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Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole responds to a question during a campaign stop on Sept. 14, 2021, in Russell, Ont.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

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Raise rates

Re Alberta Introduces Vaccine-passport System (Sept. 16): I’m not the first person to say we are living in a time of many changes: personal, social, economic, political. It can be exciting and invigorating. It can also be frightening.

People who are used to feeling like they are in control are facing the enormous reality of a pandemic where they have no control – except to say No to vaccination. I believe their resistance is fuelled by the noise and mixed messages about COVID-19.

I hear them. I don’t like being told what to do either. However, getting vaccinated is a sign of respect and care for one’s self and others, including family, friends, health care workers and the community in general.

Please get vaccinated.

Linda McCollum Edmonton


Re Is Anyone There? (Letters, Sept. 14): A letter-writer states that leaders of government refuse to act on our behalf to deal with the health danger of the unvaccinated. I would suggest that this is not the case at the federal level, where federal agencies will require staff to be vaccinated and Canadians will receive a vaccination passport for travel.

This is in addition to the fact that Canada’s current vaccination rate, while in need of improvement, is the highest of the G7 countries in spite of the poor response of some provinces; Canada’s pandemic stimulus package as a share of GDP has been put at 18.55 per cent, the lowest of the G7 countries except for Britain; Canada’s COVID-19 death rate is far lower than any other G7 country except Japan.

Now we should do better.

Alan MacFadyen Canmore, Alta.

Poll perspective

Re Voting Agency Warns Of Election Challenges (Sept. 16): Having just finished working the advance polls, I agree with the challenges to come. However, I think the “long lineups” can be largely perception.

Where I worked, there were three polling stations. Pre-pandemic, there would have been 10 voters in each line inside, and nine more outside. This year, with the same number of voters, there were three people well-spaced in each line and 30 more outside. It looks a lot worse, but isn’t really.

We’re all Canadians. We should get through it with a minimum of fuss, and hopefully our usual excess of politeness.

John Mason Toronto

Don’t vote for …

Re O’Toole Has No Big Selling Point (Sept. 16): As Canadians start to question the Conservative plan for child care, the environment and health care, I have come to realize that middle-income earners may be out of luck.

Child care for people earning less than $30,000 is what the Conservatives are hoping to help, while the environment platform to reach our Paris target is based on previous Paris targets. And the $60-billion in health care promises to the provinces will not kick in until the later parts of their 10-year plan.

Middle-income earners should think twice before letting the Conservatives into power, because hitting the financial bottom could be very near.

Lucie Gagné Ottawa


Re Trudeau Zeroes In On Wooing Progressives (Sept. 15): My electoral dream result: a throttled Prime Minister’s Office subservient to Parliament and ministers fully responsible for their ministries. In other words, a return to parliamentary democracy.

J-P. Clark Vancouver

Tax me

Re If Federal Parties Want To Help Seniors, They’ll Abolish Mandatory RRIF Withdrawals (Report on Business, Sept. 9): I believe it’s completely fair to pay taxes on RRIF income. What I do think is unfair is that, as I get older, my minimum rate of withdrawals increases – to a higher rate than my annual savings when originally contributing to RSPs. It is to the point that, if I live into my mid-90s, the withdrawals increase to around 20 per cent.

One constructive suggestion, in light of recent experiences, is to allow the transfer of RRIF funds to a registered account for eldercare expenses such as long-term care homes, care worker support, home modifications, etc. I would even suggest that these funds be generally tax-free, and certainly not clawed back unless transferred back into a RRIF or upon a holder’s death.

Martin Harvey Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Share the wealth

Re Don’t Bank On It (Letters, Sept. 13): A letter-writer argues that the rich should pay less tax, as the wealth created by their innovation and leadership trickles down. This notion was beautifully summarized by John Kenneth Galbraith when describing the supply side economics of the 1980s: “If you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrow.”

On the contrary, a society with greater income equality is more likely to be more prosperous. Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2014 found that redistributive policies such as taxes do not harm economic growth. It estimates that the United States and Britain would have experienced 6 per cent to 9 per cent more cumulative growth had income disparities not widened in the previous two decades.

If the rich want to get richer, it should be in their best interest to share the wealth and pay more taxes, instead of less.

Karim Fazal Oakville, Ont.

Climate check

Re Campaign Climate Promises? A Surprising Reality Check (Report on Business, Sept. 16): According to Mark Jaccard, distinguished professor and director of the school of resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University, Justin Trudeau has turned the tide on the fossil-fuel growth aggressively promoted during Stephen Harper’s decade. These are the same models that Prof. Jaccard used to correctly predict that Jean Chrétien and Mr. Harper would widely miss their targets.

Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole claim that Mr. Trudeau has not hit his climate targets. Yet the only target he has ever had is for 2030 and he’s on track to achieve it, according to the best assessment tools.

I believe we have a climate-sincere federal government. This is not something easily achieved and it can be easily lost, especially if voters do not act strategically.

Climate-concerned citizens cannot afford to indulge themselves with deliberate delusions that keep us floundering. This crisis is too urgent.

Michael Luce London, Ont.


Re The Montreal Protocol Agreement Is Reached (Moment in Time, Sept. 16): It is unfortunate that the accompanying satellite depictions of the hole in the ozone layer only covered 1980 to 2001. It would have been far more edifying to have also included some images of the past 20 years.

Sad to say it was “sate-light.”

Linda Lumsden Peterborough, Ont.


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