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Noble intentions

I salute the noble intentions of those university students who would like to see the funding continued for refugee health care (Send 59 cents to PM: students, June 27). They may have a different outlook one day, however, when they become full-time taxpayers with a mortgage and children to feed.

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Nobody likes to see programs cut, but our ability to pay for them has been exhausted. This year, tax freedom day for the average Canadian fell on June 11, which means we contributed 44.2 per cent of our income to taxes. In spite of this, the federal government will spend $21 billion more this year than they bring in on taxes, and the provinces an additional $20 billion.

If this trend continues, our ability to borrow will run out, as it has recently in Greece and Spain. Fifty-nine cents per citizen doesn't sound like much, but when you multiply it by hundreds of thousands of programs, it becomes a monster. By taking steps to curb spending today, the government is saving the youth of today from having to pay for our extravagance.




Sending 59 cents to Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes good sense. Many productive Canadians are recent refugees. Thousands of Canadians' ancestors were refugees. It's bad sense to discriminate against incoming refugees and thus Canada's future.

Congratulations to the Winnipeg university students who recognized a sensible idea when it surfaced.



Validating an argument

Mia Rabson's June 25 column, An MP who can think for himself, confirms the points of an argument I have had with some of my relatives for years. All political parties should be abolished and each candidate required to run as an independent, with political expenses (a set maximum) funded by the taxpayer via Elections Canada.

No political donations by individuals or corporations should be allowed. In addition, a candidate must achieve 50 per cent plus one of all votes cast; none of this first-past-the-post crap.

There are multiple ways to determine that requirement. Those MPs elected to Parliament could then vote for the positions of prime minister and ministers. After all, how few Canadians currently elect our prime minister?

The bane of democracy in all so-called democratic systems has been the political party. One need only pay attention to the absolute nonsense taking place in our southern neighbour's presidential race for confirmation.



The more things change

Re: Downtown Biz launches anti-begging campaign (June 26). I remember the Downtown Biz launching an anti-panhandling campaign a decade ago. Keep your change, they said. Don't give it to panhandlers, because 75 per cent of panhandlers are addicts. Today, at least, they say you shouldn't give panhandlers your money because you don't know where it's going to go.

Mayor Susan Thompson passed the first anti-panhandling bylaw in 1995. It was amended by Mayor Glen Mayor, then amended once again by our current mayor, Sam Katz, attempting to limit panhandling in Winnipeg.

It didn't work then and it still doesn't work today. For as long as poverty exists, just like prostitution, panhandling will not go away.



Study the lies

Teresa Smith's June 23 column, Sorry seems to be the hardest word, is a relatively superficial piece on the sorry state of political language. Pat Martin is always an easy target as a potty mouth.

A more interesting view that begs study is one of lies that are repeated so often they become true in the media. Lies have often prompted many of the potty-mouth attacks.

The most egregious of the last election was Stephen Harper's repetition of the "unacceptable" and "un-Canadian" coalition of Stephane Dion and Jack Layton with Gilles Duceppe, with which Michael Ignatieff was also pilloried.



Underpassing the buck

Re: Plessis underpass looks for federal nod (June 27). Why do we build underpasses that are susceptible to flooding? Why do we not build more overpasses?

One assumes it is purely a cost thing, yet I have never seen any cost-benefit analysis of the proposed underpasses. They are just simply announced.



Thinking before talking

Re: Martin raises cash for lawsuit defence (June 27). I understand Pat Martin's frustration in regard to the distribution of false information.

Before he introduces a private member's bill to limit the scope of automated robocalls, he should evaluate his speeches during question period. He may have immunity, but thousands of Canadians listen to charges made that are utterly false.

Credibility of the MPs is at stake. Do you want the average Canadian to have respect for the office of our MPs? Then clean up your act.



Moral courage

Re: Senator trashes reporter in tweet (June 27). The revelation of Sen. Patrick Brazeau's irresponsible attendance record is troubling but sadly not surprising.

Brazeau has adopted the sense of entitlement we see with regularity among the Tory government, the very ones that appointed him to the upper chamber.

However, there is a ray of hope on the horizon. Backbencher Brent Rathgeber should be rewarded for having the moral courage to speak out regarding the "champagne tastes" of Conservative cabinet members. The people of Edmonton-St. Albert should take great pride in the person they elected.



Paying for cuts

Re: Harper's hypocrisy (Letters, June 27). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that with our aging population and people living longer, changes are needed to sustain a health-care system that takes care of all Canadians.

I would suggest groups that want to support the global community health needs pay for the cutbacks instead of bringing a lawsuit against a government that is trying to address the crisis in Canada.

Instead of paying legal fees, these funds could be put to better use to help refugees. I would also suggest there is no lack of poor and disabled Canadians who could use their financial help.

Charity should begin at home. The global economy is in chaos. The Canadian government is elected and responsible for its citizens' needs, and that's where their focus should be.



Very punny

Re: Doin' what birds do (Letters, June 27). I think it is time the people of Transcrowna started using crows as their official lawn ornament instead of the flamingo.

It's tragic this situation is caw-sing such a problem for them.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 1, 2012 A15

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