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Letters to the editor, February 11, 2016

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Don't winter bike

In response to Warren Heiti's "Snow justice" open letter to mayor Mike Savage (Reply All, January 28 issue):

Hey Warren, we have a real winter in this country every year, January through March, and last year was brutal. It's easy to bitch and demand everything for nothing. You seem to expect that you can pedal your ass around town all year long regardless. If you have to walk to work for a couple of months, so be it. This is not Florida. I pay property taxes and own a motor vehicle which also costs me, and some of the money I pay goes toward services which you seem to expect for free. I'm sure the city and contractors try to do their best. You're probably a 20-something who believes post-secondary education should be free. 

I put my bicycle away for the winter; maybe you should too. Common sense should dictate that. Cycling in the winter months on city streets is foolish and could see you ending up injured or dead. Buy a bus pass or walk and get real. No pay, no say. —Larry Cooke, Halifax

Get real on racism

In the January 21 Coast, there is an interview with Nova Scotia environment minister Margaret Miller ("Nothing's 'really on or off the table,'" The City by Jacob Boon). Responding to a question on environmental racism, Miller says, "I don't think we have to look at any segment or any part of our community as different than another. I think we have to respect the environment in all areas of our communities.... When you talk about environmental racism, I think we need to look after everything in our province. We need to be looking after our coastlines, our scenery, our natural resources."

Based on this, I believe the minister is suffering from self-induced selected racial environmental amnesia, or else her lack of moral and ethical understanding allows her head to remain in the sand or elsewhere. If anyone's sense of honesty is truly intact, they will have little or no difficulty understanding how communities of colour are and have been besieged with injustices environmental and otherwise. —M. Raymond Sheppard, Halifax

McNeil's film fail

The debate about the film tax credit seems to be stretching on, but for good reason, as a once-vibrant industry is really struggling. One thing I am starting to realize, as I hear feedback from those not involved directly in the industry, is that there is a major misunderstanding about how this program worked. It is not, and never was, a "subsidy."

The film tax credit was a credit, or a rebate, on a portion of Nova Scotia labour expenditures by a producer. That means the $25 million that the government is calling a "cost" wouldn't even be available to be rebated if the film industry had not spent $150 million in the first place. In other words, the money for the tax credit program never did come out of Nova Scotian taxpayers' pockets (which the government claims). It did not "cost" Nova Scotians anything, because the program brings in far more money than it rebates, and the money that is rebated comes DIRECTLY from the new money that pours in from film-related investment. If no money comes in, no money goes out! 

Now we have a new incentive program, reluctantly agreed to by the Liberals, which is also tied directly with spending and is not a "subsidy" or a drain on taxpayers. And it should be working. But we have Stephen McNeil coming to the podium every couple of weeks with more misinformation about how the program was a "cost that we couldn't afford," giving the very distinct impression that the government has no interest in supporting this industry. Given the premier's access to the media, the ongoing message that leaves the province is simple: "We are not interested."

This is a failure in leadership that puts 2,000 to 2,500 jobs and numerous businesses at risk. A leader should be fighting for the people, working hard to bring investment into the province and supporting the industries we have, not working against us as he seems intent on doing. It is important that Nova Scotians understand what this program really was, so they are not hoodwinked by government misinformation. When the next election rolls around, it is time to think about who we have standing up there deceiving us and working behind our backs. —Christopher Ball, Mahone Bay



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