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Hard driving resumes

It has been wonderful driving around the city these past few months. There have been fewer drivers cutting you off, people wave when you let them in, and there's been less speeding. All around a friendlier experience. What a pleasure! Alas, summer holidays are over and the tourists have gone home.

CHRISTINE NAGY

Winnipeg

Excellent health care

Re: Thanks for saving my life, but ... (Aug. 22). I have written to the unit manager of GH5, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, regarding my recent hospitalizations there. This is on the very unit that Nick Ternette is a patient. Our stays were concurrent.

Ternette is being cared for by the very same kind, competent, professional staff that cared for me. It is very interesting that our experiences and perceptions should be so different. I am a registered nurse with 33 years of experience in a variety of health care settings and, in my opinion, this group of nurses and support staff are excellent and provided excellent care.

Linda Lovett

Winnipeg

Answers, please

Re: Hear that? Campaign messages are in the air (Sept. 8). As an advocate for the poor and persons with disabilities, I wonder how calling a fall election would benefit us? We have questions for all of the political parties which we would like answered. For several years now, groups representing the poor and persons with disabilities have called for a national strategy to combat poverty. We have also asked the government to make the Disability Tax Credit refundable.

We are still waiting for the government to act on those and other issues. Michael Ignatieff has said that if elected he won't raise taxes to bring down the deficit. He has also said that he won't balance the books on the backs of the provinces. That leaves only one other option: cutting federal spending. My concern is that Canada's most vulnerable citizens are going to have to bear the brunt of those cuts to spending. Ignatieff has some explaining to do. And how would I be any less poor under an NDP government? We hear the politicians. Do they hear us? We want more than slogans and political spin. Many of the individuals which I represent are poor, homeless, hungry and unemployed. Our issues matter and we would like some answers.

Harry Wolbert

Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities

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I cannot think of anything whereby Canadians and their political representatives could shoot themselves in the foot more injuriously. Canadian consumer confidence is cautiously starting to come back. There are many Canadians who are totally solvent financially but are forestalling any big ticket items until they are confident of the economic recovery. A stimulus will be futile without the confidence of this group.

Elections are expensive and incubate fears of uncertainties everywhere. We do not need this, but perhaps more importantly we cannot afford it. No election please. Members on the Hill, please wake up.

Don G. Anderson

Winnipeg

Rent-control loopholes

Re: End rent control: property managers (Sept. 9).

It is interesting to note that Andrew Swan, Greg Selinger and Steve Ashton support rent regulations without understanding that rent controls, as we know them here in Winnipeg, don't go far enough. The loopholes provided by rent controls allow many landlords to increase rents far beyond the prescribed ceiling.

For example, units are exempt from rent controls if their rent per unit is more than $1,105 per month. Personal care homes, subsidized, non-profit housing and newer buildings that have undergone provincially approved renovations are also exempt. Why? All of this allows many landlords to kick out lower income tenants by increasing rents beyond their means. On the other hand, some landlords avoid rent controls by converting apartments into condominiums. This has contributed to a housing crisis in Winnipeg where the vacancy rate is just below one per cent.

To suggest, as Selinger does, that rent controls "protect people from being homeless" is absurd. Poverty, not rent controls, creates homelessness.

Until Ottawa and the province are prepared to invest a significant amount of money into social housing (co-ops and non-profit housing), whose funding was cut off by former prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1993, the housing crisis in Winnipeg will not change.

Nick Ternette

Winnipeg

It's not the seagulls

Re: Cottagers upset by sewage spill (Sept. 10).

It's bad enough that for years, whenever there was a heavy rainfall, Winnipeg's sewage system overflowed directly into the Red River. Which of course flushes up into Lake Winnipeg.

Now we find out that a number of sewage lagoons in the once pristine Whiteshell Provincial Park have also been overflowing. Raw sewage that eventually flows down the Winnipeg River, likewise into Lake Winnipeg.

Is it any wonder that the beaches in Gimli and surrounding areas are almost always contaminated with E.coli?

Funny thing, I don't hear the NDP government blaming the seagulls as the culprit anymore.

Al Yakimchuk

Sandy Hook

Explain it to the kids

Re: A matter of depth perception (Aug. 15). Glad to hear that Manitoba Hydro has finally been requested by officials from the Interlake to lower the water table of Lake Winnipeg. Lowering Lake Winnipeg's high water mark could help to flush and reduce shore line erosion. Manitoba Hydro should also be put on notice that deals are made to be broken, especially when it interferes with our environment. Their economic interest should not be put ahead of any environmental concerns. Considering that their deal was not intended to cause any negative environmental damage, or was it? The Hecla Island Causeway should also be investigated as it can and could be obstructing the natural lake's flow. It appears to be more of a dyke then a highway. Could it be just a coincident or a convenience for Manitoba Hydro as well?

There is a reasonable theory that the causeway is causing Lake Winnipeg's currents to change. This could be the root cause of shoreline erosion. Is it my imagination or am I not seeing as much driftwood and other debris on the shores of this once free flowing lake? Has anyone ever checked the lake's currents and their directions recently?

How do I tell my children and grandchildren that we have allowed the 11th largest fresh water lake in the world to be caged in and to be polluted all at the same time, within their lifetime?

Peter Marykuca

Gimli

Pig barns and water

Re: Barn fires should be prevented (Sept. 9) With the recent news the H1N1 virus can be transferred between people and hogs, it is time to admit the practice of housing hogs in large barns is a big mistake.

Confining pigs in these barns results in a natural thinning of the population; that which is echoed in the wild known as survival of the fittest. The hog producer counteracts this natural process by using antibiotics on these animals. These antibiotics would better be used for humans.

Ultimately, these antibiotics that are used on these hogs turn up in our streams and lakes. One of these bodies of water is Lake Winnipeg and this is simply not acceptable.

Let's return to the ordinary farmer raising pigs for Manitoba consumption. Let's save our land, water and air. We will all be better off if we do.

James W. McCowan

Grosse Isle

WRHA turns blind eye

Re: WRHA abandons HOPE (Sept. 8). It is pretty remarkable that in 2009 it has come to this. I am not only disappointed in what appears to be a laissez-faire attitude of the WRHA in the manner regarding Hope International and their efforts to provide wheelchairs to disadvantaged countries but, frankly, I am surprised. Ultimately, I am also surprised that in 2009 we can so readily discard efforts to find a resolution that can both meet liability and safety concerns, but can also continue to bestow health technology to those that need it. In a country that has this technology at our fingertips and at that in excess (or we would not phase out older equipment), it is unethical to allow this equipment to go to waste.

I commend Health Canada for raising the bar for which equipment can be donated, as the areas in need should not be given poor seconds. However, I think at the very least the WRHA could sit at the table with HOPE to identify a means to meet the requirements of the policy and not merely bow out of the situation. I am employed as an occupational therapist in Winnipeg and prescribe wheelchairs as one of my areas of work. I recently returned from a volunteer assignment in Lima, Peru, where I witnessed first hand the impact a donated piece of equipment such as a mobility aid could have on the rehabilitation of an individual and their ability to participate more fully in society. I would encourage the WRHA to not be narrow-sighted,and consider that there is likely a means to uphold this policy and still make a positive change in an individual's life.

Emily Ewert

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 12, 2009 A19

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