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Traffic headaches will follow

Re: Staff to walk through options (Sept. 26). I'm getting tired and frustrated over a few of our city councillors always revisiting the idea of opening up Portage and Main to pedestrians.

It is obvious that doing this will cause major traffic-flow problems. As for some people's comments about this city being built for the automobile, come on!

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Do you see real freeways around this city moving our traffic along quickly and efficiently? No. All we have are paved 19th-century horse trails.




I have a literally over-the-top idea to make Portage and Main a true pedestrian crossing.

Build four glass-enclosed pedestrian bridges from each corner meeting at the junction of Portage and Main. It would be a glass-enclosed meeting place, where one could watch the traffic flow by from above. Elevators would be needed at each corner to lift the pedestrian from street level to the bridge walkway.

More marvellous bridges than this have been built and erected around the world, I am sure. This is just the germ of an idea.




Shooting down evidence

I want to thank William J. Keller for providing such clear and unequivocal evidence regarding the need for a gun registry in spite of its $2-billion-plus cost (Registry makes sense, Letters, Sept. 23).

I would like to supplement his analysis by providing further evidence. We have had the registry for handguns for more than 70 years, and examining the result definitively indicates... oops, never mind.

Now I see why Keller did not delve into this area; handguns are the weapon of choice for criminals, and their use is rampant in our large urban communities. So much for Keller's analysis. Comparing the U.S. to Canada is typical, but not accurate. I could compare Switzerland and Canada to prove the opposite view.

But logic is not for those who support the notion of a registry. When logic is used, the result is clear. It was a colossal waste of tax dollars.




Explaining Day-timers

I'm confused by Jonny Sopotiuk's Sept. 21 letter, Covering Day-timers' cost. The current executive of the University of Manitoba Students' Union found an ethical and recycled Day-timer for $18,000 cheaper than the ones provided by the Canadian Federation of Students. Also, by my calculation, if you buy the Day-timers for $18,000 less and sell the same amount of ad space, then you have saved $18,000.

I would appreciate an explanation of how the cost is the same for the Day-timers when one Day-timer costs $18,000 less. UMSU sells its own ad space, the main cost is the printing and distribution of the Day-timer. So I would love to hear an explanation as to why the CFS Day-timer costs just over $60,000, when they have the combined buying power of 50 universities, but UMSU found a company willing to sell for $42,000 on its own.




Noose is tightening

In Saskatchewan bridged pension divide (Sept. 21), we read far-sighted pension reform has been underway in Saskatchewan since 1977 and the changes were made by an NDP government. Did you catch that, Greg Selinger?

Around the world, governments are quickly moving to deal with the high cost of government, which is choking off private-sector growth. But not in Manitoba.

It is almost worth enduring the painfully high taxes imposed on us to be able to watch the noose slowly tighten on the Selinger government as it chooses to appease its public-sector brethren. Almost.




Digging up history

I would like to comment on your statement "Archaeologists are not historians. They don't believe anything -- they only describe artifacts." (The mound builders, Sept. 21).

Speaking as an archaeologist, I believe that we have good evidence for the following: Aboriginal people have been living in what is now southwestern Manitoba since 11,000 years ago. By 7,500 years ago, following the demise of the massive ice sheet and glacial Lake Agassiz, aboriginal people had come to occupy all of Manitoba, with the possible exception of the extreme northeastern corner.

By 4,000 years ago, aboriginals were making tools out of copper (that is, they were metallurgists and blacksmiths) here in Manitoba, and by 1,300 CE, if not earlier, they were growing domesticated plants to supplement their diet of wild foods. Hence, Euro-Canadian settlers weren't Manitoba's first farmers.

Centuries before the arrival of the European fur trade, indigenous people were participants in trade networks that spanned huge areas of North America. The sophisticated culture in the area that became Manitoba included not only monumental earthworks but, I might add, was strongly influenced by the pre-Aztec civilizations of Mexico.

Does all this still make it appear that archaeologists aren't historians? Does the writer or editor still think that archaeologists "don't believe anything," and "only describe artifacts"?




An easy question

In his Sept. 26 letter, A stormy forecast, Larry Napora, referring to the Wuskwatim dam, which is selling power into an export market at prices that have averaged less than half Hydro's forecast, asks "Is this the same forecasting model Manitoba Hydro is using to justify the need for Bipole III?"

The answer is yes.




Loyal representatives

Your Sept. 27 editorial Mr. Martin's gifts rank hypocrisy states that Paul Martin "wasn't elected to represent unions or their interests in Ottawa." But then neither were Harper or Trudeau elected to represent corporations or their interests in Ottawa. Yet they do.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 30, 2013 A10

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