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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - November 3, 1993, Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg Free Press 1993 Transit is for people The city works and operations Councillor Terry has heard an expression of interest from private developers in the construction of a transit service parallel to Pembina He should widen the discussion to see what other interest there is in such a But he should make sure that Winnipegs transit service serves the whole public and is not tailored too closely to suit the wishes of a narrow group of land owners or The city has long dreamed of building a road from about the Canadian National Railway station beside the CN through the Fort Rouge yards and the Letellier subdivision out to the University of The new road would be reserved exclusively for transit now de layed by other which could speed pas sengers between Fort Garry and downtown Councils have never found the money for the howev and have been wait ing for federal and pro vincial At the the city plans to make Gra ham Avenue into a tran sit mall between Fort and Carlton streets in the next two years at a cost of It plans to build the first phase of the Southwest Transit Corridor as far as Jubilee Avenue in 1998 and 1999 at a cost of million if the province covers The stations on such a transit corridor would be obvious places for highrise Plenty of people would like to be able to live in a wellserved residential neigh borhood where they can warm and to a bus hop on a bus and ride quickly The city should be happy to strike deals with developers who want to use the development opportunities a transit link will Such should not be negotiated in secre An competitive bidding process is the best way to ensure that the city wins a suitable price for rights and privileges it Private meetings between council lors and developers are apt to produce misunderstand ings about who is serving If Duguid is going to hold more meetings with builders and financiers about transit he should hold them in The city must at all times remain the master of the tran sit taking due account of developers It cannot let developers design and build the transit ser vice that all Winnipeggers use and pay because they will naturally design it to benefit their projects at the ex pense of Late to Maastricht They as the man on the street might a day late and a dollar but they did eventually get They are the nations of the European Com munity and one year after they had hoped to they arrived at Maastricht when the Treaty on European Union took effect this The Maastricht treaty calls for closer politi cal and social as well as a common currency and com mon citizenship In its scope its theoretical scope it is almost breath given the history of Europes but there were no nor should there have been The official reason for the general sobriety is that times are hard in Europe as they are everywhere The unof ficial reason is that quite a lot of people in Europe do not want what Maastricht is intended to bring united inextricably bound that there is no point in drawing the attention of a lot of people to the fact that they have just got something they never wanted in the first In in in in Ireland and in Ger many there is intense opposition to the idea of one Eu Danish voters initially rejected but were given a chance to reconsider French and Irish voters approved it by the narrowest of The British and the Ger mans were not given the opportunity to but have made no secret of the fact that they have strong doubts about That big is better is a bureaucrats concept that small different is better is how most people In Denmark and Britain those people forced their govern ments to negotiate exemptions from some of the treatys They were and the treaty is but it is clear that Europe is not ready for it in any way be yond the Even as the partners of the Euro pean Community bicker with each other and try to sneak out the window on one issue or other nations in the new Europe especially from Eastern pounding on the door trying to get No one seems to know exactly what to do with Europe is bigger than the EC but it is in a at least in the eyes of many Prime minis ters and presidents can congratulate each other on the im plementation of the Maastricht but without pa cooperation and genuine recognition of the Euro pean reality it may amount to no more than most treaties in Europe have meant over the last Winnipeg Free Press mwlfttg fttM Ml 1979 Wmlftg Tritmnt Ml 1990 MAURICE SWITZER Publisher DUNCAN McMONAGLE Executive Editor JOHN DAFOE Editorial Page Editor DAVID LEE Managing Editor Directors JOHN Marketing CRAIG BARNARD Circulation ED BELHUMEUR Human Resources BILL BURNS BRIAN Finance STEPHAN MAJORKI Production Wlnnlfwo dlvliton of Nwtipuwi WvWon of Thornton Company JmlUd PMhUlW Mountain UMltote R2X PH Editorials Freedom of liberty of Religion Equality of CMI Rights Editor John 6977044 Referendums are no answer THE ARROGANCE the Mulroney government displayed towards Canadians on a host of issues from the Goods and Services Tax to the Constitution means that all political parties will come to the new Parlia ment pledged to democratize the sys The Reform party thinks it owns the patent on the There is no ques tion it has the most radical proposals to in the words of its Blue that public policy in democratic soci eties should reflect the will of the ma jority of Among Reforms mechanisms to at tain real democracy are more free votes in the publicized free votes in party the right of an in dividual MP to vote against the party if instructed by his the elimination of all public funding for po litical parties and the use of the di rect democracy mechanisms of initia referendums and The new Liberal government has an 18point platform of parliamentary re Like it seeks to empower individual The Liberals want more free permitting MPs to vote their not their party They want to elevate and broadcast the work of Commons al lowing them to draft hold prebudget hearings and scrutinize ex Frances Russell penditures not The Liberals also propose overhaul ing the Commons daily curtail ing windy Question Period posturing by government and opposition and giv ing backbenchers more time to discuss constituent at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Reform they promise changes to the electoral sys tem imposing controls on the spending of special interests during election campaigns and providing financial in ducements for parties to nominate women Many of these ideas are A few are cures worse than the dis The Reform partys direct de mocracy and privatization ideas are Rather than strengthening they will weaken it fur just as they have in the Banning public financing of political parties is a prescription for govern ment by and for the rich and power Even Canadas system of partial public funding still allows wealth to talk too A case in point is the successful lobby by the brandname prescription drug companies to abolish Canadas system of compulsory licensing for cheaper generic Canadas medicare already under ex treme financial will have to find another million a year for the multinational drug firms were the larg est single contributor to the coffers of the Yes side in the 1992 constitutional referendum Lengthy experience with initia tives and referendums shows that they are Trojan drawing elitism and autocracy into the heart of a represen tative democratic THE WORST feature of referen dums is that they pretend com plex issues are open to simple Coupled with todays televi sionanddirectmaildriven political they are tailormade for voter Studies of referendums around the world show that whoever poses the question almost always gets to dictate the The voters resounding in Quebecs sovereignty referen dum in 1980 in Canadas constitutional exercise last are very rare The citizen initiative where a set number of voters Reform pegs it at three per cent can trigger a refer isnt any more California is a referenduminitiative It started in when cit izens were desperate to curb the power of the rail barons who dominated the according to University of Southern California political scientist Larry referenduminitiative has become just another weapon for every vestedinterest and pressure group with a fat A whole new sector of the economy has been spun from signature gatherers and political con sultants to lawyers and initiative writ Canadians will recall the antitax Proposition 13 in which still bank rupts Californias education and health In the largest lottery ticket manufacturer in the put up million of the million spent by a prolottery front group called Califor nians for Better Education to promote a lottery The initiative passed and the manufacturer got the contract to print the states lottery Referendums and initiatives would no more reflect the will of the major ity of citizens in Canada than they do in Take the time to look around us 4 Wtntor oltot CounfU I SPOKE to a workshop on writing at Linden Meadows School the day af ter the election and was pleasantly surprised to observe the keen interest in the The 20odd children from grades 7 to 9 had chosen my slot to hear me talk about persuasive writ writing a When I brought up the election there was a buzz of The teenagers are interested in Obviously some had stayed up to watch the re sults and were pleased with the out One girl said she would have hoped to see the Tories get at least 12 seats to be recognized as a party and be a more effective One student told me later she felt sorry for Prime Min ister Kim subject to such a public which should have been meted out to the party and for mer prime minister Brian The kids asked questions about writ ing a column similar to what adults Am I free to chose my own topics Ab and I do Are my columns censored in any way The rare changes made and only after consultation are to clear up some a role in good Do I write in advance to have a col umn or two on hand I do have themes ready to meet the time when I cannot get the information or contact the peo ple 1 want for a Where do I get my ideas From reading and from readers and sometimes from from topics in the and from whatever constitutes my makeup and stirs I raised questions of my Linden Meadows is a attractive school and I asked if anyone knew that the fa cade was of Tyndall None Did anyone know what a linden was One boy raised his hand A I wondered whether anyone could dis tinguish between an elm and an None Yet these are bright The it so graces the boule vards in front of the It is com monly known as The point I pursued is that we should Val Werier be curious about our immediate envi that we should open our eyes to what is around There is drama and excitement and a richness of ante cedents right around us which go un I told the students that Tyndall stone was formed when Manitoba was a trop ical sea millions of years ago and that marine fossils should be evident in the walls of their own Tyndall stone is a common in the but the Manitoba stone is of such rare attraction that it is featured in public including the House of And as for our the elms are something to crow about for Winnipeg is just about the only city in North America with a big population of these resplendent Winnipeg has achieved this status by staving off Dutch Elm Yet it seems that most children and probably most adults cannot identify an Why is it people are unaware of such basic elements in their neighbor hoods Are they too preoccupied with the burdens of life and making a liv ing Is it a reflection of our technologi cal age where kids are conversant with computers and of other sophisticated equipment but not cognizant of things on their doorstep Is the world spinning so fast that we cant pause to ponder and contemplate the associations that should mean something to us Where is the sense of curiosity and meditation about our en virons 1 wonder if the kids in Lindenwoods area have ever been taken on an excur sion to witness the phenomenon of mi grating Canada geese so dramatic and striking in their own neighborhoods Canada geese migrating why dont we pay more attention artificial Thousands of geese have been flying and landing on the lakes since marshalling to fly a spectacle to There is a big it in the teaching about nature in our school system and awakening kids to the de lights about At Linden I asked whether there had been any thought of planting spruce trees by the located in vast open The green spruce would comple ment the buff cream tints of the school and provide color in I was told it was but the trees were vandal The foresters is to plant more mature Why is landscaping around most schools so minimal This can be reme died by getting the community in volved Linden Meadows has a strong parent group and including kids from the start in the planting and The recognition of assets of a neigh borhood will heighten a sense of com impart a feeling of place and appreciation of the urban We need to look to the strengths in our for the globalization of economics and trade spurns the local and human We need to look about
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