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Protesters near Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Jan. 29.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

By definition

Re Both A National Security Threat And Not (Nov. 22): Among others, Jody Thomas, the Prime Minister’s national security and intelligence adviser, said that the invocation of the Emergencies Act was legitimate, because what constitutes a threat to national security now has changed since the act was drafted four decades ago. Thus the wording in the act is now too “narrow,” and the government should take a “broader” interpretation of threats.

That sounds a bit like a speeding ticket for driving 95 km/h in a 100 km/h zone because the limit was set four decades ago and now, in a cop’s view, the road has become more dangerous.

Ms. Thomas might be right about the danger. But in democracies, police and politicians follow the laws as written, not as they wish they were written – a Canadian value we brag about and preach to the world.

Ed Whitcomb Author, Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces; Ottawa

Provincial police

Re Plan For New Force Called ‘Disheartening’ (Nov. 18): Alberta mused with having its own police force. Now Saskatchewan plans to start a “Marshals Service” to the consternation of the province’s senior RCMP official.

The RCMP provides local policing in eight provinces and three territories. It may be time for the federal government to quit running a rent-a-cop service. The service has grown from its 1873 origins, to maintain order in the Northwest Territories, to providing sophisticated commercial and international services, but continues as a split personality still carrying out local policing.

This schism has become apparent to me in the form of the current RCMP Commissioner, appointed after mainly regional postings. Through no fault of her own, she often seems out of her depth.

Premiers should be told to develop their own police forces, and the federal force should become just that.

John Edmond Ottawa

Could have been

Re Ontario’s Auditor-General Says Laurentian Should Have Opted For Provincial Aid (Nov. 18): This report chronicles what I see as an unrivalled abuse of institutional office at Laurentian University.

Prior to retiring in 2020, I worked on countless labour and employment matters involving dozens of public institutions, including several of Ontario’s leading universities, over the course of 30-plus years as a lawyer. I have never seen a greater betrayal of public trust than what Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk describes.

Laurentian employees have lost their livelihoods, retirees their benefits, students their education and still the list of casualties remains unclosed. Those responsible should be held personally and professionally accountable.

Richard Blair Galiano Island, B.C.

Retro recession

Re An Important Source Of Canada’s Inflation Is A Borrowed $700-billion (Report on Business, Nov. 15): “In the early 1990s, Canada cured debt, inflation and stagnation with no painful recession. The same ingredients can work again.”

The February, 1991, inflation-control agreement led to the end of high inflation in Canada, bringing the rate down from 6.9 per cent in January, 1991, to sub-2-per-cent rates for most of 1992 and 1993. However, Canada did experience a recession.

The C.D. Howe Institute estimates that the Canadian economy peaked in March, 1990, then entered a recession whose trough was in April, 1992. While these specific dates are probably more disputable than for any other recession, I have no doubt this was a severe one, and the longest one Canada has seen since the Great Depression.

Canada’s debt problems hardly disappeared in the early 1990s. Paul Martin’s landmark budget was in 1995, but the federal government did not register a surplus until 1997-1998.

Andrew Baldwin Ottawa

Real thing

Re Mistrust Of Institutions Correlates With Gap In Financial Literacy (Report on Business, Nov. 16): No doubt, people would make better financial decisions if they were well-educated in financial literacy. However, many Canadians earn low wages that make it difficult, if not impossible. For people living paycheque to paycheque, the most important financial term should be “real wages.”

I did teach financial literacy in high school. I focused my lessons on helping students figure out if a raise was really a raise (in terms of greater buying power) or if someone was working for less money year after year relative to inflation.

I encouraged them to track real wages in future employment by using tools such as inflation calculators from the Bank of Canada and CUPE. I think all citizens should do so.

Call me a pessimist, but I think there are many people and organizations in business and politics that would much rather the population remain ignorant on this issue.

Timothy Kwiatkowski London, Ont.

Before or after?

Re Ottawa’s Efforts To Cut Credit-card Fees Are Highlighting The Web Of Players In The Complicated System (Report on Business, Nov. 21): Are interchange fees charged on the actual value of a product or service, or does the calculation include tax?

If merchant fees are levied on taxed amounts, that would seem unfair to retailers and a windfall to banks and credit-card companies. A bit like a restaurant tip on tax, which should not be considered part of a meal.

Peter Dawes Toronto

Won’t back down

Re Proposed Tax On Share Buybacks Is Bad Policy (Report on Business, Nov. 18): If directors and executives had more interest in improving productivity, they would invest excess capital back into their businesses.

I would like share buybacks banned. Then maybe corporate leaders will take a longer view and invest in long-term share increases.

Michael Marmoreo Toronto

Say I’m a CEO making a mere million dollars in compensation. I need a boost. My pay package includes a bonus for an increase in share value, but the share price has languished.

However the company has cash, lots of cash. If the company buys back shares, the price will increase, and with it my bonus.

What a wonderful world.

Rick Walker Toronto

Money for nothing

Re Beckham Taking The Heat For Qatar Controversy (Sports, Nov. 21): Qatar isn’t the only country attempting to clean up its image by throwing wealth around the arena of sport. Saudi Arabia, through its massive sponsorship of the LIV tour, is attempting to associate itself with the qualities of honour, integrity and fair play long attributed to the game of golf.

They will likely fail. Money can buy many things, but respect is not one of them. That must be earned.

Mark Roberts Gananoque, Ont.

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