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Imaginary money

Re: Amid hubbub, $300 million in freeways approved (April 26). In approving $300 million of highway extensions of Chief Peguis Trail and William Clement Parkway, Winnipeg city council demonstrated that the only consultations that matter to it are the backroom deals on Main Street.

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Winnipeg completed an extensive transportation master plan last fall, which was approved by council. Hundreds of Winnipeggers took part in good faith to create a vision that balances all the transportation demands of all citizens.

By combining financial and environmental sustainability, the master plan set out a path for building a modern, safe and efficient transportation system over the next 25 years, including rapid transit, traditional public transit and highway infrastructure.

While public transit is consistently starved and delayed, council claims to have found nearly a third of a billion dollars to service neighbourhoods that do not yet exist. While the needs of existing neighbourhoods are ignored, imaginary resources are being funnelled into imagined business opportunities.

The saving grace of this week's decision is that the money council is playing with does not really exist. If ever $300 million does land in the lap of our civic government, let's hope they see fit to consult with citizens on how it is spent.



Poll results fishy

Re: Fish marketing board protested at city rally (April 26). John Wood, president and CEO of the fish board, states the protesters represent a small fraction, less than five per cent, of the fishers in Manitoba. The company recently ran an ad trumpeting the high level of satisfaction with their services among commercial fishers.

This was based on a poll flawed from beginning to end. The fish board "selected" the fishers to be polled, paid them $50 each and conveniently avoided the aboriginal fishers in northern Manitoba where support is non-existent. So much for credibility.



Under the wire

Re: Electrifying idea (April 25). Bill Parkes' tongue-in-cheek response to my April 19 letter deserves a tongue-in-cheek rebuttal.

Shindico is a very successful firm in the commercial real estate market. And should they get into the dam business, I bet they would come in under budget, on time and exceed all standards.

That is more than I can say for our current provincial government.



Aggravating hardship

Re: Feds cut dental, vision, prescription coverage for refugees (April 27). Thanks to the big-hearted Conservative government for cutting off dental, vision and prescription coverage for refugees landing in Canada. For many families, paying off thousands of dollars in travel expenses is enough of a hardship.

Jason Kenney's argument that he doesn't want Canadians to have to pay for benefits they do not receive themselves is outrageous. Many refugees have spent time in unimaginable living conditions, and I think most Canadians would be willing to dip into their pockets for one year to help get families on their feet.

It is scary how we can spend billions on F-35 fighter jets and cut off basic services to families in need. This is hardly a welcome to Canada.



Unsympathetic to design

Re: Holy War engulfs The Forks (Editorials, April 26). Kudos to city council to delay a water park decision. Your editorial states, "The final design must be architecturally sympathetic with its surroundings."

OK, a good start. But how does any architect make or design something "architecturally sympathetic" with the human rights monstrosity? Clearly, this requirement was not considered when the museum was proposed in the first place.

Look at the ballpark, the Provencher Bridge, the 100-year-old railroad shops buildings. Is the museum considered "architecturally sympathetic" with those? This writer thinks not.

The city wants to make The Forks a focal point to bring visitors to the area. But, seriously, a water park that looks like the human rights museum? Is this the best Winnipeg can do at a valuable location as The Forks? Again, I would think not.



Small step for mankind

Re: Oda repays cost of limo service in London visit (April 27). The Conservatives claim Bev Oda has repaid all of the costs that were inappropriate, including the difference in costs between hotels and a glass of orange juice. Even though she has only repaid the inappropriate expenses that Canadian taxpayers have found out about, and not the inappropriate costs that we don't know about, it is a small victory.

Now, if we can just get Peter MacKay to pay us back for his joy rides in our military jets.



An illegal smile

It is apparent that Dave Ferguson (A peaceable assembly, Letters, April 26) does not have sufficient mental acuity (the ravages of marijuana, perhaps?) to understand my point.

Of course, people can gather in large numbers to protest whatever issue they want. This is a matter of freedom of speech and assembly. This does not permit, however, them to thereby commit illegal acts in support of their cause, regardless if people are hurt or not.

Proponents of open LSD use, if they ingest LSD as part of their actions, are breaking the law. People who deny the Holocaust can gather, but they cannot engage in any overt anti-Semitic act. Citizens who embrace cock-fighting can let their opinions be known, but they can't set up fighting rings for roosters and let them go at it on the grounds of the legislature.

Whether or not there would be violence to people is a point to be proved and not assumed. With respect to the mentioning of his Icelandic Festival, there is no analogy here. Ferguson should realize the Icelandic Festival is not a protest.

And the biggest lacuna in Ferguson's thinking is the obvious faux pas of not realizing that God created everything.



Responsibility owed

Rudy Ambtman (False conjecture, Letters, April 26) tries to make a case that Omar Khadr has an absolute right, as a citizen, to return to Canada. I do not agree.

Khadr has responsibilities as a citizen, including not to take up arms against Canada or her allies. The soldiers attacked by Khadr and his friends could as easily have been Canadians or forces from two dozen other nations who contributed significant forces to the UN initiative in Afghanistan.

Khadr's rights as a citizen have to be balanced against his treason. There is no excuse for waging war on your adopted country.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2012 A11

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