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Leader of Canada's Conservatives Andrew Scheer has dual citizenship.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

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By the numbers

Re Election 2019: Nanos-Globe-CTV Daily Tracking Poll (Online): The Globe’s Nanos poll shows only about 2 per cent of voters embracing the People’s Party of Canada and the more extreme politics of what is, in my opinion, intolerance. I am grateful to live in a country with fewer angry people than in the United States and some European countries – at least for now.

It will still take vigilance to preserve our rare tolerance in a world where a few brilliant social and data scientists are able fan the flames of hatred everywhere.

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Lorne Salter Gabriola Island, B.C.

Standing down

Re Trudeau, Scheer Call On Quebeckers To Reject Resurgent Bloc In French-language Debate (Oct. 11): I was shocked to learn during the French leaders’ debate that no party would appeal the Quebec Superior Court’s striking down of the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” criterion of the assisted-dying law. To leave such a critical decision at that level of legal consideration seems disrespectful to those who may be detrimentally affected by the ruling.

The issue is complex, no one suggests otherwise. But in a democratic society such as we Canadians believe we have, it doesn’t seem just to allow the dismissal of rights that protect vulnerable Canadians. To this quite elderly parent of a socially vulnerable son, such political response reflects neither equality nor respect.

Audrey D. Cole O.Ont, distinguished associate, Canadian Association of Community Living; Smiths Falls, Ont.

Seniors and taxes

Re Tax Discrimination Against Solo Seniors Must Be Addressed (Oct. 10): Solo-senior tax discrimination has bothered me for more than two decades since the death of my wife. During these years, I have listened somewhat enviously as couples still together on this Earth speak enthusiastically about the benefits of income-splitting. One could write endlessly about the tax penalties of being widowed, but there is a new one this year, I think.

The federal carbon tax, which I do support, presents a new inequity: the carbon rebate for individuals when filing a tax return. A couple gets two rebates; unfortunate me gets only one, despite my monthly costs being approximate to a couple’s. It costs me just as much to heat my house, to own my car and to drive to visit my grandchildren in Waterloo.

(Yes, there is a survivor benefit from the Canada Pension Plan, but it is really very small.)

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We hear almost endlessly about families and the middle class struggling financially, but solo retired seniors truly experience financial pressures closing in on them. I recognize that I am more fortunate than many, but others are even more fortunate because of the way tax structures have been established.

To use an adolescent expression, this is not fair!

Ian Guthrie Ottawa


I retired in 1987 and took the offer by my employer to prepay Old Age Security until 65, and correspondingly have my worker’s pension reduced by an equivalent amount. That worked – until the government clawed back OAS. Around the same time, the government also cancelled the old-age income-tax deduction. Having lost my wife, I never was able to share my pension and thereby enjoy the tax savings.

Since then, I have had to move to a retirement home at considerable expense. It now takes all of my pension plus much of my investment income to live decently. On top of that, I now pay more income tax than I ever earned in salary.

I’m sure there are many solo seniors out there who would vote for any party that promised fair – not special – treatment for them.

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Wes Chalmers Chatham, Ont.


Financial planner Daryl Diamond believes that pension income-splitting between a couple is inequitable when compared to solo senior taxpayers. Equity is a cornerstone of advanced tax systems, but I believe the argument put forth confuses that with equality.

Stephen Harper had taken the position that a household married or common-law couple is an economic unit and should be treated as such for taxation. Pension income-splitting enables this in an equitable manner, such that a household with an uneven distribution of income would be able to pay a similar level of tax as a household with comparable income distributed evenly.

While the main pensioner gets a tax deduction, it should be noted the spouse also gets an equivalent “bump up” in taxable income. With that in mind, an “equivalent to married” tax deduction for solo seniors would actually create inequity by giving an unequal financial windfall to single-person economic units.

I also shed no tears for anyone who gets Old Age Security clawed back on $95,000 of pension income. OAS is a means-tested and unearned benefit, making any clawbacks a positive component of progressive and fiscally responsible taxation.

Jeff Wright Belleville, Ont.

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For the record

Re Regulators Review Fixes For Grounded Boeing Max Jet (Report on Business, Oct. 9): In reporting that Canadian regulators would join in a global effort to review reported fixes to Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max series, a photograph was published featuring three aircraft models. Included in that image was a Twin Otter turboprop – one of the world’s most versatile aircraft.

The Twin Otter, Canadian-owned and manufactured through Viking Air Ltd., has a safe and storied 50-year record of service in more than 40 countries. Twin Otters ferry commuter passengers each day, provide critical infrastructure support and carry first responders into precarious situations.

These aircraft are the very definition of reliable and should not be associated with the 737 Max – particularly when the air-travelling public is justifiably paying such close attention to the serious challenges faced by aviation manufacturers such as Boeing.

David Curtis President and CEO, Viking Air; Sidney, B.C.

An American tale

Re Scheer Holds American Citizenship, But Says He’s Renouncing It (Oct. 4): One doesn’t just tear up a second citizenship. My family’s case in point: We moved to Canada in 1970. Our children were all born in the United States and took out Canadian citizenship when dual citizenship became available.

After years of filing U.S. taxes (although never needing to pay any U.S. taxes), one of our daughters decided to give up her United States citizenship. When she went to the consulate in Quebec City to “renounce” her citizenship, she was asked why doesn’t she “relinquish” it instead? She was told the fee was minimal, while renouncement had a hefty price tag.

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Perhaps this is one of the reasons Andrew Scheer had yet to give up his U.S. connection. Few people, I think, are aware of the two possibilities.

Carol Greene Westmount, Que.

The H-word

Re Where Is The ‘How’ In All Of The Election Campaign Policy Promises? (Oct. 10): I am glad someone is finally asking, “how?” However, are any of the party leaders listening, and are they willing to enlighten the voters in this regard? Not very likely.

Don Forsey Toronto

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