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We don't need Bipole III

Len Evans, former NDP cabinet minister and Public Utilities Board member is right: Gas-fired plant could supplement hydro needs (Free Press Nov. 23). A gas-fired plant is a better alternative to expensive generating stations planned for northern Manitoba and Bipole III.

The cost of generating electricity from the northern generating stations will exceed 10 cents per kilowatt hour. Hydro is dumping electricity to the U.S. at three cents per kw/h because the U.S. can generate electricity cheaply from natural gas. Natural gas has fallen to $3.80/MCF from $9.00/MCF in 2008 and is so plentiful TransCanada has reversed pipelines to supply 16 per cent of Ontario demand from Pennsylvania, displacing Canadian gas.

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Bipole III, intended to increase existing transmission reliability, would not be needed. The gas plant could be operated for peak demand and emergencies to use minimal natural gas. The Selkirk generating station uses natural gas and the Brandon generating station could be converted to clean-burning gas and expanded.




Too many in poverty

RE: Canada's poor are getting steadily richer (Free Press, Nov 26).

This article demands a rebuttal. The authors are economists but perhaps they haven't actually had much experience with real poverty. As they rightly point out, most people start their careers with low incomes but as they acquire an education, and with the support of their families, they proceed to better incomes. That represents the majority of the sample in the study but it does not describe Canada's poor.

A growing number of those who grow up in poverty actually do persevere and also succeed in getting that vital education and a career that pays a decent salary. The bottom quintile, however, represents a significant number who don't have the opportunity or the supports needed to make this transition. It even includes many who have the education but are trapped in low-paying jobs, being overqualified or not trained for the market's demands.

As one example of the reality of poverty, 30 per cent of renters in Manitoba are living in core housing, paying over 30 per cent of their income on housing or living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions.

There are many faces of poverty but this oversimplified study and its skewed conclusions does not change the reality that too many Canadians are living in poverty, have always lived in poverty and have few if any ways to get out of in their lifetime.




Make Boxing Day early

If you're truly serious about competing with your U.S. counterparts on Black Friday, may I make the following suggestion. Lobby the federal government to move up Boxing Day to the third Friday in November, so this way you can offer your great Boxing Day deals and discounts thus giving people a reason to line up outside your doors at 7 a.m. for Canadian Black Friday. And best the best part, everyone will actually be able to get all their shopping done before Christmas instead of having to wait until the day after Christmas to find the best holiday bargains.

Just a thought, hope this helps.




Nastiness un-Canadian

I wholeheartedly agree withe Holly Harris's review of the opera. As a member of the chorus, however, I have to say, in our defence, that showing more nastiness, against a handicapped person, is simply un-Canadian.

Even being as mean as we are (on the stage) is against our nature and a result of good acting.

Jerzy Bibik



Definitions matter

Re: A narrow definition, (Nov. 23).

Mark Meuwese states that Canada and the other "settler-states" voted against the idea of including the deliberate cultural destruction of a group in the UN's definition of genocide "precisely because they were afraid of being taken to court for having committed (cultural) genocide against their indigenous populations."

Meuwese, however, then writes: "Residential schools likely played a role in the decision of the Canadian government to reject Lemkin's broader concept of genocide." Something likely does not mean something precisely. Meuwese is too generous in rendering his assumption as conclusive evidence.

Whatever merit there is in revising the quotidian definition of genocide for the sake of characterizing the Indian residential schools as genocidal, I will leave to Meuwese et al to demonstrate. Perhaps they think there is a chance that the UN will revisit the Convention on Genocide and Canada can be taken to trial. The Maple Leaf next to Milosevic in the Hague docket is a lovely image.

The problem is that for whom Meuwese et al do convince, can those consciences suffer a genocide to go unpunished? For some, the determination that genocide has been committed comes with a moral imperative to ensure that justice is done. For others, it justifies contempt for the state. For nationalists, that determination can become a moral absolute in narratives of national survival at which point it can serve as a precedent.

Broadening the concept of genocide just makes it easier to conceive genocide.




Selective, indeed

Re: Dan Cecchini's letter Selective Statistics: $43 Million in 1913 would equate to $1 billion today, not $1 trillion. One thousand times less.




In response to Dan Cecchini, we could also look at yearly deficits as a percentage of GDP for the last 100 years. With the exceptions of the First and Second World Wars (according to the Obama years are the highest at around 10 per cent. The next highest level is around five per cent, which includes Depression-era spending. At the end of the day, Obama is racking up debt like no president before him. And there's nothing selective about that.




Great book a pleasure

This is a quick note of congratulation and thank you to the Free Press organization for the continued high quality of your publication, especially the weekend Book Review section edited by Morley Walker. The ongoing high writing level makes it, never mind the books it reviews, a pleasure to read each week.




Snail mail banditry

Dear Canada Post:

Just curious why my parents can mail a five-kilogram parcel to Winnipeg from New Zealand for $81 Cdn, including air mail tax, and have it arrive in 10 days, whereas when I send a parcel the same weight from here to New Zealand it costs $91 Cdn and can only go snail mail?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 28, 2012 A13


Updated on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:40 PM CST: adds links

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