Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/2/2011 (2563 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In Provinces to co-operate on hydro, emergency response, trucking (Feb. 12), Premier Greg Selinger says, referring to power sales, "It's the beginning of a long, and we think, fruitful relationship for the future."
The truth is there is no "beginning," nor is there anything new in his statement. As a retired vice-president in charge of power supply planning, I can tell you that Manitoba Hydro has contracted sales agreements with neighbouring utilities for the past 50 years without any government vanguard action.
These successful sales have spanned NDP and Conservative governments. The NDP government should stay out of the affairs of an arm's-length Crown corporation and let Hydro do its work.
Blame the taxman
Re: Rent controls absolved in city's vacancy squeeze (Feb. 15). A quick read of Hugh Grant's report confirms what the Right to Housing Coalition has been saying for some time: the rent regulation in Manitoba has ample latitude for rent increases for new construction, high-end apartments and needed renovations.
The report indicates that the major cause of the short supply of affordable rentals is the influx of new Canadians. While this is indeed a factor, there was no mention of the cumulative effect of repressive taxation by the Canada Revenue Agency on the construction of rental accommodation. This trend to penalize new construction started in 1972 and has been increasing over the decades, causing a huge decline in the supply of affordable rentals in Canada (from 100,000 new builds per year in 1970 to just 5,000 by the late 1990s).
Regarding the conversion of rental apartments to condos, the report minimizes this trend. It is true that the data indicates about 200 such conversions per year for the last two years in Winnipeg, following much higher rates of conversion earlier. However, whenever affordable housing is removed from the market and returned at a price beyond the means of the original renter, we have displacement of the most vulnerable people.
Re: Royal newlyweds to visit Canada (Feb. 17). All this maudlin fanfare over the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton is just so much celebrity juvenilia — giddy, trivial, and silly.
Can't we grow up and get beyond the much-ado-about-nothing cooing over the British royal family, with its ascribed (read undemocratic) status and inherited privilege? It's the 21st century!
Besides, aren't we already awash in oceans of shallow celebrity gossip? Do we really need more?
Open to all
Re: Tony private club for top VIPs (Feb. 15). I think I need to set the record straight. I am a local businessman who owns and operates The Gates on Roblin with my partner, Ray Louie.
We are open to the public for dining and host a multitude of weddings and corporate events on our property. We have been chosen to provide services to the newly formed Vanderbilt Club.
They are a new guest and we welcome them. We continue to welcome the public and we offer all of our services at the same competitive prices we always have. No membership required!
Re: One last chance for Ms. Oda (Editorials, Feb. 17). It is 100-per-cent immaterial which group lost its federal funding, or why. The name of the organization does not matter, nor whether it is sympathetic to the Palestinians or to Israel.
The only point that matters in this situation is that a federal minister altered a document after it was signed, to the extent that the outcome of the documented decision was 180 degrees opposite to what it was before the alteration.
This is serious business. It is not a lapse of good judgment. It is against the law. That the minister should resign is not even the question. She should be fired and charged with a crime.
If Canadians do not insist that this individual be dispatched immediately from working for the government, we are allowing authoritarianism not to creep in, but to march in with fanfare.
CHRISTINA PETRIUK LÓPEZ
No need to raise sales tax for infrastructure repair (Raise sales tax for works, CEOs urge, Feb. 18). All that is required is to increase property taxes by 50 per cent, but only after the province removes school taxes from the property-tax bill.
This would result in a reduction of about 25-30 per cent in taxes to Manitobans. It would increase revenue for the city, force the province to become more efficient and reduce the number of school divisions. For example, see Calgary.
For those well-intentioned individuals who feel society would be improved if smokers were banned from smoking everywhere — even outside — a little perspective may be necessary.
If the biggest problem you have in your life is that you have to smell something you don't want to for 10 seconds, you have lived a life of great good fortune in human history.
Hundreds of millions of people go to bed every night cold, hungry, in pain and in fear of death. As serious as second-hand smoke might seem to you, try to put it in perspective.
Are you being self-righteous, hysterical, narcissistic and childish? If so, it might be time to take a step back, mind your own business and let the rest of us enjoy some moderate vice.
So the city is working on an outdoor-smoking ban? Give me a break. They should work on getting the drunks and drug addicts off the streets, not to mention all the panhandlers who approach me every day.
Law-abiding smokers are simply easy targets for lazy politicians who want to appear to be actually doing something.
Bridge berth possible
Mary-Jane Robinson, who describes herself as a motorist and a cyclist, was wondering how a motorist could give a cyclist the one-metre berth on the Donald Street Bridge during rush hour (Letters, Feb. 14).
If you see a cyclist ahead, put on your left-turn signal. When you get the opportunity, move your vehicle well into the left lane until you pass the cyclist. If you happen to be travelling in the centre lane, allow other motorists to do the same should the need arise.
With co-operation and courtesy, everyone gets to their destination in reasonable time. Ms Robinson, have you ever fallen off your bike? If you had been on the Midtown Bridge, you'd be grateful for that metre of clearance.
Regarding the idea of a law that would require drivers to give one metre of space to passing cyclists (Share-the-road rage rampant, Feb. 13), I quote Albert Einstein: "Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government, and the law of the land, than passing laws which cannot be enforced."