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Former governor general David Johnston, the 'eminent Canadian,' as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it, will oversee investigations into foreign interference in Canadian elections.Sean Kilpatrick

In other words

Re “There has to be a big broad inquiry on China’s election interference now” (March 17): David Johnston can save us a lot of time and money by borrowing from the Rouleau report on the trucker protests.

To whit: “Responding to situations of threat and urgency in a federal system requires governments at all levels, and those who lead them, to rise above politics and collaborate for the common good. Unfortunately … this did not always happen.

Bob Moore Guelph, Ont.

Any other name

Re “Canadian Pacific Railway wins U.S. regulatory approval to buy Kansas City Southern” (Report on Business, March 16): Canadian Pacific Railway is to be congratulated for this takeover and extending its reach into Mexico. But the new name, Canadian Pacific Kansas City, feels like a sad choice for this iconic line.

The name of this mid-size U.S. city, of no particular interest to Canadians, will henceforth be displayed on stock tickers across Canada. More descriptive and more accurate would have been “Canadian Pacific Southern.”

What would Pierre Berton say?

John Edmond Ottawa

No choice

Re “Will a crackdown on private telemedicine improve health care access? The jury is out” (March 14): We have better things to do in health care than fall down this private-telemedicine rabbit hole. Most people don’t pay for private telemedicine because they enjoy it, but because there’s no alternative.

There should be no debate that in-person, publicly funded health care is better than telemedicine. But tell that to millions of Canadians who have no primary care physician, with no immediate prospect of improvement.

Ravi Deshpande Toronto

Little less

Re “Doesn’t add up” (Letters, March 15): I remember another letter, to a different newspaper, from 2016, expressing almost identical sentiments about clawbacks to Old Age Security.

That correspondent suggested the money saved by lowering clawback levels should go to improving the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Seven years later, there is sadly no shortage of places where that money could be put to better use: deficits, health care, affordable housing, First Nations, the military – the list of needs is not short.

Normally I would not remember something like this, but as it happens I wrote that letter.

Ira Greenblatt Ottawa

Most baby boomers were not yet born when Old Age Security became a universal federal program in 1952.

Most baby boomers were not old enough to vote when OAS eligibility was dropped from age 70 to 65 in 1965.

Increasing OAS for people over 75 wasn’t in the Liberal platform in the 2021 election, so no one had the opportunity to vote for or against it.

How does it happen that “greedy” baby boomers are responsible for federal fiscal pressures due to OAS payments?

George Olsen Calgary

More questions

Re “Former St. Michael’s Hospital executive Vas Georgiou, construction boss John Aquino charged in corruption probe” (March 10): I read with increasing concern about the ongoing saga of Bondfield Construction and St. Michael’s Hospital. My greater issue is the role of Infrastructure Ontario.

The agency was meant to oversee the successful completion of this project on time and on budget, on behalf of Ontario taxpayers. It absolved itself of responsibility, based on its own internal review.

My question: When will Infrastructure Ontario leadership be held accountable for its role in this fiasco? When will the Premier take action on behalf of taxpayers, who ultimately will end up paying the bill?

Anthony Graham CM, MD; Toronto

Stop it

Re “Why is Toronto tearing down tall buildings? Ask city planning” (Feb. 27): I am managing principal of the legacy firm of Marani & Morris, which designed 505 University Ave. in Toronto. I find it outrageous that the city has not assigned the building a heritage designation.

The former Shell Canada headquarters has served more than five decades as one of Canada’s most elegant midcentury modernist office buildings. For city planners to approve demolishing this 20-storey tower, and constructing a new 64-storey building in its place, feels like an unimaginable disrespect to our built cultural heritage, as well as an extreme disregard to sustainability. The amount of embodied carbon in this building, relative to the net carbon cost to rebuild, is staggering.

What should be done with large mid- and late-20th-century buildings? Simple: Require that they be sustainably retrofitted and repurposed, similar to the Imperial Oil Building on St. Clair Avenue.

Toronto: Please, put a stop to this demolition before it’s too late.

Bob Goyeche Managing principal, RDH Architects; Toronto

Build up

Re “Toronto’s housing plan is short on specifics despite dire housing affordability crisis” (March 15): Our timid thinking, focusing on “mid-rise” and “small apartment buildings,” should be replaced with bolder, yet simple, ideas if we hope to reach “the province’s housing target of 285,000 new homes.” Here are two simple ideas for Toronto planners to consider.

Idea No. 1: Use the model of the Sheppard subway line, where multiple high-rises have been built at each stop. Apply this to the Bloor-Danforth subway line: Build five 60-storey buildings (at 15 units per floor) at each of the 30 stops. This equals 135,000 units.

Idea No. 2: Map Toronto into 30 “areas” of single-family homes. Build five 60-storey buildings of affordable housing (at 15 units per floor) in each of the 30 areas. This equals another 135,000 units.

The last 15,000 units, required to meet the target total of 285,000 over 10 years, could well be the current city-proposed “mid-rise” and “small apartment buildings.”

Michael Tukatsch Toronto

Royal pains

Re “Canadians uninterested in King Charles’ coronation, British monarchy, survey suggests” (March 15): Canadians are losing interest in the British monarchy and specifically King Charles. Notwithstanding, Canada will no doubt send a substantial delegation to attend the coronation on May 6.

Could we have the list of attendees and budgeted cost for this? Anyone who has travelled to London knows how expensive it can be, and our various officials, representatives and envoys have been known to treat themselves rather well.

Details of the cost of this adventure will likely leak out later – after the money is spent. If government is forced to report now, perhaps an element of restraint might apply?

Dave Kennedy Toronto

Let go

Re “Fear itself: Learning to let the light back in while still in the dark” (Opinion, March 11): “Have you been feeling uneasy lately?” I advise what writer Susan Sontag advised: “Don’t suffer future pain.”

Those words helped me focus on the known, and not worry so much about the unknown.

Philippa King Toronto

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