Business of politics
Re How Not To Manage A Country (Editorial, Jan. 19): Bill Morneau’s claim that politicians should put aside the short-term mindset seems rich, given that as a former executive of a public company, he was driven to meet investor and analyst expectations on a quarter-by-quarter basis.
Joe Racanelli Toronto
Re The Case For High-priced Outside Consultants (Jan. 18): Here is my countercase against consultants: The federal government is the largest employer in the land. Someone looking for a rewarding, engaging, lifelong career should want to work for an organization that constantly looks to improve.
With all the moving parts involved in running a country, there should be limitless opportunities to apply modern methods to the task: Travel to other countries to see how they do things, then bring ideas back to make the lives of Canadians – the customer – better. Develop talent and then allow that talent to move between departments so they can grow, and competence and confidence improve across the board.
This is not rocket science, but it does require leadership. We have tens of thousands of “internal consultants” on our government payroll already. Challenge them, measure performance, reward accordingly and build a civil service that they – and we – can be proud of.
Stew Valcour Halifax
Since 2015, federal payroll costs have increased from $38-billion to $58-billion and staff by 30 per cent. Now fees for services since 2016 rose from $8.35-billion to nearly $15-billion, and overall compensation costs are about 50 per cent higher than private-sector job equivalents.
If the Bank of Canada is tackling inflation in part by increasing unemployment, the federal government, the largest employer in the country, should show leadership and do its part by significantly reducing payroll costs.
Bonnie Robinson Ottawa
Been here before
Re Ontario, B.C., Taking Divergent Paths On Private Care (Jan. 19): Some Ontarians are experiencing déjà vu with the news of Doug Ford’s private-sector plans for health clinics.
Under former premier Mike Harris, government support for a range of social services was severely cut back. The public sector then, as now, struggled to provide what was needed.
But Mr. Harris had a plan: The private sector could easily provide better and more efficient solutions. Ventures such as for-profit elder care greatly expanded. But as the pandemic taught us, the result has been a broken and poorly governed two-tier system.
So now we come full circle to yet another Progressive Conservative premier extolling the virtues of for-profit health care. Let Ontario buyers beware.
Edward Carson Toronto
Re Caisse Still Must Come Clean On Crypto Blunder (Report on Business, Jan. 13): Rita Trichur is my favourite columnist because she speaks truth to power. And the questions she raises about FTX and Celsius Network certainly deserve answers. It would be ill-advised, however, to encourage Canadian politicians to use the legislative hammer as a solution.
Our large pension funds are respected globally, precisely because they are independent from domestic political pressures. This generates deal flow and higher returns, and allows our funds to maintain long-term portfolios that can survive multiple economic and political cycles.
Contrast this to the situation south of the border where some state leaders have politicized pension management, using their power to sacrifice the future retirement of others on the altar of today’s populism. The separation of pension management from politics is a principle we should celebrate and protect.
Jordan Berger Toronto
Give and take
Re Opt Out (Letters, Jan. 17): I completely agree with a letter-writer advising non-profits about a desire to be mailed once a year or be removed from their lists. Sadly, many non-profits do not honour those requests.
However, too many who do request once-a-year contact (an informal contract) do not oblige with a donation. For those who do not, my clients and I feel comfortable sending a gentle reminder request toward the end of the year.
As an agency helping to raise funds for many good causes, we do not wish to waste our clients’ money by sending donation requests with no chances of success. Our task, and our passion, is to raise needed funds at a minimal cost to them.
A lower postage rate for non-profits would go a long way as we take no markup on postage.
Howard Golberg President, Pinnacle Direct; Montreal
I agree that it is aggravating to receive continuing charitable requests for money. That aggravation is mild compared to our experience.
In 2021, my wife and I looked at what was happening in Canada and the world, and we agreed that we could afford to be more generous. The consequences were disastrous.
We increased our charitable donations significantly, and were rewarded by an audit of charitable donations and medical expenses by the Canada Revenue Agency. The increase in donations must have set off alarm bells at the CRA, since our medical expenses were not out of line from previous years. (Documenting medical expenses to the CRA’s demands is onerous, even with good records.)
It has been a kick in the groin for trying to be more generous.
G. Wayne Brown Nanaimo, B.C.
Re Sports Gambling Is Strangling The Beauty Of Games (Jan. 17): Thanks to contributor Bruce Kidd for speaking about the perils of betting advertising and calling out the culprits. How many normal lives will have to be ruined before they take out in-game advertising, all while our “legends” get rich over this?
It makes me sick.
Kelly Kinahan Ottawa
Contributor Bruce Kidd deserves a gold medal.
Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid and the like get paid well over $100,000 for every game they play. Not enough, evidently. Many Canadians can only dream of earning that in a year.
Players further enrich themselves by promoting gambling, an activity that causes great harm to many individuals and threatens the integrity of the sport that gives them so much.
And don’t get me started on No. 99, “the Greedy One.”
Phil Ford Ottawa
Re McDavid Is Born (Moment in Time, Jan. 13): Really? The birthday of 26-year-old Connor McDavid as a “moment in time”?
Way to make an old geezer feel more old-geezery!
T.M. Dickey Toronto
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