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Posted: 07/5/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0


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A tale of two families

It is time that our government is held to some accountability regarding its treatment of Canadians in need. Case in point, here are the stories of two families I know.

In the first family, both parents have worked hard for their entire adult life, rarely needing much help and never asking for it. Due to unfortunate circumstances and regrettable timing, the wife is on maternity leave after the birth of their two daughters, the husband has lost his job, and they are not receiving the Canada Child Tax Benefit, GST rebates, or any Employment Insurance for him while dealing with a new health-related problem requiring expensive medication.

They have also been told they do not qualify for social assistance. With only her EI for income, they regularly have to choose between feeding three children and making the necessary payments to avoid losing their home.

The other family is led by single mother of two that has been living on social assistance since the birth of her first child seven years ago. She has never made any attempt to return to work, continue her education or make any other attempts to support herself or her family financially (and at this point, the daughter is in school and the son is enrolled in daycare).

Despite being on social assistance, she regularly gets tans, buys new electronics and has the funds to smoke marijuana with no danger of losing her government-funded home or being unable to feed her children.

It is also important to note that when both parents in the first family were working, the mother of the second family's income was almost identical, and since the husband of three lost his job, her current income is almost three times higher than theirs.

How is it possible that both families are Canadian citizens, following the same set of government regulations, and living in such vastly different conditions? What policy dictates that she is in greater financial need than they are?

The government is supposed to be fair in its procedure regarding financial assistance, but what is fair about results like this?


Dominion City


Clinics are self-funding

Re: Kitty bylaw is back (June 29). The city can successfully solve, not just make a dent in cat overpopulation, by setting up a high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter clinic for pet owners, all rescue and feral cats.

These clinics, which use the humane alliance model, are self-funding and do not require funds from cat licences or any taxpayers' dollars. They also spay and neuter dogs.




As I watch our fair city slowly disappear into one large pot hole, it is a comfort to know our ever-vigilant city administrators are addressing that most pressing of issues, responsible pet ownership. To achieve this goal, it is proposed that cats be licensed and citizens be allowed to own or keep four dogs instead of the current limit of three.

Should city council accept these visionary proposals, I hope four junk yard dogs take up residence on either side of my city councillor's home. Photo radar operators could canvas homes in the area adjacent to their vehicles and ticket owners of unlicensed cats.

This would include the photo radar operator parked in a school zone on a Sunday morning in my neighbourhood.




It is with great disappointment that Winnipeg Animal Services has chosen to ignore the opinions of the pet industry and the local pet community when council requested that it take back its original proposed bylaw to the stakeholders for consultation in January of this year.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and the Manitoba Herpetocultural Society made specific recommendations of changes to the original draft bylaw in regards to pets allowed in Winnipeg, particularly in the areas of reptiles. None of the species which were proposed to be allowed have a history of causing harm to humans in any jurisdiction in which they are currently allowed, including Winnipeg. However, animal services has called for the wholesale banning of many of these species despite this and despite the fact many of them are currently available in the Winnipeg pet trade.

I hope city council will listen to the concerns presented by the stakeholders next week.




Radar campaign underfunded

In your June 28 story Call closes for radar ad bids, Coun. Scott Fielding is quoted as saying he's against using $200,000 of public money to "brainwash people" on the merits of photo radar. Instead, he should be upset at what is a definite waste of public money, not because of what it might do, but because of what it can't do.

It would take a miraculous group of people indeed to create an ad campaign to promote the positive side of photo enforcement with a budget of just $65,000 per year.

Having reviewed the city's request for proposal, I see that its overly enthusiastic demands are hugely underfunded. Today's costs of quality creative development and its concurrent methods of delivery make even a small impact highly unlikely and certainly not memorable.

To even consider this a campaign shows a complete lack of understanding about what campaigns really are. It is also an insult to the moribund Winnipeg ad industry.

This will be like spitting into the wind.




Orwellian double-speak

Re: In defence of 'price-gouging' during emergencies (July 3). Peter McCaffrey's so-called rationale for price gouging is a means of making things available to the wealthy that aren't available to those on limited incomes.

If there are limited commodities in an emergency situation, then limits should be placed so stockpiling is kept to a minimum. Yes, "price gouging" is a derogatory term, but calling it "sustainable pricing" is simply Orwellian double-speak being used by the powerful to justify their avarice and contempt for the community.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2013 A10

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