The Mail

The Mail

July 1 1999
The Mail

The Mail

July 1 1999

The Mail

Avoiding the tax man

Your cover story “The tax dodgers” (June 14) is incomplete in reporting only on ordinary citizens. The real tax dodgers are the huge corporations. If they plan well, they can roll their tax deferrals over and over so they never have to pay. The numbers of millionaires and of children in poverty are both increasing in Canada: in 1973, the income of the richest 10 per cent of families with children under 18 was 21 times that of the poorest; by 1996, it was 314 times as much.

Viola Cerezke-Schooler, Edmonton

The offshore financial industry is not playing spy and war games, nor are the professionals here for a joke and a pifia colada. The financial industry in the Cayman Islands is serious business for

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serious clients, and tax professionals are required to give opinions on their clients’ structures onshore to ensure compliance prior to becoming clients offshore. As a Canadian-trained lawyer and an officer of the court having taken the oath that I would maintain the profession with honesty and integrity, and with my career and business in the offshore trust law service industry, I take great offence at the statements that professionals outside of Canada are somehow promoting illegalities in Canada and creating criminals out of the poor unsophisticated Canadian public. Since when was prudent fiscal, estate and tax planning a crime?

Eleanor Reid, George Town, Grand Cayman Island

The global response to government criminal activity (overtaxation) is clearly detailed in your cover story. Hopefully, the feds will sense the futility that most taxpayers feel. A great article. Good luck to the artful dodgers.

Lorin G. Harding, Hamilton

What an ugly irony. Your June 14 issue included “Memories of D-Day,” a column by Anthony Wilson-Smith about Canadians who sacrificed their lives or their youth in the Second World War—heroes, all of them. The following five pages dealt mosdy with upperand middle-class Canadians whose goal in life is tax avoidance, and the professional advisers who assist them—parasites and scum, all of them. The most galling thing to honest taxpayers is that the tax criminals and their advisers are laughing all the way to the (offshore) bank.

David Seiley, Toronto

1 couldn’t help muddling “The tax dodgers” and another article in the same issue, “Tory times in Ontario,” in my mind. Together, they portray a sad picture of current Canadian values and pri-

Farming red ink

I read with great interest your article on tough times in Saskatchewan farming (“Heartbreak on the farm,” Canada, May 31). I am sorry to say a study I recently completed on returns to agricultural operations in east-central Saskatchewan reinforces the grim outlook. The study specifically examined the effects of the ending of the Crow subsidy. It makes it clear that farm size in the region will have to drastically increase in order for farmers to realize the Saskatchewan average employment income or average family income. What does this mean for the province’s farm families? Principally, that there will be fewer of them. That Saskatchewan’s farmers compete fairly in the world market with heavily subsidized Americans and Europeans is of little comfort to them as they drown in pools of red ink.

Jared Carlberg, graduate research assistant, department of agricultural economics,

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

orities. There were no reports of significant grassroots indignation by Canadians regarding the blatantly illegal activities of their fellow citizens investing money in Caribbean tax havens; however, the right-wing economic and social agendas of the Harris government of Ontario and like-minded governments in other provinces enjoy electoral support. What a day it will be when Canadians demand 1-800-Snitch lines for tax evasion as well as welfare fraud.

Susan Rab, Orléans, Ont.

The error of our ways

Well, the soothsayer speaks to us again, but will we heed the advice? Rachel Carson opened our eyes, Jacques Cousteau warned us before his death and David Suzuki is again saying “fix our ways” (“Saving the Earth,” Essays on the Millennium, June 14). But are we ready to? Relentlessly, we clear green spaces, increase production, fire up the coal generators for more electricity, all with the pioneer attitude that this is ours for the talcing. What is happening to our environment is just like a cancer. It starts, taking many years to expose itself enough for the doctor to make the diagnosis. How do we plant the seed in the

majority of us to take the steps necessary to ensure the legacy we leave is not a barren landscape?

Rob Stimpson, Mississauga, Ont.

I only hope that Macleans readers have really absorbed David Suzuki’s essay. I am struck with a feeling of great shame for being human. All our creativity and energy is spent on meaningless, superficial, unfulfilling and wasteful ideologies and practices. We have repeatedly been warned of the negative consequences of these behaviours and ways of thinking. And we must now consciously choose to act in ways that will prevent this ultimate human tragedy: the destruction of Earth. Please think globally and act locally. It is the only way we and our planet will survive.

Alexander D. C. Lisman, Victoria

Health report card

One of the reasons I moved from the Toronto area to London, Ont., when I retired was because of the excellent health-services facilities that were available. London was perceived to have some of the best health-care facilities in Canada and North America. You can imagine my surprise when I found that you had not included it in “The Macleans Health Report” (Cover, June 7). Excluding London was a gross error in judgment.

Allan A. Hick, London, Ont.

In “A two-tier system,” the argument is made that Canada has a two-tier health-care system, rural and urban. The nature of the ranking points to an equally serious division in the delivery of health care in Canada: the inequality in access to services for psychological health. Too many medical practitioners, policy-makers and politicians fail to recognize the intricate connection between psychological adjustment and positive health outcomes. People requiring psychological services must typically pay out of pocket, a situation that leaves

those in the greatest need with no resources. Hospital-based psychologists are the only publicly funded psychologists in our health-care system, even though the Canada Health Act allows for the inclusion of psychologists in provincial health-care plans.

Dr. Samuel F. Mikail, practice leader, board of directors, Canadian Psychological Association, Aurora, Ont.

The following information may be pertinent to the subject of natural birth (“As nature intended”). Shortly before retiring in 1981 as chief tidal officer for the Canadian government, I undertook a study of the timing of about half a million births occurring in Ontario in the years 1974 to 1977. My purpose was to answer the recurring claim that the birth rate, like the ocean tide, is affected by the phases of the moon. The statistical method I employed tested both for correlation between birth rate and the phase of the moon and between birth rate and the days of the week. The results showed no detectable correlation with the phase of the moon, but a strong correlation with the days of the week. My study showed the birth rate peaked in the middle of the week and fell markedly over the weekend. One is left to speculate as to whether this reflects a tendency for the medical profession to interfere with nature in the birth process or whether nature reflects the fact that God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Warren Forrester, Sollna, Ont.

‘Hardball in Kosovo’

Since Russian President Boris Yeltsin is playing hardball in Kosovo, why doesn’t U.S. President Bill Clinton dredge up a little intestinal fortitude and respond in kind (“The prospect of peace,” World, June 14). Give Yeltsin 24 hours to get his troublemakers out of Kosovo or lose the enormous infusion of funding from the West, without which the Russian economy would founder.

P. J. Mitchell, Victoria