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Letters to the Editor March 25: Budget calculations, 2019. Plus other letters to the editor

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau walk from Mr. Trudeau's office to the House to deliver the budget on March 19, 2019.

CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

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: letters@globeandmail.com

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Canada, and its parts

Re Carbon Tax, Pipelines Kindle Resentment In Western Canada (March 22): The carbon tax and pipelines are only part of the problem. If the current governing party cared about all of Canada, where are the Liberal Party leaders from outside Eastern Canada that it has put forth to be prime minister? After 152 years, maybe it is about time. If not, maybe it’s time for all Canadians, including those in Central Canada, to elect a party that is more all-inclusive.

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Richard Stovel, Calgary

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The percentage of B.C. residents for whom “nation” is important rose from 77 per cent to 86 per cent – an increase of nine percentage points. The same Environics figure for Alberta is up by only 2 per cent, and up by only 1 per cent in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but the operative word is “up.” Thus “nation” – that would be Canada – is “somewhat or very important” to more people in Western Canada in 2019 than it was in 2003. The only places where “nation” figures went down are Quebec and the Maritimes, which last time I checked, are east of Ontario.

Denis Seguin, Toronto

Budget calculations, 2019

The Trudeau Liberals seem to be following the path of the Wynne Liberals, who were resoundingly rejected in Ontario’s last provincial election, even though they tried to buy voters, dangling pharmacare, dental care, day care. Even progressive voters rejected this, fearing financial irresponsibility.

The federal government is racking up debt with large deficits in times of economic strength. What happens if the economy stumbles? Aren’t you supposed to balance the budget and pay down debt in good times and borrow in bad? The Trudeau Liberals promised before they were elected to balance the budget by now; Justin Trudeau even suggested “the budget will balance itself.” Apparently not. The Liberal mantra seems to be: In good times, greatly overspend. In bad times, overspend by more.

Dan Petryk, Calgary

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One of the things Canadians need right now is negative pressure on the cost of housing. This can be achieved through any number of policies that increase available housing supply. Funding new co-operative housing, expanding the scope of public housing, and taxing second properties or vacant properties are all market-driven policy interventions which can be used to achieve the goal of applying negative pressure on the cost of housing within the existing market by increasing supply.

By comparison, the Liberal government’s budget will apply positive pressure to the cost of housing. It will sustain or increase prices in the market, possibly even inflating a housing price bubble. The Liberal plan involves using the CMHC, a Crown corporation, to purchase up to 10 per cent equity in homes bought by first-time buyers. By increasing the number of buyers who qualify for financing, this policy will increase demand and drive price growth. It will also expose the CMHC to additional risk by forcing it to bring $1.25-billion on its balance sheet, which could mean a writedown if housing prices fall.

The Liberal plan is a short-term solution which does long-term damage. It doesn’t address the reason housing is expensive – lack of supply – and instead raises the prices for everyone. In doing so, it will tie up an increasing amount of capital in housing and reduce the velocity of money throughout the economy.

Dean Stamler, Montreal

SNC in 2019

I’m sure many Canadians would reply to Neil Bruce, CEO of SNC-Lavalin, as I would: I am sorry for what SNC-Lavalin is now going through. Now, in 2019. I am truly sorry. I believe it when he says he feels SNC-Lavalin has done their house-cleaning, and that SNC-Lavalin now has a strong ethical and watchdog governance in place (SNC’s Neil Bruce Says ‘We Need To Move On’ From Corruption Controversy As He Rebuilds Business, March 21).

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The issue for me and many Canadians is that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have tried to give SNC-Lavalin preferential treatment over other companies. In Alberta, we have lost thousands of jobs and massive investment from our industry, while the federal Liberals play their fiddle. In Ontario, GM is closing its Oshawa plant, and many hundreds of auto industry-related jobs are threatened.

I understand the feeling “Nobody appears to give a crap about whether we fail or not in Canada.” I can tell you I care. I have worked in major projects in Canada and internationally, and I know what it takes to build and organize and motivate good engineering, procurement and construction companies, good industries and good economies. I care if SNC-Lavalin fails. But I want the same care for Ontario and Alberta companies and industries and economies.

And I directly fault Justin Trudeau for the current SNC-Lavalin situation.

Barry Scammell, Edmonton

Pols and their shelf life

Re PM Rejects Philpott’s Plea To Let Former A-G Tell Her Full SNC Story (March 22): Jane Philpott says, “I’m not happy with how the SNC-Lavalin issue has been dealt with, and I’m not prepared to support how it’s being managed. But at the same time, I really strongly support the Liberal Party and believe that we have the best overall policy suite for the good of Canadians.” Really?

This is how the best and brightest women in Canada support the PM who helped them get there? By publicly holding his feet to the fire and creating a chink in the armour, which Andrew Scheer will do his damnedest to pierce.

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The women who have treated the best PM in decades (IMO) this way do not speak for me. I hate that this has split along gender lines. It was an issue of ideology and ego, then principles. But it seems the principles were latent until Jody Wilson-Raybould was transferred out of Justice.

I know nothing is as simple as it seems but I also believe Justin Trudeau really cares. This is obvious from the Liberal policies, positions and cabinet. I’d like to see all the MPs who left cabinet vacate their seats as soon as possible. We need women in power, but we need women who know how to share power, how to compromise, how to look at the BIG picture and how to be loyal to the constituents who put them there. And bringing down the PM and the Liberal Party and throwing us to the wolves is not my idea of being loyal.

Ronnie (Veronica) Lowrey, Kitchener, Ont.

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In the searchlight of the SNC-Lavalin affair, Canadians can finally read the small print of the product label on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Best Before Oct. 19, 2015.

Liberal MPs who still look upon Mr. Trudeau as the only shepherd who could lead his flock to the trough would do well to think again. The same light that revealed to the Canadian public much about the Trudeau government also shone brightly on, and brought to the fore, Jane Philpott.

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The more we get to know her, the more we see her, she comes across – in sharp contrast with Mr. Trudeau – as mature, competent, realistic and principled. Leader material even for this coming election. With the Conservatives in ascendancy by default, the Liberal caucus ought to recognize that Mr. Trudeau’s shelf life as leader has expired.

Peter Bartha, Aurora, Ont.

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