Capital gains plus other letters, April 21: ‘I was surprised to learn that… I am now considered one of Canada’s 40,000 richest citizens’

Open this photo in the gallery:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Cabinet ministers pose for a photo before the federal budget tabling on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 16.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Wins and losses

Re “What kind of vision for the country can you conjure up from a very deep hole?” (April 17): The budget laments that few Canadians under the age of 30 report capital gains. So in fairness, the report says, older investors who do should be punished.

Does the government not understand that at age 30 a person is not expected to make a profit, but rather save for a wedding, house or car, or pay off student loans? After all, they are only thirty.

No, these elusive profits typically accrue to older investors who first fund a portfolio with hard-earned after-tax dollars; then wait patiently for growth while paying taxes on dividends; then worry because the “inflation tax” is eroding the real value of their profits.

With a lot of taxes paid before capital gains took a hit, it hardly seems fair to make that blow even harder.

Ted Brough Woolwich, Ont.

Re “Ottawa’s plan for a (very limited) capital gains tax increase? It’s a start” (Report on Business, April 19): Ending the capital gains exemption for primary residences? If we treat someone’s home as an investment property, they are allowed to deduct expenses such as mortgage interest and the cost of capital improvements.

This means that minor home improvements are also taxed, such as re-tiling a bathroom or painting a bedroom. And what about operating costs such as property taxes and utilities? Land transfer tax? Brokerage costs when selling a house?

Most homeowners probably don’t have all the receipts for the work done, so many will end up having to pay accountants to figure out what they can deduct. They may still conclude that they can’t claim everything they spent to add value to their home.

Taxing primary residences would be a nightmare for everyone. It is likely that no government will dare try.

Brian Graff Toronto

Capital gains tax does not take into account the period over which a profit has been made.

Few people would argue that someone exchanging a property within six months would have to pay a profits tax, probably on 100 percent of the profits. But someone selling a house that has been owned for 30 years would have to pay a lot less. It must be possible to calculate a differentiated payment.

If an investment made twenty years ago produces an annual profit of, say, 3 percent, it has probably incurred a loss when inflation is taken into account and should not be considered a profit at all.

Bernard Downes Stouffville, Ont.

I was surprised to learn that, according to Chrystia Freeland, I am now considered one of Canada’s 40,000 richest citizens.

Even though I was a middle-aged struggling musician still living with my parents, I scraped together my savings for a one-bedroom apartment. I rent it out to tenants because I can’t afford to live in it myself.

This real estate investment, combined with my music performances, earns less than someone on minimum wage. But when I eventually sell my condo, my capital gains will be taxed at the new, higher rate apparently reserved for Canada’s very wealthy.

If I’m an example of the top 40,000, Canada is certainly in bad shape.

Pamela Ferreira Toronto

It’s not just the top 0.13 percent of taxpayers who are affected by the capital gains tax.

Even if we overlook those who own cottages or rental properties, or throw away assets that have increased in value, these changes will impact those the government wants most: young people. Anyone struggling to save for a down payment on a home will likely need an investment vehicle other than a GIC if they ever want to make that happen.

Now they will be punished even more severely for this.

Tom Spenceley Calgary

Health issues

Re “At 40, it’s time for the Canada Health Act to get a makeover” (April 18): As a former MP and minister of the 1984 government that introduced the Canada Health Act, I applaud contributor Colleen’s call Flood for his assessment.

Her analysis deserves careful consideration and review of a system that has served Canadians well for four decades. Political activists, à la Pierre Trudeau and his then Minister of Health and Welfare Monique Bégin, should “restart the fight” against reduced universal health care and care for all.

Paul Cosgrove Brockville, Ont.

As a retired general practitioner with 40 years of experience in Ontario, I believe this opinion misses the essential issue.

It is not privatization, nor is it dual medicine. The main problem I see is that primary care physicians in Ontario, and most of Canada, are one of the lowest paid groups of professionals in the country.

A significant increase in compensation would go a long way toward improving patient access.

Alan Fegelman New Tecumseth, Ont.

Smart thinking

On “US Power, Tech Companies Complain of Problems Meeting AI Energy Needs” (Report on Business, April 19): With all the talk about artificial intelligence, we have to ask ourselves how “smart” we want to become.

With the enormous amount of computing infrastructure and electricity required to run and cool AI servers, we run the risk of making the same mistake we made with oil: taking a wonderful resource and wasting it by using it everywhere, wasting it and ignore environmental costs. .

Do we really need smart refrigerators and countless other trivial things that are then thrown away, often containing crucial minerals needed for more important applications of AI?

Walter Abicht Kingston


Re “The Quebec Zoo examined animal behavior during last week’s total solar eclipse” (online, April 14): I too wondered what effect the eclipse would have on my cairn terrier named Bobby.

As the sky began to darken, he began to cry, and at the height of the eclipse, when it was as dark as night, he was really excited and cried.

I put it down to him thinking I forgot to feed him because he was quite content after being fed before it got light again.

Judith Watkins Toronto

Off the clock

Re “Bringing workers back to downtown won’t make Toronto great anymore. But you could make it fun” (Opinion, April 13): For decades, downtown Toronto had a vibrant and delicious after-work cocktail scene, especially on Thursday nights. Anyone over 40 should know exactly what I’m talking about. Ah, the memories.

In Montreal it was known as cinq a septbut in Toronto it was more like cinq a dix. Unfortunately, this wonderful tradition has largely faded since COVID-19 struck.

In light of Richard Florida’s push to make downtown Toronto a zone of fun and fun, it would be truly refreshing to see Thursday nights in the Financial District return to the good old days.

I hope all workers in downtown Toronto who read my letter take note.

James Philips Toronto

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