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Jan. 7: When cupboards are bare. Plus other letters to the editor

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When cupboards are bare

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You report that our Finance Minister will be approaching new spending on things like health care with caution (Federal Report Projects Decades Of Deficits – Jan. 6). But the same government plans to spend more than half a billion dollars commemorating the sesquicentennial?

Umm … Hello!

Ken Dixon, Toronto


Trump, translated

Re Trump And Trade: It's Complicated (editorial, Jan. 5): Note that the president-elect of those United States is not a politician, a public servant or an academic. That means, in plain English, that he is far more interested in results than he is in process.

In turn, that suggests he might try to shut down foreign vehicle manufacturing to get those jobs back to the states – in a New York minute, as they say.

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Trade war? You bet.

Richard Seymour, Brechin, Ont.


It's a multigenerational stream

Re Shift From TV To Streaming Picking Up Speed (Report on Business, Jan. 4): I've been reading with great interest the stories concerning different options available for streaming various media content. The focus is on the younger generations as the prime source of those changing from conventional cable to online streaming. As a pensioner, I can assure you that we, as a group, are very interested in the new options. When your income becomes fixed with little or no chance of increasing, you start to look at all your controllable expenses with the aim of lowering what you can.

The cable companies today remind me of the North American automobile industry in the '60s and early '70s when manufacturers assumed everyone really wanted a huge gas guzzler and that if anyone wanted a small car, it was supposed to be a stripped-down econo box. This attitude allowed the foreign-car industry to overtake the Big Three. It took decades for them to catch up – if they ever really have.

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As streaming options become more acceptable and readily available, seniors will look at them closely and our age group will join with the younger ones in seeking out the best value for our entertainment dollars.

Bill Wilson, Courtenay, B.C.


You're all fired, candidates

Re O'Leary Welcomes Criticisms From Raitt (Jan. 5): It appears that Conservative candidates are grandstanding just to get attention by attacking each other, whether the candidate is an officially declared one or not.

Does the potential Conservative voter really want to see a name-calling sling fest, or do they want rational candidates with sensible policies?

Is this a reality show or a serious bid? Politics, regrettably, has wandered into the shallow entertainment side of things.

They're all fired!

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa


Canada's TB silos aren't helping

Re We Face A Resurrection Of The White Death (Jan. 3): The number of people falling ill with tuberculosis in Canada has not budged for more than a decade: about 1,600 Canadians every year.

If we are going to make any headway toward TB elimination in Canada, our siloed TB programs need to be pulling together, in the same direction, as efficiently as possible. There is no current mechanism for TB programs to co-ordinate or collaborate. We have 13 separate provincial/territorial TB programs and three main federal TB programs, in Immigration, First Nations and Inuit Health, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, all doing their own thing.

We need to talk! There is no way to solve complex problems like the repeated shortages of essential TB medication, updating how we deal with TB in the immigration process, or TB outbreaks in northern communities – unless we have a forum to work together, endorsed by every province, territory and the federal government.

TB is preventable, treatable and curable. We can do this, we just need to get our act together.

Elizabeth Rea, MD, chair, Stop TB Canada


Marine Le Pen's 'odd' proposal

I find it odd that French National Front Leader Marine Le Pen would propose returning to the European Currency Unit or "monetary snake" system that preceded the euro (France's Le Pen Proposes Return To Old ECU-Style System – Report on Business, Jan. 5)

This was a system that tied member national currencies to the other member currencies by way of a range or band, one that dictated how far one currency would be allowed to drift from the others in its exchange rate. The French chafed at this structure, which relegated the French currency to what they viewed as "second-tier" status, with one French official said to have complained that "we may have the nuclear bomb, but the Germans have the deutsche mark."

According to Der Spiegel, a common currency without enhanced political integration was the price Germany had to pay for France's agreement on reunification. Therefore, it does seem a bit odd that Ms. Le Pen wouldn't propose simply reverting to the franc. If you want to break up the EU, or at least the euro zone, why not go all the way?

Nelson Smith, Toronto

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