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Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, centre, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath at the Ontario leaders debate in Toronto on Monday, May 7, 2018.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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Shivers in the East

Having recently moved from Ontario to the West Coast, I can only peek around the mountains, looking nervously east at what Ontario will inevitably become if voters callously decide on June 7 that Doug Ford’s vision is a reasonable alternative to the current Liberal occupants of the provincial legislature.

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The disgust with Bob Rae and the New Democrats in 1995 opened the door for seven tumultuous, mean and divisive years under Mike Harris’s Tories; regrettable and preventable voter panic.

If you plug your nose and vote Conservative, well … you’ll have to breath sometime.

Dan Fraser, Victoria

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I enjoyed Brian Gable’s cartoon about Bob Rae and the NDP era in Ontario (1990-95) and am looking forward to the sequel. Perhaps Doug Ford next to a bust of Mike Harris (1995-2002). Include seven tombstones for the dead in Walkerton, Ont., along with an empty bag with $6-billion written on it, the gap in Ontario’s fiscal capacity when the Harris era ended. It’s just common sense.

Robert W. Stevenson, Toronto

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Andrea Horwath’s NDP surge is giving me flashbacks of Rae Days. I remember Rae Days, so inconvenient. But in the midst of a recession, anticipating the Progressive Conservatives, premier Bob Rae could have laid off 100,000 civil servants. Instead, we all took a hit, and kept on working.

Of course, grudging that bitter pill, Mike Harris and the tax- and red-tape cutting Common Sense Revolution soon came to town. Things would be efficient and money saved. So water testing was privatized, and oversight was lessened without proper safeguards. Both were factors in the Walkerton tragedy. The human and financial costs were huge.

So dislike the NDP for their spending. But forget the drumbeat of “Rae Days.” Rae Days were never fatal, just inconvenient.

John J. Sudlow, Oakville, Ont.

Facebook’s success

Re Facebook’s Continental Divide (May 23): There is a difference between monopoly and market dominance. The former implies anti-competitive practices and predatory behaviour, while the latter is simply a statement of fact, and reflects either the excellence of a company’s products and services, or is the consequence of a so-called “natural monopoly.”

So the European Parliament’s bashing of Facebook strikes me as populist grandstanding. I hold no brief for Facebook – I don’t use it, and I dislike it – but I concede that an effective social network is the definition of a natural monopoly. Maybe it should be a public utility. But as long as it isn’t, its success shouldn’t be held against it.

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Brian P.H. Green, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Foreign-policy chemistry

Re Trump Pulls Plug On Meeting With Kim (May 25): As a septuagenarian – the same vintage as Donald Trump – I recall wanting (and receiving) a “chemistry set” for my birthday when I was about 10. Happily no longer available, these sets contained chemicals in various small tubes and a booklet of experiments to learn about chemical reactions. But boys at that age also want to do their own “experiments,” and one of my friends would always say, “Let’s put them all together and see what happens.”

One little boy didn’t grow up, and doesn’t know not to play with dangerous things about which he knows nothing. This is the basis of foreign policy in the Trump era.

Tom Adlhoch, Toronto

30, and living at home

Re Hold Off On Bashing The 30-Year-Olds Who Decide To Keep Living At Home (May 25): There is a big difference between helping out kids who have finished school and are actively looking for jobs, and Michael Rotondo, who seems to have no interest in doing anything other than living off his parents. I’m all for helping out my children but they have to help themselves as well.

If Mr. Rotondo is not motivated to do anything now, how long are his parents expected to keep helping him – until he’s 40, 50, 60?

Marilena Rutka, Toronto

Caring for parents

Re New Study Aims To Provide Clues On How Canadian Seniors Can Age Healthily (May 22): I watched helplessly as my parents declined (mom had Parkinson’s and leukemia, dad had Alzheimer’s). As a caregiver, I assumed many new responsibilities – driving them to medical appointments; moving them (repeatedly); helping manage their finances; advocating for them and eventually serving as dad’s joint guardian and alternate trustee.

Much like me, many Canadians aren’t prepared for caregiving roles, hesitate to talk to parents about “delicate matters,” and/or face resistance from stubborn seniors who may not be completely agreeable to having a well-meaning adult child provide help and support (this can be seen as a loss of independence). Aging, becoming sick, increased frailty, and/or dying can be unpleasant topics, but they are very real life issues.

While seniors are enjoying longer, healthier, fuller lives, the time will come when things change. Family members must think proactively rather than reactively, and expect to pitch in to help at some level. Caregiving is not something to slide under the rug and forget about – nor are the caregivers themselves, who work hard to give an aging loved one the best quality of life possible.

Rick Lauber, author, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians, Edmonton

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Re Making It Up As We Go (First Person, May 25): Thank you for such a refreshingly honest and slightly manic piece that portrays perfectly the sense of unreality and unreadiness some of us feel when a parent is dying. The “graduating class” parallel was brilliant.

Jo Meingarten, Toronto

Paying in the Peg

Roy MacGregor captures the visionary and exciting plans for the new indoor garden experience being planned for Winnipeg’s iconic Assiniboine Park (Winnipeg Looks To Make A Tropical Splash In A City Defined By Winter – May 24).

As a former employee of the soon-to-be demolished conservatory, I can attest to the popular attraction such facilities represent in a winter city. The only blemish on this good news story is the fact that operators of the park plan for the first time to charge an admission fee to enter the new Leaf facility. Winnipeggers will assume the lion’s share of the $75-million construction costs and then will pay to enter.

This is a first. For more than 100 years, the two predecessor facilities were open to citizens without charge. This fit the vision of George Champion, superintendent of Winnipeg parks for 26 years, early in the last century. His vision of Winnipeg’s flagship parks was that they be “havens from commerce.”

The Diversity Gardens are a bold initiative. Sadly, many Winnipeggers won’t benefit as they won’t be able to afford the admission in this departure from accessible access to park amenities.

Paul Moist, Winnipeg

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