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Dawn of the deficit
So, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is going to spend about $1-million to have a “full, honest, and accurate picture” of the province’s finances (Doug Ford Asks Former B.C. Premier Campbell, Auditor To Draft Road Maps For Ontario Budget Cuts, July 18).
This has the potential to be money well-spent, but I am confused as to why the Premier is only investigating the past 15 years of Ontario’s finances and accounting practices.
To be sure, Kathleen Wynne’s government was playing fast and loose with the financial facts these past few years. It would seem to me, however, that she merely followed the methodology employed during the Common Sense Revolution that came before her Liberals took power in 2003.
When the Progressive Conservatives left office that year they claimed the books were balanced while an audit showed a deficit of $5.6-billion. Although they disputed this number and suggested the Liberals were playing politics, they grew silent when they were reminded that the highly respected Erik Peters (hardly a Liberal minion) had done the audit. The more things change, the more they stay the same with the partisan game.
Robert McManus, Dundas, Ont.
The Premier wants a road map for government spending. Nice. But up-front, can the Premier tell us how much the revision of the health curriculum (“sex-ed”) will cost in terms of development and implementation?
Development will involve visiting all the ridings in the province (as he said), and the implementation will include training for teachers to actually use the new curriculum.
Robert Morrow, Dundas, Ont.
Bring on UBI
Canada already has a universal basic income (UBI) program in place and functioning (Smart Money: Why The World Should Embrace Universal Basic Income, July 14). It’s called Old Age Security (OAS). It pays about $7,000 in 2018 to every citizen over age 65.
Because it is taxable income, seniors with higher other income will give some of it back, and those with high incomes give it all back. This program could and should be the platform for UBI.
The Book of Eve by Constance Beresford-Howe tells the story of a woman who, upon receiving her first OAS cheque, packs a small bag with her toiletries and a change of clothes and walks out of the house into the city, as her husband is upstairs hollering for his breakfast. Written in 1973, it shows the power of having a basic income and the slavery of its lack. When I read it, 65 was considered old and frail. Now, after receiving the OAS for 20 years, 65 is young and vigorous.
Ron Fast, Ancaster, Ont.
Canada will suffer severe collateral damage as the United States continues to careen ever-more-rapidly toward some sort of traumatic catharsis. Heartbreaking as it is to watch our friends to the south go through this painful episode, tearing at the legitimacy of key domestic and international institutions, there is nothing Canadians can do that will meaningfully change the path upon which they have embarked.
We can, however, better prepare Canada for the fallout that has begun and will ensue. Given how unpredictable the full scope and nature of that fallout is likely to be, comprehensive measures are called for. Efforts to diversify trade and promises to assist hard-hit sectors of our economy are a start but will take time and are a haphazard response to such a profound threat to our national well-being.
If ever there were a time for Canada to move swiftly to implement a universal basic income, it is now.
John Cadham, Ottawa
Lake under threat
I find it admirable that the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is trying to protect our land and water (Report Urges Action on Conservation, July 17).
What I find exasperating is that the Canadian, Ontario and municipal governments are promoting the burial of tons of radioactive debris beneath or near Lake Huron.
It’s one of our largest sources of fresh water and flows south into other Great Lakes, yet the people involved either don’t care or don’t believe that the repository will ever leak.
It is not a question of whether it will leak, but when. Nothing is permanent, except the damage that such a leak will cause.
Millions of people depend on this water. Putting it at risk is not in alignment with the stated goal of CPAWS. I urge every elected official to take the Canadian and Ontarian environment ministers to task for trying to implement such a foolish and shortsighted plan.
The proposed plan is simply the cheapest option for the nuclear industry, not the smartest or safest for us that use this valuable resource.
Randy Sterling, Blenheim, Ont.
Mark Kingwell’s exhortation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment misses the mark on a couple of related fronts (America Has No Choice But To Impeach Its President, July 18).
First, the timing is wrong for the Democrats. Impeachment results in a Mike Pence presidency, with an opportunity to establish his bona fides as a stable Republican leader. It would seem to the Democrats’ electoral advantage to keep a loose cannon in the White House until the next presidential election.
Second, impeachment in the United States is a political process, and there always are choices in politics. One need not impeach just because the grounds for doing so exist.
Moreover, choice is most often about getting the timing right, so back to the first point.
Eric LeGresley, Ottawa
Mr. Kingwell makes a good case for impeaching Mr. Trump for his relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. But given the history of the sordid relationships of various U.S. presidents and their administrations with autocrats and dictators of various degrees of monstrosity – let’s think only of Suharto, Pinochet, Somoza, the House of Saud or Saddam Hussein – perhaps Mr. Trump could be excused for thinking he was just continuing a fine U.S. foreign policy tradition.
John Reardon, Toronto
Hamilton Part II
Re An American Humiliation In Helsinki (July 18):
To borrow and expand upon the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda:
No one else was in the room where it happened
No one really knows how the game is played
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made
We just assume that it happens
But no one else is in the room where it happens
That was 1776
Nothing else is really new, but it happened
Trump and Putin in the room where it happened
Now Trump is in the stew ’cause it happened
Andrea Marcus, Toronto