Where is the vision on wait times?
Re: Manitobans see longer wait times for cataract surgery (Jan. 4)
Wherever the time frame is referenced in "weeks," change that to "months." I waited from October 2015 to January 2017; I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of months I waited. It is time to acknowledge that the status quo no longer applies to our aging population; people waiting for this surgery worked and paid taxes for more than 30 years.
It is embarrassing that Premier Brian Pallister has established a record of taking more vacation than the average Manitoban. It is alarming that, while on vacation, he continues to undermine the quality of government records by subverting Manitoba’s freedom-of-information laws.
This legislation grants citizens the right to independently review the decisions of public officials by giving them access to a number of government documents — email conversations included. Through his seeming failure to communicate with his staff by email, the premier has significantly undermined Manitobans’ ability to hold government to account.
West side story
When I first heard rumours the Bipole III west side route would continue, as if we hadn’t changed governments, I was in disbelief. The Progressive Conservative party had been as opposed to this as the rest of us. They were going to stop this and return it to the original route, on the east side of the province, where there are very few homes and farms affected; where the enormous towers would be mostly hidden by the forests; where the wildlife in the area could graze and live a few miles away. The PC government cared about Manitobans and would keep their word, or so I thought.
I actually like to believe people mean what they say. You can imagine my shock when I found out the rumours were true. "The project is too far along to change it" is not an acceptable answer. You cannot continue with a wrong, it has to be made right, or you are as guilty as the ones who started the wrong in the first place. It has been established that Bipole III is not even needed at this time, or in the near future, so the answer is simple: the project has to be stopped. Problem solved.
Yes, I do have a personal interest in this. This Bipole line, the 45-metre tall towers with massive voltages travelling through its thick wires, would be built beside my home. My home is being threatened. It doesn’t take a genius to know this line is hazardous to one’s health. The stray voltage is strong enough to light up a lightbulb on the ground. You’ll get an electric shock by touching a metal gate a few miles away. People and cattle will be constantly exposed to this stray voltage. The lines are noisy and ugly, and the treatment of the farmers affected has been appalling.
If you think, "I’m glad I don’t have to live near this Bipole line," consider your neighbours who will be forced to do so. Think of their livestock and pets and how it will affect these animals to live under constant stray voltage exposure. Be assured they will be negatively affected. Studies have shown milk production will dwindle, that should go over well with dairy farmers. Modern tractors operate with GPS, and guess what? GPS doesn’t work properly near these lines. Forget spraying fields by plane, as it is illegal to fly under the Bipole lines. Think of the geese and many other birds that travel through our area in spring and fall, this being part of the Mississippi flyway. We have thousands of geese around our place each year. The thought of them flying into the towers or wires sickens me.
If these things don’t bother you, know that the horrendous price tag of many billions will come to haunt you through multiple hydro bill increases. It is simply a lose-lose situation for our province. This project has gone too far already. We don’t need it and we certainly don’t want it. We need to speak up and speak out to stop this.
Let’s keep it classy, eh?
Watching the World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal match between Canada and the United States, I was a little surprised the crowd booed the American players during the shootout. Booing a missed call or a questionable play during the game is one thing, but booing players during the shootout shows a boorish disrespect for the players and the game itself, especially after the tremendous effort by both teams. Classless!
Standing against hate
Re: Anti-Semitic message shocks homeowner (Jan. 4)
The Dec. 31 hate crime that targeted a Jewish family in Wolseley referenced Nazi imagery and hateful language associated with the extermination of six million Jews in the Shoah to send its message of hate, to threaten and to instil fear. It is perhaps indicative of what has been happening all over the United States and Canada — certain limits are being transgressed.
In the wake of the American election and the rise of the white supremacist alt-right movement, references to Nazi imagery have proliferated, and the Wolseley hate crime is an example among many others in recent weeks, such as the defacement of a sign in front of Hebrew Union College Seminary in Cincinnati with a swastika or a Hanukkah menorah outside an Arizona home that was vandalized overnight and twisted into the shape of a swastika. In Whitefish, Mont., neo-Nazis have threatened an "armed march on the Jews" on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16), in an action targeting "Jews, Jewish business, and everyone who supports either."
Neo-Nazism and white supremacy are not new ideologies that have suddenly emerged in Canada or in the United States. Ernst Zundel is well known to Canadians as a neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier, but as early as the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups made inroads into Canada. These groups never really disappear; they simply ebb and flow as events and the political climate allow.
We must be vigilant against this trend and stand together in rejecting this kind of ugliness — and I’m proud to say that in Winnipeg that is exactly what we are doing. If there is anything positive to learn (if one can even use the word "positive" when referring to a hate crime) when reflecting on this latest act: it made the front page. That signifies how deeply affected we are by this sort of ugliness. We care. We are neither apathetic nor jaded. We remain shocked by such acts of hate. As well, we support each other. Within hours, messages poured in from members of other faith communities offering support. And that is the way things go in our city whenever one of us is attacked — we stand together. Things have changed very much from the dark days of the 1930s when "none was too many."
We appreciate the efforts of the Winnipeg Police Service as they investigate this hate crime and we hope that the family that was targeted will be comforted by the response of the countless individuals who care.
President, Manitoba Multifaith Council
Reconsider refugee’s plight
Re: Cold crossing (Letters, Jan. 6)
Perhaps the only question anyone should ask is: "When did it become acceptable for a country like America to send an innocent man back to his country of origin to certain death?"
At least in Canada, this man has a chance at a new life and safety from persecution.