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In power too long

Re: Municipalities must merge, Lemieux says (June 4). It's ironic that when the government digs its heels in, it is "serious," but when municipalities resist the government's edicts, they are "behaving like insolent children." How paternalistic.

It's not that amalgamation may not make sense for some municipalities. However, for others it may not be practical at all. What the municipalities are resisting is the government's dictatorial approach to this initiative.

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Increasingly, Manitobans are witnessing the signs of a government that has been in power too long -- one that is not willing to accept responsibility for its actions.

Here are some examples of how this government has conducted itself in recent weeks. Get an idea like municipal amalgamation, then make its implementation mandatory, no exceptions. Lose a court case on VLTs at Assiniboia Downs? Change the law.

Budget doesn't balance? Amend the legislation that requires balanced budgeting. Planned expenditures exceed projected revenues? Refuse to look at expenditures, expand user fees, hike the PST without the legally required referendum and then repeal the legislation requiring a referendum.

Encounter a delay in a project like the UNESCO World Heritage Site? Announce that more funding is needed and blame the UNESCO process for the delay.




As one of the 5,000 summer residents at Victoria Beach, I pay property and education taxes that are among the highest of any municipality in the province. Yet when it comes to something political, such as being counted when the government wants to decide for us which municipalities are too small to remain in existence, this is not good enough.

Only the 476 permanent residents in the RM of Victoria Beach count in the eyes of government. Perhaps the NDP government should think about the Boston Tea Party of 1776, which was a protest against taxation without representation. How about we have a Lake Winnipeg Tea Party for 2013?




Argument for prop-rep

Robert Murray's June 3 column, Canadian politics stand for nothing, does not mention proportional representation, but he certainly makes a strong argument in favour of it. He is right on when he says Canadian politicians have no interest in running the country but will embrace (or appear to embrace) whatever policy seems to be most popular, according to the latest poll.

Under the prop-rep system, electors rate the parties in order and the parties then have seats allocated proportional to the numbers of votes. The party then selects the members who will fill the seats.

The essential advantage of this system is every vote counts. Some years ago, the Free Beer Party won a seat in the Swedish Riksdag. One hundred years of voting in this manner have resulted in Sweden rating highest on almost every measure of quality of life.




Two kind souls

When one thinks of legacies, and then the recent passing of Elijah Harper and Nick Ternette, it's quite easy to link those two kind souls together.

Ternette spent most of his life helping people, and standing up for what he thought was right, and an amazing number of hours trying to get city hall to see things his way, where the lesser fortunate among us were concerned.

Harper, likewise, especially where aboriginal folks were concerned.

So, what, then, has been accomplished exactly? Ternette had often been called the Transit watchdog, for example. But we're still stuck with an archaic, counterproductive, authoritarian, paternalistic ideology on Osborne, instead of a modern, vibrant public relations strategy.

Harper, quite rightly, thumbed his nose at the Meech Lake Accord because there was nothing in it for his people and, as usual, aboriginals were still seen as second-class citizens.

The horrific slaughter of those innocent little children in their school in Newtown, Conn., didn't prompt America to put away its guns. No more than there is a reckoning proper for the horror of so many aboriginal youth committing suicide here. Serious action is desperately needed.

Only if there are more Harpers and Ternettes waiting in the wings, willing and eager to pick up the flag and strive to make it stick, can those two fine gentlemen up there have everlasting legacies.




Context would be nice

Re: Turban? Then no soccer (June 4). It would be nice if the Free Press published a bit of contextual information with its smaller articles. When we read the bigoted backwater of Quebec has banned turbans for Sikh players, it's an embarrassment for all Canadians.

I would have preferred an article that pointed out the Canadian Soccer Association has directed their local clubs and referees to allow turbans, and that across the country -- except Quebec -- Sikh players of all ages can be seen on the field safely competing in their turbans and patkas (the smaller top-knot-style turban worn by boys).

The article could then go on to point out the only place in Canada xenophobic enough to ban turbans is Quebec. Then, when the press around the world carries the story, readers will understand it is only in our most unsophisticated province religious prejudice still reigns.




Maiden names important

Carolin Vesely's June 4 genealogy feature, Tree of life, is very good. One of the most important things we do at Eden Memorials is to put women's maiden names on memorials so families can trace their roots.

If a woman marries and takes her husband's name, her birth identity is gone.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2013 A14

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