Letters, July 1

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Make trees election issue

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Opinion

Make trees election issue

Re: Where’s the urban forest urgency? (Opinion, June 20)

I couldn’t agree more with Erna Buffie, interim chair of Trees Please Winnipeg. As the co-founder and a former director of The Coalition to Save the Elms, an urban forest group, I was saddened to see how little progress has been made to protect our trees.

While I applaud many recommendations in Winnipeg’s urban forest strategy, it doesn’t go far enough or fast enough.

The goal of one-to-one replacement planting of street trees does nothing to address the current 80 per cent backlog. We should plant at least two trees for every one lost. We should follow the example of other Canadian cities that are aggressively planting trees to help combat the effects of climate change and to improve quality of life.

Trees must be considered part of the city’s infrastructure, protected during construction and development. We need a comprehensive tree bylaw with enabling legislation by the province.

We must protect the existing elm canopy. Pruning, a cornerstone of the Dutch elm disease control program, is currently at a whopping 31-year cycle. It should be seven years, as stated in the report.

Winnipeggers, let’s make this a civic election issue. We need to act now!

Judy Werier

Winnipeg

Tell us cost of health care

Re: Patient ‘cost-sharing’ could reduce wait times (Opinion, June 23)

What if the province simply sent each of us an annual statement detailing our use of the health-care system? It might lead some people to use a less costly approach, such as calling Health Links instead of the family doctor, or going to a walk-in clinic instead of emergency.

Allison Atkey

Gimli

Unnatural disasters alarming

I’ve always considered myself a “glass-half-full” kind of guy, always looking for the silver lining. I find this increasingly difficult to do as I look at what’s going on around the world in relation to our climate. Earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, droughts, floods, heat domes, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes and extreme storms, we are seeing weather conditions that far exceed what we would or should typically see. Unnatural disasters.

To think there may be parts of the Earth that may soon be uninhabitable because of heat resulting from depleted ozone is frightening. Why are we killing our planet? The reason is self-interest.

We know what we have to do to salvage our planet or, at very least, correct our trajectory. The problem is this requires self-sacrifice, including sacrifice by big business and people in power.

Yes, we can all do our little part and many are, but the process is slow and time-consuming. It’s time we don’t really have. This unnatural weather seems to be moving at an accelerated pace and we continue to say “the time is now.” This is now a race for the human race.

Jim Thompson

Winnipeg

Appealing assessment pays off

For the last 10 years, I have had to appeal five times the assessed value of my (55+) life-lease condo because the proposed assessed value was substantially overstated. Every time, I have had my assessed value substantially reduced.

For the last three appeals, the appeal fee was non-refundable. Why should I have to be out of pocket for the appeal fee, when the proposed assessed value was overstated? If the city did its job correctly in the first place, I would not have had to pay the non-refundable fee.

My building has many elderly seniors who are not comfortable presenting their case to an appeal board, thus they are forced to accept overstated assessed values and are subject to higher property taxes.

Diana Favel

Winnipeg

Ruling won’t cut abortions

Re: Abortion ruling devastating (Letters, June 28)

So the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade.

Before the right-wing pro-lifers get all giddy, they should realize that criminalizing this necessary medical procedure won’t reduce the number of abortions. All it will do is increase the already disproportionate number of marginalized women in jails and morgues.

Maybe that’s the plan all along. Maybe The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is the instruction manual.

Ironically, it’s the pro-choice people who, by advocating for better sex education in schools, better access to birth control, better health care for pregnant and post-partum women, and better social and economic support for women raising children — in other words, being feminists — are actually doing something positive to prevent abortions.

David M. Bergen

Winnipeg

Fireworks wrong in many ways

Re: We can celebrate well without fireworks (Opinion, June 28)

How many of the naysayers carping about the new plans to celebrate Canada Day at The Forks had planned to attend the fireworks? Regardless of how we celebrate our country, the use of fireworks should be reconsidered.

While traditions can be beneficial by providing a sense of shared values and community, to blindly follow tradition prevents critical thinking. Tradition can and has been used as an excuse to curtail human rights, extreme examples being female genital mutilation, child marriage and honour killings.

Exploding fireworks, while exciting and beautiful, produce many harmful effects. The loud bangs can damage the human ear. These noises adversely affect wildlife and pets and can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some people.

Fireworks release a variety of chemicals and gases into the atmosphere and litter the ground with debris, including plastic particles and heavy metals. Improper use can be dangerous, producing burns and injuring hands and eyes. They have also contributed to forest fires resulting in property damage and death.

Apparently, sales of fireworks to smaller communities and individuals are booming. Maybe it is time to rethink this tradition everywhere, and not just at The Forks.

Ethel MacIntosh

Winnipeg

Home-care help falls short

My 98-year-old father spent 101 days in hospital this year after breaking his hip and then getting COVID-19. He was discharged when home care was in place and it was immediately clear there aren’t enough home-care workers for the clients.

We are to receive four visits daily but, on our regular workers’ days off or vacations, we are often left without help. These hard working, caring people have been without a contract for five years. They have had no increase for gas allowance since the current hike in prices, and many of them are being asked to work on their scheduled days off.

The government wants seniors to stay home if possible so beds can be available for those who need them most, but how can we care for our aging parent without the help promised? The government should fix the mess it created. Lives are depending on it.

Margo Garbutt

Winnipeg

Is doggie do-do also artistic?

Re: Reframing rot as high art (June 25)

Presenting rotten objects in an artistic way makes one think of other possibilities. Take dog poop, for example. It comes in different forms of presentation, and like any art, offers its own challenges.

As someone who takes his dog on regular walks, I can attest that it comes in different shapes and consistencies. Picking it up can be an artistic process in itself, but if you whistle a happy tune at the same time, it can be quite rewarding.

Andrew Zurawsky

Winnipeg

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