Letters, March 8
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Concerned for staff
Re: Tories questioned on private liquor sales (March 6)
I wonder whether the private retailers have considered the potential exposure to robberies and possible violence against their staff, such as occurred at liquor marts prior to their introducing safeguards.
Would the private enterprise’s “profit” be spent on protecting their staff or suffer the loss of liquor and additional product, since the thieves are already in the store, and possible violence against staff with all its consequences?
Strengthen safety regulations
Such avoidable catastrophes as the Ohio train-derailment chemical spill repeatedly reveal how insatiable corporate greed will successfully lobby government to allow deregulation, and thus dangerously lowered safety standards.
The world also saw this most horrifically demonstrated recently with so many earthquake-shaken Turkish buildings collapsing on their inhabitants.
Through shoddy construction that didn’t follow government code, countless lives were gratuitously lost due to big-business greed.
Meantime, the more that corporations make, all the more they want — nay, need — to make next quarter. It’s never enough.
Maximizing profits at the expense of those with so much less, or nothing, will likely always be a significant part of the nature of the big-business beast. Still, there must be an point at which the status quo can/will end up hurting big business’s own monetary interests.
One can imagine that a healthy, strong and large consumer base — and not just very wealthy consumers — are needed. Or could it be that the unlimited-profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible?
It brings to mind the allegorical frog stung by the instinct-abiding scorpion while ferrying it across the river, leaving both to drown.
Corporate CEOs will shrug their shoulders and defensively say their job is to protect shareholders’ bottom-line interests. The shareholders, meanwhile, shrug their shoulders while defensively stating that they just collect the dividends and that the CEOs are the ones to make the moral and/or ethical decisions.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
Daycare options limited
Re: $10-a-day child care ahead of schedule in Manitoba (March 3)
I have an 18-month-old daughter. We signed up for daycare waitlists at 35 “nearby” facilities within three weeks of her being born. We thought, since my wife was taking an 18-month maternity leave, it should be no problem to find child care.
Fast-forward to month 17 of maternity leave, and still no child care arranged. We followed up with all facilities whose lists we were on every couple of months and kept getting the same annoyed answers that we are on their waiting list. Some even said they may have a spot in 2024 (when our daughter will be nearly three years old).
The only place we were able to get our daughter into was a private facility that costs $80 a day, and they could only provide three days a week of care. So now we are relying on my mother-in-law to provide two days of care a week; thankfully, she is retired and in good shape.
Today’s announcement of $10-a-day child care in place by the end of April applies only to regulated not-for-profit centres. The problem with this province is that there are only a few such facilities, with very long wait lists. You cannot get into these centres. Also, these centres already had a maximum daily fee of $35 which is now being further subsidized for those lucky enough to get in.
So many families are still left behind. We will still need to pay $80 a day moving forward until we can get in elsewhere.
This is such a tragedy and failure of government; they should be creating tax credits or some other means of subsidizing those who are not able to get into these subsidized centres. We are not in an expensive private facility because we are rich or want to pay lots for the best care — we are there because it is our only choice.
Safer, slower streets
Re: City report urges permanently reduced speed limits on some streets (March 1)
As a bike commuter, avid walker and car enthusiast, I would like to comment on the speed-reduction pilot program, and why it may not be a good use of tax dollars. I believe there are simpler, more effective ways to bring greater safety to our roads.
During last year’s pilot on Wellington Crescent, I noted the many costs and requirements of implementing such a program: new 30 km/h signage must be erected on both sides of every block. Barricades appear at every second to third block. Travel is restricted to local traffic only, seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
More police enforcement and public education are needed to communicate and enforce the new rules. Inevitably, street art and other optional improvements become part of such projects as the scope grows.
When I consider what is involved and what Winnipeggers will gain in return, I wonder whether this is a road safety program at all. Clearly, the unstated goal is to create publicly funded gated communities. If these changes become permanent for designated communities such as Bourkevale, can we assume that the local residents of these enclaves will have no problem covering this increased cost through their taxes?
As an alternative, let’s drop the residential speed limit to 40 km/h citywide, which will increase road safety throughout all residential areas, without creating needless confusion and expense. The funds for this pilot can then be diverted to meaningful safety improvements at known problem intersections.
Meddling nothing new
Re: Foreign interference could sink Trudeau (March 3)
We would be hard-pressed to find a Canadian general election over the course of the country’s history in which one or more foreign governments and/or groups did not attempt to influence results, notably the Americans, British, French and Russians.
The Americans and Russians are still actively doing so. While unwelcome, the Chinese are just the latest to become visible.
Do chatbots preach to electric sheep?
Re: AI steps up to the pulpit (Mach 4)
Thanks to John Longhurst for raising some important questions, not only about the use of AI in developing sermons, but more importantly about the very nature of preaching. Exploring the difference between a “sermon” and a “homily” may be helpful.
“Sermon” is derived from the Greek sermonem, suggestive of what we might call a speech. On the other hand, homily comes from the Greek homilia, meaning conversation. One is more about explaining, the other about sharing; in other words, head and heart. One might be tempted to take notes during an exceptional sermon, while a homily is akin to an exchange between and among fellow human beings (which often requires few or no words).
Computers will never be able to replace human connection; for example, that of someone holding the hand of a dying person.
Updated on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 7:46 AM CST: Adds photo, adds links