Right in the Centre - Clear thinking in short supply


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

The first column in the New Year is a good time to ask some questions.

•If we are to no longer be able to buy gas or diesel powered cars in Canada after 2035, will EV cars and trucks have enough juice in their batteries so people can drive from Swan River to Winnipeg on one charge?

•Will the government have enough highway patrol vehicles on the roads in winter time to rescue all the people in their “dead” cars?

•How much does a replacement battery cost when the one in your EV battery wears out or becomes damaged? I have seen prices from $12–20,000 but please check for yourself.

•We drive a gas powered Chevy Spark that is rated at 40 mpg. In 1989, we had a Chevy Sprint and it would do 50 mpg. With over 30 years of technological advancement, how did GM lose 10 mpg?

•How is it that we see regular public announcements that violent sex offenders are being released into the general public with a warning that they are likely to re-offend?  What part of a stupid decision are we having trouble understanding?

A violent sex offender who is already determined to be likely to re-offend should be permanently placed in an institution. They could have access to on-line education, become authors, or learn to play a musical instrument, but they should never, ever be allowed out in the public again.

•The price of food is a big topic for discussion these days, but are the right questions being asked? For example, when people add up their grocery bill, are they including all the non-essentials? In my world, non-essentials include cigarettes, liquor, soft drinks, pre-cooked, ready-to-heat food, pet food supplies and toys and dare I say, disposable baby diapers and paper towels? BTW, disposable diapers account for 3.7 million tons of landfill waste per year. In our household, my wife keeps track of our expenses and non-food items and dining out is kept in a separate category.

•Why do we not process way more food in Manitoba? I know I sound like a silly old man, but even prior to rural hydro, we processed or stored a lot of food in our farm house. Potatoes for the whole year were stored in a root cellar. Although not as successfully, so were carrots, parsnips and turnips stored in the cellar as well. Beets and beans were canned, as was chicken and beef. When hydro came along with a fridge and freezer available, just about anything except lettuce and radishes were stored away. All kinds of fruit, both wild and tame, was frozen or canned.

•On a larger scale, why do we not can or freeze more Manitoba grown fruit and food on a seasonal basis? I say that we could reduce our food imports by a huge amount if we processed more in small, local plants.

•Nearly every town had a small slaughterhouse. There are very few facilities of any size left in Manitoba.

•If we still had a real Department of Agriculture in Manitoba, maybe we could explore the feasibility of setting up small local regional food processing plants.

•Did you know that many small towns had a flour mill, even up to the 1950s? Today, there are only three in the province.

The point of all these questions, and many more, is to promote clearer thinking. Back in the day, every 4-H Club meeting started with the 4-H Motto and Pledge. The Mottos is “Learn to do by doing” and the Pledge goes like this: “I pledge My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, My Health to better living, for my club, my community, and my country.”

All aspects of that pledge need to be applied today, especially the clearer thinking part.

We have become far too dependent on government and big corporations to think and act for us. It wouldn’t be so bad if government and big corporations had our best interests at heart but they don’t. Both governments and big corporations are only interested in growing bigger and making more money. If you don’t believe that then take a look at the salaries of those at the top. The compensation for the top decision makers is nigh unto criminal.

If we all adopted the “Learn to do by doing” and the Pledge, we might have a lot more clear thinking. Clear thinking is in pretty short supply right now.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.