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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau address a crowd at a Liberal fundraiser in Brampton, Ont., on Thursday, September 5, 2019.

Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

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Election pulse

Re Trudeau Will Debate If It Helps Him – That Hasn’t Changed (Sept. 9): Perhaps it’s time we focused less on leaders and more on specific party policies. By focusing on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s turning down of debate invitations, we lose track of the important issues confronting Canada today.

Why not have more debates centred on one theme, much like the Munk Debates on foreign policy, and also invite cabinet ministers and their opposition critics to speak? Separate debates on the economy and the environment, for example, would allow key issues to be probed in depth, rather than acknowledged superficially in yet another multi-issue leaders debate.

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David Balcon Toronto

Re Have Canada’s Voters Made A Green Shift? (Editorial, Sept. 9): The most important question to be answered this fall should be about our prosperity in a world where climate change is rapidly, and permanently, shifting the rules of the economic game.

Canadian voters should be demanding bold, honest, realistic and specific road maps to future global relevance for our country.

Andreas Souvaliotis Toronto

By what percentage would the average Canadian reduce their standard of living to reduce climate change? My bet is somewhere between nothing and zero.

Richard Seymour Brechin, Ont.

Who’s down with CPPIB?

Re The Price Of A Pension: Inside CPPIB, The $3-billion-a-year Operation That Invests Your Money (Report on Business, Sept. 7): As a former pension-plan trustee, I find it reassuring that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is investing in the global resources required to source, acquire and manage private assets.

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In the mid-2000s, the plan I served as a trustee decided to build the capacity to target direct investments in private equity, infrastructure and real estate. For a variety of reasons, including valuation policy, compensation and reputational risks, this was not an easy decision for our board; it was, however, the most important decision we made while I was a trustee.

Leaning into the market disruption caused by the global financial crisis, our investment professionals placed our capital in a number of private market assets. The subsequent sale of these assets, years later, created a surplus that secured our plan’s fully funded status and allowed it to reduce risk across its public market portfolio.

The CPPIB, along with the Canadian workers who depend on its continue success, benefits from diversification. For contributors, growing confidence that the plan’s payment obligations will be met in the future should far outweigh any concerns about the fund’s (admirably low) expense ratio.

Jordan Berger Toronto

The cost of hiring external advisers to assist in running "a sprawling globe-straddling money manager” of our retirement money comes with the territory. When the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, by necessity, has to contend against heavyweight private investment firms in the international ring, I do not want a lightweight in that ring absorbing punches on behalf of Canadian pensioners.

Hiring our own heavyweight is well worth the return.

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Bruce A. McDonald Ottawa

Does Brexit spell the end for the Mother of Parliaments?

As teachers report more violent incidents in schools, boards struggle to manage children with complex needs

What Toronto can learn from France

The Brexit stalemate

Re Does Brexit Spell The End For The Mother of Parliaments? (Opinion, Sept. 7): British MPs who represent the minority who voted to Remain, and now advocate for Brexit with a deal, have three times voted down the only deal to which the European Union will agree. The EU made its position quite clear when the withdrawal deadline was extended in the past.

Anyone who has negotiated with trade unions, as I have, knows there must be a firm unchangeable deadline (i.e. a strike date) if there is to be any modification in each side’s demands. Continually moving that deadline nearly guarantees that neither side will budge – MPs who support Brexit with a deal will eventually have to accept the deal they voted down three times, or there will never be a Brexit. If, somehow, it never comes to pass, the minority opinion will have triumphed over the majority.

But whatever happens, those who advocate some form of Brexit are not going away. I chaired the Canadian delegation which attended the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in New Delhi in 1993. Even then, the British MPs were talking about Brexit.

Alan Redway PC, QC, former MP, former mayor of East York; Toronto

How to keep teachers safe

Re The Conflict Between Safety And Inclusion (Folio, Sept. 7): “Yes, we want to see less teachers suffer harm,” said Paul Wozney, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. In what other industry is “less harm” a goal rather than “no harm?” Why are we somewhat okay with caregivers, be they teachers or nurses, being attacked by their charges?

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Just as teachers shouldn’t be expected to carry firearms in fear of mass shooters, they shouldn’t be expected to wear body armour in fear of their own students; they are paid to teach, not to be dictators in their classrooms so as to safely “control” their students.

While teachers should sympathize with anyone who cannot consciously control their actions, there should also be an obligation to not swing a fist at another. If a student, or any citizen, is consistently violent, we should set aside facilities – not jails – where their actions cannot harm other people.

David Thomas Devine Toronto

It is unclear to me why Paul Wozney, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, believes “child poverty” is a main cause of violence in the classroom. A troubled home life can be found in all socioeconomic spheres.

It’s clear to me that most instances of extreme violence are caused by frustrated children who may need a different method of learning than currently offered to the majority of students in the classroom.

L.E. Burrows Kingston

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Democracy on wheels

Re Free Roads Are Taking Their Toll On Canadian Highways (Sept. 7): That France has embraced toll roads doesn’t mean Canada should follow suit. How a democracy decides to deliver transportation services reveals the values a society holds dear.

Those who support tolls never seem to address the inequality of tying road use to direct payments. Tolls signal that the freedom of the road should be restricted and the wealthiest classes should benefit mostly. Canadians know that free roads are not actually free: They are collectively paid for by drivers through their taxes. Such a distribution of costs is the most efficient – and democratic – method available.

The most fair way to support long-term plans for transportation infrastructure is through more progressive taxation of all citizens. Otherwise, road tolls could further increase societal inequality – which is already beginning to drive us apart.

Tony D’Andrea Toronto

Where were you when…

In 1964, so I’m told, I watched Northern Dancer win the Kentucky Derby from a stroller. Next came Paul Henderson’s Game 8 goal against the Soviets in 1972, this time in the school gym. And last weekend came Bianca Andreescu’s U.S. Open tennis victory.

Third time’s the charm: Now I can die a happy sportsman.

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Adam de Pencier Toronto

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