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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:


Pols, parties, privacy

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It's my guess that most Canadians will be supportive of stronger enforcement powers for our Privacy Commissioner (Canada's Privacy Watchdog Seeks Stronger Enforcement Powers, Sept. 22). What remains under the radar is that in Canada, federal political party lists are not governed by privacy legislation.

After both the 2011 and 2015 federal elections, the Chief Electoral Officer recommended the extension of basic privacy protections to political party lists in his postelection reports. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals took any action.

This is not an abstract matter. Evidence on the public record suggests that political parties are amassing data about Canadians which includes religious affiliation, sexual orientation and voting preferences.

In one of the court cases stemming from the Robocall vote-suppression scheme, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley stated his belief that the password-protected Conservative database had been breached in 2011: "I am satisfied … that the most likely source of the information used to make the misleading calls was the CIMS database maintained and controlled by the [Conservative Party of Canada], accessed for that purpose by a person or persons currently unknown to this court. There is no evidence to indicate that the use of the CIMS database in this manner was approved or condoned by the CPC. Rather the evidence points to elaborate efforts to conceal the identity of those accessing the database and arranging for the calls to be made."

Stronger privacy enforcement for the private sector? Great.

Basic privacy laws to regulate political parties? It's time.

Susan Watson, Guelph, Ont.

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Tax equality?

Re Opposition Urges Morneau To Extend Tax Proposals To Family Trusts (Sept. 21): It seems that Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seek to create a tax system in which all Canadians are equal – but some are more equal than others.

Katherine Monkman, Toronto


I don't believe that it is government's job to reward people with special tax laws for their career choices. A good and fair tax policy is all that is required from the government.

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Income sprinkling to family members not involved in the family business is not fair. It's just a legitimate scam.

The only way to make Canada's tax code fair for all would be to put the current code through the paper shredder. The government could start over with a flat tax policy, with no special treatment for anyone.

All the bureaucrats, lawyers, business people and accountants who created and are defending our complicated tax code, which is full of loopholes, could find another line of work.

Murray Blair, Janetville, Ont.


Fast buck on homes

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Re Trudeau Should Focus On Real Estate Scammers (Sept. 22): If helping the middle class is truly the Prime Minister's focus, then he needs to do something about housing prices beyond what the provincial governments have started.

We know the government is going after doctors and small business people. What about offshore money, numbered companies, or real estate flippers? Why should we continue to allow a lucrative investment climate for people who live in unstable areas of the world and want to park their money in safe, Canadian cities? Why are we helping real estate flippers make a fast buck?

We are helping drive the price of housing so high that the average middle-class family has no hope of owning their own place if they want or need to live in our larger cities. Reported incomes simply do not support current prices.

Either incomes are understated, or we are creating a huge divide between the haves and the have-nots. Yes, prices are coming down, but nowhere near enough to discourage the crazy practices that have been allowed to continue. I'd like to see Justin Trudeau truly defend the middle class and clean up this problem.

Sally Plumb, Toronto


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Ill-prepared kids

The problem of ill-prepared students begins long before they enter university (Why Treat University Students Like Fragile Flowers?, Sept. 19).

We need to ask ourselves how we are preparing our children for adult life – a job that begins when they enter kindergarten.

As a psychologist, I have supported students with a variety of learning disabilities to get accommodation at all levels of academia. But I have also seen many young people who flounder in university or as counsellors at summer camp because they are quite unable to make any decision without consulting their parents – usually by frequent texting several times every day.

Helicopter parenting teaches children they should fear a world without protection by their parents. This is not good parenting. Moreover, it fosters anxiety disorders. Good parenting teaches children that they need to learn how to keep themselves safe.

Question: When does a parent let go of a child's hand while crossing the street?

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Answer: When the child demonstrates that s/he can do it safely by themselves (knows the traffic signals etc.). There is something wrong with a society that punishes a single parent who teaches his children how to take public transit to school safely.

What are we doing?

Fostering helplessness in our children, when we should be empowering them to learn to take care of themselves.

Judy Coldoff, psychologist, Toronto


Re Too Young To Be Independent? (Life & Arts, Sept. 22): If we want our young people to grow up to tackle challenging problems, we need to give them gradual practise with risk from the time they are born.

The irony of all of this is that younger and younger children are being given devices that allow them access to the cyber world, which potentially has greater risk. Perhaps the rules should change: A child can walk to school at 5 on their own, but no access to the Internet, video games or movies for adults until 12.

Margaret Whitley, London, Ont.


Scheer effrontery

Re Scheer Tight-Lipped About His Fundraisers (Sept. 21): So Andrew Scheer says "he should not be bound by the same ethical standards he demanded of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the Liberal cash-for-access scandal, because the Conservatives are not in government."

With that attitude, they don't deserve to be in government any time soon, either. The sheer effrontery of it galls mightily.

Helga Wolf, Calgary


Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wants the public to believe that opposition politicians forget who their donors/benefactors were once they are elected.

Is that like Donald Trump and the Russians?

Marcia Zalev, Toronto

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