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Case without evidence

Re: Katz pumps public-private deals (Oct. 24). Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is quick to praise public-private partnerships, but seems a bit slower when it comes to presenting facts. Mayor Katz appeared before a parliamentary committee to make the case for P3s. The only problem is he attempts to make his case without any evidence. Even city councillors are not privy to full background reports or detailed number breakdowns, especially regarding risk-transfer assessments.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has tried several times to get the mayor to release information on the city's backroom modelling of risk transfer in P3s, but to no avail. The rationale used by the city to justify its devotion to P3s is off-limits to the public, and apparently was also off-limits to the parliamentary committee.

While Katz raves about the cost and time savings and risk transfer associated with P3s, the people of Winnipeg are paying more for bad decisions made with no transparency. The mayor's declaration that P3s stretch infrastructure dollars is a fallacy -- we end up paying more just further down the line. P3s often have higher life-cycle costs and saddle cities with long-term debts.

Take the Charleswood Bridge P3, for example. John Loxley, former head of the economics faculty at the University of Winnipeg, shows that the bridge project cost taxpayers much more in the long run. Higher interest rates and the high costs of preparing and evaluating the bids bumped up the cost significantly.

PAUL MOIST

CUPE national president

Ottawa

ñü

At the end of the day, P3s and privatization mean that profit goes into the hands of large corporations, many of them foreign. This money should be kept and reinvested locally, and the way to do that is to ensure our services and infrastructure remain publicly owned and operated

MIKE DAVIDSON

CUPE Local 500 president

Winnipeg

Twisting chief's words

Devon Clunis has all the "media training" he needs as far as I am concerned (Clunis finds reaction to interview surprising, Oct. 25). The media sensationalized his comments, twisted them out of context and spun them out of control choosing to undermine his position of authority as the new police chief in our community.

I think it's the media that need training on how to treat citizens respectfully when representing their point of view. I, for one, look forward to the new police chief's leadership as he did show strong character in addressing all the issues that were created by the media by being forthright, honest and standing his ground.

CHRISTINE KRUCKO

Winnipeg

ñü

Maybe it is time for Gordon Sinclair Jr. to hand in his pen (No place for the pulpit in the police chief's office, Oct. 24). Having decided to become judge and jury to persecute Christians by his comments on Devon Clunis is shameful.

The last time I looked at the Canadian Charter of Rights, it listed freedom of the press, so I guess he has the right to an opinion. But right beside his precious freedom of the press is freedom of religion.

JEFF HAROCHAW

Winnipeg

ñü

Gordon Sinclair is right. Our new police chief's heart is in the right place, but his head isn't.

JOANNE CRAIG

Winnipeg

ñü

So Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin thinks crime is a result of poverty (New top cop's weapon: prayer, Oct. 24)?

Apart from being an insult to all people he would classify as living in poverty who do not commit crimes, how does he explain Conrad Black, the wheeler dealers of Wall Street, politicians, lawyers and doctors who are criminals? Or is white-collar crime less heinous than a street mugging?

Crime has one cause: You believe you are the most important person and your needs are paramount.

Devon Clunis is talking about the kind of prayer that reorients your thinking away from self to neighbour through God -- however you worship God.

SHEILA WELBERGEN

Winnipeg

ñü

Those individuals who took an unjustified offence to Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis's reference to prayer provide an indication that we are still a long way from the time where we can say we have done everything possible to control crime.

If those involved in religious intolerance would only develop a line of thought that would discourage violence, perhaps the city as a whole could take a great step forward in creating a more serene and peaceful society.

FRANCINE LEE

Carman

Burying the bones

Re: Church celebrates namesake (Oct. 22). I see that Kateri Tekakwitha's rib bone is being displayed in the Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish.

I had always thought the aboriginal community had always wanted all aboriginal bones repatriated from the various universities and museums so they could be given a proper burial. Can you explain to me why in this case they feel it is proper to have a bone put on display?

I am not of the Catholic faith and therefore I also wonder why the Catholic Church feels it is proper to distribute the bones of members of their faith as they see fit hundreds of years after the death?

We live in a day and age where bones, I believe, are no longer souvenirs, regardless of who they are from.

May Kateri rest in peace, not pieces.

VERN STEINER

Lac du Bonnet

Wonderful music

Over the past two weeks, there have been 12 performing groups, scores of musicians, young and old, performing some wonderful music at the Manitoba Seniors Music Festival. The music has ranged from light classics to the swing of the Big Band era and fine arrangements of adult contemporary music.

The musicians are some of the finest sidemen (and women) on the city music scene. Many are well known for their appearances over many years at concerts and festivals, but many artists are younger than 30 and are showing the potential to swing with the best the city has to offer.

Yet the Free Press has largely ignored the existence of this festival, save for the listing in the Out and About section.

TOM DERCOLA

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 26, 2012 A11

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