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A natural-gas alternative

Manitoba Hydro president Scott Thomson suggests the utility's load-growth forecasts are accurate at about 1.5 per cent annually for the next 20 years (Value of Manitoba Hydro's forecasts is in the numbers, Jan. 23). He also says 36 per cent of homes in Manitoba are heated with electric furnaces and baseboards.

The use of electric water heaters is increasing despite the utility promoting the use of natural gas wherever available.

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Installing about 10,000 ground-source heat pumps in electrically heated homes would reduce the electrical load by as much as the forecasted load-growth increase.

By financing the installation of the ground-source heat-pump systems, Hydro could defer the need to spend billions of dollars building a number of new dams and transmission lines. Homeowners converting electric furnaces to a ground-source heat-pump system could pay back the money with interest, and actually save enough money to pay to install the system.

Electricity ratepayers would benefit because projected annual rate increases for the next 20 years would be greatly reduced. The economy benefits because money that would otherwise be sent to Alberta to buy gas stays in the province.




Equalization benefits clear

Re: Equalization program is dividing, not uniting, Canada, Jan. 27.

An example of the importance of sharing Canada's natural resources is that of Newfoundland and Labrador. For decades, that province's basic programs were sustained by the sharing in all of Canada's natural resources through equalization payments.

Now blessed with substantial resource revenues of its own, the province is sharing its enhanced resource wealth with the rest of Canada.

Mark Milke wants to disrupt a system that works well at evening out the highs and lows of resource revenue that as Canadians we all share.




Progress on Kapyong

As a longtime neighbour of the Kapyong Barracks, I'd like to congratulate Kelly Edwards on his idea of a 40-room hotel on the site (Kapyong plan off to Vegas, Jan. 27). To the federal government: Since the Federal Court has said First Nations have a treaty right to be consulted about this land, you dishonour us all by failing to negotiate in good faith.




Prioritize sidewalk clearing

Ruts in the snow on the sidewalk of our residential street are as bad as many on the roads, and I doubt our experience is unique. It would not be safe for seniors, or others who are unsteady on their feet, to walk the length of our fairly short street.

If Canada Post goes ahead with its proposal to change our mail delivery to a "superbox," the city will have to increase the priority of clearing residential sidewalks.




The birth of 'Rider Pride'

In A news-business legend with few rivals leaves us (Jan. 28), Gordon Sinclair Jr. captured the heart and soul of John Robertson and his lasting impact on our community and province. Robertson was also an avid supporter of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, an affinity from his days as a sportswriter with the Regina Leader-Post.

In the 1979 season, the Roughriders were bordering on bankruptcy as a losing team, and poor attendance had real impact on the financial bottom line. Newspaper reports from the time indicate that Robertson decided to hook up with head coach Ron Lancaster and travel the province to promote a sellout crowd for the last Riders game of the year at Taylor Field.

Ten days prior to the game, Robertson made five trips to Saskatchewan, all on his own dime, to hustle ticket sales. On game day, the Riders had an overflow crowd in the expanded Taylor Field.

The event became known as "Rider Pride Day" and to this day the football team's marketing strategy is linked to "Rider Pride."




The case for unionization

Re: Unionization linked to prosperity, studies find (Jan. 27).

I'm not surprised with the findings of the study performed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The federal government, however, has painted a picture of inflated salaries for union bosses, and attacks workers' right to strike without allowing arbitration. Former labour minister Lisa Raitt, for example, threatened back-to-work legislation on the very first day of a strike by the Teamsters Union against Canadian Pacific Railway in 2012.

The children of well-paid politicians will have well-paying careers because they are connected to the wealthy elite. The rest of us will scrape by and stand in the soup lines.




Keep letting Buff roam

Re: Maurice content to let Buff roam at forward -- for now, Jan. 25.

Dustin Byfuglien's freewheeling style of play could provide the spark to ignite his team -- see Chicago's 2010 Stanley Cup win as an example.

Former Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel took advantage of Byfuglien's ability to take over the play and put his hockey club in a position to get a goal or two at crucial times.

Were it not for the many one-goal games the Jets have lost, Noel might still have his job.

So in the spirit of the Prairies: let this Buff roam.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 30, 2014 A10

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