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Slowing down the beasts

Re: Danger in city school zones (Sept. 12).

To reduce the speed limit in school zones to 30 kilometres per hour will only make drivers more anxious than they are now.

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Making the limit 40 km/h makes more sense. Going from 50 to 30 km/h will appear to drivers as if they could walk faster. Drivers who are committing these infractions now will do them whether or not they are in school zones or on regular streets with higher speeds. This is just the nature of the beast.




Of all the countries in which I have lived, Japan has the most comprehensive driver-education and testing program.

One part of qualifying for a licence is watching a video of unexpected driving scenarios -- to show students how unprepared a driver without experience can be.

The driving course is another part. Even professional drivers rank it as challenging. It requires an average of between five and 10 attempts, which, by the way, are on separate days. I am glad that I managed to pass this test.

I wish that all Canadian provinces would adopt this system.




Teachers have it OK

Once again, Manitoba Teachers' Society president Paul Olson has brought tears to my eyes with his comments about our overworked Manitoba teachers (50-hour work week reality for teachers, Sept. 11).

This crowd enjoys 16 weeks of vacation time each year and a high income with continually higher annual wage increases than the private sector. They enjoy one of the best fringe-benefit and retirement packages on the planet and they can only lose their jobs if they commit the most serious types of offences. Boo hoo!

I think most Manitobans would say they appreciate the job our teachers do. But for Olson to say they are overworked and stressed out is just ludicrous.




Lots of grocers downtown

Re: Grocery study coming (Sept. 10). The refrain in the media always seems to be that there's no grocery store downtown. Perhaps people are just afraid of independent businesses; will they only recognize grocery stores operated by national chains such as Safeway and Superstore?

Maybe it's the fact that several of the large, full-service grocers downtown are perceived as overly "ethnic." Maybe places like Young's, Dino's and Sun-Wah simply need to promote the fact that they sell the same essentials as Safeway, plus a whole lot more.

Again, these aren't mom-and-pop corner stores I'm talking about. They're full-service supermarkets.




Points to think about

Mike McIntyre's Sept. 11 story Order to stop chase defied brings out at least two important things to think about our legal system.

First, to stop a life-threatening chase for "budget reasons" by a duty inspector is so wrong. Thank goodness for officers smarter than their bosses.

Second, our expensive helicopter is definitely a valuable resource.




Harper's comments unhelpful

Stephen Harper probably had an eye on his political base in Western Canada when he badmouthed Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 meeting (Harper blasts veto power for Russia, Sept. 7). Now President Obama is seeking Putin's help in negotiating with Syrian President Bashar Assad to turn over his chemical weapons to the UN.

Problems in the Middle East are complex and they require complex solutions. Putin at this point has a role to play. If our prime minister cannot make a positive contribution, he should just remain quiet.




But his hair is perfect

In his Sept. 9 column, Mayonnaise: It's not just for sandwiches, Doug Speirs states that his dad "insisted on dragging my brother and I to the local barber." If you remove "my brother" from the declaration, it ends up as "dragging I" to barber."

Speirs' teachers at St. Paul's High School would not have let him escape with this example of the subject taking the object.

It is really weird, but switching from object to subject when adding a second person is a disturbingly common error.

I see it all too often at school, mostly among the adults, and on TV (sitcoms, dramas, the news hour), in newspapers and in movies.

Here's the solution: Before putting pen to paper, subtract the companions from the sentence so that it is all about yourself. For example, "our neighbours complained to me about the state of my bathrobe." Then it would be extended to "our neighbours complained to my wife and me about the state of my bathrobe."

There is no "I" in object.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 13, 2013 A10


Updated on Friday, September 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM CDT: adds links

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