Debating the bins
Re: Garbage handicap (Sept. 26). What is wrong with some Winnipeggers? I, for one, think the new bins are great. My question to those who think it is difficult for seniors is this: How did they dispose of their garbage before the new bins?
Did they take it to the back lane and lift those huge, heavy lids of the big bins? Before that, did they take their own store-bought cans to the back lane? Perhaps a relative or neighbour helped them move their cans before.
I am a senior and I find these bins so easy to move. Even with heavy items inside, they are not difficult to push. Why are we complaining about pennies to keep our city clean and help save the environment for future generations?
Most seniors living in houses are very apprehensive about the new garbage-pickup system. Was it designed to be more efficient or was it designed by the city and the contractor to separate most home owners from more money?
Not only will we be charged for extra bags of garbage but now we find out that the very efficient Leaf It program has been scrapped. Homeowners will be required to place their leaves in those few paper bags that came with the bins.
If we need more paper bags, we must purchase then from the city or the contractor. Because we are blessed with many trees in this city, we normally have a large number of bags of leaves. Now we are told we can take them to the dump.
Most seniors have neither the capability to go to the dump nor the knowledge as to where the dump even is. I think the citizens of this city have been thrown under the truck when it comes to this fiasco foisted on us by Mayor Sam Katz and his cohorts.
We always assumed our taxes were for garbage pickup and other relevant services.
When the new garbage and recycling bins arrived at our house in July, we were surprised to find we had received two sets. I soon found out this was no error. We were told because our house is assessed as a duplex we would get two sets, no exceptions. Of course, we are obligated to pay for them as well.
The city of Guelph, Ont., has just begun a similar program to Winnipeg's. They have a different approach: each multi-family residence is judged on a case-by-case basis. The homeowner gets to choose the number and size of bins they want. Why can't Winnipeg use a common-sense approach similar to Guelph? Why are homeowners being forced to pay for something they neither need or want?
An unrestrained forum
The Winnipeg Free Press has written an editorial condemning anti-Semitic posters that appeared on city streets (Racist outrage, Sept. 17), but it ought to also examine its part in creating a climate where individuals feel unrestrained from engaging in hateful behaviour.
The Free Press online comments section is a forum for many people's racist and anti-Semitic diatribes. Under the cloak of anonymity, using pseudonyms as a shield, they express vitriolic and hate-filled views about Jews, Christians, First Nations and immigrants which are often completely irrelevant to the story to which they purport to respond and under no reasonable yardstick meet the measure of fair comment.
The Free Press states on its website that it has guidelines for submission. Language must be civil and tone family-friendly. There is to be no name-calling or personal attacks. Comments may not contain graphic, abusive, hateful, racist, explicit or otherwise inappropriate subject matter. Note the guidelines' too cute admonition: "If you wouldn't say it in front of your mother, we probably won't allow it."
The Free Press has failed to connect the dots. The Holocaust did not just happen. There was a constant drum beat of anti-Semitic rhetoric that preceded it which went largely unchallenged. Leon Mugesera gave his incendiary speech two years before the massacres took place in Rwanda. The Free Press, by permitting and even encouraging some of the vitriol on its website, may be an incubator for the hate that it purports to eschew.
Re: Province starts readying ban on lawn pesticides (Sept. 25). Minister Gord Mackintosh is ignoring the fact the pesticides to maintain healthy lawns are approved by Health Canada for use on food crops, so science has approved these pesticides.
By Mackintosh's comments, the benefits of a ban in to Manitoba children will include poison ivy in campgrounds and weed patches of hard ground rather than grass in playgrounds. This is Ontario's experience.
Portage la Prairie
I'm encouraged that the provincial government is planning to restrict access to cosmetic pesticides for use on lawns. I agree with the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Manitoba campaign that the restrictions should cover both retail sales and lawn-care-service companies.
I know some gardeners rely on these products, but I hope Manitobans will get creative and adjust their idea of lawn care, for the sake of our health and the environment.
Maybe we'll also see more options for consumers -- clover lawns, thyme, or simply less harmful weed killers.