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Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa Macleod announced her government is winding down the basic income pilot project.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

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Low-incomers let down

Hugh Segal’s column and The Globe and Mail’s editorial are concise and effective counterpoints to the Ontario Conservatives’ broken promise to the most vulnerable Ontarians (PCs Shouldn’t Exclude Low-Income Ontarians and Callous Politics In Ontario, Aug. 2).

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I began volunteering for a charity that directly serves Ontario’s poor more than 15 years ago. It has been a humbling experience, helping me put my fortunate existence in context.

I am very discouraged by the callous cancellation of the guaranteed basic income initiative and hope that Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod can exhibit a bit of humbleness to rescind her announcement to cancel this important pilot project.

Scott Grant, Toronto

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Thank you Mr. Segal for calling out the Ford government in Ontario on its betrayal of the heritage of Progressive Conservatism.

There are no Red Tories in this country any more. In its place we have imported a mean-spirited, vindictive, simplistic, and rigidly ideological brand of conservative thought from our southern neighbour. Is this a cause or a symptom of the increasing polarization and tribalism that is evident in both our politics and our culture? A little of both, I think.

Brian P. H. Green, Thunder Bay

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As a kind, caring taxpaying member of our society, I have always said that I support the needy, not the greedy.

I was saddened and dismayed by the cuts to social programs announced by Ms. MacLeod. It brings me back to the days of former Ontario premier Mike Harris when he cruelly axed public housing and other programs for the poor.

From the words and actions of Premier Doug Ford and his new government, the poor count for very little in this province.

Robert B. Day, Ottawa

Cuts Hit Home

Re PCs Roll Back Liberal-Era Social Assistance Changes (Aug. 1):

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My adult son is autistic and developmentally disabled. His sole source of income is the Ontario Disability Support Program. Given his young developmental age, he will never join the paid work force. Were it not for my support, he would be destitute.

Support of my son is a huge financial demand, not only for living costs, but the many other expenses associated with a developmental disability: day program, care at home when I cannot be there, respite, and uninsured health-care costs. The promised 3-per-cent annual increase to ODSP was not a lot, but it was something. Now, the Ontario government has decided to cut that percentage in half this year, not even enough to cover the cost of inflation.

I was also hopeful that the pilot project on a basic income would demonstrate that it could actually save taxpayers money by reducing other public costs associated with poverty, such as health care, emergency housing, and police interventions. By cancelling the project before its completion, money spent to date will be wasted and there will be no evidence-based data on which to base future planning.

This decision gives the illusion of saving money, but it’s only a quick win for Premier Doug Ford on the backs of the poorest of poor.

Eileen Rankin, Ottawa

Separation anxiety

Letter writer Adam Plackett suggests that the City of Toronto follow the Catalonian two-step of holding a referendum to secede from Ontario and then, assuming the majority vote for separation, have city government simply disregard the lawful legislation enacted by the provincial government (The 11th Province, Aug. 1).

What is not considered in this Espana rapido flamenco is the third and final step: the arrest of the movement leader, direct control of the affairs of the city by the province, and finally the economic fallout caused by rash actions by the city. Good luck with the vote.

Clay Atcheson, North Vancouver, B.C.

Revenge on Toronto

Since when does the end justify the means?

There is doubtless room for improvement in our civic government in Toronto. But, when cuts to the size of the council are sprung on an unsuspecting citizenry in the midst of an election campaign by a disgruntled and undistinguished former councillor, it is an act of vengeance and a subversion of democracy (Ontario MPPs Criticize Bill To Slash Size Of Toronto’s Council, July 30).

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s record of deplorable council attendance and constant belligerence when he was a councillor make his play for control of Toronto’s civic government all the more objectionable.

Udo Kaul, Toronto

Airport efficiency

As a frequent airport user, I identified with your article noting the concern over processing times for security clearance at Canadian airports (Airlines Seek Federal Action To Fix Airport Security, Aug. 1).

Staffing levels, equipment and available space are all reasons suggested for the lengthy wait times. A realistic solution would be to devote less time to screening people who are low risk.

I spoke briefly with a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority employee about this and got the standard simplistic answer: Get a Nexus card. However, even though the Nexus program has existed for many years, far too few members of the traveling public go through the trouble and expense of getting the card.

In the United States, with its volume of air travellers, it had to come up with another solution and introduced a much more widely available preclearance program called TSA Pre. For a very low cost, known travellers can obtain a card that allows them to enter a line without taking out liquids, or taking off jackets, shoes, belts and so on. This really speeds things up.

So here we have an example of a successful operating program to speed security screening times and yet Canada has failed to implement a similar program in our airports to reduce screening times. Is it not time for the federal minister of transport to get on it?

Gerald Williams, Edmonton

West Coast whales

I note with approval that the federal government has given a grant to researchers studying the impact that noisy boat traffic has on East Coast whales (Ottawa Announces $26-Million For Noise Reduction Research To Help Right Whales, July 20).

I wonder why there’s no such grant for the West Coast? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new hat as oil magnate will lead to even more oil tanker traffic than the whales, salmon and humans (especially First Nations) already experience on the West Coast.

I would rather my money went to bicoastal research regarding current damage before adding to the damage, financially and otherwise.

Agi Lukacs, Toronto

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