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Release fire-hall info

Why do Winnipeg taxpayers not have complete information on all infrastructure projects (Firestorm over fire-hall study, Feb. 13)?

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Why are our municipal government representatives refused this information? Who are these administrators who decide what to release or not release to councillors and the public?





WAG event begs perspective

Re: WAG and the peril of yellowface, Feb. 12.

We all perceive things differently, according to our own terms of reference. As a member of the East Indian community and a promoter of multiculturalism, I recognize the Winnipeg Art Gallery was trying something different. As a member of the WAG's board, I was happy with that.

While I won't try to speak for the Japanese community, if it had been an East Indian theme I would have been very happy, as would many in my community.

It takes courage and a big heart to try something different. Sometimes, academic and theoretical analysis or interpretation takes away from the good inter-cultural intent of the situation.

In any case, the WAG and Stephan Borys have taken a noble step in trying to do something different, as well as in apologizing.


Manju Lodha



Weighing in on attack ad

It was refreshing to read Deveryn Ross' article Attack ad is baseless (Feb. 12).

Ross clearly isn't afraid to dig into past political history to seek the truth about the current provincial government's fear-mongering and blaming of the Filmon government, who haven't been in power for the last 14 years.

In the last election they used similar attacks on former PC leader Hugh McFadyen; now they're trying to use the same desperate tactics on Brian Pallister.

People are sick and tired of the proverbial smokescreens, multiple excuses and the blaming of past provincial administrations and the federal government.

The public is wise enough to ignore the latest sanctioned attack ads. The majority of Manitobans aren't that stupid.






Deveryn Ross indicates there's no truth to the NDP claim that, during a previous government's reign, there were nursing jobs lost and nurses were fired.

I was a nurse during those years. There were downsizing, ward closures, "staff-mix" (a moniker for reducing the nursing ratio on wards), bed closures, and licensed practical nurse positions in some hospitals were removed.

Much of this was taking place under the auspices of "streamlining" these facilities, but in reality was undertaken to reduce nursing resources.

We saw nurses deleted, bumped, and laid off while watching nursing graduates leave the province, or even the country.

Ross refers to "severe cutbacks in federal-provincial transfer payments" in 1999 as the cause. While partially true, the bulk of the layoffs, downsizing and closures happened before this -- between 1993 and 1995.





Federal budget fallout

Re: Tories batten down hatches, Feb. 12.

For several years, advocates for the care sector of the economy have waited. Those who devote hours of unpaid labour to the well-being of the young, sick, handicapped, frail, elderly or dying have been put on hold, told that their time would come.

Those who volunteer in firefighting and search-and-rescue capacities are among the many who work for free. They represent roles not officially even called "work" by tax and labour definitions.

Advocates want government to notice that these are essential tasks. They want recognition of the money saved, of the work done when the fire does not spread, the lost hiker is found, or the wayward child is nurtured and returns to health.

We need a budget that recognizes the selfless work done at a personal cost to help others. It has been taken for granted, and judging by the most recent budget, it still is.



Calgary, Alta.



How can anybody logically explain that the 2014 federal budget was a so-called do-nothing budget to the public-sector workers enduring pay and benefit cuts -- to the tune of $7.4 billion dollars over six years (Budget gives Tories, Canada new shine, Editorial, Feb. 12)?

The logic behind this move, described as "playing on discontent among private-sector workers who do not share in the pensions and benefits enjoyed by most government employees," is a smokescreen to hide the Conservatives' anti-union policy.

If the Conservative government wanted to level the playing field with the private sector, they would introduce legislation to change existing rules regarding private pension plans.

The assault on public employee benefits continues; slaying the deficit, at least partially on their backs, is just not right.





Seniors value schools

Peter Manastyrsky's letter Don't lift school taxes from the elderly (Feb. 12) expressed perfectly what I and my senior friends believe.

Seniors have an interest in quality schools and are willing to do their part to have a quality education system. I can't understand why this government is thinking about removing this tax from seniors -- unless it's with the shortsighted hope of buying seniors' votes.





In no hurry to come back

I recently travelled to Winnipeg and had the misfortune of receiving a speeding ticket for travelling 20 km/h above the speed limit on the Trans-Canada Highway less than one hour after landing in the city.

The speeding ticket rates in your province are outrageous, and a police service that doesn't offer a visitor a warning or even speak to the driver before issuing the ticket left me with a terrible impression of the city.

The $312 "welcome to Winnipeg" left me feeling sure that I have spent my last tourist dollar in your province paying the fine.



New Westminster, B.C.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2014 A10

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