Shedding light on pain
Thank you to Carol Sanders for shedding much-needed light on the situation of refugee claimants in Canada (The luck of the draw, Dec. 14). Over the last 20 years I have worked and volunteered with countless refugee claimants, attended many Immigration and Refugee Board claim hearings and seen first-hand the devastation caused by a system that lacks humanity and compassion in a very big way.
Canada likes to be viewed as welcoming. But the hardships refugee claimants endure are too numerous to mention; people feel anything but welcome. We've got a long way to go to make this system humane or compassionate.
The beginning of that, I believe, is to start letting people know about how decisions about people's lives and fates are really made. The stories in this series are a good start to that.
Thank you for the outstanding reporting by Carol Sanders about the plight of refugees caught in a haphazard, chaotic system.
This is a time of year when we like to celebrate generosity; I hope many people will read and re-read Sanders' report and that we will all work harder to achieve fairness and compassion for refugees.
A venomous missive
Scott Hillhouse's Dec. 13 letter bashing the postal union can be added to the file of other bitter venomous missives. The propaganda machine that is the Fraser Institute, which perpetrates the false perception unions and their ridiculous pensions are to blame for all Canadians' economic woes, has obviously got a disciple in Hillhouse.
I will forgive him if he and none of his family members has never received the benefits of Canada's universal health care, unemployment insurance, old age pension or any other perks Canadians enjoy due to the labour movement.
I am guessing Hillhouse would feel better if people worked 20-hour weeks at minimum wage with no benefits. Jealousy is one of the deadly sins and Hillhouse seems to suffer from it. Canada Post is a money-loser but it is also a service. All levels of government have multiple options to save money before they cut services that, be they money-losers or not, benefit most Canadians.
One side is as bad as the other: post office management for, among other things, not reducing home delivery sooner and the workers who held or threatened strikes, which caused people to seek alternatives such as such paying their bills online.
The 37 per cent increase in stamps should finish off the post office, by the simple law of supply and demand. The government will then be able to sell the corporation.
To see who will benefit from that, Manitoba can point to the sale of MTS. Any doubts? See the current British sell-off of its post office.
As a letter carrier for the last 18 years, I've witnessed several changes by Canada Post. Letter mail may have declined but what the corporation fails to say in their media releases is that all other products are increasing.
Parcels are up six per cent, packets are up four per cent, and ad mail is on the rise. As for the Conference Board of Canada report, has anyone checked its numbers? They stated Canada Post would lose $200 million in 2012; actually they made $80 million.
So if you use their figures, Canada Post would make $400 million in 2019 instead of the estimated loss. It seems someone is misleading Canadians from coast to coast.
Some 15 years ago, a friend of mine was a full-time letter carrier in Winnipeg and a full-time farmer in southern Manitoba. He started early in the morning and was back on the farm or the golf course at 1 p.m. every day.
If you are being paid for an eight-hour day, you should work for eight hours. The unions have priced themselves out of the market, and with the electronic world taking over, the post office has no choice but to reinvent itself.
A starvation wage
Re: Skipping a calculation (Letters, Dec. 7). Al Yakimchuk is also skipping some calculations. He is concerned about what would happen if employers had to pay a living wage rather than a measly $10.45 an hour.
For one thing, many minimum-wage jobs are part-time or temporary, with no benefits. And even if they offer full-time hours, that is still a starvation wage. Try living on it before you try to justify it.
He misses the point that all those workers who are barely subsisting, even with the aid of food banks and Christmas hampers and other forms of charity, are in fact subsidizing their employers, as well as the shoppers who can often buy ridiculously cheap consumer goods (not including groceries, the most indispensable goods of all).
The fact we are taking advantage of so many thousands of people who are too poor to fight back is a disgrace to society.
In Canada, greed and bad business practices are the only reason to pay someone $10.45 per hour. If minimum wage went to $14.07 per hour, the government would collect more tax and pay less in social services. That would allow them to spend more on infrastructure.
Better infrastructure would make building in Winnipeg more attractive. Affordable housing starts would increase. People in that affordable housing would pay property tax, which would increase the city's coffers, and because of the increased federal spending on infrastructure, would help the city improve infrastructure even more.
I was disappointed to read your Dec. 14 editorial A tale of two premiers use the term "manned up" in reference to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's decision to be open and honest.
This misogynistic term has no place in a newspaper that purports to educate and inform, especially when referencing a woman. Should my daughter or son become premier one day, I would hope they would always try to do the right thing, something that has nothing to do with gender.
Your editorial could have drawn an interesting comparison with respect to the effect of honesty in politics at a civic level.
When Judy Wasylycia-Leis ran for mayor, she made a point of telling voters she would have to raise taxes and invited Mayor Sam Katz to admit he would be forced to do the same if elected.
He refused, was elected, and has thus proven the efficacy of lying. Greed and a lack of sophistication about economics cost us the chance of electing a great mayor.
ANN LA TOUCHE