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Rail service unacceptable

While Barry Prentice is correct in many of his comments regarding grain transportation (Unfair to blame railways for outstripped capacity, Jan. 18), he seems to let the railways off the hook by saying poor service is acceptable and grain producers should not expect better service in the future.

I farm in the Starbuck area, and grain companies are telling us they cannot buy any more grain through to the end of the crop year because they cannot get rail service. This will hurt the entire farm economy and beyond.

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Canadian grain producers need to be competitive with other exporters, and this requires them to get their products to market during peak times. We need to build a transportation system that will take the larger crops of the future and the seasonal peaks.




Time for ER answers

Yet another patient has died after being released from a Winnipeg hospital (Third Grace patient dies after release, Jan. 21). What kinds of protocols, if any, are there for safe patient release?

The provincial government needs to step in immediately, establish stringent rules and make sure doctors and hospitals are following them. I realize there may be exceptional cases in which a patient appears to be healthy and where he succumbs to another condition after leaving the emergency room.

In the Grace Hospital cases, we aren't talking about young people in their prime of health -- we're talking about older people whose cases need to be given extra attention and care.

If hospitals are so crowded that doctors are releasing patients on the hope they are safe, that's a matter that needs to be dealt with by the provincial government. Do hospitals need more money to open more beds and hire more staff? Do they need to be run more efficiently with the staff they have?

It's time for answers. It's not an easy task, but if the will is there, solutions can be discovered.




Grain-free diet not the issue

The article Grain-free diets miss out on several benefits (Jan. 17) by Kerri Casper is grossly misleading. I have also read the book Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis, in which he cites decades of clinical studies on the steady progression of genetically modified wheat, now more than 2,500 strains. The book has several references from studies done throughout the world, something missing from Casper's article.

Davis is a cardiologist who has led thousands of his patients to a healthier lifestyle through the elimination of genetically modified wheat products. Davis consumes wheat of the ancient einkorn variety -- an original plant, containing 14 chromosomes. The new, genetically modified dwarf wheat plant contains hundreds of chromosomes that result in a differently constructed, and harmful, gluten.

We now see pasta made from 100 per cent durum semolina. That designation is printed on the package to denote the higher-quality wheat strain being used in the process. Durum wheat is low in gluten but high in protein.

We need to be more mindful of what we consume, and Davis is just one of many doing their best to expose the falsehoods being foisted onto an otherwise unsuspecting consumer.




Young's stance problematic

In his Jan. 20 letter Rocker raises important points, Curtis Hull has the mistaken impression Neil Young is concerned with climate change. Despite a steady increase of CO2 to about 400 parts per million, temperatures are not increasing -- there is no runaway warming.

Patrick Burton, meanwhile, suggests in his letter Young has put his money where his mouth is and calls him a visionary. Why didn't Young come on tour with his Lincvolt? Why did he bring the diesel trucks?

I would consider taking Neil Young seriously if he came in a fossil fuel-free vehicle and urged all attendees do the same.

Otherwise he is still a hypocrite.




Waiting for scientific wisdom from an entertainer is an exercise in futility and shows a lack of critical thinking; calling Neil Young an imaginative visionary, meanwhile, is misguided.

Young is an entertainer who has jumped onto the anti-oilsands bandwagon; like Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, and Daryl Hannah before him, he has a penchant for a cause he knows very little about.

If these entertainers truly believe in the theory of man-made global warming, they should be attacking the use of coal, which accounts for most of it.

Oil has never been the problem, but it's an easy target, especially the Alberta oilsands. But until Star Trek's clean-burning dilithium crystals are discovered, petroleum products will be with us for some time to come.




Taxes not serving needy

In her letter Lower taxes worsen services (Jan. 20), Molly McCracken contends that "$1 billion of tax revenue has been cut from the Manitoba budget over the past decade." In 2003, the budget estimated tax revenue at $4.015 billion; in 2013, the budget estimated tax revenue at $6.799 billion, an increase of 69.3 per cent. McCracken also contends the tax system "plays an important redistributive role that is the foundation of the social-welfare state." Manitoba is not a social-welfare state -- we are taxed so the province can provide services individuals cannot provide for themselves.

Unfortunately, our province spends our tax dollars on bells and whistles rather than on fundamental needs, so our infrastructure is falling apart.

Our government's expensive, robust welfare industry is failing our homeless and low-income residents. Housing prices are driven up by increased bureaucracy, regulations, fees and taxes. Increasing the costs of home ownership increases the number of residents unable to afford housing.

As taxes increase, a larger portion of our residents move to a less tax-onerous province. "Go west, young man" is advice too many of our wage-earners are heeding. The notion that if only our governments had enough money they could cure homelessness and poverty is inane.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 22, 2014 A6

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