What a difference a year makes!

One of the duties and joys of being a weekly newspaper publisher is that you gain an extra appreciation for the yearly cycle of the seasons and the community. It seems that we should be having spring by now and last year that was the case. At least we didn’t have this much snow around and I remember that because we were able to work and walk all around our “new” house before we moved in April 1. Like most people, we can’t find our yard or sidewalks this year due to the heavy snow accumulation.

One little wrinkle about the weekly newspaper business is that we are always working one or two weeks ahead. When an event actually arrives we tend to think that we’ve already “been there, done that” because we’ve handled the advertising and the stories already.

Speaking of news and ads we can use more of both. Email us or contact us, we’d love to hear from you.

Hope you will enjoy this email or our hard copy papers or our news on the web site.

If we can bring you news in a better way please contact me.

And don’t forget, our only income is ad sales in the papers or on the web site so keep us in mind for your newspaper and web site advertising. Our products include The Neepawa Banner, The Rivers Banner, the myWestman.ca web site and we have YouTube, Facebook and Twitter sites as well.

Hope all is well with you and yours and may God bless us all.

Ken Waddell

What you may need to boost your business is a $25 button ad on our web site. We are getting over 225,000 hits a month so we may be able to attract hundreds of people to your web site for only $25 per month. Call or email right away: 204-476-3401 or kwaddell@neepawabanner.com

In the Banners and on myWestman.ca…..

We’ve also got lots of columns and stories. A great package and you can read it many ways; hard copy in our mailing area, hard copy by subscription, on line (as linked below) or as an full copy internet on-line subscription.

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You can read our columns there and I have also placed my most current column below for your reading enjoyment.

Autopac headed wrong way again
This week the Canadian Taxpayers Federation posed this question, “If someone stole your vehicle and got into an accident, do you think MPI should give them compensation? Obviously not.Unfortunately for taxpayers, MPI has been doing just that!
A recent CTV news story highlighted one case where a thief was given between $30,000 and $60,000 after smashing up a stolen car and getting injured in the process. That’s over and above the cost to our health care system for fitting him up with expensive prosthetic limbs and other procedures.
To add insult to injury, MPI also conceded they will sometimes pay for criminals’ family members to be flown in to visit them in the hospital. MPI will even provide compensation to the families of criminals that die in stolen cars. Worst of all, the NDP voted down a bill in 2008 that would have ended such nonsense. It’s time to tell Andrew Swan, the minister responsible for MPI, to wise up. Cut off the benefits to criminals or resign…taxpayers have had enough!
In 2008, according to Winnipeg Sun’s Tom Brodbeck, the NDP Justice minister Dave Chomiak “ridiculed a Tory private member’s bill that called for the complete elimination of MPI benefits for convicted car thieves who get hurt or killed in vehicle collisions. He called the bill “typical Tory meanness,” saying the proposed change was nothing but “symbolism”.
To see Dave Chomiak in action in the provincial legislature is an unforgettable experience. He is like an over-wound tin toy who rattles and bangs away at whatever stands in his way. Whenever former premier Gary Doer couldn’t sway the house with his own twisted stories and bombast, Chomiak would be unleashed to rise to the occasion and blast away, making less sense than a cat on a tin roof.
But bombast aside, there’s a sense of entitlement at play here. Chomiak, who is also a former minister of Health, figures that if Autopac doesn’t pay out the injury claims and the family claims, the health care will have to pay. Even if healthcare has to pay some of the strictly medical expenses, there’s a major accounting glitch here in Chomiak’s logic. He treats Autopac fees as just another tax pool. On the contrary, Autopac fees should be kept as low as possible. Autopac should not be paying compensation for car thieves or their families.
Autopac, as a monopoly, should have a clear mandate from government to provide auto insurance as economically as possible to consumers. That way, both private and business insurance expenses for auto and truck insurance can be as competitive as possible.
If Autopac has any money left over it should be allocated to ways of reducing their own costs by helping police in getting car thieves off the road. First get them off the road and then into rehab as quickly as possible. It would be interesting to know how many cars and trucks are stolen every year. It’s in  the hundreds and they get paid out too. Who would want a stolen, bagged out car back anyway?
Autopac fees aren’t just another tax pool that the NDP government can divert whenever it wants to. Autopac has a clear monopoly and a mandate. It should be following it. Autopac should not be dictating auto environmental policy by eliminating pre-1995 cars, they shouldn’t be compensating criminals and they shouldn’t be funding all kinds of other stuff. Remember when they wanted to divert Autopac profits to the university?
We need streamlined, clear cut auto insurance policies, not a bloated monopoly bureaucracy wandering around trying to find places to drop off its excessive profits. Autopac has become like a giant, over-fed, staggering elephant looking for fresh ground to shed its droppings. It’s all a matter of viewpoint and, as usual, the NDP view is in error. 

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