Zoo hike ruffles feathers
I am extremely disappointed with the choices being made by the Assiniboine Park Conservatory related to the price of the zoo admissions (Zoo hikes admissions, again, April 22).
I frequently visited the zoo over the past five years because it was affordable enough I could take my grandson for a short stroll -- clearly something I won't be doing in the future. At these new prices, it's unlikely I would attend the zoo more than once a year and only when I have several hours to see everything.
Why did they not consider maintaining a reasonable gate fee and charging extra to visit the new Journey to Churchill exhibit? This would encourage visits from folks that cannot afford the full-meal-deal, as well as those who wish to visit more frequently and only spend an hour or two.
The zoo should be available to everyone, not just wealthier residents or visitors, and our elected officials should appreciate what it means to Manitoba families and children in terms of outdoor recreation, exercise, education and enjoyment.
The price increase, of course, is just in time for tourist season.
In the recent spate of public-spending scandals, our city elite appear to be caught in a cycle of cost overruns and expensively funded civic endeavours, with little regard for the taxpayer.
Let's hope our debt-driven reputation won't put the chill on the successful debut of the Journey to Churchill polar exhibit, which ought to attract plenty of tourists willing to spend boatloads of dollars to the financial benefit of city coffers.
Of course, such visitors will have to stand in line next to the many grumbling and understandably upset families, who, like the tourists, will unhappily grin and "bear" the price of admission.
Principle over politics
With all due respect to Sid Green's suggestion that, like the NDP, the PC party take the vote tax subsidy it has steadfastly refused to accept, I beg to differ (Parties should earn support at the doorstep, April 16).
Manitobans are increasingly skeptical of political promises. Their trust has been abused, they have been misinformed and their rights have been disrespected.
Past behaviour is an excellent indicator of future performance. Should the PC party accept the vote tax now but promise to decline it later, Manitobans would be deservedly skeptical.
If massive deficits, sole-sourced contracts, tax and fee hikes as well as finger-pointing and fear-mongering are in order today, the NDP won't likely change tomorrow.
Our approach puts principle above political advantage. Manitoba needs more of that, not less.
Leader, PC Party of Manitoba
Government campaign a dud
Re: Economic claptrap (Editorial, April 23). The Harper government's Economic Action Plan ads, brought to us across our beautiful country courtesy of taxpayers, cost tens of millions of our hard-earned dollars, including hundreds of thousands of dollars just to ask us if we like the ads -- which it seems we don't.
That's one expensive national dud.
Indian Act discriminatory
Re: Indians who aren't Indians (Editorial, April 22). The sins of the Indian Act are now impacting today's governments and the country in ways the original drafters of the act could not have foreseen. By singling out and giving a legal definition to a group of people, the Indian Act is discriminatory in the extreme.
The act has been the genesis of an untold multitude of legal actions, court rulings, negotiations, agreements, policies, programs and more relating to every issue affecting the lives of Canada's indigenous people.
For indigenous people, the results have been estranged and broken families, shattered dreams, lack of opportunity and social chaos.
Regrettably, unless there are some enlightened actions, this state of "Indian affairs" is bound to continue for generations to come.
Protect children equally
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak cites the residential schools as responsible for "the fractious relationship between aboriginals and the child-welfare system" (Province has no right to track kids: native leaders, April 21).
He then calls into question the oft-maligned Sixties Scoop, concluding "other people think they can better care for our children... The premise is inherently racist."
Clearly racism was a major impetus for past wrongs to First Nations people, and these wrongs need to be addressed by all Canadians. But is it healthy or reasonable for victimization and retribution to be the template for our future?
As a Sixties Scoop adoptive parent, I resent Nepinak's use of the race card again and again. (Perversely, he paints himself as a racist by asserting any progress in social services by non-natives in aboriginal child welfare is an unwarranted intrusion into First Nations authority.)
The role of government in family life is to ensure reasonable and safe child-rearing practices are followed. If a central registry is required to ensure this objective, then so be it. All children should be protected equally.
If Nepinak truly wishes to help his people, he should collaborate with child-care agencies to achieve this objective.
A tale of two weeds
Re: Pesticides to be legal, restricted (April 23). Since the NDP government is banning the sale of pesticides used on lawns, will they now lobby the federal government to outlaw the sale of tobacco products as well?
The money that would be saved on our health-care system would allow everyone to have a weed-free lawn every year.
Coach silent on suspensions
Re: Officials scoff at player suspensions (April 23). I think it would be very interesting if Lake Manitoba First Nation head coach Darrell Swan would proffer his opinions on what I believe are the lenient, inadequate suspensions doled out by Hockey Manitoba to three of his players, guilty of abusing officials.