Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

Superintendent Steve Watts, of the Organized Crime Enforcement for the City of Toronto Police force, speaks to the media regarding the results of Project Paranoid, a vehicle theft investigation in Toronto on March 27.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Back in the day

Re “Making peace with your enemy remains a valiant and worthy project” and “The NDP’s Palestine motion leaves only rancour in its wake” (Opinion, March 23): It is not surprising to learn that Canada played a pivotal role in the 1993 Israeli-Palestine Liberation Organization peace accord by delivering a historic message to Shimon Peres from Yasser Arafat three years earlier.

After all, “Who do you call in when you can’t do the talking yourself? Back then, it was the Canadians.” But given the rancour that is our current state of affairs, it seems unlikely that anyone would call in Canada today.

Ken Sutton Toronto

Capital ideas

Re “The productivity puzzle: How could we be doing so poorly? We did everything right!” (Opinion, March 23): Why all the handwringing about how growth in productivity has fallen behind the United States or wherever else? Is such growth in real GDP sustainable?

Could possibly increases of more than 50 per cent since 1981 in real GDP per capita, as well as GDP per hour worked (“labour productivity”), be well enough? How long before Western societies begin to realize that overconsumption lies at the root of much of what ails the planet? Perhaps distribution of wealth is a bit more critical in enhancing well-being than wealth creation.

Increasing labour productivity is always a good thing, but that can come about by increasing GDP or decreasing hours worked – i.e. working smarter.

Erwin Dreessen Ottawa

Canada seemed to do everything that orthodox economics would recommend for prosperity. The problem, then, lies with orthodox economics: a system of theories and ideas that often cannot accurately record the past, describe the present or forecast even the immediate future.

Presented with problems and issues, nostrums served up include “let the market decide,” “let data decide” or even “let artificial intelligence decide.” Productivity is often described in its declining phase as an attribute of workers, rather than an intensity of worker exploitation, and not often as an adequacy of capital invested in more efficient, larger, faster machinery and better ideas.

These are among the problems of orthodox economics.

Ken Collier North Bay, Ont.

In Canada, we like capital but seem suspicious of its owners.

Recently, government decided to punish anyone who owns an empty home, and not just speculators or offshore buyers. For example, I have a rental property that was left uninhabitable. Getting it ready for habitation again (for low-income residents, no less) took longer than expected, so I was punished with a vacancy tax.

As an entrepreneur, I feel that my government is willing to alter the environment in which my capital is taxed and regulated after investment, in order to coerce behaviours it deems desirable.

I think of myself as a patriotic Canadian. I will pay higher taxes and contribute according to my capacity.

But I won’t be treated with disrespect for having modest success. Nor will I cede control of my limited capital to political whim.

Like any rationale actor, I will just take my capital elsewhere.

Darryl Squires Ottawa

Clear as day

Re “Even as fiscal pressures mount, we must still spend to spur growth” (Report on Business, March 23): Contributor Bill Morneau presents an excellent argument, which boils down to this: If we want to keep funding social programs in future, we have to fund growth programs such as infrastructure now in order to generate future revenue for social spending. I would add that we should also put more thought into explaining what we are doing to gain public support for such spending.

We should learn from our experience with the carbon tax. This should be the backbone of a strategy to ensure Canada does its part to fight global climate change. But the tax, along with the need for a rebate, has been ill-understood. Because its effects are difficult to understand, more thought should go into explaining why it makes sense and why it’s better than the alternatives, including doing nothing.

Let’s learn from this to clearly explain what Mr. Morneau is recommending on fiscal policy.

Ed Dunnett Qualicum Beach, B.C.

Ban ‘em

Re “Investors own 23.7 per cent of Ontario homes, report says” (Real Estate, March 22): Our government proposes a financially and environmentally costly building spree to “solve” the housing crisis. This seems ludicrous.

Our housing crisis isn’t so much one of absolute numbers, but of affordability because of astronomical prices and rents, inflated by investors and private-sector landlords. Then the real estate industry and government merrily pile on more staggering costs to housing transactions. Builders will build, but they will never do so to the extent of dampening selling prices and moderating profitability.

If nearly one-quarter of houses are owned by investors, couldn’t the solution be just to reallocate these millions of existing houses, rather than building more under the same conditions? Outlaw investors from the housing sector, institute municipal corporations to run all rentals under controlled conditions, then let them hit the market.

Tim Moore North Cowichan, B.C.

Faith rocked

Re “For months, police have been signalling we’re on our own. Now, finally, they’re telling us” (Opinion, March 23): Counselors and psychotherapists recognize that clients often utter their most inner feelings and insights when they grab the door knob to leave. The truths revealed by these spontaneous final moments often supercede insights gained in the session itself.

The police should be thanked for giving us a similarly stunning and clear understanding of home invasions and car thefts. Such truthful comments pierce through the many assurances, statistical surveys, committee meetings and analytic reports by police overseers.

As columnist Robyn Urback writes, “our collective faith in one of our most important institutions crumbles.”

Terence Colgan Burlington, Ont.

Some unpopular advice for Torontonians: Stop buying fancy cars. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Or perhaps: One Toyota in the driveway is worth two Range Rovers in the shipping container.

Nigel Smith Toronto


Re “Edmonton Oilers’ Zach Hyman returns to Toronto in peak form” (Sports, March 23): Zach Hyman is one of many players that, once they leave the Toronto Maple Leafs, become the stars they always were meant to be.

Until the team solves this ongoing mystery, it is hard for me to see them winning a Stanley Cup.

Graham Watson Peterborough, Ont.

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