Letters, Jan 21
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Protect the watershed
Re: Ottawa tabs $1.6M for Lake Winnipeg support (Jan. 17)
This is welcome news. Lake Winnipeg, and our Manitoba water sources, need all the help that is available.
However, the previous scientific studies of 1999- 2007 should also be revisited, and not ignored, as they also provide clear evidence with regard to hot spots for phosphorus nutrients that feed and sustain the algae blooms.
Studies by Environment Canada, Manitoba Water Stewardship and Manitoba Conservation provide substantial evidence that a massive source of phosphorus nutrients is revealed in the Red River area of Manitoba.
Also, rather than continually making reference to the vast watershed that ultimately feeds and contributes pollution to Lake Winnipeg, the province of Manitoba must set and show the example of doing “its part” to substantially reduce and eliminate phosphorus, within our borders, at the home front, which by itself has been scientifically calculated at 35 per cent for agriculture.
Manitoba has to set a good example for others to follow.
There is no place or time for being complacent when water protection is needed. Lake Winnipeg cannot be replaced.
Better with business
Re: Oil sands execs say a ‘just transition’ isn’t a worry — it’s their next big ‘boom’(Jan. 19)
Thank you, Mia Rabson, for this piece of very good news.
The genius of business, of corporations, has moved many mountains in the past. And as Rabson describes, this genius is now being harnessed to a very good end.
In years past, we humans harnessed the brilliant idea of a corporation to produce wealth — and it did, in spades.
Now, I am convinced that these same corporations — our corporations — will serve humanity to produce good things — to solve the climate emergency, to produce new and improved transportation systems, to produce more and better food, and so on.
Corporations were harnessed, successfully, by our governments to help win the Second World War.
Corporations can be and will be used by humanity to make this world a better place.
And I am convinced that we the people will work with them and direct them to do just that.
Education changes hearts, minds
The recent rejection of inclusive values by Philadelphia Flyer Ivan Provorov is a microcosm of the world in 2023. His unwillingness to be a professional, let alone a decent human being, aligns with the divisive narrative which has dominated seemingly forever.
Rather than shining a light on him and other like-minded individuals, I feel strongly that we must all put the accelerator down and do our part to counter this pathological need to directly (or indirectly) diminish our fellow citizens.
To be fair, we do not know whether this player was or is facing serious repercussions from Russian authorities. Until we know more, he is entitled to the same level of respect that should be afforded to anyone.
That being said, the NHL has to walk the walk. Our own franchise has been a leader in nurturing the values that are often hard to see in society. Bravo to True North. The Jets have exemplified class and continue to set the pace for other organizations to follow.
Years of experience have shown me many people within our communities simply have not been exposed to healthy paradigms. These folks represent opportunities. Working in good faith with them will often yield positive results. For those who reject reason, I’m afraid we need new approaches and a dogged persistence as we model the behaviours that yield desirable outcomes.
Education continues to be the hammer needed to change hearts and minds. Given the opportunity to build bridges, many people will do just that. Exposure to concepts such as unconditional acceptance, empathy and altruism are the pillars that must be fortified as the planet evolves at breakneck speed.
The irony of technological advances transpiring alongside human regression is breathtaking. As I’ve said to countless individuals over the years, it is not the technology in and of itself that is threatening the world. It is the human application of said technology that presents the greatest threat to the species.
Walking the walk
I agree with everything in this letter (“New development raises concerns,” Letters, Jan. 18) except for just one problem: the assumption that you walk to rapid transit. In any Canadian city where rapid transit has been a success, few of the riders walk there.
For example, in Toronto, the Yonge Street subway (built around 1953) went from Union Station to Eglington. Union Station at the south end was becoming (at the time) a commuter rail hub, and Eglington at the north end of the subway when it was built included the replanning of many bus routes so they started and ended at covered platforms within the subway station.
Each route had a well-marked, designated spot for the bus (there were about 10 routes that were provided for with this designation), that could take you east, west and north from that station.
Later, about 1970, the Yonge subway was extended further north into suburbia to Finch Avenue. At Finch, there was a very large unused swath of land under hydro transmission lines; it became a huge parking lot and the access to the subway was built right next to the parking area.
So we had a situation in which the subway was connected to commuter rail, bus routes and car parking. Who was walking? Maybe, I would guess, about one-quarter of the riders, who happened to live close to Yonge Street.
In Winnipeg, we do not have any rail commuters, but we can rearrange bus routes and take the buses right within the terminal where the rapid transit stops. We can also provide parking areas (free or otherwise) next to the most distant rapid transit terminals.
In Winnipeg, we need to forget about “walking” and start thinking about a whole transportation system that facilitates all connections between the rapid transit, car travel, buses, taxis, etc.
I am always interested when conservatives in Manitoba hold Alberta up as a bastion of good management. They describe the low taxes and significant spending on new public infrastructure, etc. as good government. They seem to forget that because they did these things, they mortgaged the future of Albertans.
To compare, the Norwegians (also oil-rich) kept taxes high, made logical spending choices and basically told large oil and gas companies to pay up or take a hike. The result is a $1-trillion-plus fund, which represents $250,000 per person and is growing every day.
In the long run, when oil and gas become less popular, Albertans will have a problem and the Norwegians will be able to use their “rainy day” nest egg to make up for any diminished revenue.
The Norwegians have a society that has high taxes, which allows them to look after the less fortunate, provides free university education and free health care, while the “survival of the fittest” Albertans are not quite as accommodating.
When Albertans of the future look back on some of the revered names in conservative politics, they will have a different view of how they managed the province and let the oil companies have their way.
The reason I compare the two is their populations are about the same, but the politics have resulted in far different long-term outcomes.
Let’s hear from the conservative element on this situation. No doubt, excuses will abound.