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An inconsistent ruling

Re: Disputed costs put MPs over limit (June 6). Mark Mayrand, CEO of Elections Canada, seems to forget that MPs are obligated to serve all people in their constituency, irrespective of political stripe or apathy. It is not uncommon for MPs to erect signs between elections to remind people where they can turn to for help with federal services a constituent may be entitled to.

The general rule in dealing with election expenses is that only those incurred during the actual writ period of roughly 38 days are eligible. Many campaigns have to secure an office for two to three months including the writ period to secure space. Costs incurred before and after the writ period must be reported, but only the proportionate expense during the writ period is eligible.

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Billboards and other signage identifying a member of Parliament require ongoing licensing and maintenance. Most assuredly, such signs are a benefit during an election campaign, but to demand that the whole cost of the signs, including the costs of erection, is inconsistent with numerous other Elections Canada rulings. A formula like that above meets the common-sense test. Mayrand's ruling does not.

For the record, the Canada Elections Act is silent on the costs of signs in an elections campaign. References are made in the Political Financing Handbook for Candidates and Official Agents, which is a somewhat arbitrary list of interpretations and rules concocted by Elections Canada, but are not law and have never been reviewed or approved by Parliament.

The very notion that Maynard may choose to amend an internal interpretation of the Canada Elections Act and use that as an excuse to have MPs barred from sitting is preposterous. Elections Canada is an agency created to ensure we hold open and fair elections, not an unfettered dictatorship.




The photo on your June 5 front page of James Bezan and Shelly Glover with their mouths wide open reminds me of two fish out of water gasping for air.

Deny, deny, deny. They take a page from Richard Nixon's playbook. I'm sure Stephen Harper has it memorized.

What an affront to democracy when winning at all costs is the rule of the day. Shame on Harper and the climate of sleaziness he has introduced into Ottawa.




Regarding Shelly Glover and James Bezan's overspending and their inability to understand the rules, they should step down.




Hardly second-best

Carol Sanders' June 4 story Case raises concerns over 'stranger care' implies that licensed daycares are a better choice than unlicensed daycares. It also implies that parents who send their children to unlicensed providers must be doing so only because the demand is too high for the licensed spots, and, therefore, are settling for second-best.

That is not the case. Parents choose unlicensed child care for a variety of reasons. I would also like to point out that the issue of abandonment could have happened in any facility. Further, there are cases of abuse and neglect in both licensed and unlicensed care.

The bottom line is that there are excellent spaces available in both types of care, and we should not assume that all unlicensed daycares are unsuitable because on one isolated incident.




The issue in St. Vital says more about the provider and her poor decision and not about the fact that she is unlicensed. Even if licensed, she could have left those children alone.

Licensed daycares receive only three visits a year from a co-ordinator, and some of them are scheduled visits. What happens in between those visits, only the provider knows.

I think the government needs to focus more on keeping trained early-child educators in the field. Many ECEs cannot afford to return to work once they have children -- myself included. The government needs to spend less time training new ECEs and more time and money focusing on back to work incentives for the ones it already has.

I would have returned to work if two-thirds of my income wouldn't have been spent on daycare for my kids and I'm an ECE III. I realize many women in other professions suffer from the same issue, but when the provider cannot afford care for his or her own children, something needs to change.




Let's make it a jewel

Your June 5 article River is CentrePort's water fix reports a possible solution to the progress of the CentrePort project regarding the dilemma of the water-supply source. Even though this solution may increase the final cost of this project (what project doesn't nowadays?), I think that is better than the possibility of losing another potential anchor tenant.

Let's get this done and start receiving the financial benefits from it. Make it one of the jewels of Manitoba that it probably could be.

Right now, what we have is a $212-million highway called CentrePort Canada Way, which is virtually a road to nowhere. I think we have all heard that expression somewhere before.




Remove power to appoint

The Canadian Senate is supposed to be composed of the best Canadians: people who are wise, intelligent, knowledgeable, compassionate, thinking elders who can look at proposed legislation and tell the House of Commons to fix it if it is bad and how to implement it if it is good.

The problem that needs to be fixed is how senators are appointed. The power to appoint should be removed from the Prime Minister's Office. Appointments should not be made as political favours. Senators should not be known as representatives of a political party.

Reform is needed, but start with the way appointments are made and who makes them.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2013 A12

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