Letters, Jan. 27
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Depends how you’re asking
Re: Majority of Manitobans would support redirect of school tax rebates: poll (Jan. 22)
I’m on the mailing list of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which reported that 58 per cent of adults in Manitoba would rather their education property tax rebates go to health, education and infrastructure. Unfortunately, the contrived premise undermines good intentions.
All that can be deduced is that a good chunk of those reachable for and amenable to polling are OK with more money for public education, health and infrastructure if it entails no new taxes. Well…
Public education funding is an interesting and debated topic with its own driving forces in terms of reform. The centre has opportunistically presented a false free-money dichotomy that undermines its intentions, and so we’re none the wiser.
Rule One of polling: ask a clear question unburdened by leading or contrived premises.
With the respect to the recent poll indicating a majority of Manitobans would prefer school tax rebates not be allocated to homeowners, I would appreciate knowing what portion of those surveyed are, in fact, property owners. As with most polls, the devil rests in the details of the questions posed ,and in this particular case, that’s not an insignificant concern.
Education funding ought to flow entirely from provincial government revenue, and the PST is the most efficient means by which to accomplish the required budgetary increases. Those who spend more pay more, based on their ability to do so. School taxes have been predicated upon a perceived capacity to pay and bear little connection to the true wealth contained within any given household.
I would think placing rebates into the hands of individuals, most especially in these economically challenging times, is both prudent and responsible, regardless of one’s political perspective. What we don’t need is yet another level of bureaucracy charged with overseeing the redirection of tax rebates of any kind, turning it into a slush fund for politically advantageous expenditures.
There’s no doubt we are facing funding challenges for our most precious institutions, and I am more than willing to do my part to help alleviate the crisis we are being forced to confront — but regressive taxation isn’t the path forward.
Good rural health care
Re: New health-care deal, same old issues (Jan. 23)
I write this having just been released from the Pinawa Hospital, where I was treated for an unexpected reaction to a prescription drug. I spent three days in the hospital as I was being observed, tested and given antibiotics to get my digestive system back to normal.
These days, it is common for people to only complain about a health-care system they feel does not work properly for them. I have to say my recent experience was just the opposite.
Three days ago, feeling incredibly badly following a prescription that backfired on me, I admitted myself to the Pinawa Hospital late in the evening, following hours of incredible retching. Following a two-minute drive to the hospital, I was admitted immediately. Details were noted and the doctor on call was consulted. Various procedures were followed and intravenous fluids with various medications were eventually prescribed.
It was a process — and when you feel you are deathly ill, everything feels too long — but through it all I received prompt and exceptional care. I had three doctors examine me, and discuss with me what I was experiencing, as well as remedies and future precautions, over the three days I was in the hospital.
While some areas in Manitoba may not experience a health-care system that serves their needs, from my recent experience here in rural Manitoba, I have no complaints. I applaud the organization of the local hospital, the doctors and exceptional nursing and care staff. I wish it were the same elsewhere in Manitoba and Canada as a whole.
Re: Firm seeks to build solar panel manufacturing plant in Manitoba (Jan. 18)
This article states pure quartz silica obtained from a Sio Silica mining and processing facility near Vivian would be used for a proposed RCT Solutions GmbH solar manufacturing plant. Sio Silica plans to mine silica sand from the sandstone aquifer of southeast Manitoba, using an unproven airlift well extraction method. Mining in an aquifer used for drinking water is not normally allowed. For instance, proposals to mine for gold near Shoal Lake, the source of Winnipeg’s drinking water, have not proceeded.
Pure quartz for solar manufacturing is normally obtained from the mining of very pure quartz rock not silica sand. To be used for solar manufacturing, the silica sand would require extensive purification, likely requiring strong acids and other toxic chemicals. Purification of the silica sand on a commercial scale to obtain the required purity has not been demonstrated. Toxic waste from this process would require specialized treatment and licensed disposal. Potentially toxic waste generated from purification has not been characterized and assessed by Sio Silica.
Clean Environment Commission hearings currently underway are mandated to assess the environmental effects of mining the silica sand from the sandstone aquifer that is separated by a layer of shale from the carbonate aquifer above. Both these valuable regional aquifers are at risk from the mining operations.
Draw a line on gambling
Re: Stars should not be shills for sports betting (Jan. 20)
I’d like nothing better than to submit a petition with millions of Canadian signatures on it to the NHL and hockey broadcasters: stop flogging gambling during hockey broadcasts. It wouldn’t be hard to collect them.
We already have enough social problems in Canada created by gambling addictions. We don’t want to further “normalize” gambling by parading it front of millions of children who are glued to the TV watching their hockey heroes. And the majority of adults l have polled are simply annoyed at enduring mindless gambling segments.
We might not be able to put the gambling genie back in the bottle, but we can draw a line. Politicians should step up to support limitations on endorsements by athletes and celebrities, as in the U.K.
It was not a good career move for hockey stars to endorse gambling. Their shiny images have been tarnished a bit for most fans. We’re here for the game, not the over-under.
I’d like to believe the people running the hockey industry will take this issue seriously — but then, I’m still waiting for the NHL to move the Phoenix team to Quebec City.
Re: City mulls letting staffers pick own stats to reflect culture (Jan. 25)
Many years ago, I worked for the Winnipeg School Division No. 1. Teachers were allowed to pick three religious days a year with pay. Some non-religious teachers worked on religious holidays and took their days off on fun holidays with no religious significance.
Before allowing staff to pick their stat days, make sure you consult with each denomination to determine which religious holidays can be chosen.
Updated on Friday, January 27, 2023 7:43 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo