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The landing page for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is seen in Toronto, Aug. 10, 2020.

Giordano Ciampini/The Canadian Press

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Work, work, work, work, work, work

Re Canadians Risk Becoming Addicted To Aid (Aug. 21): Can I assume that the authors and the groups they represent will be lobbying governments to improve labour standards?

For example, in Ontario, one of Doug Ford’s first actions was to gut recently introduced labour reforms. In particular, he cancelled a planned increase to the minimum wage and eliminated an already meagre two paid days of emergency leave. He continues to oppose paid sick leave for all workers.

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These would be great incentives for people to rejoin the work force, and would certainly be constructive “structural reforms” to help us “move forward” post-pandemic.

Jeff Brown Toronto

The authors assert that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit is too high and acts as a disincentive to work. With respect, I find that the CERB is far too low for a person to live a life of decency.

Yes, a job is better than being on the dole. A job not only provides pay, it provides identity, self-respect and purpose. The problem is that wages for low-paid workers are far too meagre.

Raising wages at the low end of the labour market would not only ensure that people are motivated to get back to work, it would provide them with more ability to stimulate the economy, thus creating even more jobs.

Corporations sitting on massive amounts of retained earnings and paying large executive salaries and bonuses should set an example: Raise the wages of their employees. If many of them could do it at the beginning of the pandemic, they can likely do so on an ongoing basis.

Shalom Schachter Lead, employment policy working group, Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition; rabbi; Toronto

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Perhaps this is the time to shift toward a more equitable system. The energy for this feels palpable.

It would be “old thinking” to go back to ideas of unprecedented economic growth to fuel the stock market and shareholder portfolios. New, more equitable ideas involving young people would give them hope for the future, rather than a focus on debt reduction.

Even if debt needs to be considered, it should not be the focus of moving society into the future. A universal basic income is certainly more exciting and energizing. It would create an atmosphere for future generations of wanting to be part of something, through work or other contributions.

A shift in world view feels truly wanted – and possible – at this moment in time.

Irmgard Manthei Toronto

Political power

Re Who Needs Parliament? Not Trudeau (Editorial, Aug. 20): Government leaders embrace democracy and often promote its virtues to other countries less enlightened. Unfortunately, once in power, that same democracy seems to become an impediment to be ignored or cast aside as it suits them.

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I believe that Justin Trudeau has done so by proroguing parliament, something he said he would never do. Not only does prorogation dispose of investigations into his leadership and halt a Parliament in which Mr. Trudeau holds only a minority, it frees him to spend more tens of billions of dollars. That’s power, but it’s not democracy.

Stephen Harper first did it, and Mr. Trudeau complained. Boris Johnson did the same in Britain and raised a furor. Donald Trump does likewise with presidential executive orders.

Democracy is our chosen form of government. We should have leaders who respect its processes, and not just as a means to power.

David Kister Toronto

The Prime Minister is mostly lauded for his government’s handling of the pandemic. Really? That’s not too difficult when it has simply been a case of opening the gates for more spending.

Bill Morneau deserves credit for pushing back on some Liberal spending initiatives. For example, the $300 program for seniors: Why couldn’t the tax margin have been inserted into these calculations, and high-bracket taxpayers weeded out? My dollars were forwarded to a needy charity.

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The ruthless persona of Justin Trudeau is well described in The Globe’s editorial. It should be time for him to go.

Martin Pick Cavan, Ont.

Re How Clashes With PM, PMO Led To Morneau’s Resignation (Aug. 20): I understand that some of the friction between Bill Morneau and Justin Trudeau was because the former finance minister attempted to put restraints on the Prime Minister’s free-spending ways. Hopefully, Chrystia Freeland will not be in total agreement with his spending spree.

Mr. Trudeau justifies his spending, saying that government absorbed the costs so that Canadians didn’t have to. I wonder who he thinks is going to pay for Canada’s massive debt.

Catharine Pryor Baden, Ont.


Re RCMP Face Criticism As Search For Indigenous Teen Ramps Up (Aug. 21): I applaud The Globe for its continued coverage of shameful examples of systemic racism in Canadian police forces. I ask that it continue to shine a harsh light on what appear to be frequent, ongoing occurrences.

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The RCMP stands out to me as a glaring example of not understanding this issue from within, in itself an example of systemic racism. I’m not surprised there have been rumblings about disbanding the RCMP.

Diana Chastain Toronto

Oil opinions

Re Alberta Is Losing The Oil Sands PR War (Editorial, Aug. 13): The oil sands produce some of the dirtiest oil on earth. Even if emissions per barrel are reduced – it’s still oil. To have a livable future, we should get off oil: 60 per cent by 2030, 100 per cent by 2050.

Financiers and insurers see this reality, as does Mark Carney when he says that “companies that ignore the climate crisis will go bankrupt.” To think that there is room for oil sands expansion seems a foolish delusion.

Our efforts should be focused on transitioning to renewable energy. This is not a public relations exercise; this is about real change – and a new vision for Alberta’s economic future.

Lyn Adamson Toronto

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Re I’m An Ojibwe Woman Who Works In The Oil Sands (Aug. 15): I much appreciated Estella Petersen’s story. Her diligence and determination are the kinds of values that made Canada the prosperous and stable country it is today. She’s no victim, and I salute her.

Brad Bird Parksville, B.C.

All in

Re Three Restaurants To End Tipping, Push For Better Treatment For Service Workers (Aug. 15): I am in full agreement with including a tip with a bill in restaurants – as long as it is based on the price of the meal and not the amount plus tax! Many restaurants provide a “suggested” tip with percentages and amounts attached; often the figure is based on the meal plus tax.

Robert Morrow Ancaster, Ont.

Put it on

Re Officials Say Strip Club Failed To Follow COVID-19 guidelines (Aug. 15): To fight the pandemic, Toronto should have the Brass Rail strip club clothed until the emergency is over.

Alex Doulis Toronto

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