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Partisan posturing useless

Re: Property owners miffed at pace of city response, Feb. 26.

Coun. Justin Swandel first says, "We are using everything at our disposal," then later, the article notes he "would not say whether the city would authorize hiring additional staff or reallocate staff to repair the broken snow-clearing equipment."

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Meanwhile, CUPE Local 500 president Mike Davidson blames issues on a hiring freeze, forcing too many civic departments to operate with minimal staff. His solution would seem to be to hire as many staff as needed to deal with the worst-case scenario -- and imagine the tax increase we would be facing if we allowed that approach.

Somewhere in the city bureaucracy is a department manager who should have the authority to get these problems resolved quickly. If that means going over budget or outsourcing personnel or equipment to maintain such essential services, so be it.

Our elected officials and the union's executive should put aside their partisan beliefs in a time of such exceptional circumstances.




U-Pass options needed

Re: Plenty of U-Pass benefits, Letters, Feb. 26.

The only exceptions for students who don't want to participate in the U-Pass transit program are those who live out of town or are physically incapable of taking the bus.

Those who bike to school or live within walking distance of the university (or in residence) will be forced to pay, as will students who carpool with parents that work on campus as well as those who need to drive as part of their job.

Then there are the mature students, part-time students, and distance-ed students, many of whom attend classes right after work, and many more.

I wouldn't object so much if there was an option to sell or give away the pass -- options that were considered and quickly rejected.




Don't blame postal union

John H. Redekop should get a few facts straight before commenting on the situation at Canada Post (A better solution for postal crisis, Feb. 26).

Over the last rounds of negotiations, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has given up many benefits -- including paid accumulated sick leave as well as severance pay upon retirement -- while two-tier starting wages (up to $6 an hour less for new employees) have been introduced.

In 1981, CUPW won paid maternity leave from the strike referenced by Redekop -- ground-breaking at the time, but standard for most Canadian workers today. CUPW also made suggestions to the government to help find new revenue streams, such as postal banking, which has been a great success in Europe and South America. Canada Post and the federal government, however, refuse to consider such measures, even on a trial basis.




All dogs deserve kindness

Caring for a rescue animal, whether purebred or mixed-breed, does not make a person morally superior to those who do not (Magnificent mutts, Feb. 18).

What is immoral is neglecting, abusing or not committing to being responsible for animals in your care.

In her letter Shelter dogs on death row (Feb. 22), Debbie Wall argues that housing a purebred rather than a rescued shelter animal condemns the latter to the shelter.

The bottom-line moral issue is one of responsible, committed care of animals.

I can visit an ethical breeder for the animal companion of my choice without having Wall, Mary Agnes Welch and the like snub their noses at me or anyone else who has committed to loving a purebred animal.

All animals deserve kind treatment, including human animals who love their purebred furry friends.




PUB's decision will be telling

Bruce Owen's article Dispute may unveil Hydro dam costs (Feb. 25) lays out the Manitoba Metis Federation's argument, supported by many informed individuals and organizations, that there is no rush or urgent need for the exorbitantly expensive Bipole III and Keeyask generating station.

Manitoba Hydro, and by extension the NDP government, were incensed, asking the Public Utilities Board to "yank intervener funding from the MMF" and apply "some additional sanction."

The PUB's decision will be an excellent test to see whether they are truly independent or merely a provincial government lapdog.




Curling a team sport

As a recreational curler as well as a fan, I thought that the Free Press did an admirable job in the coverage of our city welcoming the women's Olympic curling gold medallists back home.

I noticed, however, that there were two fairly large pictures of Jennifer Jones in Tuesday's paper. While that in itself isn't a problem, it would have been great to have one of the pictures show all the team members mingling with the crowd.

Jones knows the importance of the team concept -- I don't think she would have had a problem with that.




Snow heaps hinder seniors

As an 81-year-old that uses a walker and scooter to get around, the condition of our sidewalks leaves me housebound for much of the winter (Sidewalk plowing spotty, Letters, Feb. 21).

The city has seniors' centres and many excellent programs for seniors, but how do we get there? On a limited income, taxis are too expensive, and getting to a bus stop is impossible. While I qualify for Handi-Transit, they will take me to the seniors' centre but won't bring me home.

If sidewalks were properly cleared so that a walker or scooter could be used, there would be no problem. Surely the many seniors like myself deserve more consideration.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2014 A14

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