Archive for May, 2009

Not enough murders yet

Friday, May 29th, 2009

By Ken Waddell

It would appear that our capital city, Winnipeg, has more troubles than speeding tickets and crumbling infrastructure.
It seems Winnipeg has a major murder problem by the number of homicides that have happened so far this year.
The number of injuries that could have resulted in deaths is astounding.

A number of years ago, an expert on CBC radio said that the murder rate in Winnipeg wasn’t that bad. The victims, he said, came from two sources. First, it was men who insisted on going on three day drinking binges and who lived in seedy hotels. Second, it was women who refused to leave abusive spousal situations.

That may have been the case but the latest rash of shootings and murders are a lot harder to categorize.

A 16 year old girl was murdered, an adult in the house nearly killed. A middle aged man was attacked and killed, allegedly by two 14 year old boys. These recent cases don’t fit the earlier stated model.

One has to ask what is happening in Winnipeg, or in Manitoba for that matter.
And please don’t tell me it is poverty or else there should be lot more murders committed. Poor people don’t commit murders; sick, angry people do.

So why are there so many sick, angry people around?
I’m certainly not sure of the answer but there may be some clues.

A teacher told us few years ago that when he went to school (and he’s only 40 now), if he got in trouble at school he would be in more trouble when he got home. “Nowadays,” he said, “as a teacher, if I raise some trouble with a student, I may as well sit by the phone and wait for the angry parents to call.”
Therein lies one clue as to why society is falling apart. If a teachers says your kid has been bad at school, trust me he’s likely been bad at school. Most teachers have a lot better things to do than “pick” on your kid, so get over it.

Yes, you need to defend your child, but when they are in trouble at school, for goodness sake, back the teacher up at least until you know the truth.

Another cause of trouble in our society is the use of alcohol and drugs. For several decades we’ve winked and smiled as we observe young people starting into booze and drugs. Safe grad, not-so safe grads, bush parties with parental consent and supervision are all a part of a slippery slope that says to kids, everybody is doing it so you may as well just do it, stay safe, and don’t get caught.

That’s just plain wrong.

I would love to have a beer, I’d enjoy a drink of wine or maybe even stronger drink. But you know what? The only way you can be sure alcohol won’t control you is if you never touch the stuff. Many a good person has gone from a little wine to a few beer to a lot of hard liquor. Never yet has there ever been any good come of booze, never, ever!

The same can be said of illegal drugs, never any good has come of them, never, ever. Period, end of story.

And yet we play with them; if not in fact, in our minds and in our jokes and in our conversations.
We trivialize the very things that have lead to so much obvious ruin. It’s bad for society when we trivialize the enemy of our well being.

There is one partial answer to society’s problems. We are desperately short of treatment centres, remand centres and jails. I’m willing to bet that when 14 year olds commit murder, it isn’t the first time they have had run-ins with the law. It might be, but it’s doubtful. We certainly learned from the repeat car thieves that the majority of offences were second, third, fourth or many multiple offences. We also know that a person can’t steal cars when they are in jail or remand or rehab.

We are short of judges, that report just came out. We are short of crown attorneys. We are short of spaces to house the accused, the guilty and those in need of rehab.

We aren’t taking our public safety seriously on a number of fronts. Until we do, we can just keep running up the tally clock. Crime will run rampant and murders will keep adding up.

I’m not sure how many people have to die before we catch on. Apparently not enough people have died yet to get our government’s attention.

Oh sorry, I forgot. The government is too busy handing out illegal speeding tickets. Well, at least that makes money, I guess, and after last week, Winnipeg has a few less people to spend it on. They’re dead!

What are their real reasons?

Friday, May 15th, 2009

What are their real reasons?

By Ken Waddell

There has been much commotion raised about speeding tickets issued in and around Winnipeg. The tickets in question have been issued as a result of photo radar cameras set up in construction zones. Seems the cameras weren’t switched off after hours and on weekends when construction crews went home. Seems also that millions of dollars worth of tickets were sent out. Many were paid, some not and a few were challenged. The challenges were based on the fact the law seems to state the speed limit is in effect for protection of workers. A justice official has ruled that when there are no workers present, the law isn’t in effect. Therefore, after hours tickets may well be void.
Instead of bowing to that ruling, the NDP government pondered fighting it. Then they withdrew. Then the avalanche opened up. What about all the people who paid their tickets but weren’t actually guilty under the law? Manitoba’s justice minister’s first reaction was: too bad, so sad, indicating that paying the fine was an admission of guilt. But that was really dumb because if a person isn’t guilty, then paying a fine doesn’t make them guilty.
The truth actually came out; the law in effect has less to do with worker safety and more to do with grabbing cash. Some reports say as much as $60 million, which seems incredible indeed. To pay back millions in fines will cost a huge amount of money in both rebates and administration fees. It’s a mess, and it’s a mess of the government’s own making.
If the aim is to keep work areas safe, and that should be the aim, there are other ways to do it. Some have called them idiot boards, the flashing sign indicators that western Manitobans are all familiar with if they travel Hwy. 10 through the village of Forrest. The name idiot board would indicate the state of mind of a driver if he goes through one of those signed sections and doesn’t reduce speed when the big flashing speed numbers are right in front of them. The flashing speed indicator boards have proven effective but the problem is they work at controlling speed, they don’t make money.
That’s a problem. The province has spent itself silly in the last 10 years. They’ve borrowed more and more money, spent more and more money in good times and now they still have a bare cupboard in bad times.
This spring the chickens are really coming home to roost. The provincial NDP have introduced a bill to suspend the province’s debt payments. That’s right. Not only will they increase expenditures and increase the provincial debt, but they will suspend debt payments for three years. Manitoba is doing well financially but it certainly isn’t because of our government. It’s in spite of our government. That could change. Manitoba may well suffer long after other provinces have recovered because we have a staggering debt load, an increasing debt load.
Finance minister Greg Selinger has straight out lied to Manitobans when he says the debt is about $11 billion. It’s not true, its over $20 billion and climbing every day. In fact it’s climbing at about a million dollars per day.
It’s no wonder the government doesn’t want to face paying back illegal speeding tickets. They are

Motives questioned

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Motives questioned

By Ken Waddell
There has been much commotion raised about speeding tickets issued in and around Winnipeg. The tickets in question have been issued as a result of photo radar cameras set up in construction zones. Seems the cameras weren’t switched off after hours and on weekends when construction crews went home. Seems also that millions of dollars worth of tickets were sent out. Many were paid, some not and a few were challenged. The challenges were based on the fact the law seems to state the speed limit is in effect for protection of workers. A justice official has ruled that when there are no workers present, the law isn’t in effect. Therefore, after hours tickets may well be void. Instead of bowing to that ruling, the NDP government pondered fighting it. Then they withdrew. Then the avalanche opened up. What about all the people who paid their tickets but weren’t actually guilty under the law? Manitoba’s justice minister’s first reaction was: too bad, so sad, indicating that paying the fine was an admission of guilt. But that was really dumb because if a person isn’t guilty, then paying a fine doesn’t make them guilty. The truth actually came out; the law in effect has less to do with worker safety and more to do with grabbing cash. Some reports say as much as $60 million, which seems incredible indeed. To pay back millions in fines will cost a huge amount of money in both rebates and administration fees. It’s a mess, and it’s a mess of the government’s own making. If the aim is to keep work areas safe, and that should be the aim, there are other ways to do it. Some have called them idiot boards, the flashing sign indicators that western Manitobans are all familiar with if they travel Hwy. 10 through the village of Forrest. The name idiot board would indicate the state of mind of a driver if he goes through one of those signed sections and doesn’t reduce speed when the big flashing speed numbers are right in front of them. The flashing speed indicator boards have proven effective but the problem is they work at controlling speed, they don’t make money. That’s a problem. The province has spent itself silly in the last 10 years. They’ve borrowed more and more money, spent more and more money in good times and now they still have a bare cupboard in bad times. This spring the chickens are really coming home to roost. The provincial NDP have introduced a bill to suspend the province’s debt payments. That’s right. Not only will they increase expenditures and increase the provincial debt, but they will suspend debt payments for three years. Manitoba is doing well financially but it certainly isn’t because of our government. It’s in spite of our government. That could change. Manitoba may well suffer long after other provinces have recovered because we have a staggering debt load, an increasing debt load. Finance minister Greg Selinger has straight out lied to Manitobans when he says the debt is about $11 billion. It’s not true, its over $20 billion and climbing every day. In fact it’s climbing at about a million dollars per day. It’s no wonder the government doesn’t want to face paying back illegal speeding tickets. They are broke. After nearly 10 years of mismanaging the economy and over taxing Manitobans, they’ve been caught in an illegal tax scam called speeding tickets. If they truly want to help Manitobans, use idiot boards to slow down speeders. If they truly want to help Manitobans, make major changes in how we deliver government programs. If they truly want to help Manitobans, they should pay down some debt. The problem is, like many governments, they are more interested in helping themselves.

Finding the dollars

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Finding the dollars
By Ken Waddell


As provincial governments check out every nook and cranny to find some more income, it may well be time to revisit some ideas from days gone by.
Health care eats up 40 per cent of many provincial budgets. That’s not sustainable. A health care premium should be implemented. Now, as horrifying as it may sound to citizens of the 21st century, health care premiums used to levied in Manitoba. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that health care premiums were dropped. It was the Schreyer NDP government that lifted that “huge” burden off Manitoba resident. Sarcasm noted I’m sure, as the burden was fairly small, a few dollars per month. At $10 per month, per person premiums would raise $144,000,000 per year. Before anyone gets all upset and decries that notion, please be advised that the 1961 Saskatchewan medicare plan brought in by Tommy Douglas had premiums. And Douglas was by no means the “Father of Medicare”. The health plan was based on Matt Anderson’s 1938 municipal plan which required residents to come up with $5 per person per year in a time when that was a substantial amount of money. Perhaps it’s time to go back in history and get real about our health care costs and expectations.
In a addition to health care premiums, what would be wrong with a small fee for each doctor visit? It’s fully expected at the chiropractor’s office, why then not at the medical doctor’s office?
And while the government is seeking new ways to raise money, why not look at cutting some costs?
Here’s some questions to ask.
Highway speeding is an offence but how much police time and dollars should be spent enforcing speed laws?
Marijuana is illegal, and should remain so, but how much time should be spent chasing after grow-ops? If all our enforcement has reduced the amount of available drugs that’s great, but it’s doubtful.
How about the gun registry? Two billion dollars and counting! While some police officers might use the gun registry to check out if there are guns at a certain address, how many policemen would barge into a potentially dangerous situation based on the data base saying there aren’t any guns at a particular house. I doubt if you could find one officer that would make that judgement call. They go in assuming there’s a gun behind every door and so they should.
And how much money should go into arts and cultural funding? Certainly not much based on past practise. The federal government has started to offer matching funding. That’s a good start. Raise $100 and receive a matching grant. It would sure eliminate some of the off the wall crackpot art work that’s been foisted on us in the past.
It won’t be popular but water should be provided at cost, not subsidized by the taxpayers. Use lots of water, pay the price. Use only a little bit, then save some money. It’s pretty simple, but our municipal water systems haven’t been geared that way. They are starting but it’s long overdue.
And how about cheap hydro which was supposed to bring in tons of industry. It basically hasn’t happened and Manitoba has been subsidizing inefficient houses, businesses, heating systems for decades. We waste a lot of electricity. A lot less would be wasted if we were all paying full market prices for hydro. Cheap hydro has become a very expensive sacred cow. Instead of bringing in lots of industry it has killed off efficiency and innovation.
Wind and solar will never compete with water power and especially so if the price of hydro is kept artificially low.
There are some thoughts on how to make money and save money. Let’s see if anybody is listening or if anybody cares.


kwaddell@kenwaddell.ca This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247