Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/6/2019 (432 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Valcourt shows progress needed
Re: Comments highlight MMIWG inquiry’s importance (June 7)
Bravo, Winnipeg Free Press, for your informative editorial regarding Bernard Valcourt, former Aboriginal affairs minister under prime minister Stephen Harper. How in the world could such an insensitive and uninformed individual be appointed to such a post? You hit it on the head: "Mr. Valcourt demonstrated why Canada must spend a lot more time listening if reconciliation is ever going to be possible in this country."
Also, thank you for mentioning that your great and historic newspaper has been published since 1872 on Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis, a nice reminder to Canada that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people are still here.
Northern species in danger
Re: Canada needs to triple ocean protection to protect habitats: report (June 3)
The situation in western Hudson Bay is a prime example of why Canada needs to triple ocean habitat protection.
Manitoba has lost a third of its polar bear population in the past two decades and beluga whales in western Hudson Bay have been on Canada’s species-at-risk list since 2004. There is a need to monitor the changes stemming from decreasing sea ice and longer open-water shipping seasons. The Arctic is seeing more ships and there will be increased traffic from Churchill’s revitalized deep-sea port.
The good news is the federal government has made safeguarding our oceans a priority and has identified western Hudson Bay as a potential National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA). This special level of protection and marine management would help ensure the survival of our globally important populations of beluga whales and polar bears.
If established, the marine conservation area would provide the resources to study the effects of shipping and interactions with marine wildlife as well as provide management tools to develop effective, site-specific guidelines and protocols so that shipping disturbances on belugas, bears and other marine life are minimized. The federal marine designation would also bring investment in jobs and infrastructure that would enhance tourist and research opportunities.
Polar bears and beluga whales are part of what defines our nation. Western Hudson Bay is home to some of the largest concentrations of these awe-inspiring species in the world. They are a key tourist attraction and protecting their habitat is critical to the well-being of Manitoba’s tourism industry.
Sadly, no efforts appear to be underway to legally protect this important area as an NMCA despite the fact the federal government allocated funds in its 2017 budget to engage in the dialogue and consultations required.
Other parts of Canada have benefited greatly from multimillion-dollar investments in NMCA creation. While this is a federal initiative, we also need our provincial government to push for conservation investments here. I urge all Manitobans and Canadians to contact their MPs and MLAs to let them know they must act now to forever safeguard our irreplaceable northern wildlife and the local tourism economies that depend on them.
Executive director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society — Manitoba chapter
More food for thought
Re: "Sell by" or what? U.S. pushes for clarity on expiration dates (June 6)
Terms identified in the article such as "best by," "enjoy by," "fresh through" and "sell by" contribute to the confusion among the differences between these terms. The phrase "FDA recommendation isn’t mandatory" erases the idea we should take any of the "best by" or related terms seriously, adding more confusion to the topic.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends companies stick with "best if used by." One universal term on food products is a step in the right direction. However, it needs to be mandatory, and the FDA should make it mandatory.
Another suggestion is to require labels to have a description of what the food looks like when it is not safe to eat anymore.
Respecting soldiers’ sacrifices
Re: Premier’s latest self-inflicted wound easily avoidable (June 7)
A couple of things spring to mind after reading this article. It is not hard to imagine the outrage Progressive Conservatives would have displayed had a premier from any other party in Manitoba failed to attend the principal events for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Premier Brian Pallister should realize that without the sacrifices made by Canadians during the Second World War, any subsequent holidays and business meetings in France would have had a much different tone. It was incumbent on Pallister to show the respect warranted by those sacrifices and attend the main Canadian ceremony at Juno Beach.
Pallister’s ongoing elastic explanations as to his whereabouts during his tenure as premier are juvenile.
Education review lacking
Recently, I attended the last interactive public meeting for the provincial government’s education review at R. B. Russell Vocational School. The meeting was well attended by the public and the informal, interactive process generated a lot of good discussion.
But how much of this public input will be listened to when the government has selected what appears to be a stacked commission? Of the nine commission members, six represent a strong financial emphasis, while of the other three, one is a high school science teacher no longer in education, another is currently a lawyer who formerly taught at university and the third is a retired teacher, supposedly to represent education. Why are there no current educators on the commission?
Is the only real objective of this commission just to save money? Most school divisions, in my understanding, are already cutting four per cent every year due to government underfunding of education. There is only so much you can cut!
The government also states that this is to be a "comprehensive, independent review of the kindergarten to 12 education system." How can they call this an independent review when two of the commission members are Clayton Manness, who served as the minister of finance in the Filmon Progressive Conservative government, and Ian Wishart, former Tory minister of education and MLA in the current government?
In my opinion, this is a done deal and the government is only having these interactive public meetings/public hearings so they can say they "consulted the public." If government really wants to understand what is really going on in education these days, all — including the premier of Manitoba — need to spend at least one random working day in a school with a teacher!
Having seen what this government has already done to the health-care system, one can only dread what will happen with the education system. Before that happens, there will most likely be a fall provincial election, as hinted by Premier Pallister, thus an opportunity for a public review of his government. If you are concerned about what’s happening to our health-care system and potentially our education system, please, get out and vote!
Retired teacher, retired school board trustee