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Grinch-worthy

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Re Morneau Gives More Ground On Tax Changes For Small Business (Dec. 14): Finance Minister Bill Morneau's latest salvo sticking to a Jan. 1 launch is a Grinch-worthy act if ever I saw one.

Mid-December is nice timing to make an announcement and then – on Dasher, on Prancer! – slink out of town. Why should small business owners (and their accountants) spend the Christmas holidays worrying about the latest round of revisions to a tax-reform policy that should be scrapped?

Here's a suggestion to business owners: Take your financial statements and business documents to your local MP's office and don't leave until they've heard you. Those folks should definitely get an earful about the burden this will cause.

The Senate has it right. Dump these proposals. Work on a comprehensive review of the entire tax system, rather than tweak and torque bits and pieces and cause more red tape for hard-working small business owners – the very people the government purports to champion.

This government, in my opinion as a small-business owner, isn't business friendly, and doesn't really understand what it means to run a small business.

Susan Scott, Peterborough, Ont.

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Dems and demographics

Re U.S. Hasn't Seen The Last Of Roy Moore's Ilk (Dec. 14): Konrad Yakabuski says the Republicans are in danger of becoming a fringe party "with a shrinking voter base consisting almost exclusively of white men and women without a college education." He left out a word: "elderly." Republicans do well with the over-65 crowd. In the younger age group, however, the trend is the opposite. Doug Jones (Democrat) beat Roy Moore (Republican) by some 23 points in the 18-to-45 demographic.

Manuel Matas, Winnipeg

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The GOP risks becoming a fringe force "with a shrinking voter base consisting almost exclusively of white men and women without a college education"?

Wishful thinking. Data from the 2016 presidential election showed that 54 per cent of male college grads voted for Trump, as did 45 per cent of female college grads. White non-Hispanic voters without college degrees who earned less than the median household income represented only about a quarter of Trump voters.

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Lawrence Bennett, Toronto

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Better jet, better off?

Re Our Incurable Case Of Jet Lag (editorial, Dec. 13): Name a time in the past 50 years when Canada would have been better off if we'd had better fighter jets?

Bill King, Toronto

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Cancer-care laggard

Re Ontario Must 'Plan Better': Auditor-General (Dec. 8): As an oncologist in Ontario, I welcome the Auditor-General's in-depth review of cancer treatment services. However, along with colleagues in the cancer community, I am deeply dismayed that the Health Minister has suggested he has no plans to expand coverage of take-home cancer medications to all adults.

The A-G's review found Ontario is lagging behind not only the Western provinces, but also the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon in funding take-home cancer treatments.

Today in Ontario almost half of all prescribed cancer medications are taken at home. Most cancer patients will need one in the course of their treatment; many do not have a choice of an in-hospital alternative.

While these medications are an essential part of evidence-based treatment plans for many cancers, in Ontario they require extensive up-front paperwork that is fraught with delays. As the A-G found in a survey of oncologists, this time spent on paperwork could be better used seeing an average of seven more patients per week. Even after approval, patients face more delays navigating patchwork systems for financial coverage.

Cancer treatment services in Ontario need to catch up and keep up. Oral cancer medications have been in use for well over a decade. Why only fund cancer medications in the hospital? Why only if patients are old enough (over 65) or young enough (under 25)? What about the adult, working-age patients in the prime of their lives? These are the patients I see every day in my clinic. They deserve better.

Sandeep Sehdev, medical oncologist, Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre

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Leave parents behind

Re How To Survive A Family Vacation With The Grandparents (Dec. 13): We loved travelling with our grandchildren but left their parents at home. That way, the parents had a welcome break, and there was only one set of adults in charge, so there was no conflict. I believe our grandchildren loved travelling with their grandparents, visiting European countries they might otherwise not have seen.

Ages five to 12 are the best years for travelling with grandchildren. Once they are teens, they prefer to travel with friends.

While I don't believe in multigenerational travel, we enjoyed winter visits with grandchildren and their parents when they came to stay with us at our home in Costa Rica.

Tessa Borner, Oakville, Ont.

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Debt? Nudge, nudge

Re U.S. Fed Raises Interest Rates, But Yellen's Swan Song Carries A Note Of Caution (Report on Business, Dec. 14): David Parkinson presents an insightful outline of the shift in U.S. monetary policy from stimulation to neutral. Outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen oversaw the fifth (count 'em) interest rate hike, now that the American economy is firing on all cylinders.

The latest statistics confirm Canada's economy is keeling into that powerful wake. It's only a matter of time before the Bank of Canada edges our rates higher, again. And this will probably be an extended process.

So it behooves Canadians to sit up and pay attention.

Excessive government and household debt has continued to build, unchecked (Canadians' Debt Burden Keeps Climbing, Hits Record In Third Quarter, Dec. 14). The American and Canadian monetary authorities are providing what Nobel Economic Sciences laureate Richard Thaler would call a nudge.

Yep, old-fashioned monetary policy still works.

Norm Stefnitz, CFA (retired), Burlington, Ont.

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Top that job title

Re Canned: Newfoundlanders Mourn End Of Potted Meat (Dec. 14): In these trying times, we should take a moment to acknowledge Dale Jarvis, who has what must be the world's greatest job title: "The Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer for the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador."

I'd love to see that business card.

Geoffrey Morgan, Toronto

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