Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/9/2011 (2925 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Threat still real
Leonard Bateman, in his Sept. 10 letter, Hydro Act clear, states that by an act of the legislature, Manitoba Hydro cannot be privatized without a referendum of approval.
Bateman doesn't know or fails to state that any act of the legislature can be repealed by a new government with a majority.
Given the history of a previous Conservative government privatizing our telephone system despite their earlier pledge not to do so, the threat of a Conservative government privatizing Manitoba Hydro is very real.
Alternatively, a Conservative government could contract out segments of Manitoba Hydro's operations — privatization by stealth. We should recall that part of the MTS's operations had been privatized before it was sold completely.
It is time to set the record straight regarding the Gary Filmon government. When Filmon took power, he was left with a financial mess by Howard Pawley's NDP government. On top of that, he got a second whammy by Paul Martin, who drastically reduced transfer payments to the provinces so he could balance the federal budget.
This required some drastic cuts to keep the province from going into deep deficits that would be loaded onto future generations to pay. Filmon also passed balanced-budget legislation to curtail future governments from increasing provincial debt.
MTS was sold because technology in the field was increasing at a rapid rate. To keep up, MTS would have required a large infusion of tax dollars. MTS's sale at the start was to Manitobans only and then later on the open market. This gave Manitobans a chance to own part of the private company.
Since the NDP took power, they have had unprecedented increases in transfer payments from the federal government. They circumvented the balanced-budget legislation and have charged Hydro rental rates for water. Yet the deficit has been increased to near $14 billion, which is now costing us $800 million a year in interest payments.
WILLIAM D. POOLES
If Manitoba Hydro is protected by Article 15.3 (1) and there has to be a public referendum to vote on the privatization of Manitoba Hydro, then what legislated article protected MTS from Gary Filmon selling this Crown corporation without a public referendum?
A ruthless act
Re: Stranded passengers thank 'kind' Canadians (Sept. 12). It's lovely to be thanked 10 years later for our "generosity" for ensuring the security of the United States on the day of the attack on the World Trade Centre.
What if some of the 200 planes that were diverted to our country on Sept. 11, 2001, had been wired to explode upon landing? I think it was a ruthless act on the part of the U.S. to close down its space and let the planes land in Whitehorse or Gander or Montreal. Canada, be damned, I guess.
And, oh yes, President Bush forgot to thank us at the time. I do thank Gander, Winnipeg and Whitehorse for compassion, generosity and true humanity even in the face of the ruthlessness of power.
Seinfeld ball dropped
After having attended the Jerry Seinfeld act at the MTS Centre on Sept. 8, I am at a loss as to why the Free Press did not choose to review this show.
Regardless of whether or not the show was good, any act of this calibre should always be reviewed by the city's main paper. I was extremely disappointed to see that the choice was made to either not send a reporter to the show, or to not include their review.
If the former was the case, more reporters should be hired to keep up with the demand for work. If it was the latter, maybe a better critic should be hired to write these pieces.
Re: Crown weighs health aide's case (Sept 9). Why is a person who has difficulty understanding English allowed to work as a health-care aide?
It is surely a dangerous situation for any person who can not speak or understand the English language to be allowed to work in any medical facility.
I couldn't believe my eyes on Sunday after looking up to see a helicopter flying around Winnipeg Stadium pulling a banner with Hugh McFadyen's name trailing behind it.
And he's a Conservative. I would sure hate to have him look after my money if that's the way he likes to spend it. Any inkling I had of voting for him has now gone with the wind.
I was thoroughly disgusted at the Banjo Bowl with the Saskatchewan Roughriders fans who were shouting "Go, Riders" during the minute of silence for Ken Hildahl as well as during the minute of silence for 9/11.
This was an absolute disgrace and showed a total lack of respect for our city as well as for the freedom of our nation.
History of whining
I am writing to express my solidarity with Jo Davies' thoughtful and articulate rebuttal (Enough with the whining, Letters, Sept. 9) to those whiners and naysayers who have expressed concern with the alignment of the Winnipeg Jets and militaristic imagery.
Unfortunately, this is not without historical precedent. For years, people complained about the cost and time required to travel. Then we got cars, and now folks have the temerity to complain about environmental damage and diminishing oil reserves. Good grief.
Re: Election explainer (Sept. 8). To quote former premier Gary Filmon on the NDP, "I find it amazing they've been in power for 12 years and they still don't have a record of their own to run on." All I can say to that is, heaven forbid the Conservative Party of Manitoba should run on Filmon's record.
DAVID H. ELIAS
Reg Alcock seems to think that our food and water would kill us, that our children would be uneducated and that we would be without health care if not for government (Intellectual dishonesty, Letters, Sept 8). More likely all those services would be provided a lot cheaper by the private sector if given a chance to compete.
Alcock states that public-sector employees work for us, but when we consider the private sector is paying almost half its income in the form of one tax or another for all those services, it's fair to ask who is working for whom. Public-service employees do not pay taxes, they consume them.
Governments should be restricted to protecting people from force or fraud, because they own the exclusive right to use coercive force in our society. Health care, insurance, water and food-monitoring and the hundreds of other services the public sector provides should be left to the private free market that truly serves the public.
Re: Turkey cranks up the chill on Israel (Sept. 3). Following the Mavia Maramar incident, there were hundreds of reports in the media, including the Winnipeg Free Press. Most indicted Israel and insisted that its naval blockade of Gaza was inhumane and illegal.
The release of the UN-ordered Palmer Report investigating the incident has not garnered the same attention. The report sets out a number of findings, many of them vindicating Israel.
Most important of these is that Israel faces significant security risks, that the naval blockade of Gaza is legal, and Israel has the right to enforce the blockade. Further, the Palmer Commission found that the decision to breach the naval blockade was a reckless act and that the flotilla organizers contributed to the bloodshed.
The substance of the Palmer Report has been largely ignored or its exculpatory findings regarding Israel minimized and reframed by media. Emphasis has been placed on its negative conclusions against Israel and on Turkey's reaction to them.
The Free Press in its first report on the Palmer findings (Turkey expels Israeli ambassador, suspends military ties with Israel over flotilla raid Sept. 2 online) chose to focus on the expulsion of Israel's ambassador by Turkey after the report was released, Israel's excessive force and the deaths of nine flotilla participants.
The fact that the report found the blockade to be legal was not mentioned until paragraph 7. This anti-Israel skew was repeated in subsequent online reports.
The media have largely also ignored the 520 rockets that have been fired at Israel since January and that terrorists have, since August, killed 10 and wounded 70 Israelis — most of them civilians and many of them women and children.
Also ignored are the Turkish strikes on Kurds in northern Iraq this summer, killing about 150 Kurdish militants.
Once again, there is a double standard for Israel and proof that for some, Israel is wrong even when right.
The best link of all
This letter concerns the cutting of funds to libraries in Toronto and the future impact such a move may make on libraries throughout Canada.
I am an Internet addict. I am on the Internet at least four hours per day reading and learning about world issues, history, different cultures, art and science.
These are subjects that commonly one would, and still can, venture into a library to research. While the way we share information continues to change and libraries may no longer be the go-to place for many young people such as myself, there is no website that can replace the value of a good librarian.
Librarians are professionals educated in the art of research. They not only know how to help anyone who may need to write an essay, work on a project or simply want to learn more about a subject, but they truly care about their roles in doing so.
Even in a world where we can type a word into a box and magically discover hundreds of pages of information relating to a subject, the understanding and intelligence of fellow educated human beings have proven invaluable to an Internet junkie such as myself.