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Sack, don't stack, Senate

I read with great interest the article Don't sack the Senate, say Charest, Mulroney (Feb. 15), particularly the passage about Mr. Mulroney's proposed "formula" for Senate appointments.

I seem to recall that when Mulroney wanted the GST bill passed through the Liberal-led Senate, they looked set to kill the bill. His solution was to stack the Senate with eight Conservative appointments. This created an instant Conservative majority in the Senate, which then rubber-stamped the legislation.

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Were these Canada's "best citizens" or well-rewarded pawns in the then-prime minister's manipulations?

Since then, I find it difficult to view the Senate as an institution with any real credibility; recent scandals only reaffirm my position.




Real progress needed

Re: Group-home agency threatens to end deal with province, Feb. 15.

The lack of adequate provincial funding to provide reasonable remuneration to front-line workers is an acute issue for all of the more than 100 community-based agencies providing essential services to persons with intellectual disabilities across Manitoba.

We remain hopeful the provincial government's commitment to equity, human rights and inclusion provide the basis for real progress. Ensuring our agencies can pay employees at rates comparable to what government pays their own workers will be essential to long-term stability.


President, Abilities Manitoba



Plow problems pile up

There was a car parked on my street two hours into the residential parking ban. In an effort to have the car removed so the plows could clean the street, I called 311 -- the third time I had called the service in the past month.

On the two previous calls, I hung up after waiting 15 minutes. This time, determined to get through, I waited 41 minutes.

When I finally talked to the 311 clerk, she advised she would "alert the parking authority." The plows came at 2 a.m., the car was still there and so was the snow.




Our street was plowed overnight this weekend, with the same outcome we have been seeing all winter. It seems some people are informed that crews are coming, while others aren't.

Now our street has numerous patches where graders could not scrape, leaving a thick packed layer under the cars of neighbours who didn't know plows were coming.

Why was the previous system of placing street-clearing signs the day before and retrieving them after the clearing was done been replaced? If the system ain't broke, don't fix it.




Our back lane was fairly clean and usable until a big power shovel went down it and piled up at least a half-metre of frozen snow chunks and slabs -- some several centimetres thick -- in front of many homeowners' garages.

The operator that plowed our back lane dug down to the concrete in one spot near our garage, while leaving a five-centimetre edge on one end of it.

There's no need for that type of cleaning until the iced back lanes start to melt later in the winter. Our back lane was left looking like a rough-hewed bobsleigh track for the Winter Olympics.




We're in the suburbs at the residential end of a very wide collector street that has a back lane. Every winter, both street and lane get packed into beautifully flat surfaces that are perfectly drivable without ruts or ice patches -- no problems with parking, getting in and out of back lanes and garages, or accessing the street via our sidewalks to the curbs.

Thanks to recent direction from city bureaucrats, snow-clearing contractors bring our street and lane down to bare pavement.

We now have icy sections of bare pavement and windrows of ice chunks that are almost impossible to remove.




Income splitting is fair

Your Feb. 15 editorial Scrap the income-split proposal and a reader's letter suggests income-splitting favours the rich on the backs of the lower-income earners. As a tax preparer, I can tell you this is inaccurate.

If one person earns $80,000 and the spouse nothing, that household pays significantly more tax than a household where a married couple earns $40,000 each. It should be the same, and this is what income splitting aims to address.

Income splitting helps the middle class more than the upper class; it's fair, and until fully implemented the system is inequitable.


East St. Paul


Follow posted speed limits

So Susan Andrews won't be coming back to Manitoba after receiving a $312 speeding ticket for driving 20 km/h above the posted speed limit (In no hurry to come back, Letters, Feb. 14).

Stay home, Susan. We have enough problems with our own drivers speeding and don't need out-of-towners unfamiliar with our roads travelling above the speed limit.

Be thankful your speeding cost you only a measly $312 -- it could have cost someone else so much more had you hit them while you were driving so recklessly.

The next time you visit someplace, obey their laws. Posted speed limits are there for a reason.




The nature of things

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading about the wolf adventure encounter at Northern Lights Wolf Centre in the travel section of the Free Press (Walking with wolves, Feb. 8).

As I finished this wonderful description of these magnificent, beautiful and playful beings, I glanced up at my TV and saw images of flames and smoke from yet another car bombing in Syria.

It made me wonder: Which species should be considered the implacable killing beasts?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 19, 2014 A6

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