Letters, May 10


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Trash trouble

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Trash trouble

Re: Cleanup shows community pride (May 8)

Tyler Searle’s piece was heartwarming to read and at the same time extremely infuriating, knowing that my neighbourhood of St. Johns (although technically I’m in the riding of Point Douglas) is still a heaping pile of trash.

It’s very tough to walk or cycle through my neighbourhood, makes me embarrassed to live here, an apartment block just up the street I noticed today has multiple used needles lying on the ground, a house with heritage status that is boarded up after a fire last year is now a garbage dump, and a wind screen that catches even more trash.

The last few days I’ve been begging 311 to send city services to deal with the section of St. Johns Avenue between Main and Charles Street and to my surprise I was told that the area had already been cleaned on April 18, boy, you could have fooled me… I guess they did.

While Point Douglas is lucky enough to have a residents committee, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the St. Johns Resident’s Association? I remember many years ago they offered home improvement grants, and I can’t help but think that tapping into the province’s Urban Green Team grant could employ some local youth and keep our streets, sidewalks and boulevards clean during the spring and summer months, yet there is nothing, not a peep.

Readers will remember back in the winter I coined the term Trash Volcano, in reference to a problem dumpster at the aforementioned apartment block, the sad fact is that most of what is accumulating on our street is from that last eruption before the dumpster was removed, I similarly begged the city at the time to come through with trigger sticks to pick up the remainder fearing that without that we would see exactly what we are seeing now.

You know it’s gotten bad when some of the other residents of the street, who normally don’t do any type of property maintenance, like mowing, or trimming, or picking up nominal amounts of litter, actually have been doing so because it’s just gotten so bad. When even laziness can’t prevail, you know there’s a significant issue.

Will Jones


CEO raise a letdown

Re: Pay bump for MPI CEO (May 9)

It is disappointing at best to see the PC government reward Mr. Herbelin with pay increases, bonuses, and travel perks while at the same time the Nova project which he was hired to manage has a runaway cost overrun of more than $200 million. It appears this government-funded drain train has no brakes and no end of road in sight.

A few weeks ago Premier Stefanson rose in the legislature to state that the only cost overrun that she knew of was the Hydro “over budget” for the northern dam projects when the former NDP government was in power. Maybe Ms. Stefanson should take a walk down the street and see what the heck is going on at MPI.

During the committee hearing on Bill 36, former finance minister Cameron Friesen touted how proud he was of his government’s ability to manage taxpayers money — I wonder if the MPI fiasco is/was his reason for leaving on short notice?

Ted Scoles


Not so angry over rebate

Re: NDP vows no more property tax rebates to non-resident billionaires (May 9)

Reading the May 9 article, I think I was supposed to be outraged that Loblaw Company received education-related property tax rebates, like other Manitoba property tax payers, as the government moves from property taxes to general revenue and funding cuts to pay for education (these strategies are my take — oddly, the government hasn’t admitted it). Instead, I was disappointed and disheartened by the tactic. And this from someone who is open to lefty thinking.

My reaction was gut-level at first, followed by wondering why. In this case, we are talking about moving from property taxation to income-based taxation to fund education which, on the face, seems more progressive. If money earned in Manitoba by Loblaw results in corporate income-based tax revenue for Manitoba directly or indirectly, then there is no issue or, maybe, a different issue, and I’m being had in either case. If otherwise, well, that’s interesting; let’s learn about it and make it an issue.

Let’s also make an issue about cutting cheques to do it, rather than going to the core of the tax systems to make the adjustments. In addition, the amount in question is $300,000 — in the order of a tenth of a tenth of a percent of public school operating funding (e.g., $5 of $50,000). Perspective.

Instead of being activated, I’m left feeling disaffected by a party flailing for ways to enrage me while keeping me, at most, only partly informed, and perhaps hoping I won’t think too much about it. Populism, as I understand it. I’ll be interested to see if Kinew and clan can raise their game or if this is the way of all of politics, now.

Ken Clark


Troubling use of term

Re: Alberta election a dry run for Manitoba? (Editorial, May 8)

I have little quarrel with the essence of the speculative editorial, Alberta election a dry run for Manitoba?, in the May 8 edition of the Free Press. As a lifelong socialist, however, I was deeply offended by your description of both the Alberta and the Manitoba New Democratic Parties as “urban-centred socialists.”

There is nothing in the governing histories of either of the parties to show that they were remotely socialist. Left-wing? Using tax dollars to provide services essential to their residents? Caring about the climate crisis? Generally supporting the democratic process? Generally not being vindictive or mean? Generally trying to be helpful and kind?

Certainly these admirable tendencies are worth noting, and provide a major contrast to the ways in which the current Alberta and Manitoba governments have been governing.

They do not, however, describe socialism at all, which advocates for the collective ownership of the means of production and control of the distribution of goods, and the dissolution of the accumulation of wealth. These are long-range policies which I support, but they do not in any way describe the how the NDP has governed in any of the Canadian provinces, or what is contained in the platforms of any provincial or federal NDP.

To use the word “socialism” to describe a moderately left-of-centre party is to fall prey to propaganda from the right wing.

I hope your editorial writers will do a little reading in political history and never again use what has become a scare-word in the right-wing popular press to describe the excellent leadership provided by Mr. Kinew and Ms. Notley.

Lawrie Cherniack


Cut-and-cover fix for P&M

Here is my suggestion for the ongoing Portage and Main debate: put the traffic underground using the cut-and-cover construction method.

The traffic-free cover may be raised by maybe three feet above street level, reducing the depth of the necessary cut to reduce interference with (probably) existing underground infrastructure.

Additionally, truck traffic may be rerouted above ground to reduce the depth of the necessary cut. Portage East may be closed in this scenario to simplify the traffic pattern.

The $40 million already necessary for remediation could be put to this project. Think of the possibilities a totally traffic-free Portage and Main would present.

Friedrich Moeller


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