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A true heavy-hitter

Re: Defiant Ford staying put (Nov. 1). Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has achieved the near impossible, the political equivalent of beating Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.

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He has managed to make Mayor Sam "I'm not responsible; I'm only one vote" Katz look good. Well done.




There have been numerous stories in the media about Stephen Harper, Sam Katz and Rob Ford being held accountable or responsible for the messes in which they currently are embroiled. I think the media have a better chance of uncovering evidence that the tooth fairy exists.



Creatures of the province

Andrew Moreau, in his Nov. 1 column, City campaign rules favour incumbents, makes points I and others support. But he leaves the impression this is a City of Winnipeg bylaw issue when it is not. All municipalities are creatures of provincial legislation.

The city bylaw must comply with the overriding provincial legislation in this regard. The last major focus on changing the rule occurred in 2009. At the law-amendment hearing process that September, several delegates appeared, including then-councillor Gord Steeves, who was also a member of the intergovernmental affairs committee.

Steeves clearly understood the rules then and should have when he declared his candidacy. Now, based on the law, he is guilty and will be penalized, but the penalty depends on his former colleagues and the staff at the city taking action.

I argued greater independence from the review process is required when the law is broken and suggested this at least be taken to Elections Manitoba rather than being left to the discretion of the municipality's chief administrative officer, who, frankly, is often compromised in the review of compliance.

Some would argue Steeves should be eliminated from the race because he knew the rules. Obviously the rules need amending to add a "Gord Steeves rule" for this breach.




When Gord Steeves announced he wanted the Winnipeg mayor's job, my first thought was: "Oh, no -- another one of Sam Katz's sidekicks."

Thanks to Harvey Smith's ad in the Free Press (Smith takes out ads laying blame for 'mess', Oct. 31), I have a list of who not to vote for next year -- Katz's supporters on executive policy committee who voted to put the mayor's friend Phil Sheegl on the city payroll. I have cut it out for future reference and would urge other Winnipeggers to do the same.



Rewarding loyalty

Re: Forces accused of turfing troops before pension day (Oct. 30). It appears if you represent Canada in the Senate, you can arrogantly abuse a system at taxpayers' expense. You might have to repay some funds and you might tarnish your reputation, but you don't have to worry about your pension and benefits. Those will still be provided to you.

However, if you are military personnel representing Canada at home and abroad, and if you put your life on the line on a regular basis, become injured in the line of duty and cannot return to deployable duty, you will be discarded like yesterday's newspaper.

As a Canadian taxpayer, I know where I want my tax dollars to go -- and it isn't into a senator's pocket.



Political shell game

Welfare recipients Todd Donohue, Dorothy Thomas and Lynn (no last name) showed great courage in talking to reporter Mary Agnes Welch for her Oct. 28 story Living on the edge. By putting three human faces on poverty, the Free Press helps all Manitobans understand how unjust life is for people who have been made poor by illness, accident or some other cause.

Particularly unjust is the fact the welfare rate review recommended by the provincial ombudsman in 2010 is now long overdue.

Four months ago, community groups were scheduled to have a meeting on the rate review paper. Now, after another government re-organization and cabinet shuffle, the employment and income-assistance program is with another new minister and in another new department.

It is a political shell game with dire consequences for the 63,000 Manitobans living 50 per cent below the poverty line on welfare.

Jobs and the economy minister Theresa Oswald, now in charge of the EIA program, should release the rate review immediately and raise the shelter allowance for welfare to 75 per cent of median market rents. While the province no longer claws back federal child payments and has introduced some new targeted income programs, basic welfare rates have remained unchanged since 1992.

Since being elected in 1999, this government has resisted addressing the inadequacies of EIA for fear the Conservatives would brand them. Ironically now, after 14 years of neglect, the Conservatives are on board with raising welfare rates and the government continues to starve people like Todd, Dorothy and Lynn for being unable to work.


EIA Assistance Advocates' Network


Give Burke a chance

It seems your sports staff has determined Tim Burke will not be back as coach of the Bombers. Perhaps Gary Lawless and Paul Wiecek should take over the reins, since they seem to know more than anyone else about how to run a team.

Burke was handed a stacked deck, which he inherited from Joe Mack. Perhaps your staff wants to continue mediocrity in revolving coaches. The team has had five head coaches in the last seven years, each one bringing in his own philosophy, methodology and direction.

The problem with the current board and the media is they want instant results, but a coach needs time to bring about results. One of the greatest coaches in the club's history would have been fired by this group of vultures.

I refer to Bud Grant, who after going to the Grey Cup posted a 1-14 record in 1964, but rebounded, posting winning records each year thereafter until he left for the U.S.



Enough with Sinclair inquiry

Please, give the Brian Sinclair case a rest. Stop encouraging Manitobans (whatever our ethnic background or nationality happens to be) to become a bunch of snivelling, whining complainers.

We are fortunate to have one of the best health-care systems in the world, and your reporting should reflect this truth rather than the sad errors of the providers who failed to properly care for poor Sinclair.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2013 A16

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