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Wishful thinking

Re: Residential limit of 40 km/h? (Sept. 12). It would appear councillors Harvey Smith and Ross Eadie are both suffering from an extreme case of wishful thinking. While it may be a noble gesture to put forward a bylaw to reduce residential speed limits to 40 kilometres per hour, who is going to enforce it?

Right now, motorists speed and blow through stop signs with impunity and the anti-texting law while driving has turned out to be nothing more than a joke. Cyclists meanwhile, continue to do pretty much whatever they want.

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We have already seen Winnipeg police step up law enforcement when directed to do so. Trouble is, city officials need to step up themselves and give the order. Otherwise this will become another meaningless law that people will simply ignore.




It is a paradox of sorts that the proposed idea of reducing the speed limit on Winnipeg's residential streets to 40 kilometres per hour is the brainchild of two city councillors, Harvey Smith and Ross Eadie, who do not even drive.

But indeed, it is a brilliant suggestion that could significantly reduce accidents between speeding automobiles and cyclists, as well as pedestrians, especially children and seniors.

Why was this plan not conceived and implemented much sooner? Well, better to be late than never. Bring it on, city council. Put the brakes on the errant, irresponsible and, dare I say, rude motorists who at times show utter disregard for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians of all ages.




To what degree will this topic contribute to our summer of discontent?

How much steam will it continue to gain as laudatory? How much steam in drivers and others will it generate as too impractical for all residential streets? What level of enforcement can be expected? Will it cost too much in dollars or wise use of resources? Will radar fines be viewed as essential for safety or as a thinly veiled cash grab? What will be made of the timing when some (many?) voice the sentiment, "I thought a lower speed limit for schools and playgrounds was already approved?"

I, for one, await the December report with interest.




In the name of safety, people sure come up with stupid ideas. Maybe they should ban big cars on residential streets, since a small car has, say, 25 per cent less frontal area, so therefore someone is 25 per cent less likely to get hit by a smaller car.

Maybe the speed should be increased to 60 kilometres per hour, because cars will be on the street 16 per cent less time, giving less opportunity to strike somebody.




No shortage of talent

Re: Canadian Screen Awards replace Genies, Geminis (Sept. 5). It's refreshing to read that the broadcast visionaries of Toronto plan to, finally, mine the rich vein of comedic genius (and national treasure) better known as "Mr. Broadway," Martin Short, to host the newly minted Canadian Screen Awards' two-hour bash, set to air on the CBC in March.

In light of Short's superb entertainment talents, I suggest the awards honouring the very best in Canadian digital, film and television be forever known as "the Martys," the Shortys" or "the Grimleys."

Mind you, the ideal nickname to strongly click with the viewing audience is, of course, "the Jimminys."




A palpable threat

Irrespective of the growing call for a CAQ-Liberal coalition, a considered option to prevent the PQ from becoming Quebec's next government, the federalist cause has found itself surrounded on three sides by nationalist forces.

This outflanking manoeuvre must be viewed as a palpable threat to constitutional freedoms and the economic development necessary to insure the province's -- and the country's -- future security. It is not the benign result domestic apologists and foreign governments generally believe it to be.




In love with money

Re: NHLers players waiting game (Sept. 8). It is astounding with the minimum $525,000 salary, revenue-sharing plus signing bonuses for playing a game that players supposedly love is not considered "fair."

If these players really loved hockey, I am sure they would be playing. It appears what they actually love is the money. Some of the players are truly great, and they make millions of dollars a year. Other players are great at fighting (though not at hockey) and make huge sums to be able to punch someone legally and generate perverse fan excitement.

Hopefully, the owners who have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in these franchises will be strong and lock the players out for as long as it takes to make them realize they are living a dream and have it good.




Discovering settlers

Congratulations to the Committee for the Bicentenary of the Selkirk Settlement and all organizations that planned the recent series of events. It was fantastic from start to finish.

The only thing lacking was comprehensive press coverage.




The wisdom of Kierans

Your editorials Caution on Carney's complaint (Aug. 30) and Pay more attention to banks, Sept. 5) make valid points. But your headlines Big banks rake in 7.8-B Q3 profit (Aug. 31) and Scotiabank poised to grab ING, (Aug. 30) remind me of a speech by Eric Kierans in September 1976 in Toronto.

The self-made millionaire, former president of the Montreal Stock Exchange, and veteran of both the Quebec and federal cabinets, was speaking to a blue-ribbon audience of corporate executives, who as usual, complained about tax regulations not allowing them to earn enough profits.

Kierans asserted most had made greater profits in the past five years than in all their previous history, and were not paying it out in dividends because they feared the recipients might do something foolish "like spend it." Instead, CEOs had run out of companies to buy and "are now buying each other's corporations at exorbitant prices."

Does the $3.13 billion Scotiabank paid for ING suggest a return to the same syndrome, or was Kierans wrong?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2012 A13

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