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Anger over patient deaths

What irony that the articles High risks, high rewards and WRHA probes patient deaths appeared in the same paper (Jan. 11).

On the one hand, the health minister suspends STARS, a much-needed service with a proven track record, after three critical incidents, including one death, over 10 months.

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On the other hand, after two critical incidents, both resulting in death and within a few days of each other, the health minister decides non-medically trained cabbies are the solution.

It's one thing for cabbies to see discharged patients to their doors out of courtesy; it is another thing to be regulated to do so. In the event of a "critical incident" at or just inside the door, who will be liable? Certainly not the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority or the provincial government.

A much more responsible, caring solution would be for the minister to stop allowing hospitals to discharge people alone after dark in the winter -- even if it means buying a few cots and rolling them into waiting rooms.




The non-profit STARS ambulance service is shut down after three serious incidents, pending a provincial inquiry.

After two fatalities in a week, the WRHA will consult with the taxicab board.

I sense a double standard from our provincial government.




Does Health Minister Erin Selby really think the outcome would have been different for the patients if the taxi drivers had walked these two gentlemen to their respective doors on arrival at home from hospital?

Clearly these patients were in need of further medical treatment, which could not have been provided by a cab driver. My heart goes out to the families of these men who lost their lives.

It's not the taxi drivers who need increased responsibility in this sad situation, but the health-care professionals who chose to send frail patients home without any consideration for the outcome.

Ms. Selby needs to correct a wrong that has been going on far too long.




When temperatures drop, we close schools, park school buses, ground aircraft and supervise our pets' time outside, yet we send patients home alone in the early-morning hours.

Taxis get people from point A to point B; their drivers are not health-care workers. The minister should come out with one simple policy: Nobody is released from a health-care facility between 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. unless accompanied by a family member or a caregiver.




Cottagers want answers

Re: Whining in cottage country (Jan. 9).

Your editorial accuses cottagers in the Whiteshell of "whining" over the government's arbitrary quintupling of rates.

Far from whining, the Whiteshell Cottagers Association has simply insisted the government follow its own rules in creating and applying a fair management system in the parks.

Seven years ago, Manitoba Conservation conceded their then-existing financial system for parks management was inadequate. The accompanying legal settlement mandated they develop a financial-management system by the end of 2008. We are still waiting.

Manitoba Conservation has been unable to marshal the resources necessary to develop a management system worthy of being held up to public scrutiny. None of their "public consultations" has come close to revealing the critical revenues and expenditures on which a "fair" system of management could be scrutinized in the detail that is mandated by the Parks Act of 1994.

Why should Manitoba Parks be rewarded for their managerial inadequacies by being given an even larger share of the pie to squander?

Cottagers are not asking for exemption from financial responsibility for their share of running the parks -- rather, we are asking for fair and transparent governance and accountability from Parks management. That the editorial page of the Free Press would attempt to discredit this request for open government is shameful.


Whiteshell Cottagers Association


Coach a class act

Re: Jets heading for new skies, Jan. 13.

It's another turning point in the return of the Winnipeg Jets. While trying to re-establish the team in a new city and correct a errors made while the team was in Atlanta, Jets coaches and management have put in their best efforts to improve the lot of our new sports darlings.

Trades, waiver-wire acquisitions, and the spoils of savvy drafting have led the team in the right direction; other teams, however, haven't sat idly by and let the challengers catch them.

To know former head coach Claude Noel is to know a hard-working, personable but professional coach whose ultimate undoing was giving too much leeway to underperforming star players. He was charismatic, charming, yet dedicated to this task -- one that was almost impossible for at least another season.

Best of luck, Claude. You did your best for us, you entertained us, and you'll be missed.




I wish Claude Noel all the best, and hope he gets to coach a team that appreciates him. He is a class act and deserves much better than what he got with the Winnipeg Jets.




Tax breaks for teams

Let me get this right. We have billionaire hockey owners and millionaire hockey players and our government gives them the bulk of $14.4 million in public money (Teaming up for public money, Jan. 10).

Meanwhile the NDP cry poor, taxing almost everything in sight and raising the provincial sales tax.

What is wrong with this picture?




Two questions: Why are the city and province subsidizing sports teams owned by millionaires when so many are hungry and homeless?

What will it take to make this an issue in the next city and provincial elections?




Protester lacks vision

Re: In conversation with Brigette DePape (Jan. 11). DePape definitely has a future in politics -- she didn't answer one question directly, instead giving versions of the same pat answer to every question.

Trouble is, like most protesters, DePape had no solutions to the problems she is protesting. What globally viable alternatives does she propose to halt climate change, and what globally feasible alternatives does she suggest to replace fossil fuels?


Ste. Anne


High time for change

There's no doubt: It's time Canada caught up with its cannabis (marijuana) laws (Colorado high coming this way? Jan. 6). The sooner Canada ends cannabis prohibition, the sooner the sky will stop falling.

A sane argument to continue cannabis prohibition doesn't exist.


Dillon, Colo.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2014 A7

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