which nature has imposed on us.” I believe this is too simple, and that it’s vital to recognize that nature has not imposed the pandemic on us. Rather, I see it as something human beings have imposed on ourselves and on Mother Nature, through hyper-extraction, hyper-consumption and hyper-connectivity; through globalization led by corporations but encouraged by governments. We now see the world-shattering consequences.

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Unless we look into ourselves and rebuild our lives, economies and cultures more modestly, we will likely see repeats of pandemics. As biologists have warned, the coronavirus is not the only pathogen gouged out so far, and it’s not going to stop here. We have a chance to change; it’s up to ordinary people – who are suffering the most – to change the world.

Jai Sen Ottawa

The Opposition

Re Compromise On Parliament, And Get The Country Through Summer (April 20): Surely given the available technology, parliamentarians could set an example for us all by meeting virtually. Instead, Andrew Scheer insists on bringing back in-person sessions.

It seems strange that the Conservatives already decided they no longer want to listen to Mr. Scheer, yet he continues talking and making little sense to me. Let the parties combine during this emergency to arrive at sensible solutions.

Leslie Smith Brockville, Ont.


Three things we have learned so far during this pandemic: 1. No-name toilet paper works just as well as brand-name ones. 2. Life goes on without shaking hands. 3. There seems nothing opposition leaders can do to improve their image, even during a pandemic.

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Salman Remtulla Mississauga


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