Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/11/2016 (234 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Students and the strike
Re: Education students singled out in U of M strike (Nov. 2)
Shameful conduct by MTS. Let students make up their own minds where they stand on the issues. Shouldn’t universities be places where critical thought is encouraged? Shouldn’t teachers be some of the biggest proponents of critical thought? No wonder the public school system is in shambles. Shameful indeed.
I’m not anti-union, but this advice is ridiculous. Student teachers get very limited supervision from the university faculty. I believe they get one to two check-ins over the entire practicum term. The actual supervision comes from the teacher in the classroom where they are doing their practicum.
I get that MTS is trying to show solidarity with the UMFA, but asking students to jeopardize their graduation timelines and practicum experience (the latter is huge for teacher networking and getting a job after graduation) is awful.
Seeking relatives of Liverpool athlete
I run a group called Liverpool FC Graves here in the United Kingdom, dedicated to remembering past Liverpool Football Club players, founders and managers, ensuring that their final resting places are logged, maintained and dedicated where applicable.
I have recently discovered that 1901 title winner and Scottish international John Walker is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Pilot Mound, Man., and I wondered if there are any surviving relatives in the area? Johnny passed away in February 1937. I understand he immigrated to Canada with his sister, Lilias Walker, although other siblings also moved to Canada.
Johnny Walker was a key member of Liverpool’s early teams and holds a special place in the club’s history as part of its first title-winning side in 1901. It would be wonderful to hear from any relatives.
The group has a Facebook page (facebook.com/liverpoolgraves), a wiki page (liverpoolfcgraves.wikifoundry.com) and a Twitter account (@liverpoolgraves), or alternatively, people can email me, care of firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the complaints that our streets are no longer being cleaned in the fall, I would like to say I am not averse to cleaning the area in front of my house; however, the fact that over the past 20 years I have lost approximately 35 of the 50 feet of curb in front of my house, thanks to winter plowing, makes it very difficult.
In addition to cleaning up the leaves, there are also a good few inches of what I would call sludge. In reality, it is part of our boulevard that has been ground onto the road. Needless to say, our street, especially the side vehicles park on, is quite a mess!
If I had the proper tools (I suppose a Bobcat might work) perhaps I could, but even then, where do I dispose of it? It’s too heavy for yard waste.
So I guess what it all comes down to is: if Mayor Brian Bowman can get me some curbs, I’ll gladly sweep the street. Unless curbs also fall under my responsibility.
Hydro developments not low-cost
Re: Report brings alarmist rhetoric from Hydro chairman (Nov. 2)
John Loxley’s recent commentary would have been powerful had it been objective. Loxley described recent comments by Manitoba Hydro’s new board chairman as both excessively alarmist and "politically motivated." The same descriptor, however, applies to Loxley’s own analysis.
Clearly stated in his own online CV is that Loxley served from October 2009 to March 2010 in the highly political role of transition team manager for premier Greg Selinger. Clearly there is a political agenda at work here. Economically, Loxley’s commentary would make sense as long as large-scale hydroelectric developments continued to always represent a low-cost means to produce electricity, both for domestic use and for export markets.
Except, as Manitoba Hydro has been painfully discovering, hydroelectric developments are not low-cost, but instead expensive. Importantly, there may be a simple explanation as to how this changed. Hydroelectric projects are long-term and renewable in character, but their construction involves significant fossil-fuel inputs, e.g. for steel, concrete and earth-moving. These are manifest in the cost.
From 2000 to 2008, fossil fuel prices rose steadily, more than doubling. This was also roughly the same timeframe as the Wuskwatim project. Estimated costs for Wuskwatim rose steadily too, in the end roughly twice the original estimate. In the process, Wuskwatim went from what seemed a stellar marquee project to a money-loser.
There have also been significant changes in export markets. Depressed electricity prices to the south are only partly due to the sluggish U.S. economy. Significant, low-cost alternatives have come online, especially in the past 10 years. The three states to the south of Manitoba, alone, now feature more than 5,700 MW of installed wind-power capacity, which is more than Manitoba Hydro’s overall total. Loxley appears stuck in the past. The world has changed, and moving forward today requires new and innovative ways of thinking.
What price for education?
University tuition is not low. During the tuition freeze, tuition was five times what I paid when I attended in the early 1980s. Same for books. After adjusting for inflation, it was double at the time the freeze was lifted.
Tuition has increased with inflation since, so after inflation it’s still double. I don’t know how young people can afford it.
Manitoba students, many facing mountains of debt, are pushing government for free tuition at Canada’s universities and colleges.
This would benefit not just students (and their families), but the economy. Businesses benefit from a better educated workforce. Graduates have more disposable income when not burdened by debt.
So why is the idea so quickly dismissed as unworkable because governments can’t afford it?
It would cost about $10 billion to offer free post-secondary tuition. That may sound like a lot, until you look at some of the ways this could be funded.
Every year, the federal and provincial governments lose at least $8 billion in tax revenue from wealthy corporations and individuals by failing to deal with this country’s growing use of tax havens.
Every year, the federal government forgoes at least $9 billion because of cuts to the corporate tax rate, made by previous governments, that have done nothing to boost investment or create jobs.
Every year, federal and provincial governments give an unfair subsidy of about $1 billion to multinational e-commerce companies such as Google, Facebook, Uber and Netflix by exempting them from paying any HST/GST or corporate income taxes on profits made in Canada.
Every year, the federal government loses $16 billion in potential revenue due to unfair and ineffective tax loopholes such as the stock options deduction and the business entertainment tax deduction. A good tax system should invest in things that matter — to all of us. Investing in our future workforce is doable and provides social and economic returns.
Canadians for Tax Fairness