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Construction workers watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak at the construction site of an affordable housing project in London, Ont. on Sept. 13.Nicole Osborne/The Canadian Press

Hell is…

Re “Poilievre’s Housing Hell video offers a lousy, dime-store analysis of our housing crisis” (Dec. 6): This sets off so many alarm bells for me. I’m also sick of hearing Pierre Poilievre blame the Prime Minister for every single problem Canada faces. I’m not an idiot.

If I could sit down with Justin Trudeau, I would thank him for what he did right and politely sidestep what I think he did wrong. Then I would implore him: Please, please, for the sake of the country, step aside and let a new Liberal leader (think Mark Carney) take the wheel.

To my way of thinking, this is the only feasible route to keeping Mr. Poilievre from becoming our next prime minister, something I dread to my core.

Diane Sewell Vancouver

Stand down

Re “Canada’s election interference inquiry starts off on the wrong foot” (Editorial, Dec. 8): Public inquiries do not normally grant standing to political parties.

None were granted standing, for example, before the recent Public Order Emergency Commission. This did not prevent commission counsel from asking tough questions of government officials, cabinet ministers or the Prime Minister.

Commissioner Marie-Josée Hogue was right to try to prevent the foreign interference inquiry from turning into a game of political partisanship. Political parties will have an opportunity, with full standing granted for the important “policy phase” of the inquiry in 2024, to bring forward their best ideas on how to strengthen Canadian responses to foreign interference.

Having campaigned for a public inquiry, I find it a shame that you should now try to undermine public faith in it before its work has even begun.

Wesley Wark Ottawa

Re “What’s the story?” (Letters, Dec. 8): I suggest that letter-writers read the decision of the commissioner.

She clearly explains the legal test for standing that was applied, and details why each entity seeking to participate received the level of standing it did. She treats the Conservatives and NDP exactly the same, including her admonition regarding expectations of proper conduct.

The complaint by Conservatives, that they have been denied broader standing, is tempered by the commissioner’s suggestion to MP Michael Chong that he consider seeking standing on his own, like other directly affected MPs. If the Conservatives read between the lines, the decision should be a signal of how they can participate more broadly in the inquiry.

More Canadians should seek to read and understand the commissioner’s decision before concluding that “the fix is in.”

Lee Shouldice Toronto

Hands off

Re “Revenues from the carbon tax should be funding adaptation measures” (Dec. 6): Revenues from the carbon tax should not be used for adaptive measures.

The major premise of the tax was to be revenue neutral. If not, it loses effectiveness to change behaviour and punish those who are unable to make investments to avoid the tax (heat pumps, electric vehicles, etc.). Unfortunately, governments have cheated on neutrality and been compelled to intervene, as seen in the rather backward initiative on Maritime heating oil.

Adaptive measures should be part of infrastructure investment and funded through local or regional taxation. This would encourage more preventative planning in specific areas.

William Trussler Fanny Bay, B.C.

Help wanted

Re “Why can’t Canada just let in more immigrants who can build houses?” (Report on Business, Dec. 6): This is the most intelligent opinion I have yet read on our immigration policy.

The idea of matching approved immigrants to our labour needs seems so simple that it defies logic. Our mandarins in Ottawa fail to see the forest for the trees.

For instance, we need nurses, doctors and ambulance drivers. We need construction workers. We need retail workers. At a time when we are increasing immigration quotas while the economy is sinking, and loading them into our big cities where the housing crisis is serious, why isn’t skill-matching a roaring priority?

Tom Lamont Collingwood, Ont.

Re “Ottawa doubles the cash foreign students need to study in Canada” (Dec. 8): Canada should be pursuing the best foreign students, not the wealthiest by chance of birth.

Rather than demand proof of $20,635 to study in Canada, instead offer $20,635 in scholarships to the best applicants – and forget about the rest.

Mike Priaro Calgary

By law

Re “Killer design: Massive pickups, SUVs are proving more deadly to pedestrians” (Online, Dec. 5): The most effective way to protect pedestrians and other drivers would be through regulation.

Far-fetched? The European Union put such regulations in place years ago and it has worked. Automotive companies simply redesigned vehicles to meet new European standards.

Lyle Halcro Toronto

Build up

Re “Ford government altered local planning decisions to allow for development: Globe analysis” (Dec. 6): I live in a suburb of Ottawa, in a community of single-family homes about 500 metres from a soon-to-be-completed LRT station. Count me as someone who would welcome the development of nearby high-rises and the 45-by-100-foot lots on my street being zoned for fourplexes.

The Ford government certainly took unsavoury action when rezoning Ontario’s Greenbelt land, but I support forcing municipalities to increase density in already developed areas. Left to their own devices, municipalities would always bow to NIMBYs, who think the former farmland their houses now occupy is sacred.

Ian Gadbois Ottawa

The practice of rewriting official municipal plans to suit development interests emerged early in the Ford government’s first term.

It began with the rewriting of Toronto’s Midtown in Focus and TOcore plans to remove height limits, requirements for affordable housing and elements related to urban form to which the development industry objected (”Ford government to rewrite Toronto’s development plans to allow taller buildings in more of midtown, downtown” – June 5, 2019). The Greenbelt removal and related decisions, then, were not one-offs.

Rather, they were part of a systemic approach to decision-making that transformed Ontario’s land-use planning system, previously the subject of international acclaim, into an instrument wielded by the province, most often on behalf of the development industry.

Mark Winfield Co-chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, faculty of environmental and urban change, York University; Toronto

Re “Cities are leery of tall buildings casting too much shade. In a warming climate, does that still make sense?” (Dec. 6): I’ll remember this report as I walk around downtown Toronto, freezing my butt off in the sun-blocked wind tunnels created by those mostly ugly glass-and-aluminum condo towers.

Leonard Willschick Toronto

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