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Winnipeg Regional Health Authority CEO Arlene Wilgosh. (David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press files)

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Winnipeg Regional Health Authority CEO Arlene Wilgosh. (David Lipnowski / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Taxing top earners

I'm not going to spill many tears over the Fraser Institute's missive (Top earners are tops in taxes, too, Jan. 15) regarding the plight of poor CEOs and other filthy-rich Canadians. There are about 30 million Canadians who would gladly change places with them.

The richest one per cent own and plan to hang onto much of the wealth created in Canada each year, and rich corporations have groups such as the Fraser Institute to speak up for them. They also have the ear of governments at all levels that provide them with corporate tax cuts and tax loopholes.

People are smarter than the Fraser Institute gives them credit for; we see what's going on, who is getting ahead and who is left behind.

The Fraser Institute can pretend there's nothing wrong, but when a CEO works for eight or nine days and makes as much as most Canadians do in an entire year, there's something very wrong with our economic system.

We've let the CEOs run Canada for too long. Maybe it's time the rest of us had a proper say.

JOHN BAERT

Winnipeg

 

Contrary to the conclusions drawn by Mark Milke of the Fraser Institute, the success and positive impact of Jim Tocher and earlier generations of Canadian business leaders demonstrates how far current CEOs have strayed from a path so beneficial to the country as a whole.

Tocher and earlier leaders received a university education largely paid for by Canadian taxpayers, a worthy investment given their many subsequent contributions.

But government funding -- our investment in future generations -- has not kept pace with the cost of university education. It's more difficult for people from less-advantaged circumstances to obtain an education that would benefit all Canadians in the long run.

Tocher was a business leader at a time when CEOs were content to take a far smaller portion of the economic pie than today's leaders. Income going to the top one per cent of wage earners has increased markedly over the past decades, while wages for average workers have stagnated.

Some economists -- less ideologically driven than those at the Fraser Institute and similar organizations -- appreciate that inequality and stagnant wages for the middle class are harming the economy, contrary to the claimed benefits in this article.

Let's hope Canadian voters heed the warning of such sources before we go too far down the path of wealth concentration, if we haven't already.

JIM CLARK

Winnipeg

 

Relying on oil a bad move

Seems the oil producers union can dish it out but can't take it (Oil industry is no villain: executives, Jan. 16).

For years Canadians have been inundated by slick expensive commercials promoting the oil industry -- not only by the industry, but also by the government using taxpayer dollars. Then, when one celebrity challenges them, they gang up like children and cry foul.

More jobs are created by a manufacturing dollar than an oil dollar: Think about the number of jobs relative to a $30,000 automobile and then the number of jobs relative to the same amount in the oil industry. This is why China and South Korea are economic powerhouses.

This government is putting all its economic eggs into one industry. Considering oil is susceptible to fluctuating world prices, this is a dangerous move.

Some people think conservative governments are best at managing an economy, and some believe the economy is best served by an unrestricted free market. History proves both are wrong.

DAN CECCHINI

Winnipeg

 

Snow-plowing platform

The next mayor of Winnipeg will be the one who runs on a platform of stepping up its snow-removal program (Plow talk is pandering, Jan. 16). This nonsense of "Cadillac" service eschewed by some delusional politicians at 510 Main should be considered offensive.

Decision-makers need to end the short-sightedness and allocate an appropriate amount for snow clearing.

Over the lengthy snow season in Winnipeg, capitol-region businesses lose untold millions in transportation and logistics inefficiencies from poorly cleared roadways. Transportation for everyone -- service vehicles, public and private utility fleets, commuters, families in mini-vans -- is made unsafe and more costly as a result of slippery streets.

There is a direct correlation between record automobile-accident claims and dangerous, snow-covered streets. Lost work time accumulates, unnecessary suffering occurs from injuries, and costs of vehicular and property damage are borne by families and our public insurance, which all Manitoba motorists pay for in the end.

Imagine a city in winter with bare pavement streets that allow commercial and citizen traffic to get to their destinations safely and on time. It's not impossible, but snow-removal operations need to be a higher priority.

DOUG TOUCHETTE

St. Adolphe

 

We have been hearing constant complaints regarding snow-clearing on our city roads and the problems encountered by vehicles attempting to drive on them.

While the complaints are justified, I have heard very little regarding the state of our sidewalks. For those of us obliged to use the sidewalks, it can be an absolute ordeal to attempt to navigate a lumpy, bumpy sidewalk.

I use a four-wheeled, manually powered vehicle, otherwise known as a walker. Without some reasonable sidewalk snow clearing, I am (along with many others) house-bound.

Throwing sand on top of unevenly packed snow is of little help -- the sand only hides the lumpy mess.

JEAN FELIKSIAK

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2014 A8

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