Today’s Letters: On the pluses and uncertainties of electric vehicles, 24 Sussex, and Lansdowne 2.0

Today’s Letters: On the pluses and uncertainties of electric vehicles, 24 Sussex, and Lansdowne 2.0

Published Apr 27, 2024  •  Last updated 8 hours ago  •  10 minute read

This aerial photograph taken on April 16, 2024 shows electric cars for export stacked at the international container terminal of Taicang Port in Suzhou, in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province. (Photo by AFP) / China OUT Photo by STR /AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Questions for EV boosters

The government has created a deadline for industry to cease production of gas-powered vehicles in 2035. Let’s just give Dec. 31, 3035 as the cut-off date, because I believe this policy will need every last minute to accomplish the goal.

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Confidence in electric purchase of buyers next car has dropped from 47 per cent to 35 per cent in a recent survey. How can government accelerate the demand?

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How many recharging stations on major routes are required? How many assembly workers would need to be laid off if there are no alternative vehicles being produced? When will fuel prices soar to artificially create demand? How will rural Canada be serviced?

Who will be able to buy a used car as pricing will soar in that category? How will car rental companies at airports meet these targets?

When will we see construction tenders from federal and provincial governments to build super-charging stations on highways and in major commuter parking lots? What subsidies will have to be funded by taxpayers for these projects? Will commuters who do not drive be exempted from these projected taxes?

Maybe readers should ask these and any other questions to our elected officials.

Brian Vachon, Greely

An EV evangelist writes

​Why would EV interest be less than it was a year ago is beyond me. I have been driving an EV since 2019 and I can tell you there are no issues with these vehicles.

I drove it from Ottawa to Vancouver and back. I drive 60 km to the city and back to my place for next to nothing in electricity cost. We have a hybrid as well and guess which on stays in the driveway parked for weeks on end?

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EVs are better for our beautiful planet than gas cars. If you are in a two-car family, I would say buy at least one EV. You will notice that the gas car will stay at home most of the time. EVs are now at price parity with gas cars so the price should not be an issue.

Everybody likes clean air, soil, and water. Do it for the health of our planet and for the future of our children.

André Post, Arnprior

Don’t forget about hybrids

This is to clarify confusing information concerning the government’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, which [one might think] requires all new light-duty vehicles to actually be zero-emission by 2035. That implies that no cars burning gas will be sold after 2035.

Not so, because a zero-emission vehicle is defined as one that “has the potential to produce no emissions”; that is, not necessarily an electric vehicle.

So, despite the wording of the mandate, plug-in hybrids with gas engines will still be available after 2035, painting a rather different picture of the move to EVs in Canada.

Jay Miller, Ottawa

Blame gas price hikes on politics or greed?

Is it coincidence that the unprecedented gas price increases coincide with the government’s budget, which raises income taxes on the highest-income earners and adopts a higher capital gains formula, both of which will affect the oil industry?

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Stated reasons for gas increases have included the Russian-Ukraine war, the Middle East unrest and the carbon tax. The disruptions from the war have been resolved and oil continues to flow from the Middle East. The carbon tax can account for a nominal increase in gas prices but not to the level imposed by the gas companies.

Perhaps it is time for the government to have a serious review of gas companies’ pricing practices, which are pushing up the cost of living.

Alistair Hensler, Nepean

Deficit only delays reckoning

It is unbelievable what is happening with the financial affairs of the country. This last federal budget is a case in point.

There is no effort or even desire to balance budgets anymore and no one seems to care. Whether it’s at the federal level, provincial or city level everyone is gung ho on producing a sizeable deficit and never mind the consequences. This flies in the face of Economics 100 and everything one experiences in life.

If I spend more then what I get in income the consequences are dire, I will eventually lose my car, my house or any possession my creditors will go after. This applies to any organization or enterprise that wants to exist, let alone prosper.

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So why are governments allowed to defy the laws of economics and seemingly get away with it? The simple answer appears to be that they are pushing the day of reckoning well into the future when they will not be around to take care of the mess.

They are borrowing money from a future generation. Someone else will have to find a way to live with less as their spending will be severely curtailed. So much for our canny politicians promising a rosy future for the young.

You can delay, but you can’t defy the laws of economics — like laws of gravity — forever.

Rafal Pomian, Ottawa

Budget’s definitions are problematic

After the tabling of the 2024 budget and, seeing the reaction to the capital gains tax changes, one can only be amazed at how out of touch our federal leadership is.

One defence for the change was “a way to ensure the wealthiest Canadians pay their fair share.” This exposes two problematic definitions.

Firstly, the definition of “fair share.” Data from Stats Canada and the Fraser Institute says that Canada’s wealthiest are already paying the bulk of taxes collected — as in they are already paying their fair share if not more.

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Secondly, the definition of “wealthiest Canadians.” Hang on to your hats, folks. If you own a cottage, you are now one of the wealthiest Canadians, regardless of your actual financial situation.

Even more frightening is that this definition of “wealthiest Canadians” has removed a massive pool of money that could have been used to invest in housing — something that Trudeau and company say is a huge problem.

A neighbourhood home was sold and the new owner invested a pile of money to turn it into a multi-unit building. Why would anyone do that now?

If the feds had bothered to think this through the smarter move would have been to lower the capital gains tax on investments in housing but, sigh, here we are.

Michael Askwith, Ottawa

Tax’s impact was understated

This government is out and out lying to Canadians when they indicate the change in capital gains tax increase to 67 per cent will effect less than 1 per cent of Canadians.

Take a case where parents have owned their family home for years and value of same has increased substantially. When they pass away, the home would be left to the children, who in all probability would sell it. I believe a situation like this would kick in the higher capital gains as there would be a substantial increase of over $250,000. In addition to this, the increase will detour and hurt small business.

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Stan Painter, Kanata

All becomes clear when property is sold

Re: Who is the new capital gains tax really hurting, April 20:

I must commend the nurse who invested in the triplex. The rental income, less the costs of maintaining and operating the building, was a good supplement to the nursing salary.

Improvements to the building and property are part of the capital gains calculation. The Canada Revenue Agency calculates capital gains by subtracting the adjusted capital base from the selling returns. In addition to the purchase cost  the adjusted capital base includes capital expenditures, such as the cost of additions and improvements to the property. The buying and selling costs are deducted from any capital gains.

As one of the units was the owner’s private residence for 25 years that time was not subject to capital gains. The first $250,000 of any capital gains in each year is subject to the 50 per cent rate.

The taxable capital gains calculation is complex and it is only when the property is sold that the impact of the tax change can be calculated.

Alan Asselstine, Ottawa

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MPs exempted themselves

The Prime Minister says that he is “asking the most successful in this country to do a little bit more.” I guess that the “most successful” in this country does not include members of parliament.

On April Fools Day, they all gave themselves hefty raises. To be fair, they were generous enough to give an equally healthy raise to the Governor-General. Clearly, none of those at that particular trough thought that they could do “little bit more” by foregoing their annual raise.

Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa

A blind eye to Lansdowne 2.0

Re: Why is the City throwing a $22-million giveaway for seven developments?, April 23:

In his criticism of the City’s $22-million “giveaway” for seven developments, Randall Denley ridicules the use of property tax uplift, which diverts taxes from the particular developments to cover the “giveaway.”

This is a reasonable argument except that Denley, an arch-supporter of Lansdowne 2.0, made no mention, let alone criticism, of property tax uplift when in an Ottawa Citizen op-ed back in October he urged the approval of the new Lansdowne plan. Yet this plan relies on the fantasy of property tax uplift to cover much of the debt of the new north side stands and arena.

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John Dance, Ottawa

Reusable bags pose their own problems

Banning single-use plastic bags was a good thing but the present practice of “reusable bags” adopted by major grocers is a problem.  These bags are piling up in people’s garages and may probably end up in landfill where like plastic they will have a long life.

Grocery stores opted for the easiest solution. They produced a plastic-based bag that can be reused with no thought about how this was going to benefit the environment. All they have managed to do is create yet another product for the plastics industry.  So much for the concept of reduce, reuse, recycle.

There has to another way to deal with this. At one time, we had bottling plants where glass was reused over and over rather than crushed. People paid deposits on soda and beer bottles which encouraged their return. Why can’t we find a way to do the same thing with bags?

People respond to a carrot-and-stick approach. Charge them for bags and reimburse them when they are returned. Create reusable bags that can be sanitized. Keep the cycle of the bag going and get consumers used to the idea of reusing. Grocers with all their billions in profits can afford to find better solutions.

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Cathy Haley, Ottawa

‘Beyond repair’ is unacceptable

This week, our 12-year-old refrigerator stopped working. The appliance gentleman confirmed that it had lost its freon and he was not able to repair it, thus we had to replace it.

We arranged for the store where we bought the new appliance to remove our old fridge, which was in excellent condition with the insides with drawers etc. looking like new. We were concerned and angry to learn that the old fridge would go to the dump with no effort to reuse any of the parts.

Why are appliances not designed so that they can be repaired? Why do we have to throw away perfectly good parts when they could be reused? What are we doing to Canada by producing so much unnecessary “garbage?”

Anna Cornel, Perth

For restitution, courts should seize assets

I have become so disillusioned with government and the courts over inaction when criminals defraud people and nothing is done.

Sure, victims see headlines or get court rulings for restitution but the courts leave the collection up to the victims, costing them time and money they generally do not have. Why do the courts not seize all assets of these fraudsters?

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They could have teams in place to track down all the financials (homes, investments, etc.) and then make this available to the victims. This would  deter bad actors and provide confidence in the justice system that currently is not there.

This could be funded through the monies found with the remaining amounts disbursed.

Or, we can continue to allow these criminals to multiply, as the consequences are so minimal, damaging our economy and populace.

Stephen O’Brien, Ottawa

Make 24 Sussex Drive a tourist draw

Re: NCC eager to get green light for 24 Sussex, Apr. 20

In our fractious political climate, Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper get my vote for their initiative to collaborate in fundraising efforts to restore 24 Sussex Drive. While it is undoubtedly a historic heritage building, prime ministers of Canada deserve and require a more safe and secure location as a residence.

And why not showcase a made-in-Canada, environmentally green design and build it on the grounds of Rideau Hall? And like the presidential library museums in the U.S., make 24 Sussex a museum with memorabilia and photos from all the prime ministers who lived there.

I am sure it would be a great tourist attraction. This would probably pay for ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

Marilyn Domagalski, Ottawa

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