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The Government of Canada public pensions web page on Jan. 9, 2018.The Canadian Press

Good move

Re “Trudeau retreats, and retreat is his best political strategy” (March 22): It seems to me that having the wisdom and courage to sometimes retreat are the qualities of a good leader.

I doubt if Pierre Poilievre has ever retreated an inch in his professional life.

Barbara Jenks Victoria

Same old

Re “Budget 2023: Ottawa should give provinces more tax room, not a blank cheque, for health care” (Editorial, March 22): Simple solutions never seem quite so simple. While transferring tax points would, in theory, achieve everything you propose, I believe nothing would change.

Provinces would continue to avoid accountability by blaming the federal government for not transferring enough tax points. In Ontario, the Ford government would continue to starve the public health system into mediocrity, while gaining little in return for the largesse it doles out to its friends.

Lyle Clarke Whitby, Ont.

Sound argument

Re “Supreme Court hears important federalism case without its only Indigenous member” (March 22): Justice Russell Brown is not able to sit on a major federalism case. To avoid the possibility of a split vote, Chief Justice Richard Wagner excludes Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin from Ontario. She is the first Indigenous judge in the Supreme Court’s history. In what world does this make any sense?

The case looks at law regulating projects under federal jurisdiction, including those on Indigenous lands. While also from Ontario, Justice Mahmud Jamal’s history in Edmonton is cited as one reason for keeping him on the case. Why is this more important than Justice O’Bonsawin’s deep understanding of Indigenous concerns?

The Chief Justice’s decision reminds me of a quote often attributed to Otto von Bismarck: “If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” Now that I have watched the sausage being made, my respect for the highest court in the land is seriously eroded.

Claudia Cornwall West Vancouver

Hold on

Re “Federal government urged to consider raising RRIF age threshold” (Report on Business, March 17): 1. Withdrawing the minimum amount from a registered retirement income fund does not mean one has to spend it. The amount could be put in a tax-free savings account to continue tax-free growth on at least some of the withdrawal.

2. Taxpayers in the top marginal tax bracket would benefit from delaying withdrawal. But since the entire RRIF balance is added to a deceased’s final tax return (if not rolled over to a surviving spouse), for taxpayers in lower brackets, it could be taxed at a much higher rate at death than if it is withdrawn over several years.

Coleen Clark Professor emeritus, personal finance, Toronto Metropolitan University

Old money

Re “Budget 2023: The growing generation gap between what Ottawa spends on older and younger Canadians” (Editorial, March 20): When my father turned 65 in July, 1969, I asked him if he was going to apply for Old Age Security. He replied, “No, that should be for people who need it.”

For years, I have received OAS. I neither applied nor ever qualified for it, but the government insists on paying it then clawing it back.

I agree: Just don’t send it, so that people who do need it will get more.

Jim Herder Aurora, Ont.

There is a solution to the money problem for funding seniors: Get rid of Old Age Security and increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement by the same amount for low-income seniors.

No one with a pension of more than $35,000 should get extra benefits. I include myself in that group. I find it obscene that people with pensions of more than $50,000 are getting any extra money.

No wonder the younger generations despise us. The entitlement feels off the charts.

Claudia Meier West Kelowna, B.C.

Re “Me generation” (Letters, March 22): A letter-writer despairs of “a sense of entitlement ingrained into society.” It was not always so.

I am a boomer who lived in several countries overseas for 25 years. Upon my return in 2013, I was shocked at seeing Canadian social culture become characterized by greed, self-centredness, entitlement and a lack of respect for others. These were not the Canadians I knew.

This cultural shift should explain a lot of things, not least living beyond one’s means, the widespread rejection of norms and rules and the move toward right-wing attitudes and politics.

J. David Murphy Barrie, Ont.

All or nothing

Re “Actions to stave off climate breakdown are possible but urgent, UN report says” (March 21): Canada provides 14.5 times more support for fossil fuels than renewables, according to Oilwatch International. Other G20 countries, on average, provide 2.5 times more support.

This disparity may be why Climate Action Tracker considers Canada’s climate action “highly insufficient,” and why many Canadians fear a bleak future.

Canada should heed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s last call. It should, as soon as possible, develop a comprehensive decarbonization plan, pass just-transition legislation in consultation with workers and marginalized groups, end foreign and domestic fossil fuel subsidies and ban new fossil fuel development.

Canada should also stop investing in solutions such as industrial carbon capture and storage, which, according to the IPCC’s latest synthesis report, is one of the costliest solutions and has minimal impact in reducing emissions.

Our future need not be bleak, but it’s contingent on a full transition from fossil fuels. We can afford no more delay.

Beth Lorimer Ecological justice program co-ordinator, KAIROS Canada; Toronto

Canadian bond

Re “Jimmy Carter’s atomic bond with Canada” (March 20): While Jimmy Carter played a role at Chalk River, Ont., it was largely Canadian servicemen who took the risks.

My dad, Alex Curran, was a 30-year-old serviceman who studied engineering and physics at the University of Saskatchewan. He maintained an interest in nuclear energy.

When the call came to clean up Chalk River, he signed on immediately. At the end, a few volunteers were needed for the most dangerous part: to climb down into the last pools of water and soak it up by hand.

He did some calculations in his head and decided it was probably safe – on the condition that his commander, in return, give him a week’s pass to stay and study the plant, a request that was granted.

Years later, Dad received a letter containing a certificate signed by Stephen Harper, a personal letter of thanks and a cheque for $25,000 “from a grateful nation.”

Tom Curran Prince Edward County, Ont.

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Keep letters to 150 words or fewer. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: