Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 07/11/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Sour notes at city hall
While I can appreciate that city council feels the need to protect us against ourselves, the threat of songsters riding our buses hasn't been something that's been keeping me up at night (Bus singing ban urged, July 5).
Given council's inability to discern self-preservation from its responsibility to the shareholders of Winnipeg, I rather doubt they'd be able to differentiate Mozart from the sound of a backhoe, and thus if ever there was a bylaw worthy of being sent directly to the Brady Landfill, here's one for the ages.
At this stage in the game, the simple task of naming streets appears to be a stretch for their collective competency.
So Mayor Sam Katz, Phil Sheegl and Sandy Shindleman are not pleased with the EY auditors who never interviewed them concerning the city land-transaction deals (EY auditors to defend report, July 9). As a result, the report is full of innuendo and opinion, they say.
If these three are not pleased with the report, why don't they ask for a meeting with the auditors and/or city councillors in open session, and settle any issues and remove the innuendos?
Let us have their opinions and understandings publicly stated -- problem solved.
I completely agree with Coun. Harvey Smith that the blame for all the problems with city hall shouldn't be placed solely on former CAO Phil Sheegl -- all councillors are responsible.
We keep hearing that information was not provided to council. Yet councillors have office staff, as well as their own means of obtaining information.
Why has Coun. Jeff Browaty, who is in charge of property and development, been so silent during all the questioning?
Regarding two articles in Thursday's Free Press (Adding life to The Forks, Editorial, and City to province: review audit), I find it discouraging and frustrating that, in spite of the general outcry against the actions of city council and senior administrators, there is still a business-as-usual attitude that prevails.
Who else other than those with a feeling of entitlement would have the nerve to ram through this latest "thoughtful, workable strategy for space" at The Forks at this time?
Based on the attitude and behaviours of our mayor as well as the city's previous (and acting) CAO and some members of council, I expect the proposed development will be a high-priced exclusive residential area that only the wealthy can afford.
The Forks is no place for this -- it's a communal meeting place and should remain so. Once there is a community established there, members will likely begin to complain about the general population trespassing on "their" walkways and lawns.
The Forks is for all of us and should remain so.
A Canadian compromise
Sidney Green, a former politician for whom I have considerable respect, writes that the concept some matters are best dealt with by judges is "demonstrably incorrect" (Big decisions should be left to the elected, July 8).
Al Mackling, in a letter in support of Green's position (Voters choose decision makers, Letters, July 9) also praises the late premier Sterling Lyon for his efforts to entrench the notwithstanding clause in former prime minister Pierre Trudeau's Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As a former staffer to the late premier Sterling Lyon, I'm always pleased see his historic contribution to our Canadian Constitution justifiably lauded. I'm always surprised, however, when former NDP politicians decry the charter.
What Trudeau and Lyon left us is a remarkable Canadian compromise. In the end, this compromise satisfies the need to protect and expand human rights, to prevent an ideological court from having the final say, and to respect the legitimate role of our democratically elected representatives.
Flood protest ludicrous
It's ludicrous that people have been protesting flood-relief measures (Protest stops Lake St. Martin work, July 7).
If you don't want to get flooded, then don't live in a flood-prone area, or protect yourselves properly instead of always complaining that the government never does enough for you.
The protesters say they are looking out for others, which is completely hypocritical -- the channel is to relieve floodwaters from highly populated areas.
Those demonstrating should stop being so selfish and think of the greater good.
Hospital needs help
I commend the efforts of the volunteers and others in raising $1 million to construct a garden at the Victoria General Hospital, which will go a long way to improving both mental and physical health among patients (Garden helps mental healing, July 8).
However, a small amount of the money should be spent on internal renovations.
I recently spent three weeks on the fourth floor in a four-bed ward with only one bathroom. The bath was unusable because the majority of the patients were unable to climb into the tub, and no one bothered to try because it was too dangerous. There was no chair to sit on in the tub and only a poorly placed grab bar on which to hang.
The one time I asked if I could have a shower, I was wheeled down the hall to the only shower on the floor, which was located in another patient's room.
Flood tour taxing
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has accused the Harper government of "petty politics" in denying his request to tour the flood zone in Manitoba (Mulcair miffed Tories nix flood tour, July 10).
Anyone who has ever co-ordinated such a tour knows the significant volume of resources, both human and financial, involved in such a visit.
If Mulcair really wants to show support, he may wish to consider taking some of his vacation time, travelling here at his own expense, rolling up his sleeves and helping fill and stack sandbags.
I don't often support the decisions of the Harper government, but this time I do.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 11, 2014 A10
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