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Individuals fortunate enough to enjoy company health and dental plan coverage don’t have to consider these benefits as income for tax purposes. The cost to Canada's Treasury: $2.9-billion.Getty Images/iStockphoto

Budget bust?

Re “Federal budget 2023: Canada to create foreign-interference office to combat meddling from China, Russia” (March 29): I was glad to see that the budget actually dedicates funding to tracking foreign interference in Canada’s affairs, and protecting ethnic Chinese, Tibetans, Uyghurs and others from foreign harassment.

Unfortunately, this is being delivered through the RCMP. I don’t doubt the RCMP’s dedication, but the Liberals have done something that provides little transparency. This is more of the government’s “just trust us” approach.

There should be an independent agency that monitors this program. It should be staffed with people who can receive information from the RCMP and even CSIS. It should refer appropriate findings back to the RCMP for the force to assess and pursue.

It should also highlight interference and misinformation campaigns publicly so that citizens are aware, and have annual reports that summarize what has been found and disclosed in clear and meaningful ways.

Marc Grushcow Toronto

Re “Budget targets billions from banks with change to dividend tax” (Report on Business, March 29): Once again, the Liberal budget marks banks and insurance companies for a massive tax increase by eliminating dividend tax credits.

Every Canadian pension plan and mutual fund, and every registered retirement savings plan, locked-in retirement account and registered retirement income fund that has a stock portfolio, most likely includes bank and insurance company shares therein. These additional taxes end up negatively impacting the financial security of many Canadians who are able to plan for their golden years.

The Liberals have said for years that they are here for all Canadians. Actions such as these indicate to me otherwise.

Ross Dedman CA, CPA Ottawa

Re “Federal help with dentist bills costs $7.3-billion more than planned” (March 29): Our public dental plan has come in at more than double the expected price? What a surprise. The pandemic seems to have doubled the price of everything and medicare is in something of a mess.

But what the heck, just pass the bill and we’ll figure out the details later.

Anita Dermer Toronto


Re “Federal budget 2023: 7 key takeaways on climate, dental care and the deficit” (March 29): Again, there has been nothing set aside to deal with the fundamental problem of beefing up the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Chief of the Defence Staff has already signalled to this government his inability to carry out his existing mandate due to a lack of personnel and effective military hardware. The government has also failed to address sovereignty concerns and possible foreign incursions in the Arctic.

The ongoing lack of concern by this government regarding defence and security matters should be a wakeup call to all Canadians.

J.G. Gilmour Calgary

Re “Canada’s universities call on the government to increase research funding” (March 27): A plan to boost federal funding for research at Canadian universities should have been an essential part of an industrial strategy that supports innovation to build the economy of the future. But an often overlooked source of revenue is philanthropy.

Universities should be boosting fundraising budgets to generate more revenue from corporate and alumni sectors, in order to support research priorities within their own institutions. Philanthropy is not a silver bullet, but corporations have a vested interest in seeing the economy innovate and thrive. Alumni similarly have a vested interest in a strong job market.

Governments are critical to this equation. Philanthropy can also play a role.

Rob Donelson Waterloo, Ont.

Cold heart

Re “Rules of the road” (Letters, March 29): To describe those attempting to enter Canada at Roxham Road as “asylum-shoppers” is to indulge in a cynicism of the highest order.

Whatever may be our personal views regarding Canada’s obligations to refugees, some measure of compassion is surely not too much to ask.

Farley Helfant Toronto

Health management

Re “The provinces’ poor-us act on health care is wearing thin” (Editorial, March 27): Just as the provinces should admit that federal spending on health care is generous, they should also face up to reliable research that consistently shows Canada having more physicians per capita, including family physicians and specialists, than ever before.

The question should not be how many physicians we have, but how they are deployed provincially – in other words, how provinces manage the resources they already have.

Don Langille MD Halifax

Missed shot

Re “Canada handles Honduras with ease, advances to CONCACAF Nations League final four” (Sports, March 29): It is not only surprising to me that only 13,626 fans attended our men’s national soccer team’s key tournament match, but also quite sad.

As one of 29,122 ecstatic fans who shared one of the greatest moments in Canadian soccer history, when the team punched its ticket to the World Cup, it’s disappointing to see such a missed opportunity. Together with our incredible sixth-ranked women’s team and the grassroots efforts of our Major League Soccer and Canadian Premier League teams, the Canadian men have helped make soccer the fastest-growing, and most inclusive, sport in Canada.

Why not build on the growing momentum and profile of “the beautiful game” by selling discounted upper-bowl tickets to the various soccer associations in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding communities? After all, precious few of these youngsters would be able to afford to see their heroes live at the 2026 World Cup.

Jeffrey Peckitt Oakville, Ont.

On the ice

Re “James Reimer is the bad guy so that the NHL can be on every side” (Sports, March 20) and “No thanks” (Letters, March 27): I don’t look to professional athletes to be moral guides, but if they’re to be held up as such by their employers, I’ll naturally pass judgment on their character. The Staal brothers et al, for all their achievements in hockey, are forever tainted in my eyes as people.

With Pride nights, the National Hockey League seems to have miscalculated by using individuals as moral signposts, failing to foresee pushback from a bold few. It saddens me that I know this about certain players, when all I really ask of them is to entertain me.

Steve Ireland Denman Island, B.C.

Re “Maple Leafs acknowledge job is far from done after clinching latest playoff berth” (Sports, March 29): Now that the Maple Leafs have officially clinched a playoff spot, only one question remains: How badly will they lose in the first round?

Kate Soles Victoria

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