Letters, June 8
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/06/2022 (364 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dangers of alcohol disregarded
Re: Broader hard-liquor sales on the table (May 27)
The Manitoba Conservative government’s plan to promote and sell hard liquor via beer vendors and wine stores is clearly just another narrow-minded strategy to increase greater tax flow to the provincial coffers without concern for the health and safety of Manitobans.
The promotion of alcohol consumption in modern society, endorsed by the alcohol industry and government (along with so many professional sports events and cultural traditions), routinely turns a blind eye to the related health hazards.
The World Health Organization has long reported that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe; that alcohol, a carcinogenic toxin, is a major cause of breast, bowel, mouth, throat, liver and prostate cancer, as well as even lung cancer for binge drinkers. More and more Canadians want to see cancer warning labels, such as on tobacco products, on all alcohol products, but the irresponsible alcohol industry is opposed.
Furthermore, with all the tragic and horrifying existential human misery that alcohol has caused — cancer, alcoholism, traffic injuries, family dysfunction including ongoing child abuse, mental illness, violence, suicide and FASD — one would hope provincial governments, under the democratic pressure of growing public awareness, might one day wake up and do the right thing.
Who’s accountable at city hall?
Re: Recommendations of audits into construction jobs sometimes not implemented (June 3)
Winnipeg police overtime through the roof (June 3)
Pothole archeologist alarmed by decaying roads (Opinion, June 4)
Reading through Section A of Saturday’s Free Press, there is a common theme:
1) Page A4 outlines the weakness/indifference in the City of Winnipeg’s management of large capital projects despite many, many audits pointing out deficiencies since 2008.
2) Page A6 describes huge police overtime costs with the police chief still claiming the city is a relatively safe place. It is not safe and I can vouch for that, taking public transit three to four times a week to work downtown.
3) Page A11 includes an opinion column by Carl DeGurse, in which he consults with a 37-year veteran of Manitoba highway maintenance, who indicates the current asphalt mix being used is not conducive to the Manitoba climate and wears out prematurely.
There are myriad other issues on which the City of Winnipeg falls short of acceptable performance. The key question is: who is accountable? Apparently, no one!
Those who don’t perform simply retire, leave with severance pay and rich pensions, and they sometimes reappear as outside consultants, all adding more costs to the Winnipeg taxpayers.
I read Carl DeGurse’s article regarding the potholes in the city streets with great interest. I have owned and operated a construction company in Winnipeg for the past 53 years. Over this time frame, I have witnessed many streets being repaired and resurfaced, always with the same result.
On my daily drive to and from the office in the last five years, I have watched the upgrade to the Seine River bridge on Fermor Avenue and the repairs to Archibald Street from Fermor to Marion. I question whether the city is maintaining a proper inspection routine on the contractors’ work.
Is it just me, or does anyone else sense an imbalance in how justice is applied here in Manitoba?
Peter Nygard has been charged in several other jurisdictions (Toronto, Montreal, New York/Los Angeles) for his alleged sexual assault behaviour, but not here in Manitoba. That despite the fact women here have brought complaints forward.
Also, evidence has been presented that, during Sam Katz’s term as mayor, former Winnipeg CAO Phil Sheegl and multiple companies participated in an apparent kickback scheme and extraordinary cost overruns arising out of the new police headquarters project, yet no criminal charges have been laid against any of them.
Is it possible that police and Crown prosecutors here in Manitoba are incapable of doing their job when people of power and wealth are the alleged perpetrators of criminal activity?
Values gas-powered leaf blower
Re: Ban gas-powered leaf blowers (Letters, June 3)
With reference to letter writer Dan Herzog, not everyone owns a 30-foot by 100-foot lot. Some of us have 100-foot frontage, a city boulevard and three lots for yards. We are proud enough to keep them pristine and the best tools in my yard are all gas-powered.
To have an eco-friendly neighbour dictate what and what not to use is mind boggling. Maybe such stressed-out individuals should think of moving to the untouched Amazon or the closest mausoleum.
Ultra-rich should pay up
Re: Don’t blame the rich (Letters, June 4)
Letter writer Peter Kaufmann tries to make the case that the wealthy, the top one per cent, already pay almost 40 per cent of the taxes collected by Ottawa and, if asked to pay more, might move or transfer their wealth to tax havens. He notes we don’t want that to happen, as our hospitals and charities would suffer.
That is worth thinking about. On the other hand, we should be clear that we are talking about people in Canada with a minimum net worth of about $10 million just to eke into this top category. The average net worth in the top one per cent is many tens of millions more. More than 10,000 Canadians have a net worth of over $30 million, and the very wealthiest are multi-billionaires.
I would note that on Jan. 17, during the World Economic Forum’s “virtual Davos,” a group of 100 billionaires and mega-millionaires, including 12 from Canada, signed and released an open letter to governments around the world, calling out the under-taxation of the wealthy baked into the international tax system and calling for action: “The world — every country in it — must demand the rich pay their fair share. Tax us, the rich, and tax us now.”
A poll conducted in August of 2021 found 89 per cent of Canadians would support a one per cent tax to be paid by the country’s wealthiest as part of Canada’s pandemic financial recovery. I believe that would be a good start, and that most wealthy individuals value Canadian society enough to support this idea or something like it.
Why is it that when people like Peter Kaufmann get so offended at the idea of the rich paying more taxes, they conveniently forget to mention that the top one per cent owns 25 per cent of the wealth in this country? By comparison, the bottom 40 per cent owns a collective one per cent. Any economic system that allows that kind of inequity is severely broken. Please don’t tell me it’s because the top one per cent is working a thousand times harder.
Andrew J. Morris
Cleaned up 643 masks
Re: Make way for the clean-up guy (June 6)
I enjoyed the article by Sabrina Carnevale on Dan Gordon, who equips himself daily with a trash picker and broom to clean his Osborne Village neighbourhood. It shows pride in his community.
From April 29 to May 31, I have picked up 643 disposable masks on my daily walks around St. Boniface. Every little bit helps. If all communities would take this initiative, the city would be cleaned up in no time.
Updated on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 7:28 AM CDT: Adds links