Letters, Feb. 25
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Not fun for all
Last week, the Free Press reported the upcoming review of matters related to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (“Accessibility law to undergo review,” Feb. 17). The scope of the review includes “physical, communication and systemic barriers” and applies to government, private and not-for profit sectors.
One example of barriers that need to be addressed stems from a letter to the editor the same day (“Accessible winter fun,” Feb. 17). It questions how often the amazing wheelchair ramp on the toboggan structure in St. Vital is used by people with physical mobility impairments.
Well, I have often wondered what the intended beneficiaries are supposed to do when they get to the bottom of the slides. There is no shuttle service and nowhere to sit and wait while someone brings a wheelchair, crutches or other mobility aid down the ramp and all the way down the path to the end of the chutes.
And, depending on snow, ice and weight, going up the path can be very difficult. This obviously diminishes the value of the wheelchair ramp.
Another winter recreation example involves the three-kilometre Red River strip of the Nestaweya River Trail for skating, walking and biking . The Forks is (more or less) the only location on the trail accessible for people with physical mobility challenges. Instead, the trail is lined by steep and snowy, slippery or muddy banks all the way to, and including at, its southern end (by the Manitoba Canoe and Kayak Centre).
In addition to people with special physical challenges, these banks can be treacherous for others, too, including many residents of the three large seniors’ apartment buildings along nearby Osborne Street.
The value of the public investment in the lovely river trail is minimized by a lack of investment in accessibility.
So, we will have a provincial election in October. The COVID-19 pandemic caused Premier Heather Stefanson to impose travel restrictions on all residents of Manitoba — yes, all residents, including her own people, which was the right thing to do.
Unfortunately there were a number of MLAs who ignored this request and felt the rules did not apply to them. Premier Stefanson did absolutely nothing to her own MLAs who ignored this request, which was unfortunate.
I would urge all Manitobans in the coming election to check if their individual MLA was one of the people who took vacations during the restriction period and felt the imposed rules did not apply to them, and judge them accordingly at the ballot box. I know I certainly will.
Former premier Brian Pallister and his successor Heather Stefanson both seem to have some difficulty in grasping the concept that government’s purpose is to provide necessary services to the public, and that those services are funded through taxation.
Even now, as Stefanson bemoans the level of new funding for health offered by the federal government as being inadequate, she has bragged about her party reducing taxes by in excess of $1 billion through its tenure, and indicated her hopes to reduce taxes further if the federal grant were greater. She obviously is fine with the federal tax base increasing to pay for her use.
This government has used transfers in the past while selling assets and wasting funds: the Pineland Forestry Nursery sold to a marijuana farm, now bankrupt; Lifeflight air-ambulance service (ceded to STARS); and two provincial parks, St. Ambroise and Turtle Mountain, leased to private developers.
They used “our” funds for the court defence of the government’s wage freeze, dissolved the profitable Manitoba Hydro International, and closed emergency and hospital facilities.
The planned tax rebate for month’s end is another badly conceived idea. Stefanson is planning to “refund” $200 million via a mailing to 698,000 Manitobans at a cost of about $1.50 per cheque, or over $1 million. The refund is ostensibly to help needy Manitobans, not serve as a gift Canada Post.
There are several NGOs in Manitoba and Winnipeg that could deliver the $200 million to those specifically in need, if the government is unable to better direct the funds, namely: the Salvation Army, Siloam Mission, the Red Cross, Winnipeg Harvest, Addictions Foundation, End Homelessness Manitoba and others. They would not deduct for postage.
Advice from the stands
Hey, Chevy: the Winnipeg Jets need help, or they are doomed to four and gone.
You have a team that: stands around even on power play; rarely hits and does not defend itself or start trouble; very often leaves its own end without puck, looking for long pass; has a goalie who is supposed to be a star but is often beat on his knees or out of position — he too often gives the puck away; and is soft and too easy to play against, often losing to lower-echelon teams.
You need to move Neal Pionk, Nate Schmidt, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Nikolaj Ehlers and keep fourth-line players off the top six (Mason Appelton and Saku Mäenalanen).
Have a two-goalie system that plays the guy who is hot; there should be competition, not an annointed No. 1.
You need to give the fans hope — there is none at present.
After watching our Winnipeg Jets losing to one of the lowest-ranked teams in the NHL (“Jets miss major opportunity,” Feb. 17) and then surrendering three goals in the third period against the Devils (“Jets finding ways to lose,” Feb. 19), I started thinking: it is time for head coach Rick Bowness to step forward and take some of the blame?
I understood the need for line-shuffling while we had so many injuries, but the Jets are in good health these days.
So, why is his big line blender still being used so much? How many of us continue to show up for work not knowing what we will be doing, or where we will be located?
It is time to make a final decision where the players should be playing and then keep the same rotation for at least a month!
Delays for care unbearable
Re: New urology centre to open next year (Feb. 17)
The article announces the opening of a urology centre at the Health Sciences Centre, with some of the funding coming from a private donor.
When we are informed that men presenting with urinary retention have to wait a whole year for prostate surgery, a year with an indwelling catheter, any improvement would be welcome.
Having practised as a urologist in Manitoba for 36 years, up to 2002, I cannot even imagine how this is tolerated. When I was there, patients like this were operated on within the next day or so. The complications, such as infection and discomfort, must be almost unbearable.
When I was there, all seven Winnipeg hospitals provided urology services. At present, there are only two. What is the justification for reducing the availability of services to the public so drastically?
This is the fault of Manitoba Health and its obsession with central planning and managed care. Socialism always leads to shortages and misery.
What is needed is a return to a traditional fee-for-service system of health-care delivery. There should be a universal system of insurance (Medicare) and providers should have to market their services.
Unfortunately, this urology centre is nothing more than a small bandage to cover an enormous ulcer that is getting worse every year.
Henry P. Krahn, M.D., FRCS
Updated on Saturday, February 25, 2023 10:52 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo