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Oct. 11: At sea on tax reform. 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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At sea on taxes

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The debate in the Senate regarding the small-business tax proposals reminds me of my years at sea, with two ships passing in the night: Kim Moody, a taxation expert at Moodys Gartner, and Michael Wolfson, an expert on income and equality issues.

Mr. Wolfson has identified an incentive to incorporate and implicitly worries about inequality.

Mr. Moody has identified many legitimate problems with the proposed rules.

In the silence of the night at sea, as the ships pass into oblivion, our thoughts – sometimes – turn to the passengers on the other ship. The ocean between them is the poor drafting of the legislative proposals.

Graham Purse, tax lawyer, Regina

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Re Revenue Canada Takes Aim At Employee Benefits (Oct. 9): Has the Canada Revenue Agency lost its mind? Wait, let me rephrase that. The Canada Revenue Agency has lost its mind to have even considered this!

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What would have been next? The discounts we, the public, get? Flyers, sales, promos?

What about the "free" milk we can get in our Tims coffee if we don't want it black? Or a "bakers dozen" doughnuts? Would we have received a T4 slip for the 13th item, in addition to a receipt?

Lawrence Wolofsky, Ottawa

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A proud Wayne

What do we have here? An MP named Wayne pushing back against his own party's rather autocratic style of forcing tax changes, with little true consultation (In Wayne Long, Liberals Face Brewing Backbench Problem, Oct. 9).

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Then on the same page, another Liberal MP, Wayne Easter, upset with the silly new punitive move that was being considered by the Canada Revenue Agency concerning retail discounts for employees.

I don't know what it is about these "Wayne guys" not being willing to "submit to arbitrary measures" but I like it.

Sign me: Proud to be a Wayne!

Wayne Gibson, Toronto

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Behind the history

Re New Departures Rack Indigenous Inquiry (Oct. 9): As two more senior staff leave the beleaguered National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, chief commissioner Marion Buller's upbeat response reminds me of a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The Black Knight steadfastly refuses to give up a sword fight – even after King Arthur has severed both his arms and legs.

Jim Hickman, Bracebridge, Ont.

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Re Residential School Records Kept Private (Oct. 7): It is surprising that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled to destroy the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada testimonies unless otherwise stated by the individual. To keep "confidential" does not mean to "destroy."

There are many other possibilities: seal the documents for the lifetime of the individual or for 50 years, or when access to a document is requested, ask the individual or that person's family's permission, for instance.

While the spirit behind the court's decision was to protect survivors, what the court has done is protect the perpetrators.

How the militaries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Argentina, or the political elite and beneficiaries of South Africa's apartheid, would have loved such a ruling!

Cynthia E. Milton, president, College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada

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Energy goal posts

Re The Toxic Politics Of Pipelines Just Got Even Worse (Oct. 10): I am a Calgarian who works in the oil and gas industry – an industry which has been given a one-two kick in the belly with two levels of government changing the rules.

And not just once, but continually. Margaret Wente's analogy about the goal posts moving and the game changing is sadly exactly what is happening and what continues to occur.

It's not just Quebec. Ontario is also to blame for the failure of Energy East, as Ontario did nothing to champion the pipeline's cause in light of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre's epithets.

Canada imports some 800,000 barrels a day of foreign oil, and somehow this is considered a safer option – never mind the ethics of the regimes where this imported crude comes from, or the risk of environmental disaster in transporting it. But this has largely been swept aside in the lead-up to the toxic politics we see today.

I hope to read more articles such as this one, which delve deeper into the facts and expose additional truths. The world needs more Canadian energy.

Richard McKenzie, Calgary

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Oil production is not "essential to capital generation, wealth production and our standard of living." Rather, it is clean water and a livable climate that are absolutely essential for those things. That's why it makes perfect sense to consider proposed pipelines in their full context – including upstream and downstream emissions.

Too bad, so sad for the massive energy companies impacted by the full-cost accounting of oil production. They should abandon oil and invest heavily in green energy infrastructure. Their failure to adapt is on them, not our government. And yes, car companies should be likewise held accountable for the impact of their products. It's high time we start investing in the future instead of building for the past.

Chris Rapson, Toronto

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Want to get rid of hydrocarbons? Will we ever gain approval for the giant solar, wind, hydro and nuclear (yes, nuclear) projects that will be essential? How about giant mines, smelters, major road or rail systems, ports, airports?

Every major project has risks and potential negative consequences, both for the environment and for the people nearby.

For that reason, all major projects should be studied to ensure they are as safe as possible and that the reward is worth the risk.

But if we will only support projects with no risk and no one objecting, then we will build nothing of substance and Canada's best days will be in the past.

Allan Jackson, Calgary

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Who honestly believes for a millisecond that if that same resource were in Ontario or Quebec, that it would still be politically locked in the ground?

No, I didn't think so.

Philip Marsh, Lions Bay, B.C.

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Aspic? One quivers

Re Aspic: Recongealed In Spirit, If Not Palates (Oct. 7): In 1951, our family was in Nigeria. My dad, a civil engineer, was considering his next posting, with Canada a possibility. When they heard this, the nice Canadians at the Sudan Interior Mission post in Ilorin invited us to lunch. The beverage was non-alcoholic and sickly sweet – could it have been Freshie? The salad was jellied.

Recovering later that afternoon, my father declared: "If that is what they eat in Canada, we are not going." My mother's wiser head prevailed and we arrived the next year. But aspic was never to appear on our dinner table.

Anne Moon, Victoria

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