Steven Fletcher’s gumption
Re: Pallister dodges questions on discipline for Fletcher’s filibustering (May 24)
Conservative MLA Steven Fletcher is opposing his own government’s bill to create a new Crown corporation because he thinks it will be wasteful, unnecessary and a bad idea. We should all be grateful he takes this position, whether or not we agree with the proposed legislation.
The job of a politician is to act for the good of the people, not for a political party. Few politicians show such gumption. Most stifle any doubts about their party’s positions in hope of someday advancing beyond the back bench. Such is the power of party structures in Canada that a successful career in politics depends on not doing your job by putting people first.
Premier Brian Pallister considers Conservative MLAs to be part of a team, accountable to the team rather than to the people of Manitoba. By this, he means they should not act as individuals, but toe the line and support all decisions made secretly in caucus. There will then be no meaningful public debate, as those decisions will automatically be passed by the party’s majority in the legislature.
Politics should not be a sport in which one team’s purpose is to defeat the other. Any teamwork should be for the good of the people. This means having team members of diverse opinions who can speak freely without fear of retribution. Such people are not a threat to a party, but are necessary for wise governance.
Again, Mr. Fletcher, thank you. We need many more politicians with the integrity to act as you have done.
Re: Canada facing Trump challenges (May 8)
The NDP governing model is a culture high on the asset of "social conscience" but low on long-term economic balance. Good deeds include a liberal employment agenda, the largest per-capita ratio of provincial public employees, generous compensation and unions functioning toward job protection.
It has also included irresponsible Bipole III line routing and expensive dam building, uncluttered by market-need foresight. To recover this generous dispensation of wealth, the cycle of government change now positions the Progressive Conservatives into being the fall guy, making unpopular corrections, handling deficits and practising fiscal responsibility, often by paring the public labour force.
In 1988, inheriting the aftermath of the defeated Pawley NDP era, the 11-year Filmon government had to deal with the NDP’s prolific spending by fiscal corrections (the Filmon Fridays, teacher and nurse layoffs), again a responsible but unpopular theme.
This was followed by the 17-year NDP Doer-Selinger government. Again, correcting the defeated NDP’s fiscal flaws, the Pallister PCs face the unpopular role of deficit control. Noble professions such as nursing and teaching are victims. The private-sector profit principle automatically adjusts the cost factor for business to survive, a discipline not shared by the generous public employment principle of NDP government.
For more than 50 years, this cycle of PC correction after NDP extravagance has taken place. Luckily for Manitobans, the PCs are around to pick up and rearrange the pieces.
Gary Doer, the chief architect of our enormous debt, ever the survivor, upon his handoff of the provincial government to Greg Selinger before Doer become ambassador to the U.S., promoted the Alberta oilsands, despite Doer’s claimed support for the environment.
Now, as the softwood lumber czar, we should be aware of the Doer conflict between self-promotion and performing for the public good.
Support the trades
Re: Universities should focus on people (May 18) and Education and enlightenment (Letters,
Peter Denton and Gary Hunter decry the fact that our post-secondary institutions are concentrating on graduating students who will be employees for an outdated "machine civilization" (per Denton). I hardly think that is accurate, not even close.
Red River College, South Winnipeg Technical School, Assiniboine College in Brandon and some private vocational schools provide training and apprenticeship so young people can find gainful employment. The trades and technologies are critical to the well-being of Canada’s future.
We continue to churn out more than 600 teachers every year in Manitoba, and only a small fraction find full-time employment. To be sure, getting a job is not the reason we get education and training, but it is important.
The outdated "machine civilization" that still provides the bulk of Canada’s jobs and tax revenues needs employees with math and science skills, and excellent trades and technical training. We need to get our math and science on par with those of other countries and celebrate our young people in the trades and their Red Seal certification. You cannot build a country with only liberal arts graduates.
There are very few unemployed plumbers, carpenters, electricians, pipe fitters or bricklayers. If they are unemployed, many start their own business. Unemployed teachers do not have that option.
Carbon tax attack
Former MP and Alberta Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney has called the carbon tax "economic pain for no environmental gain."
Affordable access to energy is crucial to life and has made modern society possible. Energy is the lifeblood of the economy, yet our prime minister is catering to special interests rather than the lives of Canadians, where the economy can flourish.
Worldwide, Canada is known for its clean environment. Even if you believe carbon dioxide causes climate change, Canada contributes less than two per cent of global emissions. Canada also has a multitude of trees that absorb carbon. While we destroy our economy with a carbon tax, our trading partner, the U.S, is not implementing one, nor are China and Asia, the largest contributors.
Canada’s carbon tax will increase the cost of many goods and services, decreasing the standard of living for the middle class and working poor. More businesses will leave Canada to a more tax-friendly country, taking jobs with them.
Manitoba going to hogs
In the fall of 2006, the Clean Environment Commission was asked to determine whether the production of hogs, as it has developed in Manitoba, is environmentally sustainable. The simple answer was "yes," but the not-so-simple yet essential answer unfolds on the pages of the report.
In short, if the hog-production industry continues to grow, it will not remain environmentally sustainable unless significant resources are dedicated to many associated environmental issues. Such resources would include staff to conduct the approvals process, to monitor compliance with the regulatory regime and to research necessary environmental regulations.
It seems to me the Pallister government, with its 2017 Red Tape Efficiency Act, is back at the start, despite what the 10-year-old report tells them has to be done. With that, Manitoba is going to the hogs. Our environmental concerns are being trumped by economics.