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Out of control

The number of drunk-driving incidents in Manitoba increased by 29.2 per cent in the last three years and, according to Manitoba Public Insurance, young drivers are a big part of the problem. These statistics are despite the fact that the provincial government has implemented a get-tough-on drunk-driving offensive, which has been lauded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

However, how does one reconcile the fact that, on the one hand, MPI, a Crown agency, is taking extensive and costly measures to attempt to address the problem while, on the other hand, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, also a Crown agency, is effectively promoting alcohol consumption by young people by aggressively advertising candy bar flavoured cream liquor (Caramilk)? The latter appeared recently in a quarter-page ad in the Free Press.

In my view, it is irresponsible in the extreme for the MLCC to promote such products. Indeed, one wonders why the MLCC, operating as a virtual monopoly, considers it necessary to advertise its products at all. For example, how can the MLCC possibly justify taking out full-page newspaper ads, as has been the case almost every week of late?

MADD Canada should continue its offensive against aggressive advertising by the alcohol industry but, in our province, in particular, it ought to target the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission which, I would suggest, appears to be out of control.

Walter S. Saranchuk

Winnipeg

Adventurers only

Will the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba demand that Ottawa reinstate the dredging of the Red River? Or will they start marketing adventure tourism. "Come to Winnipeg, be stranded, experience chronic flooding."

George Kynman

St. Andrews

Full disclosure

The latest kerfuffle about constructing "Overrun Stadium" to replace "Crumbling Stadium" may be getting out of hand. I'm prepared to support extra funding for such a facility under one condition. Since public money is torquing the bulk of this deal, all agreements to this deal must immediately be made public. Premier Greg Selinger should not hide behind any clause citing non-disclosure or privacy. If the parties can continue to renegotiate who pays for overruns and design alterations, Selinger can renegotiate public disclosure. If this simple request cannot be fulfilled, the project should be killed. The days of secret handshakes, private deals using public funds and passing on huge hidden costs to the public are over. Or are they?

MORRIS BAY

Winnipeg

�ñº

Re: the editorial (To The Wall, For Stadium, July 31) and articles of the same-day questioning the actual cost of the proposed stadium.

On my first day as assistant to the premier of Manitoba in August 1971, I went to the office of the minister of public works for information. He was busy so I sat down to wait. Shortly after, a young man came to see the minister and was also asked to wait. We did not introduce ourselves, but in the casual conversation he said he was in the employ of a firm that worked primarily on publicly funded projects

Recollections of publicly funded projects and the enormous cost overruns -- the National Art Gallery, the HMS Bonaventure -- flashed through my mind. I smiled to show the young man I was being half-facetious and said: "I have a theory about firms that work on publicly funded projects. You never tell the government what the actual cost will be because of fear if the cost is known, the project will not be begun. But you also know that, once begun, the project must be completed no matter what the cost."

His candid response surprised me. "Oh yes, we do that all the time. For example, there is currently a dispute about what will be the actual cost of building the Winnipeg Convention Centre. The government has been told it will cost $15 million." He leaned toward me, voice lowered conspiratorially, and said: "Actually, it is going to $25 million."

It did cost that, but by the time that was realized by the funders, it was too late to stop.

Herb Shultz

Winnipeg

Shocking service

My observations and experiences here as a former Winnipegger who visits each summer have compelled me to comment about the state of public transport in the city. It is shocking. On more than one occasion I have given lifts to women I see walking along Henderson Highway to the Glenway bus terminus. I grew up near Birds Hill when the houses were few and far between. Forty years later I find it inconceivable that there is still no public transport in an area that is now a dense suburb.

The need is there, as is the public will; on Henderson Highway at the Perimeter, for example, there appears to be an ad hoc "park-n-ride" situation, where vehicles are parked on a grassy space by the river's edge most working days. I will assume these vehicle owners are either carpooling it at that point or walking the half-kilometre or so to the bus terminus.

The homeowners of East St. Paul are shackled to their SUVs when I am sure many would be more than happy to kick off that ball and chain if they could, at least as far as the work commute goes. And of course, not everyone can afford their own gas-guzzler. I regret that I did not turn around and offer a lift to the senior walking southbound on Henderson by Wallace Avenue at 9:15 the other morning. She still had a long way to go.

Karmel Kingan

Hong Kong

Recuse yourself

The Blue Bombers and Goldeyes compete for our entertainment dollars. Since his 2004 election, I have never complained about the mayor continuing his involvement with the Goldeyes. He should, however, excuse himself from any council debate that deals with the Blue Bombers.

Fred Morris

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2010 A17

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