Letters, Dec. 26
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In this household, one of us has Parkinson’s and the other has rotator-cuff shoulder limitations.
We’ve already paid our contracted snow removal company to clear our driveway (which opens on Lodge Avenue) and our front sidewalk (which opens on Strathmillan Road). They shovelled those areas totally clear.
Then the city plow crews came and completely sealed off our front sidewalk with a very high mountain of icy hard snow blocks, so we can’t get mail, newspaper, prescription medication deliveries or any delivery of groceries or Christmas gifts. We’re getting notices of cessation of delivery services from everybody.
We’ve already paid to have that snow removed twice; once through our double-frontage property taxes and then again to our snow-clearing contractor.
But the snow has been put back and is trapping us.
What are we now supposed to do?
No, we don’t have adult children living in the city, nor kindly, bored neighbours clamouring to do it for us.
Long-term funding questions
The Free Press has presented a number of articles covering various sides of the ongoing provincial-federal debate over health-care funding. There is one critical economic value everyone needs to keep in mind, particularly younger or newer Canadians who are likely unaware. That number is 50 per cent — specifically, 50 per cent of health-care costs.
The original medicare system, developed in Saskatchewan by Tommy Douglas, was not about freebies, but instead a carefully controlled and monitored public system allowing a then “have-not province” to manage costs in a fair way. The federal Liberals at the time jumped on this idea to boost their popularity.
National adoption, however, was predicated on a promise to maintain 50:50 cost sharing. At first this promise was honoured; however, over time, federal funding has been in decline.
All federal governments share some blame, but the most egregious unilateral cuts have been by Liberals, most notably under Paul Martin and Jean Chrétien.
Currently, as noted by Premier Heather Stefanson, the federal government provides only 22 per cent, well below the originally promised 50 per cent. Chronic underfunding can be seen as a potential underlying cause for a number of ongoing health-care problems — for example, the lack of sufficient attention to long-term care.
Provinces are together requesting 35 per cent, a significant increase but still fairly modest. Yet the federal government is immediately balking.
At the same time, this raises concern regarding “shiny new” programs promoted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to boost his popularity, including child care, dental care and pharmacare. But what happens to federal funding in a decade? Could provinces again be left holding the bag for expensive programs they have insufficient resources to cover?
The old adage “He who pays the piper calls the tune” is appropriate in this case. If the federal government desires significant ongoing control, its ongoing funding proportion needs to match at a suitable level.
Re: Wing and a prayer: Hard-working Jets hanging tough (Dec. 19)
In his recent tweets, former NHLer Marc Methot complains about the quality of the hotel out-of-town teams stay at in Winnipeg compared to hotels in other NHL cities. Methot states, “Worst hotel in the NHL. Paper thin walls, very loud doors, bedsheets that zap you upon entry, sh– weather, almost no nearby restaurants, tough scene.”
What happened to the promises implicit in the Progressive Conservative government’s trickle-down economics policies? I thought if we reduced taxes for wealthy companies such as hotels, they would naturally reinvest in their product, leading to a higher standard of living for everyone.
How much have hotel owners received in tax breaks from the provincial government? How much have they reinvested in their product? Where is the money the companies saved through tax cuts? What could that money have been used for if it was taxed and redistributed into the community?
Trickle-down economics is a 50-year-old joke played on the middle and working class, and it has restrained Winnipeg’s growth immeasurably. When you hear politicians and business leaders talk about cutting taxes to “grow the pie,” what they really mean is increased profits for wealthy companies and their owners, with no accountability to communities where that money was made.
Winnipeg has been hypnotized by the false promises of business-first/trickle-down nonsense for too long, and until we wake up and start demanding the wealthy pay their fair share, this city is destined to remain a “tough scene.”
Assisted dying a complex issue
Thank you to Jerry Storie for his thoughtful letter to the editor, “MAiD a compassionate option” on Dec. 20. I walked a similar path to Storie.
My wife Lynne had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and I cared for her for 13 years until her passing. Medical assistance in dying was not at that time an option for people with Alzheimer’s disease, and when Lynne began to suffer with no relief toward the end of her life, this fact angered me greatly.
Thankfully, government finally listened to the medical practitioners who recommended that MAiD be available to people with Alzheimer’s when the concept was initially proposed, and this option is now a reality.
In the years after Lynne passed, while in California over the winter months, I spoke to many support groups and people with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the common denominators in these discussions was stories about people with Alzheimer’s who had ended their lives prematurely because something like MAiD was not available, and their fear of what was to come. These people looked to Canada as an enlightened and compassionate society.
The issue with people with mental illness who want to end their torment is to me a very complicated matter, but it is one that in a compassionate society must addressed. Their pain and their families’ pain can be real, palpable and extreme. The fact the solution(s) might be complex and controversial is not an excuse for inaction.
Indian Wells, Calif.
People at the end of life with no hope but suffering deserve compassion. In addition, those who have a condition that can be helped deserve compassion in getting help for their situation. Offering death instead is murder.
This is a slippery slope, and a World Economic Forum agenda to rid the world of “useless eaters.” The disabled and those with mental-health issues were euthanized in Germany by the Nazis under the guise of a health issue that might affect the rest of the population.
Social media can be a boon
For all the prominent conservative proclamations implying otherwise, including Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files,” I’ve found social media also silences left-wing environmentalist voices critical of the fossil-fuel industry. It’s not just right-wing opinions being censored.
Also, my own Facebook and Twitter accounts were disabled without any explanation a little more than three years ago; the relatively few “dislikes” I received while the accounts were operational originated from pro-fossil-fuel sources.
Still, social media have enabled far greater information freedom than that allowed by what had been a rigidly gatekept news and information virtual monopoly held by the pre-2000 electronic and print mainstream news-media.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.