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A wall of greenery

Upon reading the first article laying out the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce's wishes for beautifying Route 90, my immediate reaction (besides "what a ridiculous, money-wasting plan") is to suggest planting Virginia creeper on the chain-link fence that already exists. It's fast-growing, hardy and beautiful.

Within two years we would have a luxurious green wall in summer, turning gorgeous flame-red in fall and a thick lattice of branches in winter.

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The last thing any city needs is more walls and signs. Bring on some greenery.




I have an inexpensive solution for the wealthy of Winnipeg and their business associates who do not like the street view while heading down Route 90 to their $1 million-plus homes in south Winnipeg.

Why don't they simply close their eyes to the problem or look the other way as they pass by? It seems to work well for many of them in other situations, so I see no reason why it couldn't work for them in this instance as well.

They will be at ease, and it will cost taxpayers nothing. It's a win-win for everybody.




Lawless opines bravely

A brave Gary Lawless addresses the issue of violence in the NHL head-on in his Dec. 9 column, NHL owners committed to violence, when he notes that it is "profit" that keeps the NHL owners from cleaning violence out of the sport.

Kudos to Lawless for bravely going where others fear to tread. Any sport that is physical and hard-hitting can easily get out of hand. But the league has gone on record that this is simply the nature of hockey. Alas, as we all know, European and international hockey are fast, hard-hitting and very entertaining without fighting. Fighting simply takes this good sport to a much lower, animalistic level.




Paying our fair share

In her Dec. 11 letter, Winnipeg is one unfair city, Donna Warenko doesn't consider the fact 55 per cent of Manitobans live in Winnipeg proper, excluding the metropolitan area.

Obviously, like all Manitobans, we Winnipeggers pay provincial and federal taxes, 55 per cent in fact. That means we pay our full fair share of the upkeep of the highways and parks she mentions.

Fifty-five per cent of the funding for health, justice, tourism, disaster relief, agricultural development, northern affairs -- everything provided by the province and the federal government in Manitoba for all Manitobans -- comes from Winnipeg taxpayers.

Winnipeg taxpayers, however, are the only ones funding all the city services that make our lively urban environment possible. We welcome non-residents, including those who have chosen to live and pay the lower taxes in the Winnipeg metropolitan area, to share our access to a broad choice of employment opportunities, stores, restaurants, movies, sports events and concerts.

You are even welcome to use our community recreational facilities, but I do think our getting first choice at city-operated facilities is only fair.




Disproving the adage

Re: Bailing out the banks (Letters, Dec. 7). The banks' actions disprove the tired adage by business cheerleaders and conservative politicians that reducing corporate taxes, essentially adding to their profits, encourages job growth.

Also, investors should disregard corporations that report profits yet have large layoffs, because the profits are fake and the company is shrinking. Investors should favour companies that are adding jobs due to increased sales in service or product, an indicator of real growth and profit.

And, finally, profits with layoffs show the economic philosophy of Adam Smith, embraced by U.S. president Ronald Reagan and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher as the "trickle-down theory," was, is and always will be, complete nonsense. The reality is that money, in the form of value-added labour, actually trickles up.

Even in Smith's time, a wealthy English land baron had serfs to work the land. But if no one was willing to work the land, the baron essentially would be a pauper.




Many reasons for speed

Re: Distorting the truth (Letters, Dec. 12). It is true that the majority of patients are transported to hospitals without using lights and sirens. But to imply that only one type of emergency justifies the ambulance to make haste to the nearest medical facility is not correct.

Speed is also important for transporting patients who exhibit signs of a stroke, with recent onset of symptoms and who do not pass the Cincinnati stroke test; patients who are suffering severe respiratory distress or failure; patients in cardiac or respiratory arrest; patients with significant head trauma; patients who have suffered severe burns; patients who are having a diabetic emergency and are unresponsive to treatments on scene; patients with severe life-threatening or limb-threatening trauma; and, yes, patients who are having a life-threatening cardiovascular emergency that may be successfully treated with timely medical intervention at an appropriate hospital.

These are all reasons for paramedics to use lights, sirens and prudent speed, or other resources, such as air ambulance, to get their patients to appropriate care.

As a rural paramedic, I have had many of these patients and have also had reason to use STARS to transport a patient. Sometimes, speed is of the essence.




Santa's rent could rise

Re: Canada aims to define 'last frontier' (Dec. 10). Has our government been neglecting our property at the North Pole for all these past years? It certainly seems that way.

But now that they want to try to retain this vast property, what will be the outcome for the jolly fat man from the North Pole who visits us at Christmas. Will he be evicted?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 16, 2013 A8

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