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July 27: Real estate roulette. Plus other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Real estate roulette

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Re B.C. To Tax Foreigners Who Buy In Vancouver (July 26): This new tax is long overdue. The government has to cool the ridiculous price escalation in the real estate market without punishing ordinary Canadians.

Government policies have focused on measures that are punitive for our own citizens: higher down payments, shorter amortization periods, all in the midst of rising prices. This puts home ownership virtually out of reach for most young people.

One hopes this tax will help reduce the influx of foreign capital, while enriching government coffers. Toronto needs to implement similar policies, or the money will just flow east.

Irene Fung, Mississauga

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Jason Kenney is right that one element of the housing price problem in Vancouver and Toronto that has largely been ignored is the use of immigration policy in other provinces.

The federal government quite correctly shut down the investor entry class in the federal system because it was of no real benefit to the economy. But Quebec and several Atlantic provinces, through their provincial nominee programs, have continued with versions of the investor class.

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As Mr. Kenney pointed out, the "investor" entrants in those provinces don't stay in those provinces. The provinces get a little revenue for the public coffers in the form of the interest on what is essentially an interest-free loan from the immigrant "investors" to the provincial governments. The Vancouver and Toronto housing markets get the housing cost problems.

If the federal government is looking for a role to help in the housing problem, it should start by working with Quebec and the other provincial governments to close that entry way.

David Green, professor, Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia

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Pick: Trump, Clinton

I'd be interested to learn where the data is that Lawrence Martin used to say that the majority of Canadians are in "a state of dread" over the prospect of a Trump presidency (The Fall Of Roger Ailes – America's Great Polarizer – July 26).

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While I suspect Mr. Martin is right, this Canadian would vote Trump. I'm not a redneck (but I never thought that was a derogatory term). Just a simple person distilling things to simple terms. You know what you will get with Hillary Clinton – an unprincipled, lying elitist. There is, however, just a chance that Donald Trump will turn out to be what America needs at this point. I think we will be surprised in November to see how many Americans are prepared to take the chance.

Mr. Trump at least seems to understand that the greatest threat to peace and stability in the world today is that after nearly eight years of Barack Obama, no one is afraid of America any more.

Norm Matheis, Holland Landing, Ont.

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I am puzzled by Margaret Wente's assertion that "it's hard for Canadians to understand why Ms. Clinton is so widely loathed."

Canadians don't understand corruption? They don't understand naked opportunism? Or politicians who lie shamelessly?

Still, we are spectators to an American tragedy – that the race for the presidency should become a contest between an erratic, bombastic blabbermouth, and a power-hungry, corrupt, scheming contender is utterly shameful and damaging to America's international image.

Zvi Horovitz, Ottawa

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Trump'ery: Showy but worthless, delusive, shallow. Source: Oxford English Dictionary.

Jim Stewart, Niagara Falls, Ont.

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A pain patient's life

Ontario is harming legitimate pain patients with its latest initiative toward curbing opioid abuse (Ontario Won't Pay For High-Dose Opioids – July 25).

I have required pain medication since breaking my spine in a water skiing accident 17 years ago. I have never once abused the medications my pain specialist prescribes for me. Yet time and again, I'm left paying the piper for the actions of narcotic abusers.

Without my pain medication, I am confined to bed, utterly unable to make a solid contribution to society. With it, I can take care of my elderly mother, do volunteer work and lead a useful life. Now, you tell me which society ought to prefer.

I'm sorry that people abuse high dose opioids. How about punishing these abusers and giving legitimate pain patients some critical support? A pain patient's life is already hell.

Martie Whitaker, Oakville, Ont.

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CGAI replies

Re Think Tank Draws Fire For Donations From Arms Maker (July 23): There is no linkage whatever between the independent work of our fellows and the individuals and organizations that support the work of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI). Since its establishment in 2001, the institute's purpose has been to inform, educate and offer a perspective for public policy discussion on issues related to development, defence and diplomacy, as well as trade and economic issues related to Canada.

As a Canada Revenue Agency-designated charitable institute, CGAI does not take positions or advocate. Many of our donors and supporters are identified on our website, in our Dispatch and, where directly sponsored, on our papers. The opinions we publish reflect only the views of the authors. Some of our donors choose to remain anonymous, as they have every right to do according to CRA regulations.

We currently have 47 fellows – scholars, former diplomats and military across Canada and in Asia, Europe and the Americas – as well as our alumni (fellows serve one-year terms). Our fellows all have a perspective: Their work is based on their expertise and experience.

The integrity of CGAI depends on our independence.

David J. Bercuson, acting president, Canadian Global Affairs Institute

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Historians' history

Ever since reading John Ibbitson's obituary of the late Ramsay Cook (Historian Helped Define Modern Canada – July 22), I've wondered if and how such a claim, that we Canadians view our country through the eyes of Prof. Cook, could be substantiated.

Granted, he was powerful within the academic communities of this country, and a veritable tyrant when he was in charge of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. But most Canadians have probably never heard of Mr. Cook, and even fewer go about their daily lives thinking in terms of his theory of "limited identities."

While Mr. Ibbitson may be proven right, surely we should suspend judgment on Mr. Cook's influence at least until Donald Wright completes his biography.

As Julian Barnes notes, in The Sense of an Ending:

"That's one of the central problems of history, isn't it, sir? The question of subjective versus objective interpretation, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us."

R.B. Fleming, Argyle, Ont.

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