This is an opportunity for ordinary people to be heard.
We asked six people to be our citizen commentators during the campaign. Each chose an issue they believe in passionately. You'll hear from them between now and the week of the election, and we encourage you to react by adding your comments.
Ryan Hunt, 36, was born and raised in Brandon, and has been a police officer for nine years — all of it in the Westman area. He has a wife and two sons.
September 28, 2011
One week, the provincial players have one week to heed the call to the municipalities and their demands for infrastructure money. Sounds like what I've been saying all this time and it's only now making its way into the election discussion.
It's clear that the NDP and the Conservatives are still shying away from the virtual money pit that is our current infrastructure scenario. Premier Selinger says that he is already giving $239 million to the municipalities for their projects. That's all fine and dandy but I invite the premier to come and drive on some of the roads that I have to drive on. It's safe to say that he is not aware, I dare say that none of the party leaders are aware of the appalling conditions that are prevalent in their own province.
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz makes reference to asking what the point is of investing in health care when emergency services can't navigate the roads. This applies to the rural areas also. In the area of southwestern Manitoba (and I'm sure it applies to the entire province) it's just blind luck that some calls for emergency services were not delayed because of closed roads, or in some cases roads that were not closed but rather impassable.
Even today some of the roads or highways that have not been repaired are close to impassable. How would you feel if you had to call the police and wait longer because it's just not safe to rush to an emergency because of the highway conditions. I could make many references to specific highways but that's not the point of the blog, the overall picture is what is important here.
It's a revolving issue that can be tied into many other issues. Vehicles are on the roads sometimes heavy trucks, causing the roads to fail. The roads fail causing damages to vehicles, in turn causing insurance claims, in turn causing expensive repairs. Everything comes back to the pockets of the taxpayers and additional demands for funds. What the politicians are failing to realize is that short term investments in the roads and infrastructure will inevitably help to show long term benefits. The formulas have to be right though and if a highway is supposed to last for 25 years against the elements then they better last. This is not the case now. Maybe we could ask the Americans how they do it.