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Part-time CFS fails

The long awaited inquiry into the tragic death of Phoenix Sinclair is underway. The intent of the inquiry is to focus on systemic issues. Based on proceedings, it appears there have been some significant issues revealed; regrettably the lawyers involved appear to have missed that fact. Specifically I am referring to the social worker who was attending university full-time and ostensibly managing up to 20 case files. What makes this even more disturbing is the fact her supervisor was completely unaware of these competing demands. This is a systemic issue and needs to be completely understood.

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I've had people who work for me attempt to carry a partial university course load as well as do their "day-job." It looks good on paper, but in reality it does not work. My son has attended college and university full-time and balanced a part-time job. Once again the theory and the reality do not align, and both tasks suffer. And now what we are hearing of a system that allows a worker who is responsible for 20 case files but only attends to them part-time is not acceptable. But to also have a system that has its supervisors unaware of its workers' availability and their lack of job performance is egregious.

The diagnosis can take many paths towards understanding how this systemic failure occurred. The inquiry may find issues such as lack of effective supervisory training, unrealistic workloads or even duplicitous employees. But if it is to achieve its mandate and provide value added, it must go beyond the pathological focus on what people could have done and look towards building an effective system with sound processes. We owe that to Phoenix.



It takes a village to raise a child. There will never be an agency that can keep all children safe without the help of many others keeping an eye out. An agency can partner with the community. That is all. It's good to explore history in order to improve the behaviour and work of an agency and of the community. But splitting everyone into good and evil after any disaster will never bring about lasting change or improvement.



Another property issue

Just wondering if our city council has spotted any problems with yet another city property changing hands. Maybe the article was summarized so the details of this sale of the old Dominion Bridge site were not clarified. Why does the city need a broker to sell surplus property? Why would the interested buyer pay $4 million for an unimproved property that requires a $2.9-million remediation that the city and/or the province have no immediate plans to fund? However, to sell the property for $4 million (unimproved) rather than $1.1 million (after improvements) would create extra selling commissions of $116,000 if the commission is four per cent.



At Temple IKEA

Re: The day IKEA landed, (Free Press, Nov. 29).

Faithfully I have attended Costco Cathedral (near our Whyte Ridge home) every week and made my offering to the god of consumerism and consumption. But something seemed to be missing. So I heeded the call of the almighty profits of materialism to go to IKEA Temple on opening day and there I ate and bought and despite all the hype and excitement I was not satisfied. My spiritual hunger remains. The quest continues. The yearning lingers, searchingly.



The visible expression of western society's most honoured values has historically been reflected in its physical skyline. For centuries, the church steeple kept watch over duty to God and man. The Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty were homages to national pride and personal freedom, while smokestacks and skyscrapers provided both image and means for commercial growth.

Today, the enormous sign that looms over Winnipeg's southern horizon is an unmistakable symbol of the great store that is a monument to inexpensive, pre-packaged personal gratification (IKEA puts it together for the city (Free Press, Nov. 29). For this city, the IKEA monolith has risen to the height of cultural icon and, as in the past, we gratefully embrace that which we value most.



Got what he deserved

Re: Conflict law is perverse, (Free Press, editorial, Nov. 27).

It is well known in the human resources field that the fastest way to get fired is to get caught stealing anything, no matter how big or small from your employer. Conflict is not too different. People are using their positions to obtain power in a transaction that ordinary people don't have. Elected officials can "steal" the power afforded to them by the electorate and use it for personal advantage. The gist of this editorial is that Rob Ford's punishment does not fit his crime. Elected officials are in a position of trust and should conduct their business affairs in a manner that is beyond question. That is likely why the legislation is written the way it is. Ford's punishment is entirely appropriate.

It is too bad that Ford and Katz just don't get it.



Is the premier a leader?

When Gary Doer was premier, he entertained a member of the Kennedy family on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, and the Kennedy member was so impressed with the wilderness that he wanted Manitoba to preserve it.

This is a little bit of history, at the expense of Manitobans. Gary went on to better things, but the economy has had an effect on Manitoba Hydro. Greg Selinger was chosen leader of Gary's party and won the next election on issues unrelated to the wilderness area. He is now seeing the light and re-examining the Hydro plans for Conawapa and Keeyask, largely because the lucrative export market has dried up. Manitoba Hydro has reported a loss for the first six months of the current fiscal year. Can Selinger demonstrate he is a leader and save Manitoba Hydro $1 billion by rerouting the Bipole III transmission line to the east side of Lake Winnipeg or delaying it for a period of time until the economy improves? He could also follow the Manitoba Hydro Act, which does not condone the waste of money by Manitoba Hydro.

Think of it: This is the chance for Selinger to demonstrate his leadership of and for Manitobans.



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

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