December 8, 2019

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Letters and comments, March 6

Retrofit buses for safety

Re: Driving in the shadow of Humboldt (March 1)

Reading Ben Waldman’s article about bus transport of hockey players after the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, I am curious about the presence and use of seatbelts on buses used to transport sports teams.

I understand seatbelts will soon be required on newly manufactured highway coaches. How many teams are retrofitting their buses to include seatbelts? I carefully noted in the gruesome pictures of the Humboldt bus crash that the rear section of bus wreckage still had seats bolted in place. I have to question whether seatbelt use could have saved lives and reduced injury.

I still regularly read tragic news of highway fatalities where those not wearing seatbelts are ejected from the vehicle. More than 12 years ago, I visited the U.K. and was able to use a seatbelt on a commercial bus.

Is it not time to push for seatbelt use on commercial buses?

Dave Stobbe

Winkler

Who benefits?

Re: Save some anger for the premier (March 1)

As usual, Dan Lett hits the nail on the head. I quote: "Pallister and his Tory team are working diligently — so they can deliver a one-point cut to the provincial sales tax." And all this results in "strangling all forms of government expenditure. Health and education are close to frozen. Investments in provincial highway infrastructure have been significantly cut... blanket freeze in grants to municipalities."

It’s all very well for Pallister to push to drop one percentage point of the PST; after all, who will that benefit the most? Think about it. Those who can afford to buy a $60,000 vehicle will save $600, not a bad bit of change to avoid paying.

The person who has to finance a used vehicle for $6,000 will save $60 — not bad, but the financing charges will gobble that up and more.

Take it another step down, the young family needing a new appliance at $600. Oh, wow! They will save a whopping $6! Maybe they had to finance that also!

Go down another step. For the person on social assistance, buying a coffee and a doughnut for $6, that would result in a big savings of six cents. In actuality, they will save only five cents because of penny-rounding.

I wonder why we even have PST on foodstuffs irrespective of where they are purchased, or how they are served?

Who would the reduced PST benefit the most?

In the meantime, services have diminished, roads and infrastructure have taken a beating — all to save $600 for those who can afford to pay cash for just about everything.

When will the reality of poor folk really strike home to those who simply do not understand anything beyond their own greed?

Tony Rhodes-Marriott

Steinbach

SNC-Lavalin fallout continues

Re: ‘Big House’ mention a ‘pivotal’ moment (March 2)

I was moved while reading insightful wisdom of First Nations elders from British Columbia regarding the spiritual grounding that Jody Wilson-Raybould received. Her ethical and spiritual teachings are summarized in her testimony when she stated she "was taught to always hold true to your core values, principles and to act with integrity."

Her speaking her truth to power leads me to ask: what is the basis for each of our choices on life’s path? Traditional values or political expediency? Principles or pragmatism? Truth or trickery? Integrity or intervention? Justice or "just us?" Courage or caving in? Conscience or convenience? Wisdom or winning? Honesty or deceit? Spirituality or spin-doctoring?

In the spirit of "all our relations," chi miigwech/megwetch.

John Wesley Oldham

Winnipeg

Justin Trudeau — no and yes.

"Sunny ways," no; "old-style politics," yes. And, as a result, he has destined Canadians to a return to the bad old days of another Conservative government.

Shame, Justin, shame.

Walt Roberts

Winnipeg

Access to Skywalk critical

Re: Broken lift prevents people in wheelchairs from crossing Portage and Main (March 3)

The Winnipeg Free Press does a disservice to people with disability issues by burying the real problem — accessibility to the Skywalk system — with irrelevant commentary.

The issue is lack of access to the walkway and has nothing to do with whether Portage and Main is open to pedestrians.

In fact, even if the intersection were open, Allen Mankewich would still have to make his way from the 201 Portage Ave. exit to the intersection and then towards Fort Street to gain access to Winnipeg Square.

The real issue is that all Manitobans should be able to access the Skywalk at the most readily available location, and the city should be doing all it can toward that end. That would certainly be more helpful than opening Portage and Main. If mechanical problems arise, fix them or find more reliable alternatives, such as ramps used in many areas of the walkway.

Another aspect of this story is just how beneficial the Skywalk is for anyone with mobility issues. Without the walkway, navigating downtown would be impossible for many.

The city should do everything it can to maintain and improve this very positive feature of downtown Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Free Press should be using its voice toward that same end.

Jim Clark

Winnipeg

For arts’ sake

Re: How Winnipeg benefits from art (Feb. 25) and Straight for the art (Letters, March 1)

In response to Carol Phillips’ comments in a recent article, Kim Trethart opines that Phillips makes a "veiled attempt" to justify public funding for a "luxury" that solely serves the interests of an "artsy crowd."

Trethart then asserts that this funding could be better used to support infrastructure, social services, health, etc.

Interestingly, Trethart failed to suggest that public funding cease support and subsidies for sports organizations, private corporations and companies who have benefited from financial bailouts and the very wealthy who enjoy tax shelters that most can’t.

Yes, the services he mentioned need support, but not at the expense of the arts community. Winnipeg has long been regarded as an outstanding cultural and arts centre in North America. Taxpayers’ money not only supports the visual arts such as gallery works, public installations and monumental works that herald our history and culture, but also bolsters our very fine theatres, dance companies, musical organizations, film and television industries, local literature, summer festivals such as Folklorama, the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Fringe and other endeavours, large and small.

These, in turn, promote entertainment as well as employment, tourism, cultural enrichment and a wealth of options for community participation, and more.

The arts, through the ages, have influenced civilizations, given us records of our historical growth, provided a voice and understanding to societal issues, and allowed humans to teach, learn and share our identities and commonalities. The world without the arts is a sorry, bland place, indeed.

Take away public funding of the arts? I say we need to sustain what we have and, hopefully, give more.

Linda M. Anderson

Winnipeg

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