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House-call conundrum

While expanding the work of nurse practitioners into house calls otherwise made by medical doctors is a great idea, it's disingenuous for Daren Jorgenson to characterize the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba as protecting doctors' turf (Doctor didn't act alone: clinic, Feb. 20).

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Self-regulation by a profession is a serious responsibility. Jorgensen clearly understood billing a nurse practitioner's work under an MD's billing number is a serious offence -- that's how he hoped to provoke the province to action.

Now he's upset the college stepped in, and the province is still not compelled to engage him in court. Jorgenson's idea is not uniquely his -- it has been shared by many MDs for years.

If his ability to capitalize on demand at his business is being impeded by public policy, the way to go about changing that is not by having professionals compromise themselves with their governing body.

There's an election coming. Political parties have policy meetings -- their leaders take meetings with innovative business people. Jorgenson is not to be feted as a cause célèbre here.





Loving the long weekend

Re: Mayor wary of Arizona query, Feb. 20.

By unilaterally recasting Manitoba's Louis Riel holiday -- a welcome tribute to this province's father of confederation -- as the "Valentine's long weekend," Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has come up with another clever scheme to rekindle the love his administration has lost at city hall.

Purveyors of flowers, chocolates and myopic political spin are thrilled. Lovers of history, not so much.





City's deficit blame game

Transcona councillor and finance chairman Russ Wyatt is playing a smoke-and-mirrors game, blaming this year's $1.8-million budget deficit on snow (City hall blames snow for deficit, Feb. 19).

With cost overruns on the new police headquarters ranging upwards of $75 million of taxpayers' money, it's no wonder Wyatt is scrambling to pass the buck onto someone else -- whether it's on city staff or on the weather.

It's been almost 16 years since the city has conducted a cost analysis of public versus privately contracted snow-clearing operations. This is yet another lost opportunity to look at saving money and increasing efficiencies in the best interest of the citizens.

Perhaps it's high time politicians to do the right thing and look at bringing snow clearing back in-house.



President, CUPE Local 500



Parks help climate, economy

Jim Collinson asserts a new provincial park in the Hudson Bay Lowlands would remove the ability to balance ecological protection and development (Protect wildlife and Manitoba's prosperity, Feb. 15). What he fails to recognize, however, is provincial parks can contribute to sustainable development.

Official park designations go hand in hand with creating ecotourism opportunities. In turn, this has a great benefit to the province by driving the economy with an influx of tourism dollars and the creation of jobs to support tourist activity.

More, he suggests unregulated development does not greatly threaten polar bears and the northern ecosystem when, in fact, the opposite is true. Though climate change does pose a threat to Manitoba's north, without provincially protected land, the ability to regulate development that impedes on crucial habitat for northern species is limited.

Ensuring the protection of this landscape is important not only to conserve species diversity within the region, but also in mitigating climate change, as the Arctic acts as a carbon reservoir.




Immigration stream strong

Re: Newcomers needed to fill jobs, Feb. 18.

There has been much fear-mongering and misinformation presented by Manitoba's provincial NDP government about how changes to federally run immigration settlement services and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will impact immigration to Manitoba.

The PNP, as Canada's second-largest economic immigration stream, has helped to spread the benefits of immigration across the country, including to Manitoba. The province has received the second-highest sustained level of PNP allocations in the country, followed only by Alberta.

Canada plans to welcome between 44,500 and 47,000 permanent residents through the PNP in 2014. We want to ensure these newcomers have the tools they need to succeed in Canada. Our language requirement is one way we are achieving this.

The PNP continues to be a key part of Canada's economic immigration strategy. Through this program, we are ensuring the benefits of immigration are not limited to major centres like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Under the new expression-of-interest system for economic immigration, which will start Jan. 1, 2015, provinces such as Manitoba will have the opportunity to help us identify even higher numbers of newcomers with the skills and talent to meet local needs across the province. We will process applications for economic immigrants under this new system in six months or less.



Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Ottawa, Ont.


Show ID to vote

Why would anyone believe they should get to vote in any North American election without proper identification (Canada's voting law perilous: U.S. lawyer, Feb. 18)? Requiring people to provide proof of who they are before they are allowed to vote makes perfect sense.

What doesn't make sense in our election rules is allowing convicts to vote.





Sidewalk plowing spotty

A number of letters have been critical of street and back-lane plowing. It seems sidewalk plow drivers in several areas need refresher courses in operating their machines.

Often streets that are along school or bus routes take too long to be cleared, and just as frequently the job is done inconsistently -- some stretches are plowed down to the pavement, others have deep ridges left in the middle; some spots seem to have been merely driven over without any clearing done at all, and still others seem to be bypassed entirely as though the driver lost interest and just proceeded to another street.

The result is many sidewalks are left uneven, hilly, icy and partially obstructed presenting a treacherous pathway for pedestrians, particularly at night.

Municipal inspectors should monitor this situation more closely, and if the contractors hired are only pretending to do the work, the city should only pretend to pay them.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2014 A9

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