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A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. Readers are divided over the idea of taxing capital gains on primary residences.


Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:

Home truths

A Globe and Mail editorial raised the idea of taxing capital gains on primary residences (Hey Canada, Mind The New Generation Gap, Dec. 27). Two letter writers subsequently wrote in support of such a proposal (Capital Idea, Dec. 30).

But most Canadians see house ownership as an investment to count on in their senior years. When the time comes, they sell the house and use the proceeds to pay for seniors’ homes, nursing homes and other help elderly people need.

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Should they be forced to pay the capital gains tax, they could hardly afford these expenditures and would have to rely on the government’s help.

This is not a right solution that prevents the profiteering tricks of some individuals.

Dana Dvorak Toronto

Before your readers get too excited about the government getting a huge windfall by taxing capital gains on the sale of homes, consider this: Once the government starts treating homes as a business asset, it would have to allow owners the right to deduct the carrying cost of their homes as well.

So we would start down the wormhole of interest deductibility, writing off the cost of repairs and renovations, legal fees, commissions and so on.

And then, there would be exemptions required for anyone who is buying a new home to replace the sold one.

Of course, people would wise up and use tax-avoidance techniques to minimize the impact, such as mortgaging the value to the rafters, hiding title in corporations and trusts and so on. So don’t start spending the tax money yet.

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Morris Sosnovitch Toronto

Your proposal to tax home properties sounds brilliant at first glance, as it might discourage the offshore purchase of homes for investment.

There are, however, some catches.

The income would go to that large pot in Ottawa into which governments tend to dip to fund favourite policies.

We could see a new media cycle to support AnimalCare or 100 per cent of city (never rural) public transit.

Further, farm children would be unable to inherit their parents’ farms and would be obliged to sell to mansion developers and factory-farm corporations. Managed foresters, with no farm income while their seedlings grow, already have that problem.

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U.S. citizens pay capital-gains taxes on their homes annually, but are allowed to deduct that expense from their taxable income.

Canadians have no such opportunity.

You should discard this government-support idea fast.

Charles Hooker East Garafraxa, Ont.

Donor dilemmas

Re This Holiday Season, Your Organ-donation Consent Is The Best Gift You Can Give (Dec. 23): Last Jan. 26, the life support of our 37-year-old daughter Emily was stopped.

For the previous two days, we tried to convince the Trillium Gift of Life Network to use all of Emily’s organs as she had registered to be a donor.

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They were all intact and usable.

Simply put, the answer was no.

Emily previously had thyroid cancer. After thyroid surgery, she had continuous follow-up tests, all negative – but Trillium said no because it had not yet been five years.

Being months away from being deemed “cancer-free,” we were shocked that Trillium would not take any of Emily’s organs.

So for those in need of organs, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, eyes and others, just be aware that all of Emily’s organs were buried with her. What a waste.

Rene and June Soetens Ajax, Ont.

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My second cousin, a past president of the American Psychological Association, told me this unsettling story.

One of her patients, an accident victim, had been brought into her Texas hospital with the very worst prognosis.

His vital signs were absent and machines were all that kept his body alive. He was brain- and body-dead.

As the transplant doctors clustered at the patient’s bedside, awaiting my cousin’s release for him to be sliced and diced into organs, she had a strange misgiving.

What if what appeared to be irreversible trauma were not in fact terminal?

So she held off authorizing trans-section, and compelled the would-be transplanters to wait.

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Twelve hours later, the apparently brain-dead patient was sitting up in bed, feeding himself unassisted.

If my cousin had acceded to the request, the patient would have been broken down into 20 organs on a slab.

This is why I do not authorize any authority anywhere to take my organs in the event of what appears to be my death. I realize I’m up against statistics here. Odds are, I’m told, that for every instance like my cousin’s, many more cases will result in harvestable organs that save lives. But I’m reminded of that old argument that 10 guilty people should go free to offset a single wrong conviction of an innocent person.

My view is that even in death, my body remains my own.

Bill Atkinson Calgary

Dog tales

Re A New Leash On Life (Dec. 26): Alex van Veldhuizen and Jovan Kvill are two very special people who have poured the goodness in their hearts, their resources and energy into giving Moby, an afflicted animal, a full and happy life.

At a time when we are witnessing such cruel, heartless and cynical behaviour by humans all over the globe, it is heartening to know that there are such good people.

May all three be blessed, always.

Sheryl Danilowitz Toronto

Re The Rough And Tumble Of Husky Love (First Person, Dec. 30): Lori Christensen’s story about life with Kayla, her adopted husky pup, is hilarious. I can’t stop laughing.

It definitely helps to be a dog lover and owner, and to have similar stories of my own. I thought my life with Farley, a rescue twice rejected before he was a year old, was bad, but I have something to compare him with now.

One of Farley’s most destructive antics was chewing to bits my $5,000-plus hearing aids, which he retrieved from a hard plastic case sitting on the kitchen table.

I found the remnants in his dog bed.

He also would have loved the dead salmon that Ms. Christensen refers to and delights in rolling in any stinking mess he can locate.

Like Ms. Christensen, with her love of Kayla, I wouldn’t part with Farley for the world. Snuggling up and gazing at me with those big brown eyes says it all. Yes, we belong together.

Patricia Houston Victoria

Re Will The Rest Of The Country Follow Ontario’s Bold Move To Protect Animals? (Dec. 31): I do not share the authors’ optimism. Ontario’s Ford government felt forced to pass a new animal-protection law because the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals completely vacated the field.

That new law may look good on paper, but the (un)seriousness of the government’s intentions becomes clear when you look at the laughably minimal staffing they propose for enforcement.

We should also keep in mind that “agricultural animals” are completely exempted from these new protections, and this same government has since introduced a draconian “ag-gag” bill intended to stop activists and whistle-blowers from reporting truthfully on the treatment of those animals.

Brian Brophey Toronto

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