Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Auditor-General Karen Hogan appears as a witness at a House of Commons standing committee on Public Accounts on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 12.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Pay up

Re “Dodging the NATO spending target for defence is a shrug that Canada can no longer afford from its politicians” (Feb. 15): We could increase our defence expenditures as a percentage of GDP, as requested by NATO and certain U.S. political candidates, by giving all military personnel large salary increases. Compensate them adequately for their service to our country.

In turn, these personnel would likely spend the vast majority of their salary increases in the communities across Canada where they are stationed, giving a boost to local economies. Substantial salary increases would also improve morale among the ranks, and aid recruiters in attracting more Canadians to serve their country.

This might not quite get us to the 2-per-cent target, but it would be a good start and easy to implement in the next budget. By contrast, capital expenditures have long lead times and carry more risk.

Give the troops a raise.

Jamie Alley Saanich, B.C.

Any increase in defence spending should be directed to the Arctic, a prized trophy for China and Russia.

It should also be noted as a contribution toward NATO. This would shut the mouth of Donald Trump, who implies that we bring nothing to the party.

Fid Quon Montreal

Rate this app

Re “The ArriveCan app is the graveyard of accountability and common sense” (Editorial, Feb. 15) In all the discussions around the failings of the procurement process that gave us the ArriveCan app, I have not heard one essential question raised, let alone answered: Was it needed? My answer is no.

It duplicated vaccine certificates issued by provincial health networks and health authorities in other countries. To make matters worse, it was hard to figure out.

In one case I was told about, a traveller was told by a customs official at the border not to bother. All he wanted to see was her provincial vaccine certificate.

I will even go so far as to speculate that ArriveCan would never have existed had some smart little outfit not hinted to a public servant that the government should devise one – with its help, of course.

Diana Nemiroff Ottawa

Nuclear option

Re “The strengthening case for nuclear” (Feb. 10): The only thing known about Ontario’s plans to refurbish nuclear reactors is that it will be enormously expensive.

Just gearing up for the project will cost $2-billion. The government has not released a feasibility study or provided an estimate for the total cost and timeline.

In addition, the road to refurbishment is paved with methane gas (and the resulting missions) that will replace baseload nuclear power during the decade (or more) of the project.

I would need much more information to assess whether nuclear refurbishment makes sense for the province or the planet.

Jeffrey Levitt Toronto

The phantom rise of nuclear power seems to be the usual mix of happy talk and wishful thinking that dominates energy decisions in Ontario.

We should be reducing greenhouse gas emissions today, not decades from now. That makes nuclear a poor choice to meet our rising electricity needs.

To rebuild 40-year-old reactors that depend on 1970s technology – and are surrounded by millions of people – would be irrational. Pickering, Ont., is the site of the worst commercial nuclear accident in Canada’s history.

It is not 1990 any more. We have many other ways to store power, including a growing fleet of electric vehicle batteries, which can do double duty as rolling storage, and co-ordination with Quebec’s massive reservoir system.

Outdated views of future power systems would be one reason why Ontario is left in the dust by more innovative jurisdictions that take climate action seriously – and reap the benefits.

Cameron Darcy Toronto

Arguments that nuclear power is carbon-free do not consider the life-cycle emissions of power plants.

There is the construction and maintenance of the facility; mining, processing, transportation and disposal of uranium fuel; decommissioning of all required energy, which primarily comes from the combustion of fossil fuels.

The same case applies to renewable energy such as wind and solar; wind turbines and solar panels have carbon footprints associated with their life cycles.

I believe the only way to avert catastrophic climate change in the short time we have left is to reduce demand for energy in all its forms, not to generate more of it.

Ian Lipton President, The Carbon Accounting Company; Toronto

Halfway there

Re “Toronto passes budget with 9.5-per-cent tax hike, additional police funding” (Feb. 15): Oh, no. Poor Torontonians who own real estate (some of the most expensive in the country) will be bankrupted when their taxes are increased to – checks notes – about half of what the rest of Ontario pays? Cry me a river.

I guess a bankrupt city, with crumbling social services in the midst of multiple crises, is preferable.

Tom Reader Peterborough, Ont.

Renewed response

Re “Ontario to make licence plate renewals automatic, Ford says” (Online, Feb. 13): This seems overly generous to the point of dangerous.

Driving is a privilege, as is owning a vehicle. Not renewing licence plates would not be in our best interest.

Governments at all levels are strapped for cash and should be looking for revenue opportunities. Here is one: Parking officers can have their mandates extended to tag expired plates for a quick $40. An easy add-on would be a law that Ontarians must pay all vehicle tickets before renewal.

A penalty for bad behaviour is always appropriate. I see many wins here.

Dan Skrobot Toronto

Celebrity factor

Re “Prince Harry says he jumped on a plane to London after learning of King Charles’s cancer” (Online, Feb. 16): The recent news of King Charles and the Princess of Wales choosing to keep their illnesses and treatments private should spark crucial conversations about the role of public figures in raising awareness and funds for diseases.

As a society, we often look to public figures for guidance and inspiration, especially in times of adversity. By openly discussing their health struggles, public personalities have the power to destigmatize diseases, offer comfort to those facing similar battles and catalyze support for research and treatment efforts.

While I respect their right to privacy, I think it’s essential to recognize the missed opportunity for shedding light on diseases that may affect countless individuals worldwide.

Ron Foreman Toronto

I do

Re “War brides arrive in Halifax” (Moment in Time, Feb. 10): Postwar Canada employed in excess of 60 ships to bring more than 48,000 European brides to this country. A government-fashioned Canadian Cookbook for British Brides awaited the arrivals.

It is difficult to imagine current-day Canada managing either.

Eric Pugash Vancouver

My mother, Eirys Brobyn, arrived with 30 other war brides on April 22, 1945, in Halifax on board the Nea Hellas. My dad, flight lieutenant R. G. Brobyn, greeted her there to start their Canadian life together over the next 60 years.

I still have the helpful booklets, including a welcome from the wife of the governor-general at the time, Princess Alice.

Stephen Brobyn Toronto

Sound of silence

Re “Come on, repeal the noise” (Opinion, Feb. 10): Sadly, there is way more money to be made by imposing noise on the population than by instituting silence.

V.J. Dartnell Vancouver

I am sitting in front of my fireplace, having decided to turn off the ever-present radio tuned to the CBC. The silence is palpable.

It’s lovely, restful, calming. We can learn something from religious orders and others who observe times of silence.

Leslie Lavers Lethbridge, Alta.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Keep letters to 150 words or fewer. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

Interact with The Globe