May 20, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
The price of energy
Re: Some good ideas don't cost money (April 13). Jim Carr's idea of Manitoba Hydro becoming a leader in forming a Canadian (and indeed a worldwide) energy strategy has merit, but his comment that "some ideas don't cost money" doesn't hold water when, on two occasions in his article, he speaks of moving toward a "carbon-pricing mechanism."
While Carr doesn't give specifics on what such a mechanism might look like, we can assume he means having consumers pay more for our energy, either through direct increases to our hydro (energy) rates or, as would be preferred by the socialists and Chicken Little environmentalists, a carbon tax to be paid directly to government. In other words, a tax grab to fund big government and another method of redistributing wealth.
It should be quite obvious to anyone who has travelled the highways and byways of this great continent that energy needs to remain reasonably priced to support a growing economy. The fact is Canadians and American states have high energy use per capita because we don't live in postage-stamp-sized countries with temperate climates.
I agree that "it is time for Canada to move towards carbon pricing, market diversification, energy literacy and conservation, innovation and the development of renewable technologies."
To avoid trade barriers, we need to synchronize our carbon pricing policies with the U.S. It is doubtful that the U.S. will adopt a cap-and-trade policy given the failure of a cap-and-trade bill to pass in 2010, and the Americans never ratified the cap-and-trade-based Kyoto Protocol.
However, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication reported 65 per cent of Americans favour a revenue-neutral tax on carbon pollution, with the dividends going back to the people. This type of system is called carbon fee and dividend.
Carbon fee and dividend's predictable and increasing schedule would create a market signal that would diversify our economy, spur innovation and make conservation more attractive to consumers. Returning revenue from a carbon fee to the public will shield citizens from the impact of rising energy costs associated with the fee.
No laughing mayor
I was the "comedian of sorts" who ranted against Winnipeg's worst mayor, Sam Katz. Sylvia Phelan, who wrote a letter April 12, Well beyond comedy, was right when she said I launched into a tirade about the mayor. And I did ask the audience (some of whom claimed that Katz is doing a good job) to give me one example of something positive he's done for the city.
What Phelan didn't write is that nobody could or would come up with one example. Phelan pinpoints the problem when she said even though she didn't support Katz, "the good folks of Winnipeg" continue to re-elect him, implying he can't be all that bad.
Being elected doesn't make you a good leader or good for the electorate. Nor does it protect you from those of us who wish to voice our disrespect.
Speaking truth to Israel
Re: What must be said about Günter Grass (April 11). In the typical pattern of defending the can-do-no-harm state of Israel, Jeffrey Goldberg produces an ad hominem attack against Günter Grass and completely ignores the main point of Grass's poem.
There is certainly much that Grass, a former Waffen SS member, can be criticized for, including not being a particularly good poet. What Grass should not be criticized for is stating the truth, "that Israel's nuclear power endangers an already fragile world peace."
The other truth Grass articulates is that no state has the right to wage war, bomb or initiate a first strike against another state, no matter what that other state may say or be perceived to have or be accused of trying to make.
Israel has nuclear weapons; Iran does not. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; Israel is not. To paraphrase, friends don't let friends drop nuclear bombs. How ironic that the only friend of Israel not afraid to speak that is a former Nazi.
Parents still struggling
Re: Gimli mother leaves lawsuit amid online uproar (April 3). Thanks to Aldo Santin for the article, and bravo to Chantel Miyai for the courage to bring this issue to public attention. And shame on the "outpouring of negative online comments" from people who disagree with her.
I am shocked, but not surprised, that single parents are still having to struggle so hard to make ends meet and are still being asked to justify their need for assistance in caring for the children who are our most precious resource and hope for the future.
Poverty is at the root of most of our social and legal problems. Let's help and not hinder current attempts to get a grip on crime, drugs, violence, lack of adequate housing, etc. by giving our children a better chance.
ESTHER KATHRYN KLASSEN
Re: Don't cut Katimavik, expand it (April 10). What kind of price tag would you put on empowering youth, promoting civic engagement and instilling a sense of social responsibility? What if you could do all of the above, and at the same time annually mobilize more than 1,000 full-time community volunteers to assist needy communities? This is what Katimavik contributes to Canada. This is what the Conservative government has cut.
I am a past Katimavik participant and am proud to say that the program changed my life. When I entered the youth volunteer program 10 years ago, I was not engaged in my own community, was more than skeptical about my ability to impact change and was floundering with what direction I wanted to take in life.
I emerged many months later from the program, having lived all across Canada, volunteered in a soup kitchen, an adult learning centre and a wildlife reserve, had the beginnings of a second language, and an understanding of what it means to be involved in social service work in Canada. More important, I left the program empowered and with a desire to create change in my community.
Re: Vandals not caught on camera (April 12). As incoming president of the Université de Saint-Boniface Students' Association, I would like to state that the recent incident where a person destroyed LGBT posters is an isolated case and does not represent the belief of students at Université de Saint-Boniface.
This incident has sparked a conversation that will continue into the following school year and will insure that USB and its students take a stand against homophobic and discriminatory behaviour.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 16, 2012 A11