Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 30 2015, Page 8

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 30, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE A8 Election call coming? Sounds like the writ drops Sunday? And away we go! @ PSmithOnline I’m happy if the election was called Sunday. We’d stop wasting ink speculating when the writ will drop and actually talk about issues. @ dg_ stringer Spare a thought for spouses/ families of # cdnpoli journalists. We just want one more weekend with our beloved hacks before # writdrop. @ clairehastings If the writ drops Sunday, will media be able to afford the cost of riding on party planes/ buses for the whole campaign? @ JoelKlebanoff So... Parliament dissolved on the 31st of this month? @ Ali14Adnan Canadian citizens, wherever they’re residing, should be allowed to vote. This is an injustice. @ pmharper @ Doanertoque 98% of Canadian expats are voting for Donald Sutherland in the next election. @ stats_ canada OUR VIEW œ YOUR SAY WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2015 Freedom of Trade Liberty of Religion Equality of Civil Rights A 8 PERSPECTIVES AND POLITICS EDITOR: Shannon Sampert 204- 697- 7269 shannon. sampert@ freepress. mb. ca winnipegfreepress. com EDITORIAL LETTERS FP COMMENTS TWITTER VOL 143 NO 257 Winnipeg Free Press est 1872 / Winnipeg Tribune est 1890 2015 Winnipeg Free Press, a division of FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership. Published seven days a week at 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2X 3B6, PH: 204- 697- 7000 Publisher / BOB COX Editor / PAUL SAMYN Associate Editor Enterprise / SCOTT GIBBONS Associate Editor Operations and Engagements / SARAH LILLEYMAN Associate Editor Digital News / WENDY SAWATZKY Night Editor / STACEY THIDRICKSON Director Photo and Multimedia / MIKE APORIUS W What’s your take? The Free Press wants to hear from you. Email: letters@ freepress. mb. ca Post: Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6 Please include your name, address and daytime phone number. Follow us on Twitter @ WFPEditorials For a how- to video on writing letters, visit winnipegfreepress. com City hall half- asleep Re: City hall fights bedbugs ( July 24). The bedbug problem at our city hall confirms my thoughts of so many years — that the poor and sloppy way our city is run is because most of the city employees and so- called leaders that run our city are half- asleep most of the time. FRANK KIRALY Winnipeg Transforming our ailing democracy As a former Winnipegger and current member of Fair Vote Canada, I was pleased to see your well- balanced editorial Coalition governments coming soon? ( July 27). The editorial was as much about proportional representation ( PR) as it was about coalitions. The two go together — coalitions tend to be the norm under PR. Canadians tend to be a bit nervous about coalitions because we’re not used to them. But coalitions offer important advantages, not the least of which is that legislation tends to be better considered and has to incorporate a wider range of views compared to our current system. At present, a government can ram just about whatever it wants through Parliament despite the fact the share of votes it represents tends to be only about 40 per cent of total votes cast. Add in the current government’s use of omnibus bills for the sake of “ efficiency” and the democratic veneer of our current system starts to wear rather thin. Canada faces a once- in- a- lifetime opportunity to transform our ailing democracy in the upcoming election. Let’s not waste this chance; let’s speak to all our local candidates and find out where they stand on PR. RÉAL LAVERGNE Ottawa ¥ The July 27 editorial says one of the parties in a coalition will suffer at the polls in the next election, so no party wants to be seen as being in alliance with the enemy for too long. But Canada needs a strong, stable, representative government supported by a majority of voters that governs for a full four years and reforms our voting system so we needn’t curse a government elected by a minority of voters. If the Liberals would commit to proportional representation, they could be part of such a government. After four years, they could not suffer Nick Clegg’s fate of being squeezed out since every vote will count equally — a safety net. WILF DAY Port Hope, Ont. ¥ As someone who has been a member of both of the NDP and the Liberal party at different times in my political life, I can state there are major fundamental differences between the two, including philosophy, platforms, internal administration structures, constitutions, fundraising methods and association with other organizations. The current Conservative government has become focused on undemocratic means of controlling citizens and federal employees, and must go. But a coalition is neither feasible nor desirable. If you are part of the 60 per centplus Canadians who believe the current federal government has outstayed its welcome, then get out and vote. BRIAN HEAD Winnipeg Slaughtered lion photo disturbing I understand the impact the media is trying to make by showing the photo of the happy dentist with Cecil the beautiful, “ protected” lion, but I find it upsetting and disturbing ( Dentist says he thought hunt was legal , July 29). While the most disturbing part was how happy the dentist looked, it was the picture of the dead lion that was particularly upsetting. Please don’t put pictures of proudly displayed dead wildlife in the paper anymore. TERINE HUGHES Winnipeg Support shaky for Blue While it’s understandable that many Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans are pessimistic about the team’s prospects, it behooves us, I think, to support them. As long as it’s been since the team won a Grey Cup, it will be much longer if we fail to support them; that is, by supporting them, there’s a chance they’ll reward our faith. If we don’t support them, there’s no chance. I wouldn’t like to see the same fate befall the Bombers as that of the Winnipeg Jets in 1996. WALTER BARG Gimli ¥ I have a cost- saving idea for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers: When they have an out- of- town game, why don’t they just mail in a loss and stay home? I suspect the savings in travel costs would be significant. As for home games, they could take the loss and rent the stadium to some group that could make better use of it — like the University of Manitoba Bisons. That should generate some revenue. BOB DAWSON Winnipeg Cash for infrastructure Re: Feds give city $ 40.8M in gas tax revenue for infrastructure ( July 28). Is there an election in the near future? Looks like in addition to this money being used as electioneering ( using taxpayer money to buy votes) by the federal Conservatives, the provincial NDP are throwing around promises of future spending — even though they won’t be around to do anything. Pretty pathetic by the NDP, the Conservatives and — hey, where are the Liberals? — Stu Danatch ¥ Let’s stop doing Portage Ave. and Route 90 every five years and do some back lanes and streets that are almost impassible. — 23589262 ¥ @ 23589262: You can drive slowly down a bombed- out back lane without damaging your car, but try going 70 km/ h on Route 90 and hitting a pothole. You’ll be getting a hefty repair bill, or you’ll have to go to Autopac where you’ll be assessed for an at- fault accident, your driver’s licence will go up, and you’ll pay an insurance surcharge. Still want your back lane fixed? — 6775638 ¥ “ Caldwell said the provincial government is committed to spending $ 5.5 billion over five years on infrastructure projects and the federal gas tax funds will be a welcome addition to that spending.” Does that $ 5.5 billion include the costs of building Hydro projects that will only cost Manitobans huge dollars in the foreseeable future? — keener1 ¥ Sounds like most of the money is going to the north parts of the city, which is good. — patsy1 ¥ What’s that? We get some of our money back? How much will our governments spend on advertising to tell us about this? — JustWondering ¥ Trust the NDP to try to spin it as their accomplishment. — Cat Dreams Sam Katz back up to bat Re: Former mayor heads for home ( July 29). Sam Katz is a lot more authentic and likeable when he’s selling baseball rather than politics. — abhidharma ¥ All I keep thinking is “ thank goodness we have Brian Bowman now.” Too bad he can’t undo all the damage Katz did. — 23705407 ¥ Sam, you seem like a nice guy... but you betrayed us. — user- 6994650 ¥ @ user- 6994650: I agree with 50 per cent of your statement — Sam did betray us. — Larry Bud Melman T HE Oct. 19 fixed election date may have ended the suspense over when voters go to the polls, but it hasn’t ended speculation on when the official election campaign actually begins. Some Tory insiders are saying Prime Minister Stephen Harper could drop the writ as early as next week, rather than mid- September, which would mean a much longer campaign than the normal five- week period. Of course the parties, and particularly the governing Conservatives, are always campaigning, but a longer writ period could theoretically tilt the election in favour of Mr. Harper, while substantially increasing the cost of the campaign for taxpayers. Legislation requiring fixed election dates was one of the first things the Conservatives introduced after they were elected in 2006, but this is the first time it has been used. When the legislation was introduced, the prime minister said fixed elections were necessary for the proper functioning of democracy. They “ prevent governments from calling snap elections for short- term political advantage. They level the playing field for all parties and the rules are clear for everybody,” Mr. Harper boldly declared. His feelings then were undoubtedly inspired by former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s habit of calling unnecessary elections just three years into his mandate in order to exploit the weakness of the opposition and the divisions on the right. That was then. This is now. The Conservatives are running neck- and- neck with the New Democrats, but neither is positioned to win a majority, if the election were held today. Mr. Harper obviously wants to improve his odds, but it’s not entirely clear dropping the writ early will achieve that. The Conservatives have a much larger war chest than the opposition parties, which gives them an advantage in a longer campaign. More money means more advertising and a bigger travel budget, while the NDP and Liberals will have to stretch their dollars over a longer period. It’s possible a longer election could backfire by alienating Canadians’ sense of fair play, but it probably wouldn’t outweigh the advantages of starting early. In addition to their considerable financial firepower, the Conservatives would also benefit from the momentum created by a storm of government tax cuts, handouts and advertising over the last several months. On balance, then, dropping the writ in early August looks like a good bet for the Tories. The benefit to the electorate, however, is more dubious. Among other things, a longer campaign would add millions of dollars to the tab for Elections Canada. A five- week campaign costs about $ 375 million, so an 11- week election could double the cost. In addition, political donations are tax- deductible, so higher spending would be another hit on the treasury. And under the Fair Elections Act, spending limits can increase for each days a campaign exceeds 37 days. It’s also unlikely a longer campaign would produce a more informed citizenry. On the contrary, the blitz of negativity might have the opposite effect. Nor is there a compelling reason for holding a longer campaign. It’s not like the country is considering a declaration of war or a constitutional amendment. The only reason for calling a snap election is to regain the political advantage that was supposed to be eliminated with fixed- date legislation. If Mr. Harper drops the writ early without a credible justification, he will have warped the playing field again and dealt a blow to the principle of fair elections he once seemed to defend. Will Mr. Harper warp the playing field? Prime Minister Stephen Harper A_ 10_ Jul- 30- 15_ FP_ 01. indd A8 7/ 29/ 15 5: 18: 01 PM

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