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Letters to the editor: ‘My thanks to Mayor John Tory and the city.’ The state of Toronto parks, roads and transit, plus other letters to the editor for Oct. 23 – The Globe and Mail


Toronto Mayor John Tory speaks during a news conference in Queen’s Park, Toronto, on June 27.Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Our time to lead

Re As EU Piles Sanctions On Russia, Some Exemptions Remain (Report on Business, Oct. 19): Sanctions against Russia have so far spared some “sacred cows” including raw diamonds to Belgium and uranium to France.

Surely this situation offers an opportunity for Canadian entrepreneurs to do well by doing good: by taking advantage of our strong position in these commodities to further weaken Russia and its leader.

Stuart MacLeod Abercorn, Que.

Arctic presence

Re Top Soldier Argues For Defence Of Arctic Territories (Oct. 19): For several years, I was fortunate to spend Canada Day in Arctic Bay, Nunavut, a community on north Baffin Island.

As a southern Canadian, I had expected to see the challenges of isolation, severe weather and a high cost of living. I had not expected the most wonderful Canada Day celebrations. I was deeply moved to see the Canadian flag flying beside the Nunavut flag, and to hear O Canada proudly sung in English and Inuktitut.

As a critical part of the strategy to reinforce Canada’s sovereignty claims in the Arctic, I suggest that the federal government dramatically increase funding for the Rangers patrol program, food and shelter for residents and airfares to the north. Lower airfares would encourage more southern Canadians to see the real “Great White North” and its great beauty and remarkable citizens.

The very presence of these hearty Canadians is our strongest claim for Arctic sovereignty.

John Rankin Burlington, Ont.

Go electric?

Re As Calls Grow To Boost Electricity Generation, Utilities Have Other Ideas (Report on Business, Oct. 19): If Ontario is planning to rely on an expansion of carbon-spewing, natural-gas-powered electricity generation, can anyone tell me why, apart from philosophical reasons, I should buy an electric car?

More to the point: Why is the Ford government spending Ontario taxpayer money on corporate welfare to the auto sector and the mining industry to promote vehicle electrification?

Thank goodness my 2016 SUV with 62,000 kilometres on the odometer will keep me out of this hypocrisy for another five years or so.

Ken Westcar Woodstock, Ont.

Election season

Re Can Toronto’s Next Mayor Stop Infrastructure Decline? (Oct. 18): If Toronto Mayor John Tory hasn’t been able to do all the things to which he refers in his first two terms, what makes him think that he will succeed with a third term?

Joel Rubinovich Toronto

I don’t agree with descriptions of the degraded state of Toronto’s parks. I discovered just the opposite.

On an outing to the waterfront, I discovered the Toronto Music Garden. I marvelled at how the city created a welcoming swath of nature for the many residents in nearby condos.

It was the same thing at Sunnyside and the Beaches, and on the nature trail that winds from Cherry Beach to the Leslie Spit. The city’s ravines have also had a major redesign in the last few years: One of the most stunning is the path from Chorley Park to the Brick Works. There is green space from Marie Curtis Park in the west to Bluffer’s Park in the east, with countless little neighbourhood parks in between.

My thanks to Mayor John Tory and the city. As the signs throughout our parks rightly say: “Toronto: a city within a park.”

Wanda Nowakowska Toronto

Re John Tory Doesn’t Want To Discuss The Gardiner, But Toronto Should (Oct. 19): It’s not just that rebuilding an expressway incentivizes car trips at a time when we should be moving people by transit, foot or bicycle. It’s not just that $1.5-billion (or more) could be spent on other things such as electric buses and affordable housing. It’s also that highway reconstruction feels utterly devoid of creativity.

Toronto prides itself on being an imaginative, generative place. But when it comes to the Gardiner Expressway, city hall is seen embracing the stalest, most predictable thinking possible: Roll out the paving trucks.

Shouldn’t a city replete with great novelists, poets, designers and scientists be capable of better transportation options? Whatever happened to beauty and originality?

Gideon Forman Climate change and transportation policy analyst, David Suzuki Foundation; Toronto

With initiatives such as the Bentway and Underpass Park, continuing to complain about the Gardiner Expressway seems so last century. With all that the mayor has on his plate, I have no interest in having him waste his time on decisions that were made some time ago.

Toronto is already known for its gridlock; the suggestion to make matters worse seems absurd.

Mark Robert Toronto

Spend a few hours in the St. Lawrence Market area, any day between 3 and 7 p.m., to see the gridlock that dismantling the Gardiner Expressway has created in just one downtown Toronto neighbourhood.

As a pedestrian, I cannot safely cross streets that have been flooded with cars. It seems that overall planning was lacking and all citizens (drivers, cyclists, pedestrians) have been left to scramble in this mess.

This should be treated as a larger problem that affects more than “one particular group of commuters, about 15,000 in each rush hour.” I am not advocating to keep the Gardiner, but to find a solution respectful of all citizens and their needs.

Christine Bellerose Toronto

Different buckets

Re Bank It (Letters, Oct. 21): A letter-writer worries about selling investments to meet minimum annual withdrawals for retirees. A “transfer in kind“ to a tax-free savings account or nonregistered account is allowed. The retiree’s portfolio value remains untouched – no selling is involved.

Yes, the minimum withdrawal requirement must be reported as income, but up to $4,000 can be used as a pension income tax credit in the case of a couple, and the withdrawal from a registered retirement income fund is eligible for income-splitting. Also, the minimum required amount can be based on the age of the younger spouse.

So, no need for seniors to become distraught over having to sell hard-hit investments to cover the minimum annual withdrawal requirement.

Bob Wornell Dartmouth, N.S.

Big picture

Re William Shatner Doesn’t Need A Legacy (Arts & Books, Oct. 15): William Shatner claims to have felt grief for our planet and was inspired to sing of Earth’s fragility – while he was on a rocket spewing 300 tons of carbon dioxide?

Sue Gal Richmond Hill, Ont.

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: