Wednesday, June 27, 2007

And now for something of value...

News out of city hall in the past week or so has mainly been the heightened squabbling between the same two delusioinal camps--the union machine left, and the neo-liberal (so-called conservative) car-salesman types--that has characterized city affairs since the Depression.

So it was nice this morning to read of a plan to get back to actually adding value to our city, rather than just fighting to save a few unionized jobs, or conversely, to save a few pennies on the tax bill. The City will boost the tree-planting budget to a (still modest) $1-M, that will help stop the net loss of boulevard trees on city streets.

New trees on city boulevards, particularly in poor neighborhoods where the City has been allowed to skip calling the tree doctor and simply get out the chainsaw, will do much to re-adding value--both quantitatively and qualitatively-- to the city, which should be the foremost priority of City Hall.


The Manitoba chapter of the Seirra Club stated the obvious when they said that Hydro rates should be increased as a way for the province to conserve energy while allowing more electricity to be sold outside the province.

Energy Minister Jim Rondeau scoffed at the idea of raising hydro rates to above cost: "A lot of people think you need to raise Hydro rates to make people conserve... But that's not actually true in Manitoba's case." In Manitoba, basic principles of economics don't matter.

"He [Roundeau] said the incentive programs in place such as Manitoba Hydro's Power Smart loans, have led Manitobans to already cut back their electricity consumption by 450 megawatts."

And therein lies the true approach to things in Manitoba: incentives and awareness campaigns are a good subsititute to allowing real changes to occur, or even doing something yourself. Who needs to build bike lanes when you can have a "protect your noggin" advertising campaign? Who needs to enforce existing legislation on crime prevention when you can just print up pamplets?


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