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Worthies out in force

Bill Redekop and Doug Dobrowolski's complementary June 29 columns, Rural discontent growing and PST hike taketh and taketh from RMs, provide a marvellous illustration of the magical thinking and general schizophrenia afflicting municipal reeves and some other Manitobans.

Coffee shops resound with calls for government to "get its house in order." In response, the recent budget cuts or freezes allocations for 11 departments on top of the five frozen last year. But try to close an office or rationalize staffing, and the worthies are out in force: "Don't cut our services or find economies at our expense," they cry. "Our services are essential; it's the other fellows that are wasteful."

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Suggest that municipalities under a certain population threshold (1,000) might be more efficient in providing services to their ratepayers if they were to amalgamate well? How heavy-handed and undemocratic can you get? But damn it, control those deficits.

Reeves (and the business council) have been lobbying for a one percentage point PST increase dedicated to infrastructure. So the province delivers a one percentage point time-limited PST hike for infrastructure and the ability to leverage federal dollars, and all hell breaks loose.

Our honourable reeves want the money and want the province to raise the tax for it, but they also want to control how it's spent, bitching all the while.

So what seems to be at play here is not the economics of a modest and called-for PST hike, but rather some transparent and overt politics. And if that's the case, well then, game on!

SIG LASER

Winnipeg

 

The Manitoba NDP government is determined on ramrodding through municipal amalgamation. The outcries are being voiced but ignored.

Until about 1890, the then County of Dennis held the RMs of Wallace Pipestone, Sifton and Woodsworth. Apparently, the government of the day decided it was much better and more efficient to have smaller units to administer and deal with.

The wheel is not broken, Premier Selinger, so why the determined illogical and stubbornness to try to repair something that isn't broken or needs re-inventing?

JOHN FEFCHAK

Virden

 

Impressing Montreal

Congratulations to Winnipeg on again leading the way in Canada, with the new football stadium and the return of the Jets.

Montreal sports fans were riveted in every bar to the season-opening game. We can only dream of such a big and open stadium.

And of course the Jets give us Expo diehards -- and we are legion -- some hope for the next decade. Best wishes to your dynamic city.

DAVID WINCH

Montreal

 

West Enders didn't whine

Re: Post-traffic mortem (Letters, June 29). I am a longtime season-ticket holder for the Bombers. I can't believe the crying of the residents near the stadium, which is going to be used only a few times a year.

I lived on Strathcona Street near the old arena for years, and nobody said you can't park on the West End or St. James streets. We used to sit in the backyards and listen to the Rolling Stones and other concerts.

Nobody wanted the stadium at this location (thank federal cabinet minister Vic Toews for that). But it's there now, so get used to it.

DON McEACHERN

Winnipeg

 

Letter writer Sandra Jaman expresses her concern for patients' peace and quiet at the Victoria Hospital, wondering how they'll handle "cannons and fireworks" at Investors Group Field.

It's my understanding that cannons go off only after points are scored. This is like worrying if fans should bring an umbrella to the game lest a Gatorade shower occur. Sleep soundly, my sick Manitobans.

RICK LOEWEN

Landmark

 

Cycling system 'inane'

I am dismayed by your June 29 story Cyclists enjoying special lanes. Winnipeg is already well known for having no clear direction for developing its cycling infrastructure, and the buffered bike lanes along Pembina Highway are another glaring example.

I can see why no other city has tried it. Giving cyclists a dedicated lane in traffic should be standard fare. But forcing them to intermittently veer onto the sidewalks to comingle with people congregated at bus stops, and then to immediately veer back into traffic, is inane.

Both motorists and pedestrians will now have to contend with cyclists who are on the street, then not, then on again. It is the definition of an accident waiting to happen.

BRIAN CLARK

Winnipeg

 

Emissions rise unsurprising

Re: Emissions down, goal far away (June 21). Anyone who frequents a Tim Hortons can tell you it is no surprise that our vehicle emissions are up six per cent. Almost every day I see about a dozen cars idling for up to five minutes in the drive-thru.

Meanwhile, I park 10 steps from the door and am in and out with my coffee in about two minutes. I could probably walk or use my bike to commute to work a lot more often than I do, so I'm not perfect, but that is the ultimate in laziness.

As Mary Agnes Welch suggests, changing individual behaviour is key to the problems of vehicle emissions. I'm not optimistic.

GORDON FRITZSCHE

Winnipeg

 

A huge difference

Re: Pay 'em all like doctors (Letters, June 28). Minimum wage is, by most peoples' definition, a poverty wage. There is a huge difference between pulling someone out of poverty and increasing their income to the point where they have options such as offshore investing or vacationing or hoarding their cash.

The poor spend every penny of their after-tax income at home rather than abroad. That's good for the economy.

JOHN VOSTERS

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2013 A10

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