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Letters to the editor, January 9, 2020


City slickers

Thanks for highlighting the special problems of people like Brian George ("Winter is here, are HRM's sidewalk clearing contractors ready for it?," City story by Victoria Walton, December 26, 2019). As a senior pedestrian, I have problems, but nothing compared to his. There is one specific problem I have that was not mentioned in the article: clearing bus stops. As you noted, sidewalks along transit routes are priority two, to be cleared in 18 hours. But the actual bus stops are never cleared that quickly—48 hours is the guideline. Does that make any sense? The street a bus travels on is priority one, the sidewalk on that street is priority two, but the place where people get from sidewalk to bus is priority six or 10 or whatever. I am not able to climb over snowbanks.Perhaps a follow-up article could investigate and get some answers. I have tried and failed.
—Janet Brush, Halifax

I've never understood why it's not the homeowner's (or renter's) responsibility. I grew up near Boston and there was a $100+ fine if you didn't satisfactorily clear your sidewalk. Folks who couldn't clear it for physical reasons (age or disability) were able to sign up with the city to have someone come and clear it. The city employed teens and underemployed folks to do the work. I'm not 100 percent but I would bet that the fines paid all or most of the wages required. The ticket was high enough that folks did a good job and the standard was clearly defined so folks knew what was expected. I would rather the city focus on clearing paths in parks and streets than doing a not-very-good job on some of the sidewalks. —From Emma Lang on Facebook

National security

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou violated US law by dealing with Iran, while doing business with the United States. Canada has an extradition treaty with the US and must detain her. She nevertheless maintains her lavish rich girl lifestyle in Vancouver, being able to get out and about, provided she doesn't leave town. Sadly, the same cannot be said for two innocent Canadians, unjustly detained in China, a totalitarian hellhole that persecutes Uyghur Muslims, Christians, Falun Gong members and Hong Kong's democracy protesters. Make no mistake about it, Harjit Sajjan, China is neither friend nor even adversary, but an enemy and a threat, with values antithetical to Western democracy. One hopes Justin Trudeau's professed "admiration" for China's "basic dictatorship" was a lie, not a gaffe. It is therefore embarrassing in the extreme for Canada to delay a no brainer decision denying Huawei any involvement with our 5G technology, so as to better protect our national security, reduce the risk of industrial espionage and avoid having our friends in the Five Eyes cease to share valuable intelligence because we are an enemy's useful idiot. Let's even go a step further by booting Huawei the heck out of Canada.
—Kris Larsen, East Gore

Keep it posted

Over a year ago, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers' rotating strikes were brought to an end by Bill C-89. Elizabeth MacPherson was appointed to arbitrate settlements for the Rural and Suburban Mail Carrier (RSMC) and Urban ops units. On May 9 and December 19, 2019, MacPherson's mandate was extended by the respective labour ministers of the day until June 30, 2020, which means contracts for both bargaining units will be expired for over two years before the dispute is finally settled.

To add insult to postal workers' injury, Canada Post announced it would not proceed with witnesses that were scheduled to appear in December 2019 and is not planning to complete its case until at least February 28, 2020.

As a result, postal workers worked yet another holiday season in the same conditions that caused an injury crisis and RSMCs are still working unpaid hours: two major issues CUPW took rotating strike action over.

While Bill C-89 legislated an end to rotating strikes, there is nothing stopping  Canada Post from negotiating with CUPW to reach a fair collective agreement. Postal workers ask Anita Anand, minister of Public Services and Procurement and the Liberal government to instruct Canada Post to get back to the bargaining table.
—Mike Keefe, Halifax

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