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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty responds to a question as he speaks with the media following a federal-provincial finance ministers’ meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 in Chelsea, Que. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty responds to a question as he speaks with the media following a federal-provincial finance ministers’ meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 in Chelsea, Que. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)


Dec. 18: Pension pinch – and other letters to the editors Add to ...

Pension pinch

Re Ontario To Press Pension Reform (Dec. 17): Finance Minister Jim Flaherty thinks the federal government needs to wait until the economy is stronger before acting on much needed CPP reform. Does he also have a magic pill we can take to postpone aging until the economy is stronger?

All Canadians need a pension plan. The government does not have to be the sole provider of a plan, but it must recognize that planning for retirement is not a luxury to spend on during a strong economy. It is a basic necessity that needs to be budgeted throughout our working lives.

This government is being extremely irresponsible by allowing a basic need of all Canadians to be inadequately funded.

Anna Dolan, Ottawa


In all the debate about CPP pensions I don’t hear a squeak about MP and Senate pensions. Let’s reduce their pension to the CPP max and see if they can survive with $12,150 a year.

Alistair Thomson, Oshawa


With the Ontario government’s history of mismanagement and outright fiduciary negligence, they are the last bunch I want taking on this issue.

Leslie Martel, Mississauga


Skinny piggy banks

Re Governments Float CPP Options (Dec. 17): Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty will never find the right conditions to fund the pension needs of most Canadians. Most do not contribute adequately to RRSPs, tax free savings accounts or pooled funds.

The demise of the defined-benefit pension plan – which Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper will enjoy, financed by Canadians – has ensured most Canadians will have little other than an inadequate Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security when the time comes to retire. Talk about kicking the can down the road.

Jim Akkerman, Bath, Ont.


Several years ago, I met an Australian accountant who volunteered his services to individuals after work. When asked about his experiences, he replied that most people don’t know the meaning of revenue and expenses.

An expansionist CPP will not solve the pandemic of financial illiteracy. A recent survey found that nearly 75 per cent of Canadians carry personal debt, on average, $15,920.

We should heed Margaret Thatcher’s mantra: Live within your means, put by a nest egg for a rainy day, pay your bills on time.

Roland Mascarenhas, Toronto


‘Bah! Humbug!’

Re Industry Minister Apologizes For Child Poverty Comment (Dec. 17): My goodness, Industry Minister James Moore certainly has captured the Christmas spirit in his most recent remarks on children and poverty when he said it is not the government’s responsibility to feed hungry children.

And we all say, “Bah! Humbug!”

Sally Cochrane, Toronto


As a pediatrician-in-training, I wish to highlight that there is a well-established relationship between child hunger and adverse physical- and mental-health outcomes, as well as poor school performance and impaired educational achievement.

In 2013, Food Banks Canada published a comprehensive report on hunger and food bank use in Canada and found that each month food banks assist nearly 850,000 Canadians: More than 35 per cent of those helped are children and youth.

The report outlined five governmental action areas to reduce hunger, focusing on affordable housing, social investment in northern Canada, increased investment in training vulnerable Canadians for well-paying jobs, revolutionizing social assistance, and increasing support for long-term employment.

Contrary to Industry Minister James Moore’s views, it is government’s job to be there to serve people their breakfast.

Andrea Kirou-Mauro, MD, McMaster University Medical Centre


Law-school challenge

Re Law School With Gay-Sex Ban Clears Accreditation Hurdle (Dec. 17): Trinity Western demands that students and faculty swear off gay “sexual intimacy,” based on a biblical passage in Leviticus condemning homosexuality.

It will be difficult to run a law school, however, once it complies with the banning of many other activities within Leviticus, for example: wearing permanent press shirts, ties or legal gowns (19:19), trimming a beard (19:27), studying or teaching real estate law (25:23) or paying off student loans (25:36).

Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Toronto


Held in contempt

Re MacKay Fights Revolt, Accuses Judges Of Contempt For The Law (Dec. 17): A government that has been found in contempt of Parliament lacks the moral authority to opine about how the judiciary interprets the law.

Art Brewer, Toronto


Re The New Face Of Judicial Defiance (Dec. 14): Justice Colin Westman is the perfect example of why the government has been forced to remove judicial discretion. He is a judge who believes that his personal opinions are more important than the law.

He has no right to ignore decisions taken by a democratically elected government because he dislikes the decisions’ effect.

Adam Waiser, Ottawa


It gives me hope that our judicial system contains individuals like Justice Colin Westman.

I’m glad someone remembers that the system is called “justice” for a reason. Perhaps if there were more like him, inside and outside the court system, we would have less suffering in this society and world as a whole. Blind adherence to law is not justice.

Kevin Riddell, Aurora, Ont.


Sense of peace

Re ‘I Saw Nothing, Yet I Knew He Was There ’ (Focus, Dec. 14): A few weeks after my father’s death from a long illness, my mother awoke in the middle of the night to see a man at the foot of the bed. She was not disturbed as one would normally be at an intruder; instead, she listened as he told her that everything was going to be alright (or words to that effect). Then he disappeared, and she experienced an overwhelming sense of peace and relief.

From that, she went on to make a new and positive life for herself.

M. J. Smart, Toronto


Letter love

Re We’ll Replace The Mail, But Not The Letters (Dec. 14): My shy accountant father wrote with humour and creativity (one letter was written backward), and with the most beautiful handwriting. In my 45 years, I have never seen a more gorgeous cursive script.

We lost my dad five years ago; when I’m missing him terribly, especially at this time of year, I pull out those old letters to touch his beautiful script and immediately feel his presence.

E-mail doesn’t even come close.

Julia Wells, Kamloops, B.C.


Thank you for Margaret Wente’s paean to the letter. Letter writing, even on e-mail, is still communication. Facebook is broadcasting.

Graham Duncan, Mahone Bay, N.S.

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