On the record
Re: Judge voids form-filler fees (June 10)
I would like to correct the impressions created by various articles, published by several media outlets. Mr. Justice Perry Schulman did not comment on the version of events of the lady referenced insofar as it involved attendance at our office, a version with which I strongly dispute in very significant respects, including her travel to Winnipeg. We did not dispute what happened after she left our office as we had no direct knowledge of it. After we learned the full details of these incidents we voluntarily paid these clients the amount that had been paid to the form fillers.
It is a common practice that we have continued, offering clients the choice of coming to our office to finalize their payment, and about 90 per cent of our clients did so for expediency and certainty, including this particular lady.
The role of form fillers in the IAP process and contracts they enter into with survivors was the subject Judge Schulman was asked to address, as there were inconsistent views on the subject because the Indian residential schools settlement agreement had not specifically addressed the matter. Many believe form fillers can serve a useful function in dealing with remote locations, language and cultural barriers and in tracing our clients. We have a full-time, skilled employee who now fulfils that function on a salary basis.
Our office has never collected fees in excess of approved amounts, has never paid clients' entitlements to anyone else and has never received a payment from other parties as a share of fees collected from our clients.
Carroll Law Office
The article on form fillers stated "Six other Manitoba law firms are listed by the judge as having been served notices in the court action."
Because this involves the very centre of justice and the system of law all Manitobans live under, it is absolutely essential the Free Press publish the names of those six legal firms and every lawyer involved in this predation on the legally less advantaged.
To be clear: Lawyers have been re-victimizing these people by charging exorbitant fees (evidently even more than 30 per cent of the settlement... the so-called "legal" amount lawyers can demand from clients) for doing what a literate friend would do, or a student in the law faculty might do, for minimum wage.
Reputable legal firms that have not participated in this "gold mine of legal profiteering and predation on the less legally equipped" do not need the association this group of firms brings to their profession.
Sure, legal firms have a lot of power and influence, but that is exactly why they should be held to a much higher standard than the public.
Re: Aboriginals face racism in ER, doctor says (June 11).
I have been labelled a "racist," implied and/or directly by Janet Smylie in your article and take great offence to this insult, directly. I find it disgusting a "professional" would label and insult someone (implied/directly) that they have never met.
Climate change ho-hum
Re: Canada is just more 'frank' than the rest of the world on climate change: Harper (June 9).
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been playing a central role in Canada; not only the political landscape, but the Canadian landscape itself. Just have a look at what's happening and taking place at the Athabasca tarsands.
In the past few years, The government of Canada has cut funding to hundreds of renowned research institutes and programs. Ottawa has dismissed more than 2,000 federal scientists and researchers and has drastically cut or ended programs that monitored smokestack emissions, food inspections, oil spills, water quality and climate change. And now he has a buddy, Tony Abbott, who is impressed and speaks the same language.
Let's be frank: Economy trumps everything. Climate change is a ho-hum consideration.
Remorse for accident
I read the article Board slams anti-speeding commercial (June 7) about the Just Slow Down commercial. In it was a suggestion it showed the young man in a wheelchair with his head hung low.
The inference taken by some people was that he was excluded from a pickup game. Those people missed the point as I saw it. The man in the wheelchair was remorseful about the accident and harm he caused to someone else and not ruing the fact he couldn't play.
Morality of choice
The context of what I was saying was Winnipeg is poised to make decisions that could either move us forward as a city that will have a comprehensive mass transit system in the near future or create a situation where we have no rapid transit system to speak of.
Councils over the years in Winnipeg have chosen to invest in expanding our regional street system to support single-use automobile trips and suburban growth and have under-invested in fixing existing streets as well as not investing in public transit, particularly rapid transit.
Building an accessible and convenient mass transit system is a basic tenet and a "core responsibility" of the leaders of every city of our size. Because city council has moved so slowly or voted against investing in rapid transit since the 1980s, Winnipeg has fallen behind other major Canadian cities significantly in meeting our potential as a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city.
Political leaders who made tough decisions such as purchasing the land to create Assiniboine Park and building the floodway paid a high political price in the elections that followed those decisions. But they showed vision and courage. That is what we need from this city council today and the one that will be elected in October.
Coun. JENNY GERBASI
Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Ward
Bring on the forest
I couldn't agree more with Wilma Sotas (Letters, June 11). The Forks would benefit greatly with a beautiful forest within its plan -- that, to me, would be the perfect "finishing touch" and with every tree planted the environment is greatly enhanced.