Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/6/2011 (2255 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Defending LEED record
While LEED generally does set a high bar for green building practices, important facts are missing from the feature about LEED and the provincial government's green-building policy (The green bar is stunningly high, June 18).
The actual number of Manitoba building projects, both publicly funded and private, registered with the LEED program and seeking certification is 135, not "hundreds." However, even this more modest sum represents a major improvement from the small handful of green buildings that were underway in April 2007, when Manitoba became one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to introduce comprehensive green-building standards.
While meeting LEED requirements can be more expensive than conventional building practice, the province's policy does not require that this be done at any cost. The policy includes a common-sense provision that allows project proponents to seek approval for a reduction, exemption or alternative to LEED's requirements and the policy's other standards if they are impractical or not cost-effective for a specific project. With regard to concern about the actual energy savings of LEED buildings, it is worth noting the province requires a minimum 33 per cent improvement in energy performance, which is higher than the LEED prerequisite. The claim that "there is little to ensure a LEED building is actually run in an efficient manner" is simply false. The LEED rating system was expanded in Canada in 2009 with the addition of LEED Canada Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance, which focuses on the operation and maintenance of a building rather than its construction. Another option to ensure an existing building is operated efficiently from an energy and environmental perspective is BESt (Building Environmental Standards Program) operated by the industry association BOMA Canada. Since its introduction in 2005, BOMA BESt has certified over 800 buildings across Canada, including many in Manitoba.
Beer over books
In Winnipeg, on any given Sunday in the summer, I have a multitude of choices of where to buy my alcohol. I can visit my local hotel's beer vendor, stop at any government-run liquor store, or hit one of many fine private wine boutiques for that perfect bottle of wine to go with my meal. I could go to any number of outdoor patios, any beverage room and enjoy a cold one.
All that being said, try to get a library book on a Sunday in this city between Victoria Day and Labour Day and you are out of luck. Every single branch of the City of Winnipeg's libraries is closed. City council is constantly looking for ways to attract people downtown; how about opening that big, beautiful library that sits right in the heart of downtown on Sundays?
I am left to assume that because the libraries in Winnipeg are funded by property taxes and are not a revenue-generating service, they will remain closed on Sundays. When did our priorities get so screwed up that a bottle of vodka or a case of beer is easier to get than a book?
Why the lake floods
Re: Flood victims take pain to rally (June 15). If Bruce Owen would have only checked the Environment Canada raw provisional data that is available to any member of the public, he would not have stated "many believe," but that in fact the flooding was caused by the Portage Diversion. From the Environment Canada data, it can be calculated that over the period April 15-June 13 that 2.63 feet of the 3.3-foot total rise on Lake Manitoba (80 per cent) has occurred from the Portage Diversion. The rest is likely due to precipitation directly on the lake over this period having exceeded evaporation. Natural inflows from the Whitemud and Waterhen rivers have been equal to or less than the Fairford outlet. To date, the provincial government has not put forth these statistics to any media outlet for broadcast. Why not?
When these numbers were presented at the Twin Lake Beach Association meeting held on June 12, Don Norquay, assistant deputy minister, did admit to these stats.
Twin Lakes Beach
Ripped at Ritz
It's pretty sad to think that, with all the MPs he has in Western Canada, Stephen Harper can't come up with somebody -- anybody -- who understands farming better than Gerry Ritz.
In the May 12 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator, our minister of agriculture is quoted as saying that producers "might need to pay more for grain transportation in order to get better railway service." He also says that personally, he doesn't "mind paying a little extra for service as long as in the end, it plays into my business plan."
When was the last time Ritz actually shipped a bushel of wheat? If he'd done so lately, he'd know that the railways are already charging far too much for the service they give us out of the 300 or so grain elevators that are left after decades of rail-line abandonment and consolidation. He's all hot and bothered about the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly but he doesn't seem to care when the shoe is on the other foot and the railways use their strangle-hold on the transportation system to rip us off to the tune of $6 on every tonne of grain we ship.
Instead of spending his time preaching the gospel according to CN and CP, Ritz needs to get to work on a new revenue cap and joint running rights. Until then, he's just another railroad hack.
Hands off Hydro
There have been many letters and opinion pieces concerning the merits of placing Hydro's Bipole III on the west or east side of Lake Winnipeg. None of these has addressed a concern I have.
Regardless of the merits of either side, the provincial government has interfered with the internal operations of a crown corporation -- Manitoba Hydro. Hydro has a mandate to provide electric power at reasonable rates to all Manitobans. I feel that Manitoba Hydro has done an outstanding job over the past and has the expertise to decide this question.
I do not believe the provincial government has this expertise. Let's leave the decision to the experts, not politicians.
Re: Can 'socialists' win debate? (June 20.) There are still some left-wing elements like Libby Davis who are clearly socialists, while others like Pat Martin are social democrats. This reminds me of Spain, where there is a socialist and social democratic party (clearly indicating an ideological difference between them).
Writer Mia Rabson is correct that the majority of Canadians fall within the middle of the political spectrum (or as I say, "small 'c' conservative). Some lean a little to the left while others lean a little to the right. The fact, however, is that the NDP is neither socialist nor social democratic. Just look at Gary Doer and the Manitoba NDP. For years, they froze welfare rates and cut taxes.
Unfortunately, abandoning the word 'socialist' may be symbolic to many Canadians. However, we need a real socialist party to provide an alternative to the neo-conservative ideology that is infiltrating Canadian society from the Tea Party movement in the United States.