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Opinion: Letters, Feb, 27




Regulate gambling visibility

The editorial cartoon on Feb. 21, featuring an individual at a slot machine, the screen showing a hockey game, with the caption “Sports Fan 2023,” is an accurate portrayal of the sports scene in North America.

Sports leagues and teams recognize the immediate revenue from these sponsorships. However, their use of advertising is exposing young persons under the age of 18 to the idea that gambling is a necessary and required component to any sporting event.

The United Kingdom recognized this, and made the many changes to their compliance regulations, including: “Ads must not include a person or character whose example is likely to be followed by those aged under 18 years or who has a strong appeal to those aged under 18, such as sports people and celebrities” (italics added for emphasis).

Conner McDavid and Wayne Gretzky “star” in BetMGM ads, to name two. These are sporting celebrities that both young and old admire. It’s painfully obvious that these ads are targeting both age brackets.

The Canadian Criminal Code prohibits all forms of gambling; however, Section 207 of Criminal Code allows for provincial governments to “conduct and manage” gaming within their own province, and in 2021 this also included bets on single games. Manitoba’s Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act has zero regulations within the Act with respects to “sponsorship.”

Regulations were put into place for fast-food giants to cease advertising to young persons due to unhealthy diets. Perhaps it’s time to put some regulations into place for the gambling industry before we have a similar negative impact on today’s youth.

Daniel Rodrigues


Netflix: no chill

Re: Netflix crackdown shows cracks in confidence (Feb. 21)

From a business perspective, whoever made this decision at Netflix should be let go. They actually killed a great retention program.

We paid the maximum subscription rate for 10 years in order have a “family plan.” I didn’t want to disappoint family members by cancelling the subscription, even though over the years it increased to over $20 per month.

When Netflix eliminated the “family-sharing” benefit, I could cancel without worrying about disappointing my kids. Thanks, Netflix!

Ron Enns


Manitoba tough for renters

Re: Blame landlords, not market (Feb. 21)

Ricardo Tranjan of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives correctly identifies that landlords operate within the regulatory structures of each particular provincial jurisdiction. This highlights the fact that there is no such thing as a “market” in the abstract.

Regulations shape and enable markets in particular directions, and in fact make them possible. As Trajan points out, it’s a choice, our choice, whether markets are reasonably fair and balanced, or predatory of tenant interests.

In his conclusion, however, the author gives Manitoba a wholly undeserved pass. He states: “Only P.E.I. and Manitoba have controls on vacant units…” True, perhaps, but if those legislated regulations lack even minimal enforcement mechanisms, and loopholes define the regulations, then landlords will find ways to game the system with above-inflation rent increases on occupancy turnover.

Add so-called “renovictions,” and undue rent increases are also the case in Manitoba, as in other Canadian rental markets where rents are reported to be “going up by an average of 18 per cent between tenancies.”

What needs to be added to the discussion is that markets alone have never been able to deliver affordable and widely available housing. Developers and landlords, of both rental and new build accommodation, will always operate in the direction of maximum possible profit.

In addition to fair, balanced and effective regulations, what needs to be added to the market mix is a significant element of social provision of housing. I fear the current government has failed us on both these fronts.

Sig Laser


Rights and responsibilities

In response to Tom Brodbeck’s excellent column, “Too many Canadians don’t understand that freedom has to have limits” (Feb. 21): I am a retired Grade 1 teacher and one of the first lessons in Grade 1 is establishing our rights as learners. It is made very clear that along with those rights come responsibilities.

For example, everyone has the right to feel safe; therefore, no one should treat people in a mean or disrespectfully way. Examples of mean and disrespectful are brainstormed.

We talk about rights in the adult world, like the right to get a driver’s licence that comes with the responsibility to follow the rules of the road — freedom and order, rights and responsibilities are lessons introduced in school at an early age and reinforced each year.

Jacquie Field


I read the Free Press daily and the articles that resonate are the one with which I totally agree or disagree. Tom Brodbeck’s column “Many Canadians don’t understand that freedom has limits” is one with which I totally agree. I must commend Mr. Brodbeck on his well-written article that brought a smile to this old retired police officer’s face.

In the column, Justice Paul Rouleau is quoted as saying that the Emergency Act was justified at the “point at which order breaks down and freedom cannot be secured or is seriously threatened.” Let’s take a giant leap and apply that to Winnipeg’s downtown.

Honest, law-abiding citizens are afraid to go downtown for fear of being harassed, robbed or injured by a member of a group who have passed that point described by Justice Rouleau and are impeding these citizens’ rights to gather and have free passage.

The courts have taken away the right of the police to stop an individual and ask them to identify themselves, causing thousands of arrest warrants, many for violent crimes, to gather dust on the shelf.

There is a legal answer. Cameras at every corner would be a minor invasion of our privacy, but would be balanced off by reduced crime. Facial-recognition cameras would be a greater invasion but would allow for those warrants to be executed and the criminals removed from the street. There have to be trade-offs in a free society; freedom isn’t free — many have given their lives for us to enjoy it.

Stan Tataryn


Drivers at a loss

Re: There’s a simple solution to speeding tickets (Feb. 18)

On the day this editorial came out, I drove from the south Perimeter Highway eastbound to Highway 59 and went south. There were construction zone signs along the south Perimeter before the St. Mary’s Road intersection and before the Lagimodiere Boulevard intersection.

There was no equipment in those areas and only mounds of dirt dozens of metres from the Perimeter road indicated any construction had been happening. There were no signs saying “End of construction” either. Similarly, on the return trip, on Highway 59 a few miles south of the perimeter were construction-zone signs with no construction equipment nor disturbance of the earth.

The problem is that the signage is not being properly covered up when it is not applicable, and does not tell the driver when they can resume normal speed limits. Drivers are left trying to decipher when the signs apply or not, especially when there is no “End of construction zone” sign.

Drivers have reason to be angry about the inconsistent and inappropriate signage. I was not about to drive my entire trip at reduced construction-zone speeds!

James Wingert


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