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Narrow and skeptical

Bartley Kives' take on the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce vision for Route 90 (Lot better ways to spend $7M, Nov. 16) is a narrow and skeptical view of the issue. He apparently has travelled to Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles. Is that sufficient to use the term "universal" ugliness to describe all airport surrounds?

That the sight of modern Mississauga with its lavish skyline is accosting to the viewer is merely a personal point of view. Kives has only to travel a little further south of Toronto to Washington, D.C, Virginia or Maryland to see decorative and landscaped solid-wall fencing panels stretching for miles to appreciate that, in addition to beautification, they also are effective noise barriers and provide a sense of security to both residents and drivers alike.

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Banners or not, first impressions of a city will be definitely influenced by first glimpses of well-planned landscaping and attractive vistas. Winnipeg's need for infrastructure funding is a continuing dilemma, but that should not deter the planning and development of other improvements.




Spending $7 million to change the approach to the city from the airport instead of fixing the cart tracks that are called roads is one of the most ludicrous ideas ever put forth.




Has Bartley Kives been sucking lemons? I have travelled extensively, too, in Canada and Europe. And just because some cities have ugly drives from the airport to the city centre doesn't mean Winnipeg should, too.

If we listened to the naysayers, we wouldn't have the beautiful Esplanade Riel, and we wouldn't be seeing a wonderful museum rising along the banks of the Red River.

The Chamber of Commerce is not a group of pie-in-the-sky types; they are business people. And I agree with them that beautifying that stretch of Route 90 is a great idea, both for visitors to the city and for ourselves.

Why shouldn't Winnipeg make itself look good? Infrastructure is very important, but so is sprucing up our city's image.




Tax dollars at work

Re: Treasury board staff treated to 'Instant Awards' (Nov. 18). Well, isn't that nice? On top of bloated salaries and pensions, Treasury Board staff get $100,000 of perks annually.

Tony Clement (he of Muskoka pagoda fame), while ignoring the very broken whistleblower law, finds it more important to reward his employees with goodies just for doing their jobs.




Programs make impact

The importance of early childhood experiences is indisputable, and Mary Agnes Welch's Nov. 16 story Pay now... or really pay later provides some important data and analysis for social policy considerations.

However, I have two concerns. The first relates to her assertion that kindergarten "might be too little too late." Such statements severely minimize the value of effective school-based interventions. There is ample evidence that well-designed and effectively delivered educational programs have made a significant impact on a children's development beyond the pre-school years.

The second is Welch's characterization of "the poor and marginalized" as "mistrustful of meddling." One should not be surprised that when intervention programs fail to respect personal and cultural factors, they can easily be perceived as invasive, despite the laudable intentions of those delivering them. Under such circumstances, I suspect that even those who are not poor and marginalized could become wary of child-rearing "experts."




Creating traffic snarls

Your Nov. 15 story, Councillor firm on blockade threat in Walmart row, says that North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty believes that "the province should allow access points from within East St. Paul -- from the north Perimeter or Lagimodiere."

Even if he does get his way, there would be traffic snarls at Lagimodiere and the Perimeter and residents near De Vries Avenue (in North Kildonan as well, I might add) would receive the brunt of it.

The only winner in this traffic issue is Browaty, not North Kildonan residents. He gets additional press exposure and it appears that he is working for North Kildonan residents. In reality, North Kildonan residents will be handed new traffic congestion.




A priority for feds

I write to outline and clarify Citizenship and Immigration Canada's special measures for those affected by typhoon Haiyan (Manitoba hastens nominee program, Nov. 16)

Canada is prioritizing the processing of applications on request from Filipinos who are significantly and personally affected by typhoon Haiyan. Requests from Filipino citizens temporarily in Canada who wish to extend their stay will be assessed in a compassionate and flexible manner. Canadians without travel documents as a result of the typhoon will have their applications expedited by the Canadian embassy in Manila.

To facilitate these measures, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has set up special email addresses and a phone line to respond to requests from applicants and their families. Applicants overseas who can demonstrate that they are significantly and personally affected and wish to declare their cases a priority can contact the visa office in Manila directly at

Similarly, in Canada, applicants and their family members who wish to declare their cases as a priority can contact or contact CIC's call centre at 1-888-242-2100, which has a dedicated crisis line.


MP, Winnipeg South Centre

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2013 A8

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