Right in the centre - What the government should do


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

With a provincial election fast approaching, parties are making lots of plans and promises. If a party really wanted to improve life for Manitobans and the economy, here is a list of what they should do.

•Hold serious talks with the federal government to scrap the Indian Act and release or re-deploy all the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) workers. Yes, all of them. DIAND has been an unmitigated disaster for over 100 years and should be done away with. The province should ask for all that money and put it into education, health and water infrastructure for First Nations and remote communities. There are many, many things that should be moved down the spending priority list until access to education, health and water infrastructure have been brought closer to equal across Manitoba.

•The government should cancel Multi Material Stewardship Manitoba. It has become very ineffective in recycling and coupled with all the new realities in the recycling world, it’s time to wave good-bye to the MMSM approach. Now that China and The Philippines are no longer accepting so-called recyclables from North America, the market has changed drastically. Recycling doesn’t work very well when it is collected in single container (blue boxes), co-mingled with all the other blue box contents and then crushed in garbage truck and hauled to facility. There are far too many ways to accumulate contamination. Besides, who wants to sort through all that mixed up material after it’s been all mashed together.

Small rural waste sites are finding it more and more difficult to find a market and that adds to the frustration and the cost. The MMSM levy is placed on a lot of containers that will never be recycled due to contamination or, recently, because many containers are no longer eligible to be recycled.

•Clean burning of recyclables to generate heat (and possibly steam for electricity) is being researched at Evergreen Environmental at Minnedosa. Kudos to all involved with that initiative, but why does it need to be researched when the technology is already in use? Remember the 69 containers of contaminated recyclables that President Duterte of The Philippines sent back to Canada with sarcastic best wishes? Well, they are going to end up in a clean energy burn facility at Vancouver, a CBC web site reported in May, 2019. Sixty-nine containers of garbage, shipped to the Philippines, but mislabelled and rejected by that country’s facilities, will return to Canada to be burned in Metro Vancouver’s waste-to-energy incinerator in Burnaby.

These are but two issues that the province should take on. They also need to get school funding off property taxes, as it is a huge cost to residential, commercial and farm property owners. They should develop a school classroom testing program as our children are being short-changed in many ways. Math skills are abysmal and you know that is the case when students themselves are saying that they know that they are lacking basic math.

I have little faith that any parties will adopt the above suggestions, but they should. Opportunities for equality and economic growth are slipping away with every passing day.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.