Province needs to boost boat inspections
Re: Not enough zebra mussel stations in Manitoba: anglers (June 12)
The article, about concerns by anglers about the hours of operation of the government-led watercraft inspection stations, outlines a very serious problem and is on point. The only way to stop the spread of zebra mussels is to ensure watercraft are clear of juvenile and adult mussels prior to entering waters that are free of this invasive species. There are many helpful things owners of watercraft need to do to prevent the spread, but the critical piece is to ensure these inspection stations are open to the boating public.
Although the provincial government has strong legislation and a program to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species, there is a serious lack of funding and staffing to make it a success. For those of us who live in northern Manitoba, an area blessed with pristine waters free of zebra mussels, the concerns run deep.
While the provincial government pours millions of dollars to promote tourism and fund provincial park upgrades, the program critical to ensuring our lakes remain pristine and attractive for many tourists does not have adequate resources.
A number of concerned citizens from The Pas to Flin Flon have joined together to help government inform the public on how to prevent the spread of zebra mussels into our lakes. Citizens for Protecting Our Northern Waterways (CPONW) has spent hours working with the dedicated government employees working on this program to promote local education and awareness on what we can do to help.
Despite this important work, the No. 1 issue and concern expressed by everyone is the inadequate operating hours of the watercraft inspection stations. Ideally, these should be manned 24-7. Without this important part of the prevention program working effectively, we will all be challenged for it to be successful.
It’s time for the provincial government to take this issue seriously and step up to provide increased funding and support to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species!
Displacement not a solution
Don’t fight poverty by punishing the poor.
The City of Winnipeg plans to dismantle riverside camps and other temporary shelters on public land. Individuals and organizations concerned about this practice are calling for the city to end the practice, which effectively displaces and traumatizes our citizens who are already experiencing the worst marginalization.
The city’s plan is not a solution; it is not even a partial solution. The city’s plan deals with the optics, not the problem. The problem is abject poverty, and we are talking about a very small portion of a much larger percentage of the population who live below the poverty line.
The solution, in a general sense, is for all citizens to have their basic needs met in a comprehensive, sensitive and caring way.
Moral panic at the sight of shelters should not occasion an "optical" solution for that small group which is so visible.
We must deal with our citizens who have nothing, and nowhere to go. We must deal with homelessness, and when we do, it should be part of an overall approach to poverty and inclusion.
Poverty can be eliminated by providing all individuals with access to basic necessities. A basic income ensures everyone can meet their needs, participate in society and live with dignity.
Chairman, Basic Income Manitoba
Re: Student ‘geek squads’ maintain school devices, help teachers (May 10)
This is an insightful article about the new technology programs in schools, where middle and high school students repair their school’s technological devices. The intent is to motivate students to join these programs. However, some of the language that is used is contradictory to the goal of the article.
The article positively uses statistics and interviews by teachers and technology specialists to portray these students as beneficial to the school.
For example, the article states that in the previous year, 10,000 devices were disrupted, and that since then, the number has doubled. Additionally, a teacher who asked a student tech for help described the interaction as "like calling an adult." When reading about how the staff of the school appreciate their work, it will motivate these 11- to-15-year-old students to continue in the program, and thus increase their self-worth.
Although the content of the article argues that the extracurricular school technology programs should be in all schools, some of the language in the article may make students reluctant to join these programs. This term "geek squad" is repeatedly used. Moreover, an 11-year-old member of the "geek squad" is described as having silver shoes and a yellow shirt. By describing her clothing, rather than her skills, it could be interpreted that the article is mocking these students.
I enjoyed the article, but feel that the terms used may unintentionally negatively portray the students who are in the program, affecting the students’ self-esteem.
Care system needs review
Child and Family Services affects many families in Winnipeg. The idea of the care system is to help children and families in need, but it can also do some major damage. The system takes children away from their families based not necessarily on what the child may want, but more on what CFS sees fit in the situation.
I do realize some of the good that CFS has to offer. Some families’ situations aren’t always good, and yes, I see that occasionally some parents just aren’t suited to be the primary caregivers. In some cases, what the child wants and needs is a new and better environment to support them. In my eyes, all kids deserve a good and happy living environment, but sometimes that’s not what happens. And in those cases, that’s when the system would be looking out for their best outcome.
Based on my perspective as a young girl who knows and is extremely close with many families involved with CFS, I feel these kids have enough problems as it is; for CFS to take their family away from them to me seems unfair. They are taking away all that the child has known, and potentially putting the child with what could be an abusive or destructive family.
I’ve seen what can happen and how these children feel at the end of the day, with everything that goes on. This damages their outlook on how they are cared for by their family, and families. It makes them feel unwanted, lonely and abandoned. People wonder why teens who are, or previously have been, in the system do drugs, drop out, are violent and have mental-health issues. Next time you think about how "messed up" things are for them, remember that they never asked for any of it.
When kids are in the system they get no say in what happens, or when or whether they get to see or communicate with their families. These experiences ruin their emotional attachment to their family.
I would just ask for the system to be reviewed, and revised and changed to fit a more constructive way to help kids who actually need it.