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Re Ottawa Accused Of Avoiding Veteran Input On Pensions (Jan. 3): The replies from Veterans Affairs seem to suggest the department thinks it can have it both ways when replying to The Globe and Mail’s questions about the Pensions for Life program.
First, the government says it created advisory groups to help guide decisions on the new plan for vets’ pensions. But there was no requirement to publish the new pension regulations before the government approved them. But never mind, Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan is now touring the country to get feedback – after the fact.
Veterans Affairs denies there will be a cost savings with the new plan – but it will spend less. (In so doing, some benefits have been eliminated).
The department claims that levels of compensation will be more equitable. But those vets who apply after April 1 are apparently less equal.
All this sleight of hand was initiated in one of the damnable omnibus bills which the Liberals railed against when they were in Opposition. Even former prime minister Stephen Harper, the king of the omnibus bills, did better on behalf of our veterans.
Ann Sullivan, Peterborough, Ont.
Canadian soldiers serve and fight unfriendly governments in defence of our rights, then if injured come home to fight unfriendly governments in defence of their own. There really is no life like it.
Louis Desjardins, Belleville, Ont.
The LAV deal …
Re Cancelling The LAV Deal Is Avro Arrow Déjà Vu (Jan. 2): Suggesting that shutting down the Avro Arrow was a bad idea is like suggesting that in the early 1960s we should have proceeded with the Bobcat armoured personnel carrier (another famous Canadian procurement disaster), or that we should have plowed more funds into the carrier HMCS Bonaventure – a wonderful ship whose time, like the Avro Arrow’s, had passed.
Yes, the LAV series of armoured fighting vehicles has served Canada well, and we need to defend it and its manufacturers. Agreed that the Saudis are not Mr. Good Guy, and we need to distance ourselves from their politics – but if we think we will bring them to the light by not selling them our LAVs, remember that Russia is ready to sell them whatever they want right now. We might as well accept the Saudis’ money instead.By refusing to sell them the LAVs, not only would we be shooting ourselves in the foot, we would not be helping the Yemenis or anyone else, and we would be losing capability and significant national income and productivity.
Canada is lousy at procurement, but we are sure good at shutting down programs and punishing the wrong individuals.
Jock Williams, Toronto
I continue to be perplexed over the ongoing debate about whether to continue to supply Saudi Arabia with Canadian-manufactured LAVs.
The oppressive Saudi regime has used these same LAVs to suppress its own civilian population, and is leading a coalition that is waging a horrific war in Yemen, where thousands have been killed in air strikes and millions face starvation.
How in good conscience can our government continue to sell LAVs to Saudi Arabia?
Michael Gilman, Toronto
Prolonging … death?
Re Woman At Centre Of Legal Battle Over Life Support Dies (Jan. 1): Leaving aside the legal question of the criteria for someone to be labelled brain dead, can someone tell me the purpose of keeping someone on life support who is permanently incapable of interacting with their environment?
The legal battle didn’t prolong Taquisha McKitty’s life, it prolonged her death.
Arthur Vanek, MD, Toronto
Having lost a brother in his late teens 60 years ago because family couldn’t afford the medical care, I can’t help wondering how insistent the family in this case would be if they had to pay even a small fraction of the enormous cost of keeping Taquisha McKitty on life support.
Sudhir Jain, Calgary
Re Own-Goal Diplomacy (letters, Jan. 2): One of your correspondents asks what kind government would name Chrystia Freeland, who is banned from Russia, as Foreign Affairs Minister.
Well, she earned her ban with hard work. She is a burr under Vladimir Putin’s saddle. She has credentials that would make Donald Trump’s head spin.
She is a friend of Bill Browder, who gave us Red Notice, an investigative exposition of the Putin regime’s crimes and corruption.
She is respected by Washington and reviled by Mr. Trump, who has said, “We don’t like [her] very much.” Her integrity is garlic to Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Putin’s vampire. She is a feather in our national hat.
Hugh McKechnie, Newmarket, Ont.
Re Turmoil, Tension And Trump: My Business, Economic Predictions For 2019 (Report on Business, Dec. 31): Over the years, I have sometimes declared how wrong Eric Reguly could be in his predictions – but it was impossible for me to disagree with any of them this time.
He predicts that large technology stocks will fall further due to their overvaluation; European growth will drop; the failing Brexit deal will fade from view; industry consolidation will absorb at least one big international automaker and some smaller ones. All are quite insightful.
Among Mr. Reguly’s non-business predictions, the one that stands out is that Melania Trump will divorce her husband.
A great crystal ball.
Mark Borkowski, Toronto
Re Our Annual Predictions For The Year Ahead (Jan. 1): As your editorial did not include any forecast for 2019 pertaining to the environment, I will add a few for you:
Odds that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will increase again: 100 per cent.
Odds that even more serious climate events will occur worldwide: 100 per cent.
Odds that the melting of polar ice, animal-species decline, ocean temperatures, plastic pollution, forest destruction, and climate-related human migration will continue to increase: 100 per cent.
Odds that governments will talk about climate change but achieve very little:100 per cent.
Odds that consumption of all types of fossil fuels will continue to increase: 100 per cent.
Odds that voters will elect a political party that promises real climate action commensurate with the seriousness of the issue, as opposed to lower taxes and “buck a beer” priorities: 0 per cent.
Geoff Fridd, Toronto
Among your 2019 predictions is: “Probability of a Canadian team winning the World Series: 5 per cent.”
I must have missed it. When did the Cubs move to Montreal?
David Elenbaas, Toronto