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Punishment toothless

The article Expropriation in Shindico dispute 'unfortunate': Katz (Feb. 20) states: "Administration officials who allowed a fire paramedic station to be built on land the city doesn't own could face disciplinary measures."

The disciplinary measures belong at the top where it is deserved. Instead, the city's former CAO, Phil Sheegl, walked away with a hefty compensation package.

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Voting not a privilege

Cal Paul writes: "What doesn't make sense in our election rules is allowing convicts to vote" (Show ID to vote, Letters, Feb. 21).

Imprisonment removes privileges; voting is not a privilege, it is both a right and a duty. What doesn't make sense in our election rules is the lack of a penalty for not voting.




Plenty of spin to Hydro plan

In Cold weather boosts Hydro's bottom line (Feb. 15), Bruce Owen, referring to the $34-billion expansion plan Manitoba Hydro is trying to push past the Public Utilities Board, writes: "The two dams and accompanying transmission lines have faced a barrage of criticism as being too expensive and based on faulty projections."

In an increasingly familiar reaction to scrutiny of its plans, Hydro relies on the age-old strategy best encapsulated in the adage "argument weak, step up spin."

Hydro recently tested its brand-new brochure entitled Seven Things You Should Know About Manitoba's Energy Future with its staff, which is now posted on Hydro's website.

Hydro spokesperson Scott Powell states: "We welcome the (PUB) review and we believe it is the best way to meet the needs going forward." He reveals that Hydro intends to mount a Twitter campaign "to drive people to it." Watch for it to also show up as a bill-stuffer.

One could ask why, if Hydro is so confident in its plan, it finds it necessary to spend a fortune promoting it?




Senate sensibility

I agree with Peter Peech's view that, as an institution, the Senate lacks credibility (Sack, don't stack, Senate, Letters, Feb. 19).

There is plenty of precedent for abolition. With the exception of Saskatchewan and Alberta, every province has had (and abolished) a senate at some point or another. Manitoba, for example, came into Confederation in 1870; alongside an elected legislature, it had an unelected upper chamber until 1876, when it was eliminated, deemed too expensive to maintain.

Peech should be pleased to note that Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have called for the abolition of the Senate. Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair has also strongly advocated for its abolition.

Meanwhile, the Harper government has asked the courts for an opinion on how to handle changes to the Senate, while Justin Trudeau doesn't want to get rid of it, but rather reform it in some way.




Water-guzzling greens

Graham Lane's article When the heavens don't open (Feb. 19) should be a wake-up call to all who read it. Water shortage will be the next crisis -- as it already is in many other parts of the world.

While I applaud the decision of Lane's fellow condo owners to forego lawns in favour of xeriscaping, this measure will unfortunately not make much of a difference.

Lane touches on a real culprit, albeit briefly: golf courses. There is a grand total of 80 of these water-guzzling features in and around Palm Springs.




Taxpayers fund projects

It would appear that Conservative MP Shelly Glover is upset that neither she nor Stephen Harper have been given their due credit for future infrastructure spending in Manitoba (Glover touts infrastructure funding, Feb. 15).

What Glover fails to understand is that neither she nor any other politician in Ottawa or Manitoba funds these projects -- the taxpayer does.

Glover could spend her time more effectively being focused on how she accounts for her election-expense spending and from whom she receives election donations.




City zoned out

On the day my street was to be plowed at some point between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., I came home at 10 p.m. to find many cars still parked on the street.

At 2 a.m., I looked outside to see the plows running along in front of my house and a number of cars still parked.

The next day, I walked a block to get my vehicle and saw all the cars with clear windshields, unticketed.

This is the third time cars on my street should have been towed (but weren't) because of the snow parking ban. What's the point of running a "know your zone" campaign if there aren't repercussions to ignoring the ban?

Almost the entire curb lane on my street is unplowed due to parked cars. I often see complaints that snow clearing is over budget; if the city enforced the parking rules, it would help generate revenue from the fines and would reduce the number of times a road had to be plowed.




Look beyond physicians

Re: Doctor didn't act alone: clinic (Feb. 20).

I suspect the cost for a physician to leave their practice to provide home care is significantly higher than similar actions by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

With our limited financial resources, perhaps we should embrace innovations that move us away from outdated practices. Perhaps the economics of quality care should be more than just physician-focused and physician-centred.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 24, 2014 A10

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