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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland hold the 2024-25 budget, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on April 16.Patrick Doyle/Reuters

Tax me?

Re “Higher capital gains taxes won’t work as claimed, but will harm the economy” (April 18): As an individual with an income in the top 1 per cent, I have never understood our approach. Why do we tax income earned by the sweat of Canadians’ brows more than income made by sitting on a pile of money, or by rentier activities?

Surely those august captains of industry, lovers of bootstraps, believe hard work is the most important factor in success? Yet we hear that a modest increase in capital gains taxes will throttle our economy. I would sooner tax working income at half the rate of capital gains, rather than the functionally regressive system held forth as the ideal.

As the middle class hollows out, expressing greater concern for one’s portfolio shows a deficit of compassion and an excess of greed. I want no part of such a system, and will gladly pay more to rectify it.

Believe me, I will still have a disproportionate share.

Marc Elliott St. John’s

We are a country of excruciatingly high taxes that then turns around and gives handouts, tax credits and rebates.

If people retained more of their earnings to begin with, we would not have to subsidize everyday living. Raise thresholds for all income tax levels and GST collection on business income, thus letting people keep more of their hard-earned money.

If the tax grabs stopped, our other problems such as low productivity and lack of investment would also rebound. We can only take from the wealthy and redistribute for so long, or else the wealthy will disappear.

Reward hard work with lower taxation. I believe lean government is desperately needed, not more socialism.

Tanja Hasler Kamloops, B.C.

I am in a position like a lot of Canadians with a cottage that has been in the family 10 to 50 years.

Like most, I have had few capital gains over my lifetime. But now such a sale will attract increased capital gains taxes over $250,000.

I am not in the top 60 per cent of Canadian incomes. What did I do to be hammered by this budget?

Goodbye to the Liberals.

Jim Mackinnon Middlesex Centre, Ont.

Everyone seems to have an opinion but no solutions to the complex challenges every country faces, Canada included.

There is not one solution here. There should be experimentation. Our federal government is trying different ways to move forward, rather than lament over what can never be again and play the blame game.

Contributor Todd Hirsch’s opinion feels spot-on (“This country’s real economic problem is that we hardly seem like one country” – Report on Business, April 18): “Why do Canadians slip so easily into this small, provincial mindset?”

Susan Radojevic Mono, Ont.

If you build it

Re “Federal Budget 2024: Ottawa targets capital gains for billions in new revenue” (April 17): “The government said it will save $3.9-billion over 10 years by selling off underused federal properties.” This would be a major mistake.

Publicly owned land represents an opportunity to build much-needed social housing outside of the private sector. If the government really wants to do something to help young Canadians to get housing, then it should commit to building not-for-profit housing on the land it already owns, rather than selling it to private developers who would then jack up prices to the maximum the market can bear.

It should not squander the chance to address the housing problem for the sake of a small one-time saving.

James Duthie Nanaimo, B.C.

Carbon calculations

Re “Wab Kinew looks beyond the carbon tax” (April 16): The ideas that Wab Kinew puts forward are helpful, and some could be productively adopted by other provinces. For example, importing excess hydro power from Quebec could prevent Ontario from burning more natural gas and improve the energy mix of the electric grid.

However, these ideas seem orthogonal to carbon pricing. The NDP almost always fall back on cap and trade as a carbon disincentive, which has the convenient properties that it requires an immense bureaucracy to maintain, and is much more opaque to public scrutiny.

Carbon pricing was proposed because it is simple, transparent and effective. The funds are redistributed to Canadians, rather than being hidden in transfers between corporations and bureaucrats.

We should focus more on arguing the facts of this transparent system, rather than advocating for alternatives that governments are often incapable of administering fairly.

Michael DiBernardo Toronto

Re “Industries upset at being left out of new tax break for small businesses” (Report on Business, April 18): I acknowledge that the carbon tax can affect the behaviour of carbon use, but claims that it is refunded in a “revenue-neutral” manner appear to be false.

Apparently the door has been opened for carbon tax funds to be rebated to small business. But if the 80 per cent of households that pay the carbon tax truly got it all back, there would be precious little, if anything, remaining for small business or anyone else.

This does not even include all the indirect costs that have been paid, mainly by farmers and industry but also public transit, shipping companies and many others. The tax will likely act as a drag on the economy, leading to lower growth and diminished economic opportunities.

I think the drafters of the carbon tax have been too clever by half. The bill for this folly will come due at the next federal election.

John Banka Toronto

But a number

Re “In pursuit of the perfect stride, I trained with a world-class skating coach – and it worked” (April 16): A wonderful celebration of what the body and brain can do, regardless of the “hurdles” of older age. Lovely to get an update on the talented Barb Underhill as well.

As a sixtysomething equestrian still working on the best way (there is no completely safe way) to jump a reluctant 1,200-pound animal over obstacles, I get it. My brain says, “Abandon ship!” My hopes, dreams and ego say, “Damn the torpedoes!”

A great coach helps me to understand where I can go and how to improve. Age does help in some respects. A few times my coach has commented on how I differ from her many tween, teen and twentysomething riders: “You ride with purpose.”

Here’s to the older, determined athletes, who maybe don’t have the same physiques but do have the wisdom of age.

Wendy Hicks Waterloo, Ont.

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