Letters, Nov. 4: Injecting politics into health care puts Albertans at risk

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Re: Medical officer’s powers in health emergency cut; Bill 6 makes future restrictions a provincial cabinet decision, Nov. 3

As we all know MLAs may come from any walks of life. Our government is about to appoint them all with public health degrees and they can now bypass the chief medical officer’s advice. How can we expect a layperson to interpret the quality and nuances of a medical study?

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This is truly a cave-in to the right-wing factions of the UCP and should be an alarm to us all.

George Gish, Claresholm

Time for city to rein in spending

Re: Government spending is hobbling Canada’s inflation fight, Nov. 1

I fully agree with Tiff Macklem urging elected officials to consider the inflationary consequences of their spending plans, as increasing government spending does the opposite of what the central bank is trying to do. Municipal as well as federal and provincial governments need to rein in their spending.

Please provide feedback to your city councillor regarding the upcoming City of Calgary 2024 budget. Now is not the time to increase spending on the backs of households trying to manage inflation. Now is the time to postpone some of the good but expensive initiatives, such as the Foothills Fieldhouse until inflation gets back under control.

Creating a new taxpayer-borne fund for capital cost escalations is exactly what the city should not be doing, versus finding ways to stay within the budget through efficiencies and deferrals.

Martin Bates, Calgary

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A warning on baggage fees

On a recent flight from Calgary to Comox, I had an experience that was kind of shocking and now wonder how far this will go.

WestJet will often advise travellers that a flight is full and you can come forward and check your carry-on for free. On this recent flight, they went a step further. When enough people did not respond to the request, they announced they needed about 10 more passengers to come forward. They warned if nobody did, they would be measuring bags and if you didn’t meet the size limit, you would be charged baggage fees instead of no charge.

As an inducement to check your bag, they offered anybody who came forward the ability to board early with the pre-boarding and Westjet reward flyers.

Gary Allard, Calgary

Pension ‘facts’ don’t add up

I know that facts just muddle a good brouhaha, however when I received my UCP pension postcard in the mail last week, my bovine excrement meter zoomed past the full mark. The opening line states, “higher wages has resulted in Albertans overcontributing approximately $60 billion into the Canada Pension Plan, compared to the benefits given back to Albertans.”

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In all of the propaganda (from both sides) I have yet to see the term YMPE. The Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earning for 2023 is $66,600. That means that a person in Alberta making $125k per year pays the same CPP contributions as a Bay Street banker making $700,000 per year.

As for “benefits given back to Albertans” — I guess it depends on where you live when you retire, doesn’t it? If I decide I want to move back to the Rock and hunt moose, my CPP benefits just left Alberta. Perhaps I decide that Costa Rica is more my speed. A measly $1,000 per month pension income is all that is required to meet the requirements of the Pensionado Residency Category. Yes, the Canada Pension Plan will mail or direct deposit your money almost anywhere in the world.

After all, it’s your money, not the government’s.

Roy Nesbitt, Calgary

In defence of an APP

I would like to challenge readers opposed to an Alberta pension plan to read through the 95-page LifeWorks report. Then we can begin to have a conversation based on facts.

It’s also helpful for people to read the pertinent sections of the Canada Pension Plan Act to see what the formula is for yourselves, and then have a look at the Canadian Tax Federation’s report on CPP net contributions for the 10-year period from 2008 to 2017, keeping in mind that CPP didn’t start accumulating an investment fund until 1997 — before that it was pay as you go.

To give you a brief overview, the primary net contributors during the 10-year period were: B.C. $5 billion; Ontario $7.5 billion; and Alberta $27.9 billion.

I’ll let the readers calculate the individual provincial percentages.

Orin Grovum, Calgary

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