Solving budget crisis
Re: Police, fire budgets raise alarm (Aug. 22). Coun. Russ Wyatt seems very concerned about the taxpayer recently. First came his Wyatt weekends proposal, and now he sounds the alarm over expenditures for police and fire budgets (mostly going to salaries) he helped negotiate and approve.
Thankfully, I have the solution. Let's dissolve the Winnipeg Police Service and hand over responsibility for municipal policing to the RCMP. We can shift responsibility and financial burden to the province, and because the RCMP is a federal service (contracted by the province), we pay for it out of our income taxes.
Problem solved. You're welcome, Winnipeg.
Homeless strategy absent
I would agree with the first sentence in the editorial Homeless outreach a good start (Aug. 20) that the strategy for reducing homelessness in Winnipeg is not moving fast enough if it were true that an actual strategy exists. It doesn't.
Winnipeg has had one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada for the past decade, yet the city's housing policy doesn't mention the word homelessness. Manitoba's social assistance allowance for housing is not in any way connected to real rental market rates, yet the province's poverty reduction strategy does not have the word "homeless" in it once.
Meanwhile, the Downtown BIZ is hiring outreach workers to connect people on the street with resources, while organizations that have provided those resources for years, like Resource Assistance for Youth, Sage House, Ndinawe, and Main Street Project, cannot afford to hire enough staff to support all the people coming through their doors.
CHRISTINA MAES NINO
Free of government control
Recent comments in the Free Press raised questions about the credibility of the Public Utilities Board with reference to its review of Manitoba Hydro's $20-billion development plan (PUB credibility in doubt, Aug. 17). I provide the following to assist the understanding of the public with respect to the PUB's process and procedures.
The PUB exercises its authority under the provisions of The Public Utilities Board Act. The rules of practice and procedures are familiar to those who appear before the board and are posted on the board's website. The decisions of the board are the decisions of the board's panel that heard the matter, and the decision is based on the evidence provided under oath, in a public forum.
In arriving at its decisions the panel does not consult with the minister responsible for the PUB, nor with any member of the government of the day. In arriving at its decisions, the PUB has never taken instructions from the government of the day.
In the terms of reference, the PUB has been asked to address "whether the needs for Hydro's plan are thoroughly justified, and sound, its timing is warranted and the factors that Hydro is relying on to prove its needs are complete, reasonable and accurate." In addition, the PUB is to conduct "an assessment as to whether the plan is justified as superior to potential alternatives that could fulfil the need" and to provide a report to the minister.
The PUB intends to fully explore these questions, as is its custom.
The significance of this plan for Manitoba is well recognized. The public can rest assured the PUB, which celebrates 100 years of outstanding service to Manitobans this year, will continue to exercise its duties and responsibilities in an independent, fair and reasonable manner, as it always has done.
Public Utilities Board
Filing expense claim
Re: Partisan speech from PM in North (Aug. 19). I trust Prime Minister Stephen Harper has charged the travel costs of this political trip to the Conservative Party and not to the Government of Canada.
If not, perhaps the Speaker of the House or the auditor general should be looking into his expense claims. One hopes he has learned at least this one simple lesson from Sen. Pamela Wallin.
Cartoon 'dead on'
The Aug. 22 editorial cartoon was dead on.
The big three wireless carriers have had it their way too long.
Competition will do them good.
Fighting for democracy
Re: Unite to beat Tories: NDPer (Aug. 21). Bravo, Vanessa Hamilton. Keep on fighting for Canadians and our democracy.
Whatever the results of the election you will have done a great service to Brandon-Souris voters by exposing both the Liberal and NDP leadership for what it is -- selfish, shortsighted, ego-impaired and silly.
Fixing the Bombers
I fully agree with Rick Loewen's Aug. 22 letter. After we hire Bud Grant to coach the Bombers, perhaps we could try to sign Kenny Ploen as our quarterback. It wouldn't hurt.