Letters to the Editor: January 19: “Go back to manual payroll and write checks. McKinsey tapped to fix Phoenix payroll system (and Ottawa doubles spending), plus other letters to the editor

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Members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada demonstrate on the third anniversary of the launch of the Phoenix pay system, in Ottawa on February 28, 2019.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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under the hood

Re Security flaw found in phone app for Olympians in Beijing (January 18): ‘It’s not a flaw, it’s a feature!’

David Schenck Woodbridge, Ont.


This report is disturbing. What seems to be demanded of Olympians is not an app with a “security flaw” but rather a surveillance and censorship tool.

If Olympians are advised to leave their devices at home but are required by the organizers to install this monitoring tool, there is clearly a contradiction. The best way to resolve this contradiction would be for the Olympians to stay at home.

RD Tennent kingston

Late

Re Ottawa’s Lack Of Urgency On Overdoses (editorial, January 15): “Why is Canada’s deadly opioid overdose epidemic not a top priority for the Trudeau government?” » Stigma.

I think most people see this as a problem that does not concern them personally and that would cost taxpayers’ money to fix. Here in British Columbia, many families I know are worried about someone using drugs.

People don’t even have to be drug addicts to die. Some families lose a young person they didn’t know had ever tried drugs. Even street drugs not sold as opioids can contain lethal amounts of fentanyl.

More than 7,000 mostly younger Canadians died last year, and about as many are likely to die last year – yet it continues to be seen by many as a marginal issue. Incredible.

Grace Golightly Duncan, BC

purchasing power

Re Liberals Increase Outsourcing Spending by Billions Since Taking Office (January 17): I conclude that our federal government’s level of efficiency has declined rapidly under Liberal tenure, while its overall costs have risen dramatically. spectacular.

Even if I exclude the noticeable drop in service quality levels during this period, I would say that our collective return on investment in this machinery of government is nothing short of abysmal.

Cam Kourany Kelowna, BC


I was a government contracted IT worker for nine years. I believe the main driver of outsourcing is that it is cheaper than hiring employees.

There are no vacation days, sick days, parental leave, pensions or other benefits for contractors. The bureaucratic hiring and firing process can be avoided; there is no severance pay and there are no unions. Contractors are disposable.

If they were simply filling “temporary” needs, then there would be no IT contractor workforce in Ottawa, which has existed for decades. Many stay for years, like me. We have the knowledge of the business while some government employees are spinning faster than us.

I find it ironic that the government likes to talk about precarious jobs in the private sector while ignoring its own thousands of entrepreneurs. And, yes, I believe it has a negative effect on the quality of government IT.

jim paulin Ottawa


Re Ottawa turns to McKinsey to fix Phoenix, doubling down on spending (Jan. 18): I’m appalled at how the Phoenix payroll system is handled. So much money and resources have already been allocated to it. And we now have to spend more on “consultants” to fix it?

Maybe we should go back to manual payroll and writing checks. This would provide jobs for many people and would not require unnecessary expenditure of our taxpayers’ money. This money could be used to end homelessness.

Nasreen Jamal Kurji Calgary

In defense

Re In a dangerous world, Canada must defend itself (January 15): Canada’s annual trade deficits of more than $50 billion with China; China’s imprisonment of Canadians and other punitive measures; Canada’s chronic lack of defense strategy and funding and its reliance on US protection; the growing risks of Chinese cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns and encroachment in the Canadian Arctic – what do these things have in common? Somnambulism, and great complacency.

Canada seems ill-prepared for the difficult times ahead, whether for our economy or our security. Our leaders should take up our challenges, implement long-overdue strategies, and educate Canadians about these challenges.

Sleepwalking is over.

Tony Hooper Toronto


Columnist John Ibbitson suggests we increase our defense spending like Norway, Finland and Denmark. Like them, Canadians can still benefit from our valuable social programs.

However, these countries have much higher taxes for doing all of this. It’s hard for me to imagine a Canadian political party that would advocate such a big hike in our taxes while expecting people to vote for them.

Alex MacKenzie Halton Hills, Ont.

public interest

Re it will be painful. But the sooner we reduce inflation, the better (January 14): Tighter monetary policy is key to slowing inflation. But current fiscal policy, including the federal government’s projected deficit of over $150 billion, is not making the Bank of Canada’s job any easier.

Interest rates will have to rise further to bring inflation down, if fiscal and monetary policies work against the tide.

Constance Smith Victoria


Re Bank shares soar. Here’s why you should stick to the rally (Report on Business, January 14): “Interest rates are likely to rise, which is good for banks because higher rates widen the gap between what banks are paying on deposits and what banks do on loans.” Why aren’t Canadians more worried about the fact that the banks largely pay nothing to their depositors?

In many cases, net of fees, we are already paying for the privilege of depositing our money with banks. Yet as rates go up, they increase loan rates. Since when do we have to lend money and receive nothing in return?

I think this speaks to the power of financial institutions, the weakness of our governments to control them, and the financial misunderstanding of many Canadians. All savings accounts must have a minimum savings rate starting at zero dollars.

David room Portfolio Manager, iA Private Wealth; Toronto

Tea time

Re Retracing A Path Through The Heart Of Quintessential England (January 12): I note with interest contributor Brendan Sainsbury’s choice of the Devonshire method to assemble the ‘cream tea’ components of his afternoon tea : namely the scone first, the clotted cream next, the jam on top. The style in nearby Cornwall calls for scone first, jam second, clotted cream on top.

The advantages of one over the other are fiercely disputed but, having lived in both counties and enjoyed both versions, I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Sainsbury’s assertion that a cream tea actually briefly transports you to paradise.

Frank Artes Penticton, BC


Letters to the editor must be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to limit letters to less than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To send a letter by e-mail, click here: [email protected]

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