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letters Feb. 11

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Courageous tax hike

I'm very happy the Winnipeg School Division is raising homeowner taxes this year. Kudos to trustee Cathy Collins and her finance committee for having the courage.

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We are living in strange times, when so many people who can well afford it complain bitterly about paying minimal taxes (this increase will cost homeowners less than one take-out coffee a week) yet expect and reap the benefits of the services that taxes support in a caring society, such as a strong public education system.



Political deception

Re: Tale of two political CVs (Feb. 7). Deveryn Ross's column exposes a troublesome practice that individuals in public office and the private sector often resort to in order to enhance the perception that others have of them.

It is a lie to omit relevant information about your qualifications, especially in public office. Half truths by individuals in public office should not be tolerated. They are elected based on their forthrightness and ability to do the job based on qualifications and experience. Not being forthright about their qualifications or saying it was an oversight is just more deception, disinformation and spin.

What is more disgraceful is that our society in most cases looks the other way when this conduct has been exposed and those guilty of this do not acknowledge any wrongdoing. Sadly integrity and honour by many in public office have gone the way of the Dodo bird.



GMO problem

Re: Anti-GM food activist sees the light (Feb. 7). I have spent more than six decades growing crops. I know that many of the things Gwyn Morgan says are not factual.

He talks about manure-tainted bean sprouts as though genetically altered produce is never in contact with manure, which is absolutely false. Any person who knows anything about farming knows manure is highly valuable to maintain fertility in the soil, whether you are an organic, conventional, or genetically altered grower. Morgan displays his ignorance of basic farming realities by putting such rubbish in print.

I am perfectly comfortable admitting that genetically altered seeds produce higher yields than conventional. My unease with genetic engineering, is that it was carried on not by government-sponsored research with gains remaining in the public domain for the benefit of all, but rather was done by a mere handful of multinationals who genetically changed corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and some other things, but did it in such a way that a chemical they had developed would control the weeds in that crop. This closed loop, they protected with patents.

Now, if I wish to grow canola from Bayer, for example, I must sign a contract, pay $600 a bushel for seed, and I cannot save any of my production for seed. How is such a system viable for emerging economies?

Are we comfortable allowing a mere handful of giant corporations to control our food supply?



Indebted by Hydro

Dave Chomiak recently indicated how fortunate we are to have Manitoba Hydro contributing to the future of Manitoba and noted we paid an average of $550 less in hydro, auto insurance and home heating than any other province last year. He neglected to mention the average Manitoba family pays an average of $4,000 to $6,000 more in income taxes and total property taxes than most other provinces.

This government has always promoted that Manitoba Hydro is Alberta's oil, liquid gold. Alberta's oil was not developed on the back of its taxpayers, unlike Manitoba Hydro which has and will pile tens of billions of dollars of debt on the backs of Manitoba taxpayers. Alberta oil contributes some 30 per cent to Alberta's total budget, without no risk to the taxpayer with debt.

It would be interesting to have the 'net effect' of Manitoba Hydro calculated, as a contribution to Manitoba's total budget, other than low hydro rates which could be only a couple of hundred dollars per year.

An economist rarely, if ever, would consider debt leading to prosperity, rather, it generally leads to bankruptcy.



Happier in Manitoba

Re: Quebec independentistes battle low media interest, (Feb. 4). In the multicultural Eden that is modern-day Canada, Quebec's parochial allegations of "ethnocide" are easily disproved by pointing to Manitoba's myriad expressions of "ethnopride" -- a much happier and more welcoming place than living in a state of constant discontent.



Head to the river

I moved last year to near the Hugo Street dock and have been so delighted with the River Trail both skating and walking ever since. I work at The Forks and it could not be more perfect.

The folks at Forks North Portage keep both trails cleared so skating or walking is totally easy. This is unlike the city sidewalks, which haven't been plowed or sanded almost all of January.




What does a penniless economy mean? It means we have inflated our dollar to the point where a penny is worthless; where soon our nickel, quarter, loonies and maybe toonies will soon find the same fate as our penny did.

An old German proverb goes "He who doesn't respect the penny, has no concept of the dollar," and unfortunately many Canadians have no concept of monetary policy, the dollar and Austrian economics. The only sense of hope this brings me is maybe we Canadians will awaken to the disastrous toll of what Keynesian economics does to any nation under its perversion.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 11, 2013 A10

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