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Problematic history

In 2004, the same year the NDP government promised $40 million to the Manitoba Developmental Centre to keep it open, a 52-year-old man named Dennis Robinson died at the MDC. Robinson, a longtime resident, had been taken on an outing with other residents by two MDC employees.

Upon returning, Robinson was forgotten in the van. Some time later, he was discovered alone and unconscious in the vehicle. He was unable to be revived and the autopsy showed he likely died as a result of a seizure.

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The inquest into Robinson's death showed an alarming disregard by some MDC staff for safety procedures and ethical behaviour. This inquest report is freely available on the Manitoba courts website.

Further, in 2007, the Winnipeg Free Press reported Tricia Kell alleged her daughter was abused while staying for a short term at the MDC.

Kristin McMurray in her Oct. 2 piece, Development centre shows that heart is beautiful, argues abuses at the MDC may have happened only in the past. But I believe her argument is inaccurate as these two recent incidents show.




Transit lags behind

Re: Transit smart cards to be rolled out over 2014 (Oct. 2). Winnipeg again falls behind on transit technology. Again delaying the smart-card system shows city council has no real ambitions for public transit. The entire rapid-transit debacle under this administration shows us this as well.

What boggles my mind is transit director David Wardrop's proposal of a transit-fare increase on the backs of its users. Wardrop puts this forward with no stated reason, other than the unmentioned fact the system is chronically underfunded by the city and it has a low percentage of riders.

Improve the quality of the system, run a regular schedule on Sundays and finish rapid transit and institute a universal bus pass for post-secondary students in the city. Those changes will warrant a fare increase and will create conditions for ridership to flourish.




The other morning, I witnessed a teen mom with two babies in a ghastly large stroller being told by the drivers of the No. 18 and No. 32 buses they were too packed for her to get on.

Despite her tirade of profanity aimed at the drivers, I felt sorry for her. And I couldn't help but feel that if Winnipeg Transit would finally put the bendy buses bought from Ottawa onto the streets there might have been room.

These articulated buses have been on order since 2012. Where are they?




Pot evidence abounds

In your Sept. 28 feature The other cash crop (Sept. 28), RCMP media spokeswoman Tara Seel is quoted as saying "I think there's some sort of perception that marijuana is the lesser of drugs."

She thinks? What does that mean? Does it mean she lacks hard evidence? She should do some research, but don't go to the drug manufacturers for information.

Instead Google Rick Simpson of Nova Scotia, or read up on the city of Oakland, Calif., and its lawsuit against the U.S. government for attempting to ban the sale of cannabis oil for medicinal purposes in that city.

Read up on how William Randolph Hearst was instrumental in marijuana being included in the illegal drug bill, just to protect his own interests.

I would ask Seel if she knows of, or can find a report on, anyone who has died, or had a vehicle accident, as a result of using marijuana. The newspapers are littered with articles pertaining to alcohol-related traffic accidents and fatalities. Lawsuits against the tobacco industry, due to the fatal effects of smoking, are abundant.

Why are these drugs legal? I would say it is a fact that marijuana is the lesser of drugs.




A cheaper tax method

Re: PST hike blamed for sales drop (Sept. 25). Nobody wants an increase in income tax, but it would be a lot cheaper than present sales taxes. What I am suggesting is not an increase in income tax, but paying PST through our provincial income tax accounts. The same tax revenue would be collected at less cost to consumers. And, no, this does not make PST deductible.

For example, a purchaser in a 30 per cent income tax bracket has to earn $2,857, taxed $857 to pay $2,000 PST on a car. Paying through his or her provincial income tax account would use only $2,000 income. Instead of being wasted by double taxation, $857 income, taxed $257, would leave $600 in the purchaser's pocket.

One procedure: The vendor records the PST under the purchaser's social insurance number and forwards it to the provincial tax department. The PST for the year is entered in a separate box in purchaser's provincial income tax return. That is no problem with today's electronics.

It's the same income tax and the same PST revenue, but a legitimate ploy to avoid double taxation that would leave more money in our pockets and result in more business for vendors.




I would like to congratulate Greg Selinger and the provincial NDP for their unbelievable incompetence regarding the recent PST hike. I can only hope the average Manitoban can perform the simple math these folks apparently cannot and vote them out of office at our next opportunity.

Manitoba retail sales dropped 4.1 per cent in July, immediately subsequent to the PST hike. Selinger and his gang of mathematically deficient gnomes can spin this any way they want, but there is no doubt at all that at least one per cent of that sales drop was due to the PST hike.

As one of the more fortunate Manitobans, I can easily afford this tax hike.

But it is repulsive to me the NDP has just taken one per cent of many of the goods and services away from those less fortunate for no gain at all for any of us.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2013 A12

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