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Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers the fall economic statement, including details of infrastructure spending, in the House of Commons Nov. 1, 2016. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers the fall economic statement, including details of infrastructure spending, in the House of Commons Nov. 1, 2016. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

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Nov. 3: Big spenders. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

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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Big spenders

Re Infrastructure Spending To Rise At Expense Of Ottawa’s Bottom Line (Nov. 2): If this Liberal government is so anxious to see more infrastructure being built then I have a modest proposal for them: Stop delaying the building of needed pipelines to move Alberta’s oil and gas to tidewater.

An added benefit to this “novel idea” is that it requires zero public dollars, so doesn’t cost Ottawa anything! I know that this is a totally outrageous idea, so I can understand that the great minds within the federal Liberals will have trouble even considering it.

Wayne Gibson, Toronto

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“Infrastructure spending to rise …” Rise from what? After one year of the new Liberal government, can anyone cite even one major infrastructure initiative? Where is our tax money going?

James R. McCarney, Oakville, Ont.

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Who’s tracking?

Re Quebec Acts To Protect Press Freedom After Police Tracking Of Journalists (Nov. 2): Good for Premier Philippe Couillard for attending to the immediate and obvious in the Patrick Lagacé matter, but the episode raises other questions, not just for Quebeckers.

Might any police officer obtain permission from a junior magistrate to spy on anybody, never mind a journalist, on such a flimsy pretext? How many individuals in Canada are subject to police spying? Is it better or worse if the Montreal police chief knew about the spying? Which provincial premiers will follow up to see what is going on in their own jurisdictions?

Brian Grier, Calgary

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Tackling suicide

Re: Putting Communities Under Suicide Watch Is No Answer (Nov. 1): André Picard is absolutely correct that a simple body count does nothing to address the underlying causes of youth suicide in northern/indigenous communities, and carries the risk of contributing to imitative behaviour among vulnerable youth, who see that suicide garners headlines.

Sending in mental health counsellors, psychiatrists, especially from non-indigenous cultures, is like putting a bandage on an illness that effects all parts of the body.

Suicide is the final pathway of complex factors, many of which are psycho-social. If someone is put in extended solitary confinement, for example, they may eventually become self-destructive. Does he need a psychiatrist? No, not if their toxic living situation can be changed. Otherwise, mental health intervention can be misused to help him adjust to an abnormal situation.

Thank you, Mr. Picard, for suggesting that long-term, culturally sensitive strategies are what is needed, and that journalists should celebrate indigenous successes as an antidote to the hopelessness and cynicism that is all too pervasive when it comes to youth suicide in these communities.

M. Korenblum, psychiatrist-in-chief, Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for Children and Families, Toronto

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Bigger Canada

In 1967, Richard Rohmer promoted the concept of a “mid-Canada development corridor,” an idea that was discussed for a few years (A Supersized Canada Is So 20th Century, Nov. 2). Canada was seen to have huge potential for both economic and population growth in a wide land area, or corridor, in the mid-north, including all of Yukon, the western part of the Northwest Territories (as it then was), the northern parts of B.C. and Prairie provinces, Northern Ontario and Quebec, and all of Newfoundland and Labrador. A population of 120 million could reached but would require vast amounts of capital.

The main flaw of the corridor concept was that the opportunity costs were never investigated. The benefits and costs of developing the corridor, rather than investing elsewhere in Canada, were never convincingly argued. The concept was exciting but it never really moved much beyond a grandiose dream. At my age, I am weary of grandiose dreams, including a supersized Canada.

Reiner Jaakson, Oakville, Ont.

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Tony Keller’s historical take on the idea of “big Canada” manages to skirt every good 21stcentury argument for increased immigration, while focusing only on the straw dog of the last century’s concern about avoiding “being conquered.”

Surely we could have a more pertinent and interesting policy conversation if we considered the demographic impact of immigration on our aging population, and the economic impact of having a larger tax base to help pay for the infrastructure needs of this vast country, among other things.

Kim Fraser, Edmonton

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Canada plans to accept 300,00 new permanent residents in 2017, of whom 172,500 will be economic immigrants (Immigration Target Kept At 2016 Level, Nov. 2). While I wholehearted agree with immigration, I am amazed that there has not been any information about how the federal government plans to cope with increased demands on the already overloaded hospital and medical facilities, schools and public transportation, and for affordable housing (particularly in the Toronto and Vancouver areas).

Perhaps we could receive some enlightenment before we are expected to endorse these numbers.

Margaret Elmarson, Mississauga

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Time to act

Re Wynne Admits Capay Case Unacceptable (Nov. 1): It is high time to apologize for the officially sanctioned perpetration of such drastic, inhumane treatment as experienced throughout Adam Capay’s four years of torture in solitary confinement. For goodness sake, get on with it. Also, put a halt to the delay of his trial.

Malcolm Hanson, Ottawa

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Safer driving?

I cannot understand how back-up cameras can take precedence over the installation of breathalyzer devices in new vehicles (Back-Up Cameras In Cars To Become Mandatory In 2018, Nov. 1).

While the deaths and injuries associated with backing vehicles is not trivial, it pales in comparison to the carnage that comes with drinking and driving. The technology is there. I have yet to see MADD or anyone else make an issue out of this. Something just doesn’t smell right, and it is shameful.

Michael Brooker, Guelph, Ont.

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Bank on it

Re Bank of England’s Carney To Extend Stay Till June, 2019 (online, Nov. 1): It might be called the Bank of Brexit by then.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

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