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Re A Plea To Leave Poor Andrew Scheer Alone (Nov. 12): I am gay and Catholic. I am also a 62-year-old retired public servant, who was able to attain a historical leadership role because my co-workers and superiors judged me on my honesty, integrity, dedication and vision – not my sexual orientation.
When I was 26, I told my mother, a devout Catholic, that I was gay. She cried, then explained why. In her words, “I had chosen a hard road.” I guess my mother knew there would be people like Andrew Scheer, whose lack of acceptance of all walks of life, in the name of his own religious beliefs, would doggedly follow my road.
Cindy Nicholson Roseneath, Ont.
Conflict of interest?
Re Business Leaders Urge End To Canada-China Friction (Nov. 12): Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, among others, says that the frictions between Canada and China are for Beijing and Ottawa to solve, and that his interest is commercial. In other words, they seem to be saying: Let’s ignore the human-rights abuses in China, such as the one-million-plus Muslim Uyghurs who are being detained in what are called “re-education” camps. Let’s ignore the thousands of young people in Hong Kong who are struggling to win some political freedoms. Let’s just get back to business.
We have just celebrated Remembrance Day, in honour of so many Canadians who fought and died to protect the democracies we live in, and we are urging our government to give up these same principles just so we can do business with the second-largest economy in the world. I shake my head.
Even the World Bank recently scaled back funding for its education development projects in China, because of evidence that points to money being diverted to buy tear-gas launchers and police batons. Do Canadians feel comfortable doing business with such a country? I certainly don’t, and neither should a Canadian premier.
Elizabeth Graham Langley, B.C.
A bridge further
Re Thunder Bay-Fort William Bridge Reopens (Nov. 12): There is a seemingly obvious solution to the oversight regarding the new bridge between Thunder Bay and Fort William.
Since fire trucks may not be able to get from Thunder Bay fast enough, why not have a fire truck permanently stationed in Fort William First Nation? Building local capacity to operate it will build skills, shorten response time and provide employment. Every community deserves fire protection.
Steph Thorson Toronto
Spread the pain around
Re Dear Western Canada, The Rest Of The Country Knows Economic Pain (Report on Business, Nov. 9): Columnist David Parkinson was spot on with his observations about economic pain felt by other Canadians.
I was born in Halifax in 1942. All I heard growing up was the poor state of the Maritime economy: forestry issues in New Brunswick; coal and the long demise of steel in Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island had potatoes until it didn’t, thanks to a potato rot from which it took years to recover; and Newfoundland, economically battered as it joined Confederation, a condition that persisted until Hibernia was discovered – but look where it is now, again.
Dangerously, I believe Jason Kenney is counting on us all being ignorant of history.
Robert Swain Kingston
We in the West are well aware of, and sympathetic, to the periodic economic pains experienced elsewhere in Canada.
The West has also borne economic shocks in the past owing to depressed international market conditions, trade conflicts, extended crop failures and the like. I don’t think the West purports to have “invented” hardship, as suggested.
But this time is different. The current energy woes are, to a significant degree, self-inflicted and avoidable. Petroleum sectors elsewhere in the world hum along while ours is hamstrung by limited access to markets. And if Albertans are paranoid about federal energy initiatives, consider us once bitten, twice shy: The 1980s National Energy Program caused severe economic pain to the West that lasted a decade.
Columnist David Parkinson expressed incomprehension that 152 years of nationhood could be dismantled “over a pipeline.” That expanded pipeline represents a key underpinning of the West’s economic well-being. How important is this nationhood without an economic future?
Peter Nichols Canmore, Alta.
Re Quebec, Part 2 (Letters, Nov. 11): Would you rather live in Alberta, with no provincial sales tax and an income-tax rate of just 10 per cent on the first $131,000 of taxable income (and gradually increasing to 15 per cent if one is lucky enough to make a little more than $300,000)? Or would you prefer Quebec, with a 9.975 per cent QST and an income-tax rate starting at 15 per cent on the first $43,000 (and rising to 25.75 per cent on more than $104,000)?
I have lived in both Quebec and Alberta. Both have attributes that attract me and both have blind spots about the other. But people should not pick and choose arguments that suit their point of view, while ignoring ones that do not.
David Monroe West Kelowna, B.C.
There has been discussion in recent letters about the relationship between equalization payments and provincial deficits versus surpluses. It is not always understood that these payments come from the federal purse, not the provincial treasuries.
Alberta’s government does not contribute to the equalization scheme, hence its deficit is not due to equalization. Quebec’s government receives equalization payments, and its surplus partly reflects that. However, if it had Alberta’s lower tax rates, it would be running a substantial deficit. By the same token, if Alberta had Quebec’s tax rates, it would have a surplus.
The difference between these two fiscal situations is mainly because of a difference in tax effort.
Jim Davies Professor of Economics, University of Western Ontario; London, Ont.
Re Saskatchewan Premier Says He Expects ‘More Of The Same’ From Trudeau (Nov. 13): Alberta and Saskatchewan complaining about alienation from Ottawa is like the young man who murders his parents, then asks for the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.
Larry Phillips Winnipeg
Re Remembrance Day On Hastings Street (Opinion, Nov. 9): Preston Manning dismisses the young people sitting around Vancouver’s Victory Square Cenotaph as “self-absorbed” and wonders if they would care enough to make a sacrifice for their country; this, despite the unprecedented participation of large numbers of youth in recent climate strikes.
Then Mr. Manning bemoans the lack of social-services staff available to help society’s most vulnerable – as though he hasn’t spent a lifetime leading a right-wing movement dedicated to low taxes, small government and cuts to these very services.
To Mr. Manning, the best response this Gen-Xer can think of is: “OK, boomer.”
Heather Ganshorn Calgary
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