Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2011 (2109 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Water template exists
Thank you for your series by Bartley Kives on water-management issues. This should be the main election issue after Manitoba's experience with flooding this spring.
As you reported, people west of Miami have given us a template for a more appropriate approach to controlling flooding. They built a series of small dams at a fraction of the cost of a large Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration proposal to tame the South Tobacco Creek. By holding a portion of water back at its origin during peak flows, they largely eliminated damage to local roads and overland flooding all the way to Morris.
Their template should be duplicated all across southern Manitoba west of the escarpment. In addition, there are potential sites for hundreds of small- to medium-sized dams in the deep ravines running into the creeks and rivers of our area. These can be designed with small pipes in the bottom to spread peak runoffs over a three- to four-week period.
Of course, building larger projects duplicating the Lake of the Prairies on the upper reaches of the Assiniboine, the Souris and the Pembina rivers would also contribute to reducing peak downstream flows, but the first emphasis should be on multiple smaller projects.
The mechanism to carry these out is in place. Conservation districts are building some of these structures, but they have limited funding. A system of significant grants to conservation districts specifically for the purpose of building retention dams would give a kick-start to getting many more built.
Jon Gerrard's proposal for municipalities to trade drainage credits back and forth would fit with construction of retention dams in ravines to still permit farmers to improve their properties. He seems to be the only leader to have developed a comprehensive water-management plan.
Too big a number
Re: Petition says do the math (Sept. 13). It seems that the problem with many people's understanding of the extra and excess cost of the Bipole III far-west transmission line is attributable to "consumer math." They cannot grasp that a billion extra dollars is the same as writing a $1,000 cheque a million times.
Pawley left surplus
Your correspondent William D. Pooles (A ruthless act, Sept. 13) writes: "When Filmon took power, he was left with a financial mess by Howard Pawley's NDP government."
The certifiable fact is that Pawley left a surplus of $58 million. Since the Filmon Tories had campaigned on being left "with a financial mess," they had to find a way to make that "disappear." They did. They created the rainy day fund of $200 million.
It was funded with the $58 million left by the NDP, plus $142 million from the treasury. Then they were able to say, "Aha, the NDP left us a $142-million deficit.
Had Pooles checked the record, he would know that. He would also know that an unprivatized MTS would not "have required a large infusion of tax dollars" to bring it up to date technologically. Brokers selling the shares advertised MTS as the most technologically advanced telephone system in North America. This is all on the record for anyone interested in facts rather than mythology.
Re: Health care front and centre (Sept. 14). Premier Greg Selinger is promising large increases to health care, $19.5 million for cancer treatment and $74 million for a four-year nurse training initiative. Treating illness is important, but why no commitment to one of the primary factors that causes disease, namely poverty?
Poverty is not mentioned in the NDP vision document, and Selinger's government refused to set targets and timelines for its three-year poverty-reduction initiative.
Yet an article in the 2011 Annual Review of Public Health concludes that evidence from decades of research "overwhelmingly links greater social disadvantage with poorer health."
It also concludes that the barrier to sufficient responses to poverty to prevent disease is often lack of political will. Our health-care system will be sustainable only if effective poverty reduction decreases the prevalence of disease and demands for care. Why is Selinger ignoring this?
An obvious difference
In his Sept. 13 letter, Threat still real, Al Mackling leaves me wondering if he knows the difference between MTS and Manitoba Hydro. Here it is. MTS sells a service, Hydro a natural resource.
Government services are, at the very least, costly. Natural resources should be money in the bank, and not money out of pocket. So why are my pockets empty?
One reason is that albatross, Manitoba Public Insurance, a government service. My auto insurance went up by some $20 a month. And back then that was substantial. (I say we privatize auto insurance.)
So don't let another albatross be the arrogant west-side Bipole III. The only thing now keeping the east-side route out of the equation is a massive political ego. When has a politician ever admitted to being in error? Don't right the wrong. Blunder along.
Same old disrespect
I would like to further comment on the Sept. 13 letter by Shannon Coburn regarding the disrespect shown during the moment of silence at the Banjo Bowl. This was just a continuation of the regular disrespect shown toward our country and veterans at every football game and at other sports venues as well.
Regularly at games during the singing of the national anthem, people walk up and down the aisles, do not remove their hats and boo at the end of the anthem.
If these individuals have so little respect for our country and the many lives given to allow them their lifestyles, why don't they move elsewhere? Other democratic and non-democratic countries will accept them.
There would not be a castle standing in Europe today if anything like our city's heritage conservationists had any say. They blame the property owners and want new bylaws against 'Demolition by neglect' (Sept. 13).
No doubt, their next excuse will be bylaw inspectors are not building inspectors. Then the talk will be for training, and then... ad nauseam.
The term heritage conservation has a meaning. If the current meaning continues with the destruction of Sir Sam Steele School, our city's heritage will be reduced to a plethora of commemorative plaques.
To save our heritage without the apparent help of those at Heritage Winnipeg, perhaps it's time for Manitoba to develop the equivalent of Scotland's National Trust.
Don't count on it
Re: More students than ever at universities (Sept. 10). This article represents good news for the province of Manitoba, the universities and students. Nevertheless, the numbers tell a different story.
The reporter states, "the University of Winnipeg shattered the 10,000-student mark" and "the University of Manitoba came within 21 students of its record enrolment six years ago, attracting 27,922 students."
This adds up to 37,922, considerably more than the 29,000 stated in the sub-headline. Perhaps the Free Press should purchase a calculator for its editors.