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Driving on wild side

Re: MPI seeks 'moderate' 1.8% rate hike (June 15). Our provincial NDP government is determined to obtain extra revenue to cover the tremendous deficit it has created.

It is about time that this government look at itself in the mirror and drive on the safe side of the road, so that more programs in our province are not damaged.

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I am disappointed to see another increase in moped and small scooter premiums from MPI. They are asking for a 15 per cent increase and we've been experiencing increases for at least four years now. It has gone up from $180 four years ago to a proposed $330.

I'd like to see the numbers on claims (and costs related) specifically for mopeds and scooters. This cost increase does not seem to correlate to the costs we incur to MPI. Other provinces are registering these same vehicles for under $100 for the year because the costs of claims are so low.




Folly beyond comprehension

I want to thank the Free Press for its ongoing articles on Bipole III and Manitoba Hydro's proposed two new dams, particularly the two articles on June 15 by Jim Collinson (Was east side misled by NDP government?) and Heather Thomas (The view of Bipole III from Hart Mountain).

With all the evidence and experienced people pointing to the folly of a western route, it is beyond my comprehension why it is still being discussed, let alone actually moving ahead.

Manitobans heading into retirement have serious cause for concern as to what we will be paying for power in the future on fixed incomes. Younger Manitobans should be very concerned as to what their tax burden will be in the future and what they will have to give up in health care and education for the wrong-headed decisions about power that our government seems intent on making today.




Prices off Richter scale

Vancouver journalist Chris Rose's sobering report on B.C.'s Lower Mainland's housing forecast (That will be $90,000 down please, June 17) points out that rents are a far cry from the $170 per month I happily shelled out in Vancouver's salad days of the 1970s.

Back then, there were predictions of an impending condominium boom (get in now!), balanced by scientific warnings of a potential high-magnitude earthquake hitting the coastal region (get out now!).

If the next Bank of Canada governor does not soon create a magnitude 9.0 monetary event of his own (higher rates that no one really wants), then the same type of event on a geologic scale will determine whether one million new residents move to Vancouver, or whether one million current inhabitants flee in droves.




Questioning airport transfer

In his June 11 letter, Airports bear costs, a reply to my May 25 column, Airports belong to the Canadian taxpayer, Canadian Airports Council president Daniel-Robert Gooch claims that airports pay their way. They do, but that misses the point.

Although improvements, such as Winnipeg's new airport, are paid for by a combination of user fees and the good management of the airport authorities, it does not follow that the airports should be transferred to the airport authorities who run them. Airports are publicly owned not-for-profit corporations.

Gooch claims airports were valued prior to the management transfer in the 1990s. The 2000 Auditor-General's Report on Airport Transfers found otherwise. It called the pre-transfer failure to determine the value of airports and their business opportunity "the most important weakness" of the transfer process.

Assessing that value, continued the auditor general, should be a priority moving forward.

Although it correctly identifies the problem with airports as a federal government cash grab, the Canadian Airports Council's solution is not the right one. Airports should not be transferred without compensating Canadian taxpayers.




A Syrian solution

Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims he has learned the Syrian government has used nerve gas (Harper convinced of sarin attacks, June 15). I hope he did not get this information from the same source that the U.S. used in determining that Iraq was prepared to use weapons of mass destruction.

True Syrian deaths are only 93,000, while those in Iraq were estimated to be 100,000. With more weapons in Syria, it will likely catch up to the Iraq killings.

Russia is perhaps right that nerve gas was not used. The U.S. has got it wrong before. How can military intelligence be misguided? Or is it political will and not intelligence?

The best solution in Syria is to bring government and rebels together to ask whose values bode best for the future.

It is time to put humanity ahead of religion and politics. Neither Shiites nor Sunnis appear to talk of compassion, and neither do Hezbollah or Bashar Assad.

Until reason and wisdom reign, the killings will go on. Humanity must get over its neglect of values.




Perplexed and intrigued

Re: Payback time for Trudeau (June 17). I'm perplexed that someone would actually pay $20,000 to Justin Trudeau to speak on the topic of literacy. However, I'm intrigued at the same time to know exactly what expertise he has on the topic.

Yes, he has a degree in literature. Sure, he has a bachelor of education and he taught for a bit, but is this enough to merit $20,000 to speak on the topic?

He must really know something and I think he should be sharing that message with voters because it is obviously very valuable.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2013 A8

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