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Re A Deficit Of Conservative Budget Math (Editorial, Nov. 6): In scolding the Conservatives for focusing on balancing the budget during the election campaign and rewarding the Liberals for practising fiscal prudence, one fact seems ignored: Such fiscal prudence has come at the expense of provinces required to meet federal service standards, without appropriate transfer payments to pay for them. Add soaring provincial deficits and debts to the picture, and Canada’s fiscal outlook seems far from rosy.
That’s not to mention any debate about the debt-to-GDP ratio, vaunted by Justin Trudeau, and whether it is a meaningful measure of fiscal performance. There are many finance experts who say it is not.
Paul Clarry Aurora, Ont.
Re Scheer’s Leadership Could Be Tested In Caucus Meeting (Nov. 6): While there is much discussion about Andrew Scheer’s failure to lead the Conservatives to electoral victory, blame should also be placed on the failures of the party platform. The reason I could not vote for the Conservatives was not because of Mr. Scheer’s leadership, but for numerous major reasons of public policy.
The shortcomings of Conservative plans for climate action and a carefully managed decarbonization of the Canadian economy were widely criticized. Across-the-board tax cuts and a suite of boutique tax credits would have most benefited wealthier Canadians, rather than the lower and middle classes. In the face of an opioid crisis, opposition to harm-reduction measures and health-care-based approaches to addiction conjured the failed war on drugs of past decades. And finally, a proposal to return to partisan Senate appointments felt like a huge step backward. Mike Duffy, anyone?
The two-thirds of Canadians who did not vote Conservative likely have other similar reasons.
Jamie Alley Victoria
“Tested” is not the mot juste I would use to describe the state of Andrew Scheer’s Conservative leadership. Canadians’ assessment of Mr. Scheer was thoroughly demonstrated on Oct. 21; perhaps “terminated” would be a better word.
Don Langille Halifax
A beef with China
Re China Lifts Ban On Canadian Pork, Beef (Nov. 6): So China has deigned to buy pork and beef from Canada again, after banning the commodities for what seemed like spurious reasons. Hopefully Canada will aggressively price its beef and pork to make up for the losses endured by Canadian farmers. They deserve nothing less.
John Ferguson Ottawa
Pardon my skepticism, but what do we think was the quid pro quo negotiated by Dominic Barton, our new ambassador to China? I am happy for Canadian pork and beef producers, but otherwise, the lifting of this ban seems completely out of character for China.
Fred Constantine Ottawa
Re PM’s New Cabinet To Focus On Green Economy, Sources Say (Nov. 5): Unlike manufacturer’s rebates which reduce the cost of a vehicle, government rebates on electrical vehicles don’t actually make them cheaper. All they do is transfer some of the cost, from the person who will enjoy driving around in the EV, to the rest of us who won’t.
If everybody claimed a government rebate on an EV, we would eventually all have to pay a similar amount in increased taxes, or saddle future generations with the cost in the form of higher deficits. When will people learn there is no free lunch, and governments mostly rely on the money they take from taxpayers?
All government programs budget for the amount given away, plus overhead, interest and tax collection costs. Some bargain.
Steen Petersen Nanaimo, B.C.
Take a shot
Re No Pain, No Gain: Children Cringe At Prospect Of Flu Shot Instead Of Nasal Spray (Nov. 6): As a veterinarian and someone who has read a lot on the history of human infectious disease, I refuse to let a year go by without vaccinating my children against the flu.
This year, I have made two trips to the pharmacy with my six-year-old son. Both times the pharmacist had the vaccine in hand, yet his panic was such that I couldn’t keep him still enough to administer the shot. Ultimately, I needed to pull him out of school for a visit to his pediatrician, where two nurses held him down and a third gave him the vaccine.
I desperately hope FluMist is available next year.
Johanna Hume Toronto
Compared with the week-long fevers, chills, body aches and debilitating fatigue symptomatic of the flu virus, a half-second poke in the arm undoubtedly still provides a “painless alternative.”
Kate Soles Victoria
Re Amid A Growing Health Crisis, Ontario’s Ban On Vaping Ads Is A First But Meagre Step (Oct. 31): Contributor Adam Kassam argues for greater restrictions on vaping advertising and flavours. However, it should also be noted that there is evidence that shows vaping to be a less harmful option for smokers.
For too long, smokers have been given a binary choice: quit or die. Today, they can choose vaping, which Health Canada acknowledges to be less harmful and Public Health England declares to be 95-per-cent less risky than cigarettes.
Why would a government ban communication on a less harmful product? It should instead encourage adult smokers to switch to vaping; introduce quality and product standards to protect those that do; enforce existing regulations to prevent youth appeal; consider new measures to restrict youth online access.
Calling for a ban on vaping flavours to protect youth seems to show a total disregard for adult smokers who deserve more choices than quit or die.
Eric Gagnon Director of corporate and regulatory affairs, Imperial Tobacco Canada; Montreal
Re Residents’ Group Unveils Proposal For City Charter (Nov. 6): I hope other cities in the Greater Toronto Area take up former Toronto mayor John Sewell’s call to action to push for a city charter.
The constitutional status of cities in Canada is as much a vestige of our colonial past as it is our agrarian roots. The paternalistic posture that pervades provincial-municipal relations not only results in provincial interference in city affairs, but engenders complacency and a lack of accountability at the local level; the province can always be blamed as a reason for inaction.
There are many other reasons to promote stronger cities, not least of which is climate change. Globally, cities are leading the fight against climate change. The most successful are those that have the means to do so.
Karen Farbridge Guelph, Ont.
He shoots …
Re Maple Leafs Notch A Ho-hum Win Over The Lacklustre Los Angeles Kings (Online, Nov. 5): The Toronto Maple Leafs’ John Tavares “flipped a forehand over a wide-open net.” Who does he think he is? Andrew Scheer?
Rob Brown Victoria
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