Re: Too much to do for Phoenix (Nov. 25)
The mandate for the inquiry allowed the commissioner to make broad inquiries into the circumstances surrounding Phoenix’s death, which included, but were not limited to, an examination of the child-welfare system.
Accordingly, in the last phase of the inquiry we heard evidence from elders, from experts in the field of early childhood education, and from many of the community-based organizations that address hunger, poverty and homelessness and that do so in ways that respect indigenous traditions.
Ultimately the commissioner’s task was not simply to make recommendations regarding the child-welfare system but rather "to make recommendations to better protect Manitoba children."
The last 12 recommendations in the report deal with the issues that lead families to be so vulnerable as to need the services of the child-welfare system — issues relating to lack of education, poverty and addictions.
So far as I know, only one of those recommendations — the one relating to increasing the housing allowance for social assistance benefits — has been implemented.
I urge the province, the community and the media to read commissioner Ted Hughes’ report again, paying particular attention to the section in which he reported his findings on the needs and responsibilities of the broader community, and then to demonstrate the public and political will to effect real change.
Hill Sokalski Walsh Olson LLP
It is shameful that Phoenix Sinclair died in 2005, and we haven’t even addressed the problems that were identified. This is not acceptable by any measurement.
Seems to me that if existing policies and standards were followed and enforced, they would not have ended up in the recommendations. Paper plans that are not consistently implemented are meaningless.
Easy to blame past government but that isn’t going to change the situation. The present government now has to step up and implement the changes needed so that the number of children in care will change. Whatever happened to prevention before apprehension?
— User 6959637
Certainly, changes are urgently needed, but this whole disaster is like some gargantuan monster that is out of control. This is too important to rush into. Let’s get it fixed and do it right for the sake of these poor kids.
These kids are victimized twice. First by their families and the by those who are supposed to be rescuing them. Seems to me that too many are just going from one kind of hell to a different kind of hell. The care they receive as children does not bode well for their futures through no fault of their own.
Public wage hikes unsustainable
Re: Tax hike in billion-dollar budget (Nov. 23)
According to the news, 45 per cent of the city budget is for police and firefighter services. In the past year, there have been suggestions that teachers in Manitoba are some of the highest-paid across the country and have one of the richest pensions. Does anyone other than me have a problem with this picture?
My city and provincial taxes keep rising, yet services keep getting cut. Every time these groups’ contracts are up for renewal, they just keep getting more and more, while most of us have wage freezes and benefit cuts. When are we going to finally address the salaries and pension of these select groups and make a real change? Why are these groups so protected by our governments?
I am not saying they do not deserve a fair salary and pension, but it is obvious that we cannot sustain the ones they have.
Re: Labour peace at U of M — well, until March anyway (Nov. 23)
Now that Premier Brian Pallister has found it acceptable to stick his nose into contract negotiations at the University of Manitoba and ask them to "pause their wage increase," I am sure he is not going to stop there. I eagerly await for his announcement to Mayor Bowman to "pause" his tax increases, to Hydro to "pause" their rate increase, to MPI to "pause" their rate increase and to "pause" other increases as well. In all fairness, the "pause" cannot be one-sided.
Any morally intelligent person would understand that if taxes and costs go up while wages do not even match the cost of living, then the standard of living decreases — life becomes more difficult for those with incomes less than $100,000 a year. I hope the politicians are not so out of touch with the average taxpayer that this is forgotten.
Re: Throne speech flush with austerity (Nov. 23)
Though it is concerning that the recent throne speech excludes commitments to advance the needle on protecting our valuable ecosystems, I am pleased it includes a provincial commitment to develop comprehensive co-management strategies to secure the long-term sustainability of our wildlife populations. Ultimately, the success of efforts to safeguard and recover wildlife will require the province to conserve adequate suitable habitat for the species with which we share the landscape.
Woodland caribou, an iconic Canadian species that we commemorate on our quarter, is threatened, and populations continue to decline. The caribou’s share of our "two bits" is steadily shrinking. Reported declines in populations of moose, a species we celebrate with the name of our local hockey team, are a growing concern across the nation, and Manitoba is no exception. Until recently, many would have found it unthinkable that the moose would be trending toward inclusion on the list of over 40 species at risk in our province.
In most cases, wildlife strategies are primarily about managing human activity. This rings true for caribou and moose. The threats to these species are introduced or amplified by industrial development and their associated road networks and linear corridors. By conserving large regions of their habitat free from these disturbances, we increase the opportunity for moose, caribou and an array of other species to thrive. This measure, along with more intensive planning for wildlife in developed areas, is key to the future well-being of Manitoba’s treasured boreal species.
I look forward to the collaborative efforts between the province, rights-holders and stakeholders that will be undertaken as a result of this laudable provincial government commitment to our wildlife populations. Of particular note, Manitoba has been charged by the federal government to produce range plans by October 2017 for recovery of our woodland caribou.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society — Manitoba chapter
Re: Trump’s supporters (Letters, Nov. 23)
Gary Thompson made my day. It was wonderful to read a letter (at long last) free from rancour and intransigence regarding the recent U.S. election. I have been thinking of our neighbours to the south with great concern, since I know the majority of the populace are good-hearted, compassionate people who want nothing more than to live in peace as members of an international community.
He mentions the "inherent goodness" of the Canadian people, but my experience has been that the same spirit exists in America. And my belief is that it will prevail.