Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/5/2011 (2283 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Libraries cut here
As a parent and educator, I am deeply saddened by the recent events in the Windsor-Essex Catholic School District and its board's decision to dismantle all its school libraries (Throw the book at library closers, May 20).
How many more students do we have to sacrifice before this and countless other school board officials and administrators across the country start doing their homework and read the research linking quality school libraries to student achievement?
And before we wag our fingers at only school boards and administrators in Ontario, we have similar concerns about cuts to teacher-librarians here in Manitoba. Last year, two prominent Winnipeg high schools with more than 1,000 students each lost their teacher-librarians due to budget cuts, much like those in Windsor-Essex.
Since the 1980s, teacher-librarian positions have been cut by more than 60 per cent. In Winnipeg, only four out of six school divisions employ teacher-librarians and only two divisions in rural Manitoba do the same. In 1984-85, the number of divisions that employed teacher-librarians stood at 20. Which raises the question, why aren't all students throughout the province getting the same opportunities for a quality education?
VLTs tell the story
Re: Our cash, arena go well together (May 20). Dan Lett must have had to grit his teeth to write the nonsense about using VLTs to "suck the loonies out of the pockets of people who can't afford to buy an NHL ticket" in order to raise money for the richest man in the country, David Thomson, to own an NHL franchise in Winnipeg.
John Maynard Keynes said, "When the capital development of a country becomes the by-product of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done." (It's no coincidence that a payday loan outlet is also next to the MTS Centre).
It's hard to understand how any hard-working taxpayer won't mind kicking in more of his dollars to have the "right" to spend another $300-$500 evening to take his family of four to experience the over-priced pleasure of watching a hockey game.
The only explanation is that hockey fans are falling for the mawkish sentiment that's served in sickly sweet dollops by those with a vested interest in bringing back a team (including Free Press sportswriters). There's been a lot of propaganda printed in the Free Press and the Globe and Mail on how things are different economically than they were 15 years ago.
The Canadian dollar is high and the economy is moving along swimmingly. These economic factors are variables, not constants, and should be treated as such. A professional sports franchise is a huge risk with a slim return on investment, and Thomson and the other owners are aware of the potential for huge losses.
Looking to utilize VLT income before the first puck is dropped tells the real story; the wealthy individuals who want to revive the Jets don't want to use their own money. It's inevitable that the romantic but undoubtedly false notion that Winnipeg is somehow edified by the return of the NHL is the rhetoric we will hear when the franchise owners ultimately meet with all three levels of government with their expensive hats in hand.
Palm Springs, Calif.
In the May 19 story Arena scores help but team shut out, Premier Greg Selinger says his NDP government will help True North manage the debt it has for the MTS Centre through expansion of VLTs at Tavern United and the addition of a possible sports betting lounge.
I would remind Selinger that in 2008 the NDP conducted an economic impact study on Assiniboia Downs. That study found that major upgrades were required for the antiquated 53-year-old facility. His government also promised to expand or upgrade the Downs' present 140-machine VLT lounge along with other things.
Three years later, not one of these recommendations from the 2008 report has been acted upon or implemented. Harvey Warner and the rest of the Manitoba Jockey Club's members have continued since 1993 to operate this outdated facility with absolutely no help or support from the government. Yet they have helped with facilities for baseball, football and hockey, to name just three.
Stewart G.H. Fay (Letters, Hyperbolic bombast, May 21) says Torontonians and Montrealers couldn't care less about the prospect of the NHL returning to Winnipeg. Well, I just returned from a short trip to Toronto and I couldn't disagree more.
The news from Winnipeg was in every Toronto newscast and in every newspaper and it was on people's minds. Everyone was happy for Winnipeg. Even Friday's New York Times had an article on the possible move.
On my flight home, I watched the Calgary and Montreal news and saw the same story. They are watching fans cheering at Portage and Main and they are happy for us.
Re: Take at-home test for colorectal cancer (May 19). I would like to add my voice to Laurie Abbott's in encouraging everyone to take advantage of every precaution and measure available to them to prevent colorectal cancer.
But why is Manitoba Health's approach to early detection is so much different than that of Ontario Health's? I moved here from Ontario two years ago. There, all people over age 50 are advised by their GPs to have a colonoscopy.
According to the figures given to me when I turned 50, people who don't get colonoscopies and develop colorectal cancer have an average fatality rate of 15 per cent (although current figures are closer to 30 per cent). But people who get colonoscopies and develop colorectal cancer have an average fatality rate of 1.5 per cent. For a couple of days of inconvenience, I like those odds.
However, the impression I get is that Manitoba Health feels it's cheaper to utilize the at-home stool sampling and address any treatment costs as they arise. Please tell me that stool sampling is just as effective and that we're not sacrificing lives just to save money.
Re: Knobs, tubes up to code (May 14). I am shocked that a person of Ken Oertel's experience would lead the unsuspecting public into a state of dangerous ease regarding their home wiring. He blithely states that knob and tube wiring was installed to be protected from over-current conditions with quick-blow fuses and now the same wiring is protected by 15-amp breakers.
I know of no qualified electrician who would tell you breakers are as sensitive to over-amperage conditions as fuses. We know from long experience a breaker can cook at an over-amperage condition and never trip.
All about fairness
After reading the May 17 article Cellphone chicanery cancelled and the quote from MTS spokeswoman Selena Hind, I couldn't help but fall on the floor laughing.
She is quoted as saying that "this legislation is about fairness and choice and that's what we're all about." The question I have for MTS is this: If that is what you are all about, then why did it take legislation to change the contract rules?
Violating the law
When does a government not have to follow its own laws? Apparently when they appoint a body of political stalwarts to manage an enterprise and tell them to do something contrary to the legislation governing the enterprise.
This seems to be the case with Manitoba Hydro, which is obligated by legislation to provide the most economic solution for the additions to its system. However, in the case of the proposed new line from the Nelson River to southern Manitoba, they have ordered Manitoba Hydro to violate the law and provide a much more costly alternative.
I suggest that should an average Manitoban do this, the full weight of the law would descend upon him, or her, and they would be penalized.
Great common sense
Wayne Tefs' story (Good as gold, May 19) is inspiring. He is a gifted writer, rider, partner and teacher and, all the while, he relates so well to us regular guys. A conversation with Wayne is always engaging, and for a man of great intellect, he demonstrates great common sense.
Wayne's understated response to "inoperable and incurable" cancer ("I'm not cured but I continue to try new treatments," says it all. He is moving forward, sensibly, skilfully, doing the things he loves with the people he loves.