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Truck drivers hang a Canadian flag on the front grill of a truck parked in downtown Ottawa on Feb. 2, 2022.Adrian Wyld/The Associated Press

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Freedom flag

Re Don’t Confuse A Blockade With A Protest (Feb. 4): It seems to me that if I wrap a Canadian flag around myself in the name of freedom, I can get away with a lot of things.

Sunwah Li Temagami, Ont.

Provincial powers

Re Residents Should Still Try To Contain COVID-19, Hinshaw Says (Feb. 4): Jason Kenney says widespread loosening of Alberta’s public-health measures could come by the end of March. We saw this movie last summer.

Can the “best spring ever” be far behind?

Greg Schmidt Calgary

Re The Tories Catch The American Flu (Editorial, Feb. 3): The “potential worse outcome” is that “enough Canadians will switch to the only other national brand to put it into power, regardless of who leads or what it stands for.” Haven’t we seen this play out before?

Substitute “provincial” for “national” and I’m reminded of the Ontario election of 2018.

David Goodings Burlington, Ont.

International gap

Re Medicine’s Gender Power Gap Sets Up Women For Unequal Pay (Dec. 31): I am a Canadian-trained neurosurgeon at Stanford University in California. Here I found a culture that supports my growth as a female surgeon. A few years ago, I pursued a position back in Canada. I have never been treated so poorly in my entire professional life.

I was told there were men who “weren’t comfortable” working with a woman and might “feel threatened.” I ultimately did not get this job for which I was more than qualified. It was offered to a far less experienced male colleague.

Canada should have more transparency about how surgeons are hired, paid and promoted. Otherwise I predict that, like most patriarchal systems, it will continue to benefit those in power. That would be a loss for patients.

A recent study in JAMA Surgery found that patients experienced better health outcomes when treated by female surgeons. I’m sorry if this makes surgeons in power “uncomfortable.”

Ciara Harraher MD, MPH, FRCSC; Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University

Out of control

Re How Canada Can Build More Housing (Editorial, Feb. 1): Ontario may be planning for more “missing middle” housing in cities, such as fourplexes or small apartment buildings. Just a warning: One may never want to rent such new units in the province, as they are not subject to rent control.

A rental building constructed prior to 2018 is restricted to a 1.2-per-cent rent increase in 2022. A building constructed after 2018 does not have the benefit of rent control. (Don’t like it? Leave.)

My daughter is a tenant in a small, newly built rental condo in downtown Toronto. She just heard from the landlord that her rent will be increasing 27 per cent over last year. Initially her landlord sought a 34-per-cent increase. Now that is a housing squeeze.

Michael Holden Cobourg, Ont.

In light of

Re Nova Scotia Power CEO Says Proposed Solar Fee Ensures Fairness For All Customers (Report on Business, Jan. 31): Why not do what more U.S. utilities are doing? Own the solar systems, hire solar contractors for installations and rent the space on customer roofs.

This way, the utility gets to include solar “infrastructure” in its rate base and amortize these costs over time. Local contractors make a buck and so do the customers.

An “allowed return on equity of about 9 per cent” seems like a win-win-win to me.

Chris Gates Quinte West, Ont.

Look deeper

Re Little Orphan Oil Well On The Prairie (Editorial, Jan. 28): Cost estimates for remediation are likely to be much higher if we consider a little discussed impact: groundwater contamination. Restoring the surface is the easy and cheap part. Remediating groundwater is difficult and expensive.

We know many wells are leaking underground, as evidenced by surface indications. Well records suggest that many others could be leaking into groundwater.

The condition of groundwater around oil and gas activity is not meaningfully monitored or measured, so we don’t know if the problem is big or small.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Ed Janicki Victoria

Property and privacy

Re It’s Time For Canada To Curb Investment Property Buying (Report on Business, Jan. 27): I am shocked that online tax services extract information from its users, such as TurboTax reporting “a 47-per-cent increase in the number of users reporting rental income from the 2018 to 2020 tax years.”

Trust of one’s data in tax preparation is paramount. I may go back to the mail system.

Leon Munoz Burlington, Ont.

Luxury to have

Re Yacht, Private Jet Makers Brace For Lost Orders With New Luxury Tax (Report on Business, Jan. 27): A federal luxury tax would single out and unfairly punish Canadian businesses and employment that create luxury items such as expensive cars, planes and automobiles, and misses an opportunity to directly collect extra revenue via income tax.

Luxury items are discretionary purchases; if consumers decide not to buy, then there is no luxury tax to collect. Luxury producers would be at a disadvantage, increasing risks of losing sales, having to fire employees and wasting valuable resources that take years to develop.

Instead, impose a progressive income tax on high-earners. Don’t apply discretionary taxes to Canadian companies that have the fortitude to create jobs and legal products the marketplace desires.

Beverly Reisman Toronto

Quite a quarterback

Re Brady Calls It Quits After 22 NFL Seasons (Sports, Feb. 2): Over his 20-plus-year career, Tom Brady appeared in 10 Super Bowls and won seven. Considering the number of teams in the NFL, these numbers are extraordinary. In fact, they are downright “Ruthian.”

Coincidentally, baseball’s Babe Ruth appeared in 10 World Series and won seven. No matter how one cuts it, Mr. Brady is in good company.

Jerry Amernic Toronto

Many people disliked Tom Brady during his career for whatever reasons. What I found so remarkable was not that he was genetically engineered to be an outstanding quarterback, but that he wasn’t.

He demonstrated repeatedly that “mind over matter” and commitment to success counts. Thanks to Mr. Brady for 22 years of entertaining football.

Douglas Nowers Toronto

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