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The view of downtown Montreal from atop Mont Royal on Feb. 3, 2018.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/The New York Times News Service

By example

Re “Reading list” (Letters, Oct. 21): Bravo to a letter-writer from Burlington, Ont. This is the most rational reaction I’ve seen to what’s happening in Israel.

If only more people would follow his example, the world would be a more humane place during these dark times.

Stacey Stein Toronto

Helping hand

Re “Banking regulator asks lenders to set aside more capital as mortgage risks mount” (Report on Business, Oct. 21): This new regulatory edict, alongside one that requires lenders to reset extended amortization back to 25 years at term renewal, exemplifies and fuels the commodification of houses as investments, rather than houses as homes serving basic needs.

While protecting bank shareholders, these regulations increase the burden on borrowers and can force mortgage-burdened families to sell and lose their cherished homes. A better approach would be to direct regulators to adopt more flexible forbearance to enable underwater homeowner mortgages to extend amortization, manage excess increases in payments and help people hold onto their homes.

It may take longer to retire the mortgage and increase lifetime interest costs, but enabling people to keep their homes should be paramount.

Steve Pomeroy Industry professor, Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative, McMaster University; Ottawa


Re “Bank of Canada paper on Indigenous economy highlights the data deficits that hamper progress” (Report on Business, Oct. 19): Due to rules in the Indian Act, people on reserves cannot own land. This deprives them of access to investment capital and is a contributing factor in the suppression of the Indigenous economy in Canada.

Another factor is the lack of testamentary freedom. Imagine if the captains of Canadian industry had been restricted in how they could inherit from their parents. Where would they be today?

Surely it is time that people on reserves had access to the same rights to private property as the rest of us.

Alexandra Diebel Ottawa

Another way

Re “Lessons from a city that solved the family doctor shortage” (Oct. 24) and “One in four Ontarians may be without a family doctor by 2026, analysis says” (Oct. 25): More than 2.2 million Ontarians lack access to a primary care provider. There is a shortage of family physicians and that needs to be addressed.

There is a ready-made solution that can increase access right away: publicly funded nurse practitioners. Cambridge, Ont., helped solve its shortage of primary care providers by opening an NP-led clinic.

Currently, there are several NP-led clinic applications in the queue waiting for approval from the provincial government. But these applications have been languishing while Ontarians continue waiting for care.

Since their inception in 2007, when the first NP-led clinic in Canada opened its doors in Sudbury, these clinics have helped alleviate the strain on our health system. NPs can independently diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications and order a full range of diagnostic tests.

We can provide people across Ontario with the timely access they need. What we need is the will to act.

Doris Grinspun RN, O.Ont; CEO, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario; Toronto

French considerations

Re “Bilingualism is flourishing in Montreal, and that’s a political problem” (Report on Business, Oct. 24): I am proud to be a McGill University graduate (BA ‘66) and am totally dismayed at the Quebec government’s plan to double tuition for out-of-province students.

Most students attend universities in cities that they did not live in. After graduation, some leave, some stay and some return at a later date. This is the norm and to be expected.

For Quebec to take a stand to discourage students from other provinces feels ludicrous and will likely be the downfall of McGill, not to mention the downfall of the provincial economy and Montreal’s downtown.

I hope that this decision is quickly reversed.

Carole Krasnow Lieberman Vancouver

Note that English is the universal language of science and technology and many other disciplines. Imagine the outcry in academia at Quebec’s French universities, if the government decreed that all scholarly works be published in French.

Joe Shorthouse Retired professor, Laurentian University; Sudbury

Another seldom mentioned, but now more notable, note is that students from France pay the same as Quebeckers. This was brought to my attention by three French students who were my daughter’s friends while she studied there.

Ronald Boaks Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Political decorum

Re “New House Speaker Greg Fergus appeals for decorum ahead of Question Period” (Oct. 19): I have a framed letter from John Diefenbaker on my wall, dated Dec. 16, 1974, thanking me for my “warm thoughts” toward him.

That fall, the speaker of the House had disallowed Liberal backbenchers’ questions to ministers during Question Period, a decision that elicited complaints from government members. Mr. Diefenbaker, an MP at the time, rose in the House to defend the speaker and remind his opposite members (and his own members, for that matter) of the speaker’s role and the members’ need to respect the office. As a freshman law student (who’s never voted Conservative), I appreciated his reminder of proper process and decorum.

How things have changed. How the Leader of the Opposition could rise and exhibit such disrespect for the Speaker is disheartening, to say the least. Had I, as counsel, acted that way in any courtroom, the judge would have properly thrown me out of court.

Doug Baker Gibsons, B.C.

Development concerns

Re “In times of polycrises, multilateral development banks must do more and act faster” (Oct. 23): Asian Development Bank president Masatsugu Asakawa makes the case for the bank to “do more and act faster.” We note that he doesn’t make the case for doing better.

Communities near ADB project sites can bear the most risk when a project isn’t designed or implemented well. Accountability Counsel has found that recent damages include severe harms to land and livelihood, the destruction of the environment and cultural heritage and even violence against local communities.

Mr. Asakawa’s call to action leaves out promises to learn from past mistakes, remediate harm or commit to community-led design and implementation to mitigate damage. That’s particularly concerning to us, since we consider the ADB’s accountability mechanism to be woefully outdated.

Doing more and acting faster, without doing better, would lead the ADB’s billions of dollars to cause more harm to the environment and human rights, and undermine our chances of overcoming the polycrises identified.

Radhika Goyal Policy associate, Accountability Counsel; San Francisco

Inner child

Re “What to watch this weekend: Prime Video’s Mr. Dressup doc will reduce you to a puddle of tears” (Arts & Books, Oct. 14): Apart from the children in our lives, people like Ernie Coombs are an exceptional rarity, as most of us have lost touch with the open-hearted simplicity, benevolence and creativity of our inner child.

If any readers, as children, saw Mr. Dressup on a regular basis on Canadian television, this deeply poignant documentary will likely bring them to tears. And the reason for this is that Mr. Dressup was not only so much in our hearts for so many years, but because of the immense melancholy in grieving the loss of our priceless childhood spirit.

Mr. Coombs was not only true to his name: His life showed us the profound wisdom that a child shall lead us and that we should be as children.

John Sbragia Bowen Island, B.C.

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