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Driver reacts rudely

On my bus commute Tuesday morning, we stopped at Osborne and Broadway. A boy, maybe 13, was standing at the stop and very politely asked the driver of the No. 58 bus about where he should catch the No. 16. He was well-spoken, clear and extremely polite. However, the driver virtually grunted, did not answer his question, shut the door and drove off.

As a mother, I can only imagine sending my child to school on public transit. If he happened to get lost downtown, I would advise him to ask a bus driver where to go. The fact that this poor kid could still be lost makes me sick.

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The driver should have taken two minutes to listen to the kid's question and answer as best he could. The next time this child gets into trouble, will he trust that an adult will listen to him with respect? Or will he keep his head down and try to figure it out on his own, or worse, model his behaviour off of older kids who may be rude and impolite?

As the door was shutting on his face, the child was still polite enough to say. "Thank you." The driver did not deserve such courtesy.

ERIKA LINDEN

Winnipeg

 

Playing games at city hall

With regard to Harvey Smith and his fake street signs (Councillor let off hook for signs, Sept. 14), the bill should not have been paid with tax dollars. It is hard to trust politicians when something like this is swept under the rug.

The $1,600 should have come out of his pocket if he wants to play games. What a waste. That money could have gone a long way in his riding to do something more useful.=

JOE MISSALINO

Winnipeg

 

It's amazing how many people expect city councillors to do the impossible -- pay for their dumb spending out of their own pocket.

An elected official doesn't have his or her "own" pocket. The only pocket an elected official has is the taxpayer's pocket, no matter which way you look at it.

If you don't want your pocket picked, don't pick a pocket-picking councillor.

KEN HOLT

Winnipeg

 

A royal precedent

Re: Quebec Grit leader vows to stop law (Sept. 16). Times are interesting, indeed, when major federal political parties and the provincial Liberals unite against the Parti Québécois' charter of values, with its murky intent. Even more strange, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is acting like a certain 18th-century king of England.

This insecure English king thought that he could control the rebellious Highland Scots by the Act of Proscription (1749). Part of this act made it illegal to wear the tartan apparel used by Highlanders as an expression of identity.

The king's minions behaved as if the Highland wool plaids were symbols of mindless clan loyalty, but the people targeted by this "Dress Act" were not tribal stereotypes. After 37 years, this ban ended, and plaids returned to favour with those few who could afford them.

It was loss of livelihood, not dull clothing, that drove most Scots from the homeland, and they took their hardy spirit with them.

The desire for peaceful lives and productive employment still motivates people from diverse backgrounds to settle in Canada, to learn our languages and our concepts of equality.

Has a legitimate survey established that a clerk wearing religious garb causes a biased outcome in a government transaction? Does wearing "secular clothing" when working for government agencies make a person more objective and fair-minded than when they are at home? The details of personal attire in a workforce are probably irrelevant to its prosperity and good governance, now as in 1749.

JEAN A. PATERSON

Winnipeg

 

Fiscal irresponsibility

First Merv Tweed and Vic Toews decide they don't want to fulfil their commitments as MPs because they found something else they'd rather do. The resulting federal byelections will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Then Larry Maguire decides he doesn't want to fulfil his commitment as an MLA because he would rather be a federal MP (MLA gets Tory nod to run federally, Sept. 16). The resulting provincial byelection will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

The Conservative party cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping the Manitoba legislature open through the summer to complain about a one-percentage-point increase in taxes they had no chance of blocking.

The party that claims to care so much about fiscal responsibility has no problem sticking taxpayers with massive bills, as long as it benefits them politically or financially.

ANDREW J. MORRIS

Winnipeg

 

One opinion conflicted

Don Marks writing in his Sept. 10 column, Manitobans must right these wrongs, that the treatment of the Métis in Manitoba in the 1800s is similar to Hitler's treatment of Germany's Jews is so outlandish it does not deserve a response.

Marks does give credit to both Charles Huband and Thomas Berger for presenting well-researched arguments on both sides of the Métis compensation issue. But he doesn't mention that Huband is not being paid for having an opinion that protects Manitoba and Canadian taxpayers, while Berger, who supports financial compensation to the Métis and works for them, stands to profit handsomely if the government has to pay out billions of dollars for ancient Métis land claims.

If do-gooder white liberals like Marks feel it is necessary to pay for every sin that was perpetrated on Métis and aboriginals more than a century ago, then by all means they should have the right to sign up to pay a special tax to cover such compensation.

On the other hand, the rest of us not-so-do-gooders should be given equal opportunity not to pay the tax.

CAL PAUL

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2013 A10

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