Letters, March 9
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Tipping supports students
Concerning the people who recently wrote letters to the Free Press about tipping servers (“Gratuitous content,” Letters, March 2), I would like to add my voice to the conversation.
I hold a BA from the University of Winnipeg and B. Comm (Hon.) from the University of Manitoba. While attending university, during the summer months I worked as a waiter on the CN trains. For the rest of the academic year, I worked as a waiter and bartender on evenings and weekends at various establishments. At that time, I relied heavily on income earned from tips to finance my university education.
After graduating, through further studies I went on to become a chartered professional accountant (CPA) and a chartered business equity valuator (CBV). I needed a university degree to become a CPA and an accounting degree to become a CBV.
To share my knowledge and to earn extra income, I also became an evening lecturer at the U of M Extended Education Division (formerly the Continuing Education Division) for over 25 years. During that time, I taught accounting students taxation, business finance and financial management.
With tips, I was able to graduate from university without carrying a large student debt load, for which I was grateful. I am currently a retired senior, and over the many years I have always been a generous tipper.
In busy establishments, waiting tables and bartending are physically demanding jobs, and unless you have done it, you will never know what it is like. During my time, I have seen many quit after just one shift. And, unfortunately, during that time I also had a few dine-and-dash customers. When that happened, I had to pay the unpaid bills out of my own pocket, and that really hurt.
And I just want to add that over the years, many of the servers I have tipped were also studying to become medical doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, engineers, architects, etc. A July 2012 story from The Canadian Press stated, “Statistics Canada says that there were about 190,000 food and beverage servers in Canada last year, about 80 per cent of them female. Many are young and in their first job, and are often students.”
Tipping is a choice, and for me it is a feel-good activity when I see the smile on the faces of the recipient, many of whom are students trying to upgrade their education.
While we should not take lightly any involvement by non-Canadians in our democracy, the recent obsession with China seems both overblown and suspect in terms of its timing and politics.
I am sure governments around the world involve themselves in the elections and/or governance of other countries all the time.
But, if we are really concerned about our democracy and the influence of foreign actors, reporting and analysis are, I think, missing two key aspects.
First, the most serious current threat to our electoral democracy is our electoral system itself. First-past-the-post ensures that we will rarely have the government we voted for. Time and time again, those who govern do so with the votes of a minority of citizens. The current Liberal government promised to change that as part of its first campaign platform — they did nothing.
Second, it is interesting that the Chinese threat has emerged just when there appeared to be some attention paid to the more serious foreign influence on our governance was starting to have some public attention: the McKinsey affair.
In recent years (and in many countries) McKinsey has literally written legislation that privatizes, cuts social spending and lays off public-sector workers.
I think it is incumbent on our mass media to provide this kind of analysis and context about the threats to our democracy.
Re: Foreign interference could sink Trudeau (March 3)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ethics breaches add to my growing dissatisfaction with him, after helping to vote him into power in 2015. I have not voted for him since because of his many broken or unfulfilled pre-election pledges and his sanctioning for two ethics breaches.
Is there no law to prevent a foundation from receiving a $1-million donation from a foreign person who may be trying to influence a future prime minister?
Given the unpopularity of prime minister Stephen Harper at the time, it is not a far reach to perceive that Justin Trudeau would likely be the next prime minister.
Does Trudeau not see the possible perception of such a gift, especially emanating from China?
Apparently not, for Trudeau was blind to appearances when he and his family vacationed with the Aga Khan at the latter’s expense. At the same time, the Aga Foundation was receiving millions of dollars of donations from the Canadian government, which continued when Trudeau was prime minister.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has shown that, like former U.S. president Donald Trump, he will do anything to advance his agenda. He has shown this with his illegal imprisonment of the two Canadians until Meng Wanzhou was released, and as discovered recently, with spy balloons over North America.
If China did indeed fund 11 candidates in the 2019 election, and possibly candidates in the 2021 election, then that is cause for concern, despite the apparent nonchalance from Trudeau.
If Jean-Pierre Kingsley and Richard Fadden feel there is a need for a public inquiry, I support that view. You don’t wait until there is foreign interference revealed in the next election, when it might make a difference. Waiting for a fait accompli is not the right time to say “we have a problem.”
When I read the headline B.C. logging firm wants to avoid cutting old growth (March 6), I thought I must have put my glasses on inside out.
How can it be that while Gorman Bros. Lumber wishes not to cut down some old-growth trees in British Columbia, the very government that professes to save old-growth forests insists, under pain of fines, that the logging company do just that?
Surely, the obvious solution to this bizarre situation is simply to declare the contract null and void. King Solomon must be rolling over in his grave.
Short and street
I enjoyed Declan Schroeder’s piece on Winnipeg street names (Surprisingly unstoried streets of Winnipeg, March 5) and would like to see more articles explaining how many of our streets got the odd names they bear.
Those of us who have connections to St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in the North End know that pretty much all the streets in the vicinity of the cathedral are named for priests, deans and bishops and for cathedral institutions such as St. John’s College, which used to stand where College Avenue runs into Main Street.
While working at the cathedral I remember getting a call from a member of Winnipeg city council regarding Fowler Street, which runs between St. John’s and Anderson avenues. He wanted to know for which cathedral official the street was named.
I was delighted to let the esteemed councillor know that Fowler Street was named for Frank Oliver Fowler, mayor of Winnipeg for six months in 1922. Perhaps the shortness of the street reflects the shortness of his time in office.
Updated on Thursday, March 9, 2023 8:02 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo