Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/5/2015 (695 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Holley a fine ombudsman
During the three years and four months that Mel Holley has been Manitoba's acting ombudsman, he has done a good job of promoting openness, fairness and accountability in government policy and services (New ombudsman named, April 30).
Holley was persistent and diligent in investigating complaints into a 2012 rally in the legislative building that was organized from the highest levels of the Manitoba Immigration Department. The NDP government took the line that it was just an educational effort but the ombudsman's office checked hundreds of records, interviewed many people involved and presented a new truth in its report to Manitobans.
Similarly, the office investigated why senior officials in the Immigration Department 'overlooked' a key email record the opposition had requested under freedom of information legislation. In the March 11 Free Press op-ed Security, privacy can live together, Holley explained why the federal Conservative's Bill C-51, anti-terrorism bill, is so intrusive into the privacy of Canadians and how the bill could be improved. Canadians and their parliamentarians have been warned and given sound advice.
Thank you, Mel Holley, and best wishes for a fulfilling retirement.
Privacy outrage selective
Reading Cameras face criticism (April 30), I found it ironic that there are concerns for the right to privacy for citizens in a public setting, while at the same time the federal government is falling over itself to pass a half-baked anti-terrorism law that rides roughshod over many of our democratic rights as set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
New city CAO hamstrung
Because of his former provincial position, Doug McNeil, the city's new CAO, cannot be involved in any discussion involving infrastructure, one of the most important files at city hall, for one year (Cooling-off period ties up new CAO, April 30).
McNeil is not even allowed to be in the room when major issues are discussed. Clearly there was a very limited pool of applicants for the city's CAO position.
Budget missing boreal protection
While budgets increased in many provincial government departments, the latest provincial budget dealt another decrease to Conservation and Water Stewardship (CWS).
This is curious, as an enlarged investment in the Health Department should trigger an increase in CWS if our approach to human well-being is to be holistic. As health care in Manitoba tends to focus on management and cures of ills, wise environmental protection and management helps prevent ailments from occurring in the first place.
In Manitoba, we have part of the largest intact section of boreal forest on Earth -- the world's largest source of unfrozen fresh water, the northern lungs of the planet, and its carbon stores help to slow global climate change. For the sake of human health and wildlife, it is imperative environmental protection does not take a back seat in times of financial constraint. We must always place top priority on caring for the hand that feeds us.
In 2007, more than 1,500 scientists from around the world wrote Canadian governments a letter indicating we must protect at least 50 per cent of the boreal for it to remain fully functioning in providing the services we need for survival.
According to a Probe Research poll conducted in February of this year, nearly nine out of 10 Manitobans said at least half of the boreal region should remain free from development.
To date, Manitoba has only protected about 10 per cent of our boreal lands and waters.
Executive director, Canadian Parks & Wilderness
Society, Manitoba chapter
Punishing drivers not cut and dry
Letter writer Al Yakimchuk should realize MPI does not issue nor rescind drivers licences or confiscate cars (New driver law a cash grab, Letters, April 30).
And let's not forget about all the people who continue to drive without a licence or proper registration -- there are plenty of them, as well.
Black market value confusing
Re: Black markets total $42.4B (April 30). If they're black markets, how does Statistics Canada know how much they're worth? Just wondering.