Legislative vulgarity toxic
The current COVID-19 situation has been compared to a war. In a war, Canadians expect their leaders to set aside partisan differences and work for the common good.
Both Premier Brian Pallister and NDP Leader Wab Kinew have failed in this expectation. They have used this pandemic as a forum for scoring political points. The atmosphere in the legislature is toxic and we increasingly hear vulgar comments rather than reasoned political debate. I would compare the legislature to an unruly kindergarten class, but I would have to apologize to the kids for drawing such a comparison.
I recommend we give Dougald Lamont and the Liberal Party a chance to govern. He strikes me as someone with whom you can discuss matters without the temperature in the room going up a hundred degrees in five seconds. This is what you get with Pallister and Kinew.
At the very least the Liberal Party would bring a tone of civility to our government. That would be no small accomplishment.
Kurt Clyde, Winnipeg
With a premier who is enjoying record-low popularity, and a government that continues to make wildly unpopular decisions, much of the citizenry feels helpless to do anything, considering the PCs have a majority government. The next election will either be in 2023, as prescribed by our fixed election date law, or if Premier Brian Pallister deigns to call one ahead of time. It’s times like these when a recall election mechanism would be of use. The people must have a tool at their disposal to remove a government that is not acting in their best interests.
Darren Spurrill, Winnipeg
Making space for cars
Re: City to study parking rules for new residential buildings (April 29)
Although a devoted minority of Winnipeg citizens have lifestyles suited to not owning a car, such is not true for the vast majority who require a personal vehicle, nor will it ever be. City policies must recognize that most citizens will own at least one vehicle, and should facilitate changing how people use their vehicles rather than giving them up completely.
Driving less should be one goal, and is accomplished by effective public transit, development conducive to active modes of commuting, and densification. But it also benefits from residents having secure places to store their vehicles, including in multi-family dwellings.
A second goal should be to increase the use of electric vehicles. Here, too, people in multi-family dwellings benefit from protected parking with available charging. Starting a trip with a charged and warm vehicle maximizes driving range, especially in cold regions such as Manitoba.
Politicians should be cautious about policies based on unrealistic assumptions about car ownership or developer concerns about profit, and instead focus on how mandated parking requirements encourage responsible car use that benefits neighbourhoods, the city and the environment.
Jim Clark, Winnipeg
Reflecting on murders
Re: Victims of murder all worthy of mourning (April 26)
I very much appreciated Dean Pritchard’s article to remind us all that every victim of murder is worthy of mourning and reflection. And reflect we should, as Manitoba has for many years had the dubious distinction of being the province with the greatest number of homicides per 100,000 population. In 2018, there were 55 homicides, or about one per week. Also in Manitoba, there were 19 fatal deaths at the hands of police over a period of 18 years, or about one fatality at the hands of the police per year.
Kirsti Kuuskivi, Winnipeg
Don’t prioritize athletes
Re: Olympic athletes will be tested daily, restricted to village and venue in Tokyo (April 28)
Certain sports officials in Canada are again calling for the prioritization of COVID-19 vaccines for Canada’s Olympic athletes. Provincial health officials across the country should continue to resist this request. Athletes, whether professional or amateur, should not be considered a priority at the expense of other Canadians. We still have not prioritized teachers, for example, who fulfill a far more essential role in our society than athletes.
Irwin Corobow, Winnipeg
Don’t malign Roy Greer
Re: Manitoba’s premier, racist CNN pundit can’t be bothered to check history, facts about the places they live (Opinion, April 28)
Niigaan Sinclair takes umbrage that a project naming wildlife management areas after prominent citizens fails to recognize any Indigenous Manitobans. Fair enough.
But Sinclair might take a bit of his own advice regarding a need to check history before needlessly harming the reputations of others, such as the late Roy Greer, who farmed north of Rivers and will be recognized for his lifelong conservation efforts in this current initiative. It is galling for Sinclair to malign him as nothing but a well-connected Tory hack, a permanent resident at the public trough and undeserving of any recognition.
If Sinclair had taken the time to do a Free Press obituary search, he would have discovered Greer was a kind, gentle man who had a soft spot for the disadvantaged, and a community leader and organizer who helped develop a conservation district and promoted the alternative land use services project. He proudly found numerous ways to integrate conservation and wildlife preservation areas into his farm operation, long before environmental stewardship became trendy.
Congratulations to the Roy Greer family on this richly deserved honour.
Darcy Hickson, Forrest
Northern teachers ignored
Re: Plan to inoculate teachers in N.D. called ‘crazy’ rush job (April 30)
Unbelievable! The premier wants Manitoba teachers to travel to the U.S. border to get their vaccination. Manitoba doesn’t end at the north Perimeter. What about teachers from central and northern Manitoba?
Are teachers to travel after a full day’s work? Who will pay their transportation expenses? Substitute teacher? Are teachers from Thompson expected to fly, or take two full days off, just to drive there and back?
If our teachers are so important — and they are — why are they not being recognized as essential workers?
Louise Chernetz, East St. Paul
Old names linger
Re: Kapyong Barracks now called Naawi-Oodena (April 26)
Built in 1984, the Slaw Rebchuk Bridge is known to few Winnipeggers by its name. However, almost everyone knows where the Salter Bridge is.
My guess is that Naawi-Oodena will continue to be known by most as "the old army base" for many years to come, and the now-empty downtown Bay building will be remembered as The Bay, regardless of possible incarnations.
We don’t mean disrespect, it’s just that history is not as easily changed as a name.
Eric Clinch, Winnipeg