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Time's up for Fair Elections Act

Re: Harper's democratic struggles (April 29). Democracy is indeed struggling in Canada because of the Harper Conservatives. The clock is ticking while discussion of MPs' 250-plus proposed amendments to the Fair Elections Act is severely limited to a few days in the House of Commons, presumably to be voted down by the Harper majority.

What's the rush? Why gut a democratic system in a few days that has taken so many years to evolve within our borders?

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It's time to kill this bill, go back to the drawing board and consult with experts and everyday Canadians about any democratic reform that may or may not be needed.




Protecting whistleblowers key

Re: Hold government to account on ethics, April 26. Canadians for Accountability supports Elizabeth Fleming's call for the Manitoba government to act upon the auditor general's recommendations on ethics and call on the opposition and the public to hold the government to account for their failure to support public-service whistleblowers.

Amendments of the Public Interest Disclosure Act to provide greater protection to whistleblowers is a continued step in right direction. However, along with improvements to legislation, change is also needed in the culture of government workplaces.

Public servants who willingly commit wrongdoing rely on one sure thing: the silence of their fellow workers. There will always be silent witnesses as long as the culture continues to reward managers who practise reprisal.

Until whistleblowers are seen as a critical asset to the public service and are protected accordingly, little is likely to change.


Canadians for Accountability

Ottawa, Ont.


Bus discount offside

Re: Stadium to get transit discount (April 30). The article paraphrases Coun. Ross Eadie, as saying: "the province has little option but to accept the deal, adding the football team can't repay the province if it's not making enough money from events."

Let me get this straight: The taxpayers have to give the Winnipeg Blue Bombers money via increased subsidies for dedicated transit service so that they can pay back their debt to the taxpayers?

Whatever happened to user pay, or cutting costs, or charging more?

Why on earth should we condone such a magnanimous gesture when we can't afford to address our existing infrastructure problems?




Our local politicians think we Bombers fans need taxpayers to pay for our transit to home games.

Our roads are crumbling, people are homeless, there aren't enough services to address mental-health issues, and women in Manitoba don't have access to the same level of health care (digital mammography) that other Canadian women enjoy.

If I can't afford to pay $5-10 to get to and from the game, when someone has decided $7 for a pizza slice and $9 for a beer is within the fans' ability to pay, then maybe I should stay home.




A different fix for Senate

Re: Manitoba should move on Senate elections (April 29). I disagree with Royce Koop's favouring of elections to fill Manitoba's Senate seats -- sober second thought and an elected Senate are inherently incompatible.

Instead of being served by a group of people gathered for the purpose of good governance, we are currently afflicted with a dysfunctional Parliament; a condition primarily resulting from intense partisan politics. An elected Senate would simply exacerbate this problem.

A far better process for Manitoba (if not for the whole country) would be to randomly select citizens, like a jury, to serve for a limited three- to four-year Senate term. This method of selection would avoid the poison of party politics, would end the perceived aspect of a "Senate career," and would provide the opportunity for any 18 to 75-year-old Manitoba resident to contribute to federal government's decision-making.




Killing tax hike the right move

Re: Councillors kill tax-hike idea (April 26). The word "no" is not usually something we like to hear from elected officials, but in this case it's a relief.

After a year of tax increases on both the municipal and provincial levels, I am glad to hear another tax hike proposal was given a flat-out no this week.

Moreover, I am comforted to hear city council is not considering using money collected for core infrastructure to fund other projects that are unrelated to the regional street-maintenance fund.

Accepting this "secret" administration proposal would have been irresponsible.

Going into an election, I am pleased that a higher level of accountability from administration and politicians will be in the spotlight. We need to ensure infrastructure tax dollars are spent as efficiently as possible.


President and CEO, CAA Manitoba


Thankful for D-Day soldiers

Re: D-Day tribute welcome (Letters, April 25).

My wife's relatives were from Belgium, and many of them settled in France; mine, meanwhile, were from the area very near to Juno Beach.

We have visited the area on many occasions, as both of us have relatives at Caen. To this day, they are so very thankful for the Canadian involvement in the Second World War.

We feel acknowledging the sacrifice of the 16 Winnipeg combatants who died to give us the freedom that we enjoy today is very fitting.




Re: Tribute to D-Day sacrifices (April 24). I was very pleased to read about the tribute the City of Winnipeg is planning for Winnipeg soldiers who fell on D-Day.

One was listed as Pte. Fleming Ladd Irving. Fleming Ladd Irving did die on D-Day, as stated, but was a lieutenant in the 1st Hussar Tank Regiment -- not a private.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 1, 2014 A12


Updated on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 8:05 AM CDT: adds links

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