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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 22.BLAIR GABLE/Reuters

Politics and politicians

Re Political Life (Letters, Sept. 28): I too was moved by Michael Ignatieff’s thoughtful tribute to Trevor Harrison and praise for young people who appear in Ottawa to make Canada better.

A letter-writer remarks that Mr. Ignatieff “may have been a dud as a politician,” but “shows he’s a winner as a human being.” Can we go back to a time where one could win at both politics and humanity? Or was it just a dream, one shared by the likes of Mr. Harrison?

Ann Cowan Vancouver

Re MPs Need Meaningful Work (Sept. 23): As outlined by columnist Andrew Coyne, parliamentary effectiveness has been reduced to a shell of what it was designed to be. Individual members have little or no say in government policy. Power is concentrated in the Prime Minister’s Office.

This situation has been developing for some time under successive governments. But I have seen no government consolidate power unto itself like the Trudeau Liberals. During the brief occasions Parliament has sat, the Prime Minister and his cabinet seem condescending toward an opposition trying to exercise its constitutional responsibility to scrutinize and debate proposed legislation.

Populism develops when a good-sized segment of a population feels unheard. Many MPs have been robbed of power to hold government accountable to the people who elected them. This situation creates a disincentive to many talented Canadians to run for public office, and poses a serious threat to our democracy.

Kathryn Vogel Toronto

Gladue extension

Re Ontario’s Top Court Rules Gladue Principles Apply At Trial (Sept. 29): Some people will listen to an Indigenous person’s testimony and be prone to judge it a lie. They should not be on the jury in a trial of an Indigenous defendant. That is the purpose of the jury selection process.

It is not a perfect process. Someone with prejudice may slip through. But is the imperfection of jury selection corrected by a judge deciding what facts of the defendant’s past conduct the jury may hear? Can we count on the judge to make that determination perfectly?

Graham Brown Waterloo, Ont.

It’s the economy

Re British PM Truss Pressed To Reverse Course On Tax Plan (Report on Business, Sept. 29): The best way to increase GDP would be to increase the highest marginal tax rate.

French economist Thomas Piketty illustrated this phenomenon in A Brief History of Equality. Most economists now acknowledge that Reagan-Thatcher-style trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

Apparently Liz Truss doesn’t understand that higher taxes would ultimately benefit not just the British economy, but also the wealthy donor class who keep her in office.

John Seigner Calgary

Health care costs

Re How Much (Letters, Sept. 28): A letter-writer wants to know how much of health care budgets are absorbed by administration, noting that under large employer-funded group benefit plans, “only 10 to 15 per cent is retained by the insurance company to pay for administration.”

Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicate that administration has accounted for between 1.5 and 1.8 per cent of the cost of providing public-health insurance in recent years. This doesn’t include administrative costs of institutions such as hospitals which, according to CIHI figures, consume about 5 per cent of hospital budgets on average.

Sandra Macpherson Victoria

Re Wage-cap Bill Could Save Province $9.7-billion (Sept. 29): Shouldn’t the headline read: “Wage cap bill could cost workers $9.7-billion.”

Workers will lose, but so will all Ontarians if more health care workers quit and our health system crumbles.

Diane Richler CM Toronto

To freeze or not?

Re It’s Okay Not To Freeze Your Eggs (Opinion, Sept. 24): Contributor Alison Motluk paints a negative picture of egg freezing in Canada, balking at the 40-per-cent success rate for frozen eggs.

This is no different than the success rates for IVF, generally speaking. Women under 30 have about a 25-per-cent chance of getting pregnant naturally on any given cycle. This drops to 20 per cent for women over 30 and to 5 per cent for women 40 and over, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

No, egg freezing is not a perfect solution for the increasing number of women finding themselves running out of time to have a biological child. But right now, it is the only option we have for them.

Erica Berman PhD, RP Toronto

Life ahead

Re Cancer Freed Me To Just Live (First Person, Sept. 26): Like the essay-writer, I too have an aggressive cancer. Ever since 2019, when I first learned this, knowing that medical assistance in dying is available has provided great comfort to me.

I know there is no need to suffer a long and painful death at the end. Just accept things as they are and enjoy what I have every day.

I am still hesitant about going out because COVID-19 has not gone away and the pandemic is not over, no matter what others want to believe. I too enjoy being home with my husband and doing simple things.

Susan Wright Pickering, Ont.

Out of time

Re France’s Bullet Train Begins Service (Moment in Time, Sept. 27): The TGV is a great way to travel. From Paris to Montpellier, near where my brother lives, is three hours or so. One can go almost anywhere in France in three hours or so from Paris.

I recall that in the late 1960s, the CN Turbo train between Toronto and Montreal was launched with great fanfare. An inaugural trip with selected press on board made it as far as Kingston, where it was damaged in an accident.

Decades later, it still takes the same time, or longer, to go to Montreal – or Kingston.

James Mulrooney Toronto

Behind the play

Re Go Jays Go (Letters, Sept. 29): A heartfelt letter, in response to a Lives Lived column about a Blue Jays fan, describes an “elder lady behind home plate who seemed omnipresent.” While this was a moving tribute, the letter-writers may be mistaken about her identity.

I’m happy to report that “home plate lady” (as she is affectionately known to Jays fans) is alive and well, and can still be seen on television in her seat behind home plate at most Blue Jays home games. She was in attendance earlier this week to witness Aaron Judge’s 61st home run.

James Hayes Mississauga

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