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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tables the federal budget in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 16.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Capital quandary

Re “Companies, asset managers in a quandary with capital-gains tax increases” (Report on Business, April 18): The Liberals are justifiably afraid of losing the next election, and they seem to realize it will require generous handouts derived from the new budget to be re-elected.

Their own performance has created ballooning deficits for which they often have no answer, except to raise taxes on the only means they have of creating prosperity. They seem blissfully unaware that the source of the investments – required for research and development and building projects – are the same entrepreneurs and corporations who are now the target of new taxation.

Additionally, coercing pension funds to remain in Canada would require fund managers to have confidence they likely lack in the Liberal ability to manage the economy. The Liberals, then, are out of solutions.

Neil McLaughlin Burlington, Ont.

While no fan of the recent budget, I am mildly surprised by the level of criticism aimed at the new capital gains tax rules.

The principal advantage of owning capital property, whether stocks or a second residence, is that Canadians can increase wealth exponentially without paying tax on the increase until a sale. Regardless of the capital gains inclusion rate, this ability to defer tax confers a huge advantage on the long-term owner of capital.

Biff Matthews Toronto

Previously, 50 per cent of a capital gain was included in calculating a taxpayer’s income. This is referred to by accountants as the capital gains inclusion rate.

The rate also applies to capital losses. It is not a tax, then, it is an exemption, or a loophole: A way for people who make their living buying and selling assets to avoid tax that is not available to ordinary wage earners.

I find it no more a tax than the “carbon tax” opposed by Pierre Poilievre.

Alan Ball New Westminster, B.C.

Once Ottawa jacks up the capital gains tax, Canada’s millionaires and billionaires can seek solace in knowing that they will still be millionaires and billionaires.

Tom Cmajdalka Oakville, Ont.

Re “The budget needs bold change to fix Canada’s falling productivity” (Report on Business, April 15): In the analysis about poor productivity in Canada, there were many reasons noted for this decline. And more of the answer arrived on April 16 with the federal budget.

Every possible incentive to be productive was crushed in favour of addressing “structural inequality.” Or as I read it: Middle-class Canadians shouldn’t be too productive because there is a ceiling to how successful government wants them to be.

So don’t be productive, be patient and government will create a program (that many can’t access) or a rebate (that many won’t qualify for). Maybe addressing the “urgent need to increase productivity to grow the Canadian economy” should mean giving middle-class Canadians some freedom to be productive.

Jennifer Fraser Kamloops, B.C.

Re “The budget’s tax changes on corporations and the wealthy are long overdue” (April 17): I am shocked that an effective tax increase on “the wealthiest 0.13 per cent of Canadians and a small number of corporations” is simultaneously described as “modest,” “long overdue” and a “tough” decision.

All this to describe a $4-billion to $5-billion annual increase in tax revenue (less than 2 per cent of the budget). This to “address the numerous policy crises facing the government.”

Our government promises us that this little amount represents “fairness for every generation,” and our academic class praises their courage.

Do not wonder at the mediocrity of the outcome. Mediocrity is its midwife, and timidity its guardian.

Jonathan Weisman Vancouver

Kudos to Chrystia Freeland for doing her patriotic duty by saying “Gen Zed” and not “Gen Zee” in her budget speech.

Now, if I can persuade my students. My international students still almost all say “zed.” Canadian-born students have been gradually assimilating to the American “zee.”

Tom Urbaniak Professor, political science, Cape Breton University Sydney, N.S.

Business first

Re “Do companies keep their job-creation promises after receiving government subsidies? Ottawa won’t say” (Report on Business, April 15): It is revealed that corporations receiving funding are not all required to document the number of jobs created. This situation feels symptomatic of our government’s lack of a proper business approach to the dissemination of grants and subsidies.

The annual deficit could be substantially reduced simply by instituting a better business approach to handling funds.

Gary Lewis Owen Sound, Ont.

Full stop

Re “Do pedestrians always have the right-of-way?” (Online, April 14): I am going to take this argument one step further: One should never assume that motorists will stop.

Call this defensive pedestrianism or cycling. I have difficulty coming to terms with the fact that engaging in healthy activities has an increasing probability to be a life-altering choice.

In Montreal, it is against the law to even make a right turn on a red light. This is to make a concerted effort to make non-motorized modes of transportation a priority.

Ontario should get with the 21st century and follow suit in our cities to make them safer and cleaner.

Leslie Bethune Milton, Ont.

Well read

Re “McNally Robinson is an indie bookstore that figured it out: Focus on books” (Arts & Books, April 13): McNally Robinson is a great bookstore. It’s a Winnipeg institution and it really doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Paul and Holly McNally were visionaries. They had the vision – and the nerve – to create a space that celebrates the written word.

They championed all writers, but especially Canadian authors, and hosted countless readings by celebrated authors as well as self-published local authors. They supported the Winnipeg International Writers Festival and the Manitoba Book Awards.

They built a full-service restaurant, and supported musicians by featuring live music on Fridays and Saturdays in the café. Local artists had opportunities to display and sell their work. They created a unique children’s area. Lingering is encouraged.

Their support for writers and publishers and all things literary was highlighted by their appointment to the Order of Canada in 2023. The McNallys have been instrumental to the continuing success of the stores.

Winnipeg is richer for it.

Terry Vatrt Victoria

Crunch time

Re “Matthews gets his shots, but misses milestone” (Sports, April 18): Hopefully Auston Matthews will save some of his goal scoring as a Maple Leaf for the playoffs.

Janice Couch Kingston

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