Re: Aiming for ‘average’ (March 7)
If I were to get together with some buddies, and we selected a catchy name for ourselves, perhaps something like "The Prairie Institute in Response to Right-Wing Diatribes," would the Free Press agree to print columns we submitted for publication? We would commit ourselves to the use of fewer "alternative facts" than are employed by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
Improve sheriffs’ pay
Re: Province adds sheriff’s officers (March 6)
Perhaps the province should consider an increase in pay for the position — equivalent to the pay given to prison guards. The skill level required for both jobs is roughly equivalent, but sheriffs receive much lower pay for working with the same population.
An increase in base pay might attract more candidates and keep those already trained. A considerable number of sheriffs find that they have to obtain second jobs (or have an employed spouse) in order to meet their basic living expenses. No wonder they are eager to work overtime or to find other employment.
Perhaps the province should consider paying them at the same level as prison guards?
Big dam cost
Re: New estimate pegs Keeyask cost at $2.2 billion higher (March 7)
With news of yet another price increase of $2.2 billion and years more delay for the Keeyask dam, one might well ask, "When, if ever, will Manitoba Hydro finally stop bleeding billions of dollars in cost overruns?"
Our premier has played Pontius Pilate with Hydro by just handing its huge financial woes over to the new board to deal with. Brian Pallister himself flatly reneged on his pre-election promises to halt Hydro capital spending and to conduct a government review of this ailing (and largest) Crown corporation. The Boston Consulting report, commissioned by the board, for the most part just rubber-stamped plans so Hydro spending could continue unabated. This is what Hydro has done with a vengeance, as illustrated by the latest eye-watering cost increases for Keeyask.
With ongoing complacency and inaction by the Progressive Conservative government and the Hydro board, all citizens of Manitoba will soon be suffering, not only with the prospect of double increases in power bills, but also with many jobs disappearing because of new financial hardships of employers. These financial hardships — likely to hit, for example, more than 40,000 small businesses in Manitoba — will come about from rising interest rates and an almost inevitable further downgrade of the province’s credit rating. As S&P Global stated last summer, after their last downgrade, "Manitoba Hydro is no longer being considered self-supporting, thereby placing the province at risk for further credit rating downgrades." The latest blowout of Keeyask costs will certainly foster and encourage the next major downgrade, which is due this summer.
With apparent ongoing lack of resolve to help turn around Hydro — especially at the place where the buck stops with government — perhaps the people of this province should initiate their own independent citizens enquiry to shed some new light on how best to keep our lights on?
$2.2 billion over the last estimate and 21 months later. Anybody surprised?
Wait until the next Bipole III update comes. In 2005, Manitoba Hydro estimated the east-side line to cost $1.2 billion. But Gary Doer and the NDP put a halt to that, and ordered it down the west side, while they spent hundreds of millions on an east-side road. The two-year-old estimate for Bipole III was $4.6 billion, or $3.4 billion over Hydro’s original plan.
Nice to know Manitobans have billions to spare on misguided, over-budget Hydro projects.
NDP, the gift that keeps giving and giving.
No time for climate?
Brian Pallister is giving Manitobans a mere two weeks to provide our perspectives on what a Manitoba "Climate and Green Plan" should look like. This is a shockingly small amount of time to consider what we can do to help prevent a global climate crisis. I spent more time weighing the options when planning my last vacation.
The typical comment period for policy processes like this in Manitoba is six weeks. If Pallister is seriously interested in developing a good climate plan, which must include the wealth of knowledge and expertise that Manitobans have to offer, then he needs to immediately grant an extension to this public consultation process.
Bearish on Byfuglien
I am a Chicago-born, 70-year-old lifelong Blackhawks fan now living in Oregon. I love Winnipeg, I have been there several times for friends and I like the Jets.
My question is for Jets fans: how do you explain this support for the player we call the "Big Buffoon"? You know him as Dustin Byfuglien. He is a career-minus player, is currently a minus player and will never lead this team to a championship, if you even get to the playoffs with him on board. Now, when the word "fight" is yelled, I’m going to his side of the room, but that’s about it.
I want this team to be a winner, but I can’t see it with Byfuglien drawing the big money he does. We’re happy for Canada having playoff teams this year, but I gotta say: go Blackhawks.
Unclear on cuts
Re: Province murky when it comes to transparency (March 7)
"Without providing a clear picture of exactly how many real, live bodies there are occupying civil service jobs, it will be impossible to assess the impact of Pallister’s fiscal policies on government services."
Bingo. And if we do not have access to information on which to base our own conclusions, I guess we’ll have to trust our government’s word... which they’ve already compromised on the transparency front. Is it possible that increasing cynicism and distrust of government is related to government’s lack of confidence in our system to assure appropriate accountability? Or are they using a bullying tactic of refusing to provide information that we require in order to do our jobs as responsible citizens?
I have to agree... FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) legislation is too far-reaching. Taxpayers deserve to know more than the crumbs that are thrown by ANY government.
Besides, would the government fall if it released employment statistics? To quote Buffalo Springfield: "paranoia strikes deep," and it seems like the Pallister government is swimming in a cesspool of paranoia. You would never know this PC team won a huge landslide victory. Piles of political capital to burn, but looking under every rock for enemies, real or imagined.
Meet the new ban, same as the old
U.S. President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on the travel ban is just a case of the same candy covered in a different wrapper. The "new" ban is based on the same prejudice, xenophobia and hate. The "new" ban continues to feed the rhetoric being spread by ISIS. The "new" ban will continue to close doors on the lives of innocent people trying to flee war and persecution. In short, the "new" ban is not new at all.
More importantly, the old one wasn’t going to enhance national security and neither is this. Rather, these bans serve only to create a divide amongst the people.