Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/1/2012 (2217 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
CN assets bloated
Regarding the CP proxy battle, Bill Ackman thinks that if he can take over CP Rail and install super railroader Hunter Harrison as CEO, then the railroad's operating ratio will be substantially improved within months.
He assumes that because CN has a much lower operating ratio than CP, there is no reason why CP should not be in the same position. The answer is simple, and it is not because of poor management at CP.
The fact is, that when CN was privatized in 1993, the new shareholders inherited bloated, unused assets that had been provided to CN by taxpayers over the years preceding privatization. Once these assets were efficiently managed, CN steadily improved its operating ratio to where it is today.
It will take investment and some changes in operating practices on the part of CP before they catch up to CN, but it cannot be done overnight. It will not be in the best interests of the majority of CP shareholders if Ackman wins the proxy vote.
Go slow on pipeline
What is the hurry to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline without weighing its risks against benefits? British Columbia's premier seems willing, for short-term political gain, to risk polluting a treasured northern wilderness.
The pipeline route would traverse the Great Bear rainforest. Its ancient red cedars, unique white bears and small, fish-eating wolves are celebrated in mainstream international publications. Indigenous people harvest food from its rivers and coastal waters.
Residents remember that farther north, the Exxon oil spill from a tanker near the coastline destroyed sea life and family livelihoods for more than a decade. Marine regeneration cannot be hurried.
There are geologic fault lines along the West Coast and in the B.C. Interior, where seismic activity is well documented by Earthquakes Canada. An earthquake of magnitude 8.1 near Haida Gwaii happened in 1949; damage from its tremors occurred as far inland as Terrace, right near the proposed Enbridge pipeline route.
Why does it benefit Canada to deplete its oilsands resources as rapidly as Enbridge proposes? China is among the several countries that have invested heavily in the extraction of northern Alberta oil resources, with the expectation that future pipelines will handle increased capacity for export — regardless of the route.
The analyst J. David Hughes stated (to our National Energy Board) that existing pipelines can carry a 50 per cent increased capacity, the increased output expected by 2019. Thus there is time to select oil export routes that will avoid risk to Canada's marine and forest habitat.
JEAN A. PATERSON
In its Jan. 17 Order 5-12, the Manitoba Public Utilities Board suggested that an independent panel be formed to study and recommend on the "need for and alternatives to" the elements of Manitoba Hydro's most recent preferred development plan, including Bipole III.
These should be examined together and not separately as is currently suggested in the environment impact statement. There are many unanswered questions about Manitoba Hydro's future plans and significant doubts about the wisdom of Hydro's course at this time.
A review that is independent of both Hydro and the provincial government is clearly needed. The government should stop interfering with the activities of Manitoba Hydro, which is supposed to be an independent Crown corporation.
Retired Hydro vice-president
Manitoba communities on the east side of Lake Winnipeg need all-weather roads now. Manitoba Hydro does not need another bipole at this time. Existing bipole power lines are under-utilized; they can carry more power now.
Manitoba Hydro is $9 billion-plus in debt for the current infrastructure. Another $25 billion borrowed will hobble Manitobans with a 40-year debt service.
Debt service, rate increases, more borrowing and more rate increases — should this be our future?
Let's stop the madness and put a moratorium on Hydro borrowing, spending and raising rates.
Re: Titanic 'gravesite' being vandalized for profit (Jan. 20). The year was 1912, a long time ago perhaps, but these were real people who perished, and I believe that all the survivors, especially the children, felt totally changed from when they set out on this memorable voyage. They had lost part of their identity.
April 1912, without a doubt, was a month when everything changed for these few survivors. It was a heart-wrenching tragedy of monumental proportions, where families were literally torn apart, never to be joined again.
I believe that the sinking of the Titanic and all it entailed is somewhat comparable to the wars. Therefore, the artifacts should be displayed accordingly, allowing one and all to remember the ones who died and the survivors.
I concur with Alan Hustak, a member of the British Titanic Society, who in his 1994 article Is it immoral to salvage artifacts of Titanic wreck? suggested that the artifacts salvaged from the ship lend a reality and a sense of contact with those people.
I do not feel these memorabilia should be sold. I agree with the late Eva Hart, who said this would be somewhat akin to grave-robbing.
DIANE R. UNGER
Racialism has role
Re: Discredited ideas (Letters, Jan. 27). A wilful denial of the obvious does not discredit an idea either historically or philosophically. A philosophy that draws out the implications of racial differences (i.e., racism) should not be confused with puerile supremacism or the exorbitant pride in a race or people or their accomplishments within a historical context.
Furthermore, supremacism is not confined to promoting either the white, black, red or yellow race, but also the human race.
Humanism, of which a belief in human rights is a logical outcome, does not obliterate difference, but rather recognizes it, defends it and preserves it. It does not, however, cultivate it.
In other words, to a humanist, inherited identity and traditional diversity matter a great deal. Hence, we are not all African, and our diversity is not the root cause of genocidal violence.
Re: My insides will be riding up, down and around (Jan. 26). Doug Speirs' messy childhood experience, an account of which he'll never forget, has me wanting more. But, I might add, as much as I love the term "vomit comet," the term is virtually owned by the folks at NASA, and they'd be reluctant to give it up.
So to accommodate fans of the midway, and in honour of Speirs' trauma, here are a few name possibilities for the Red River Ex's shiny new behemoth: the Puke Shute, the Slay Ride, Full Metal Bucket and, last but not least, the Hurl-y-Burly, guaranteed to terrify any Irishman or coaster-crazed aficionado.