Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/12/2016 (252 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
People, not province, good with debt
Re: Province still best in debt loads (Dec. 8)
Before Manitobans head out to catch up to other Canadians in the amount of debt we carry individually, we would be wise to remember that the former NDP government has borrowed more than we can already afford. It is individual Manitobans, not the province, that have the lowest debt loads.
When the approximately 806,000 Manitoba taxpayers add in the additional more-than-$31,000-per-capita debt outstanding from the NDP’s meddling with Manitoba Hydro, they owe about $49,355 (excluding mortgages) each. We have nothing really to celebrate here in Manitoba, except that Mr. Pallister clearly recognizes Manitoba is potentially in real trouble.
The problem with the province carrying such an enormous debt load is the risk of increasing interest rates. All Manitobans, not just taxpayers with large mortgages and debt, should keep low interest rates in their prayers.
Kenneth M. Adam
Different roles for feds, provinces
Re: Getting a fresh start on health care funding and More spin than speed in Manitoba hospitals (Dec. 8)
I was disappointed in Premier Brian Pallister’s column. He sounded like all the other premiers, holding forth their bowls saying, "Please sir, I want some more." At his stature, he does not do a credible Oliver Twist imitation. But I liked his conclusion: "To protect health care, the federal government must fund health care."
Allan Levine gave a good problem definition, concluding: "Tinkering and using duct tape on a defective system as we have done for the past 30 years and continue to do is not going to change this intolerable situation. Manitoba needs health care administrators (including the premier) who can think outside the box."
Pallister talks about health-care funding as a partnership. That is the mistake. It is not a partnership; it is a constitutionally divided responsibility. The provinces govern health-care delivery within their jurisdictions. The federal government has authority over financial matters, including the greater taxing powers. So my suggestion to get out of the box is to define each side’s responsibility.
Medicare is not a health-delivery program, for that responsibility belongs solely to the provinces. It is a medical insurance program. The federal government has sole jurisdiction. It can pay the same amount for the same procedure whether to the province that provided it, or to the citizen who received it.
The provinces would have sole jurisdiction over regulating the quality of delivery and even how it is delivered to be as efficient as possible. I am sure the provinces would share best practices and harmonize regulations such as professional licensing.
If the federal government’s insurance benefits prove inadequate, then we, the citizens, will know who to blame in demanding adequate funding for health insurance.
Survey says: inconclusive
Should electoral reform in Canada be determined by a game of rock-paper-scissors, the Hogwarts Sorting Hat, a popular vote or a survey?
The multi-party electoral reform committee formed under the present administration recommended the fate of the electoral system in Canada be decided on by referendum, in which case an election would be held in order for eligible voters to cast their vote for first-past-the-post, which would indicate business as usual, or proportional representation. The latter would signal a move to a more proportionately representative electoral system, whereby the popular vote translates into the number of seats held by political parties in government, as favoured by a majority of committee witnesses and public participants.
In its first valiant effort since effectively disregarding the recommendation cast by the committee last week, the federal Liberal government responded by issuing a survey to "consult" the public on electoral reform. The survey seemed to have been generated in a jiffy by private pollsters at the expense of the government’s own nationwide world-class independent data collection agency.
The feds asked to hear from real Canadians without limiting the number of submissions or providing verification methods, which allowed anyone who could provide a valid postal code with unrestricted access to the survey. They expected respondents to draw a picture of their general democratic values based on pointed questions and restrictive multiple-choice response options. They claimed to do so while failing to specifically mention or ask about electoral systems and without properly providing information about the viable options for electoral reform in Canada.
Although uncertainty wavers in terms of whether they intended for their survey to hold any weight in the process, or simply parallel a Buzzfeed quiz, it is inconceivable for the government to gauge public opinion or draw any relevant conclusions by running this kind of bogus consultation effort, which positions them to misrepresent the public, misinterpret the data and manipulate the results.
Particularly after this boondoggle, an increasingly incredulous critical mass must take the Liberals to task on their promise for electoral reform: that the 2015 federal elections would be the last national elections held under the current first-past-the-post system.
Harper didn’t muzzle scientists
Re: Harper’s science record slammed (Dec. 7)
It is stated that the Stephen Harper government stonewalled findings by taxpayer-funded scientists and suppressed the release of scientific information.
I find this a gross overstatement, as federal research institutes are just one of the many institutions engaged in scientific inquiry. The protagonists of the scientific information suppression are required to show that the government was guilty of interfering in the way government-funded research in institutions such as universities, was conducted and findings communicated. Without this, it is not justified to state that the Harper government muzzled the scientific community.
Even though federal scientists may be restricted from media contact, this is not enough to warrant the claim of stonewalling scientific findings. To build a credible case, one would have to show that scientists are not allowed to publish findings, are discouraged from national and international collaboration and from participating in scientific forums among others.
The development to technology thrives on scientific advances and it is hard to imagine any government stonewalling scientific findings. When a scientist speaks to the media, he/she almost certainly will be asked to render an opinion on an issue and not necessarily engaging in a scientific discussion. The article seems to imply media access to scientists is, somehow, equal to scientific communication, and that is not the case.
Pallister and principles
Re: Will Pallister’s gamble in Ottawa pay off? (Dec. 12)
Will Pallister win this bluff? I would say possibly, but not probably. But either way, next time the chances will be even slimmer.
As the carbon tax will be imposed by Ottawa anyway, Pallister can make his stand and lose much. He’s right about the transfer payments for medicare so not only can he lose little, he can also be seen as a winner for standing on principles.