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Mayoral candidate under fire

So Judy Wasylycia-Leis will automatically increase taxes by the "combined aggregate of inflation and Winnipeg's population growth" (Formula for property-tax hikes, June 4).

Throwing more money down the city hall sinkhole is not the answer, because providing essential services in a cost-effective manner is no longer the priority.

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Preserving wages, benefits and pensions for a select few has become the new priority, as was evidenced all too well a few days ago.

Coun. Russ Wyatt attempted to scrape together some savings by giving non-essential city workers a few unpaid days at Christmas. Predictably, the attempt was shot down.

The city has become the best employment agency in town, paid for by you and me, the taxpayer.





I'm puzzled by Judy Wasylycia-Leis' tax-hike formula. I commend her for announcing needed tax increases before an election and basing it partly on inflation makes sense.

However, basing an increase on population growth is completely illogical. If the population increases, the city will get more revenue without a rate increase.

But what if there's a population decrease? The city will get less revenue and, by her formula, tax rates would go down, making the city's finances doubly worse. It makes no sense.

Why not do something really different and base tax rates on a budget?





Judy Wasylycia-Leis' campaign pledge to keep property-tax increases to the rate of inflation is close to providing her with a blank cheque.

With government spending being the biggest contributor to inflation, the city coffers should be bulging.

A one or two per cent fixed tax increase at least lets Winnipeggers know what to expect in the coming years as it relates to tax increases.





How can anyone believe Judy Wasylycia-Leis' promises? After losing to Sam Katz in the last election, she promised to hold the man's feet to the fire.

In spite of an avalanche of questionable antics involving the mayor's office, Katz's feet, figuratively speaking, have been frozen solid.



Celibacy hampers priests

For monks and the like who specifically devote their lives solely in prayer and devotion to God, sometimes as hermits in complete isolation, it makes sense to stay unmarried (Catholics grapple with celibacy, May 31).

But for priests who are hearing confessions, comforting the flock and visiting the sick, it's rather inane for them to be celibate.

They are very much in the world and therefore should be fully and personally aware of its trials and tribulations for themselves.

It's better priests live with a spouse and children so that they have a greater understanding of the struggles members of the flock undergo daily and can truly assist in helping their parishioners.




D-Day averted tyranny

For Gwynne Dyer to state the Second World War "was not really fought to defend democracy from tyranny" is outrageous (A date at Normandy, June 6).

Had the Allies abandoned Europe and North Africa, one of two outcomes would likely have ensued: Either Stalin would have overrun Europe or Hitler would have consolidated his rule. Either way, we would have let tyranny reign.



Tutu right to speak out

As a Christian, I must take exception to the offensive June 4 editorial cartoon depicting Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his visit to the Athabasca oilsands.

Man-made global warming is one of the greatest, or perhaps the greatest, of moral challenges in this age.

Our rapacious extraction and burning of carbon-based fossil fuels imperils the world our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will inherit.

According to a recent study, a major section of the West Greenland ice sheet is now on an unstoppable course to collapse, raising sea levels by at least one metre over the next two centuries -- one of many dire predictions.

It is the poor of the Earth who will suffer the most.

The good archbishop, heeding the call of God to act justly, has chosen to lend his voice in an effort to put the brakes to this madness, just as he earlier spoke out against the evils of apartheid.

We, people of faith who believe that God has placed us as stewards and not owners of this beautiful planet, need to hold ourselves and our leaders to account for the harm that is being done.




PoW swap morally right

The Republicans have resorted to a new all-time low -- condemning an American PoW (Terrorism detainees swapped for soldier, June 2).

First, U.S. President Barack Obama was not doing enough to get PoWs back. Now he is doing too much.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release was morally right. Even though he is a deserter, he is still an American soldier, and the military is still obliged to liberate him.

A deserter can face up to five years in a military jail.

However, the soldier needs to be on American soil for that to happen.




Green economy benefits Hydro

With America forced to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, Manitoba Hydro should build those dams now, build them big, and build them fast (Golden opportunity for Hydro, June 3).

America needs clean electric energy; as a Manitoba Hydro shareholder, I want to reap the benefit of a clean green economy.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 7, 2014 A16

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