Building on greedAngela Capobianco's comments on development and preservation in the HRM are astute and germane ("Dear Halifax developers: be more creative," Voice of The City, August 1). But it's also relevant to recognize the mechanism by which projects (for example, 27-storey towers in the south end) are spawned.
It does not begin with the HRM thinking, "Hey, we should get some towers built in order to shoehorn thousands of new residents onto the peninsula, increasing the tax base while wrecking neighbourhoods, and over-saturating local roads, parking, hospitals, parks, and other infrastructure and services."
It does begin with extremely rich, greedy development corporations spotting an opportunity. They conceive the projects and approach the city with their proposals. These firms have zero concern for public benefit, civic heritage or quality of life, past, present or future. They are exclusively about money.
If they think they can profit, say, $25 million at the end of a two-year project, they are more than happy to "sacrifice" a fraction of that profit to "lubrication." Some money may go to token gestures of civic responsibility. A tree here, a playground there. But this minor leakage of profit knocks down obstacles and make the lights all turn green as the project advances on their terms, start to finish.
And while citizens should be able to rely on their representatives and bylaws to protect them from sociopathic corporate profiteers, far too many city and provincial staffers truly appreciate invitations to posh parties, free theatre/sports tickets, cottage getaways for the family and envelopes of cash. Anyone who thinks that Halifax does not operate by these dynamics is blissfully naïve to the histories of every city on the planet for the last 5,000 years. Corruption abounds. It always has.
Developers: It's their world, we just live in it.
—Peter King, Halifax
Asking a veteranRecently politicians have asked veterans the question: What do veterans want? Our reply is so simple. We just want the prime minister and other leaders to keep your promises.
Military/RCMP veterans want the government of Canada to treat veterans with the honour and dignity they have earned. Veterans want the government to honour our CFSA pension enrolment contract and take action to terminate the CPP pension claw-back.
Veterans want the government to stop depleting the surplus in our pension account and pay their fair share. We want action to reinstate the SISIP coverage after-release term insurance that is now being terminated at age 75. We want Forces widows' pension to be the same as politicians' widows receive, and the $10,000 supplementary death benefits must be the same as civil servants receive.
Today fewer than 30 percent of our recruits do not re-engage in the Canadian Forces. The poor treatment of our veterans is very much in their minds. Politicians needs to enforce the benefits that military/RCMP veterans have fully contributed to. Veterans, and their families and friends, are not prepared to cast their ballots towards politicians who lie and do not keep their promises all year long.
—John Labelle, Lower Sackville