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Not a cab driver's job

Re: Cabbies slam brakes on plan, deny responsibility for safety of patients, Jan. 13.

Health Minister Erin Selby suggests giving taxi drivers the mandatory responsibility of ensuring discharged hospital patients that they make it home safely. What is wrong with this picture?

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Cab drivers don't have a medical degree. One man suffered an aneurysm, David Silver had a heart attack and Heather Brenan, using her walker, collapsed at her front door. The three incidents could easily have happened once inside the house, after the cab drivers had dropped them off at the door.

The responsibility lies with the hospital -- either don't discharge patients or send a nurse with each delivery to make sure they are in good shape when taken inside. Better still, make sure that someone is home to greet them and keep them safe.

It is one thing for cab drivers to offer to bring groceries into a passenger's home, or to take care of a wheelchair. Having to tend to their health issues is above and beyond the call of duty.




Minimum sentences too harsh

I fully agree with Charles Huband (Judges best able to decide sentences, Jan. 13).

My only area of disagreement to an otherwise logical and most convincing article is when he agrees with our current attorney general's decision to appeal two recent court decisions.

In these two Manitoba cases, judges found minimum-sentence provisions established by the law-and-order political posturing of the Harper government were in fact unreasonably cruel in their application.

Were I still the attorney general of Manitoba, I would not have appealed these decisions. Our attorney general is not duty-bound to support the Conservative government's political agenda.




Postal pension questions

Re: Pensions on solid ground, Jan. 10.

In 2013, many of Canada's public- and private-sector pension funds saw their funded status hit their highest levels in 12 years, as most investment categories experienced significant gains. Air Canada, for example, saw its pension deficit fall by over $900 million to $2.8 billion.

I would be curious to know the current status of Canada Post's pension fund. Many of their recent reforms and service cuts are predicated on unsustainable pension obligations as well as declining revenue streams (ignoring the record 27 million parcels delivered in the month of December).

How naive does this corporation believe the public is? A little transparency is required before 8,000 jobs are lost and we all trudge off to the nearest community mailbox.




Rocker no oil expert

So Neil Young took a peek around in Alberta (Rocker blasts Tories over oilsands, Jan. 13) and now he's judge and jury of the merits of oil-mining in Fort McMurray?

I moved back to Manitoba after living in Alberta for 60 years. My work took me across that province, and oil production and its related industries were always nearby.

The Alberta government, in response to public pressure, has developed laws and regulations that have resulted in strict oversight of these industries. Oil spillage of even the smallest amount requires immediate attention; more important are tough production and storage regulations that prevent accidents from happening. Oil-well and strip-mine sites no longer in use must be returned to their natural condition.

Canada's economy thrives on exporting energy. Let us not be swayed by the off-the-cuff comments of people who don't really understand what they are seeing. As Canadians, let's support an industry we all depend on.




For Young's remaining benefit concerts for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation's legal defence fund, I suggest a rewrite of Southern Man, with the chorus:

Northern man, better keep your head

Don't forget what the Good Book said

Global change gonna come to pass

Now your dirty oil is flowin' fast

Northern man


Kelowna, BC


Expand police audit

The proposed audit of the cost overruns for the downtown police station should include an examination of the future of the recently vacated police stations on Pembina Highway and Lyle Street (Call for police HQ audit from right and left, Jan. 14).

Is there a public use for these buildings or should they be declared surplus? After the downtown station's cost overruns, taxpayers should hope the current council properly handles the reuse or disposition of these buildings.




Political deep-freeze

Re: Blowing in the wind, Letters (Jan. 9).

As Environment Canada tweaks the official wind-chill unit of measure, I would propose they switch to a simpler, more meaningful index -- a scale measuring political "cold comfort."

Start with a mild "provincial tax promise," followed by "mayoral apologies," rising to a more frigid level of "Harper PMO appointments," and capped off with an extreme warning of a "Kim Jong-un hospitality" wind-chill advisory.




Superior services

Here in 90 per cent gridded Carman, with its mainly numbered streets facilitating easy navigation, the streets, back lanes, and sidewalks are normally cleared within 24 hours of a major snowfall (City should learn zones, Letters, Jan. 10). The plows are also followed by a BobCat which clears driveway ridges.

In the seven years I have been here, there has not been one missed recycling or garbage pickup.

As a bonus, my property taxes are one-quarter of what they were for the same-sized property 10 years ago in Fort Richmond.




New coach makes a difference

So the Winnipeg Jets beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-1 on Monday night (Maurice provides Jets fuel, Jan. 14). The Jets played with grit and passion and as well as they can.

Where was this effort for former head coach Claude Noel? Or were they just sucking up to the new boss?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 15, 2014 A8

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