storyteller, broadcaster

Author’s note .. Apologies for not adding fresh material here for more than a month. I’ve been busy on other fronts, but I am committed to being a more faithful blogger.
This post includes two separate commentaries which I do for a variety of media outlets, including CJNU ( Nostalgia Radio ) in Winnipeg. As always, I welcome comments and suggestions.

.. Roger Currie, July 12, 2012

.. Page One ..

Air conditioners have been humming steadily this month as the prairie region, along with the rest of North America, has been baking through a prolonged and very expensive heat wave.

Power utilities in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan are proposing rate increases, but they should be getting more serious about doing business with each other.

Rider Nation needs more electricity to service a growing population, but they are reluctant to cash in their uranium chips and go nuclear, Their number one solution continues to focus on the burning of coal.

To do more of that requires huge investments in very questionable technology like carbon capture and storage. Those hundreds of millions of dollars would be much better spent on buying renewable hydro power from Manitoba.

The NDP government of Greg Selinger is pressing ahead with massive hydro dams in the north on the premise that export sales of power to the U.S. will cover the cost and keep rates low for the folks at home.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the economic model is seriously flawed. For a variety of costly reasons that are becoming all too clear, Manitoba Hydro is basically giving the power away to U.S. customers, and it will get worse in the years to come.

A much better strategy for the future would be for Manitoba to improve its ability to transmit electricity both east and west, rather than to the south.

The Harper government in Ottawa could play much more of a leadership role in the process. Instead of investing millions in technology of questionable value like carbon capture, they should be helping all provinces develop an east-west power grid.

Power bills are certain to rise, but let’s ratchet them up for reasons that make more sense.

…. Page 2 ……..

Hardly a day has gone by this summer without news of a death on highways on the prairies. It only takes a second or two to snuff out the life of a careless driver, and the odds become a lot worse when alcohol is involved.

Ray Wyant is a veteran judge in Winnipeg.

He made national headlines by sentencing a 29 year old man to 15 days in jail for his first conviction for drunk driving.

It can only be regarded as a miracle that Jessie Friesen did not seriously injure or kill someone when he drove his vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .33.

That’s more than four times the legal limit, and it’s a level that would cause most people to pass out behind the wheel. In handing down his judgment, Ray Wyant opted to send a message.

He ignored the recommendation of both the crown and the defense that Jessie should not go to jail. His time behind bars will be served on weekends, and he will not be allowed to drive for more than a year.

Governments everywhere argue that we must crack down on drinking and driving, but when push comes to shove, far too many people continue to be killed every year in highway crashes involving alcohol.

Will someone please explain to me why we don’t make greater use of available technology that could eliminate most of those tragedies? Along with seatbelts and airbags, why not equip all new vehicles with a device that won’t allow the engine to start if the driver cannot blow a clean breath sample when the key goes in the ignition?

It’s a device that is mandated by the courts when dealing with chronic repeat offenders.

To make such a system mandatory in all vehicles would be costly to be sure, but it has far more potential for saving lives than simply urging everybody not to drink and drive.

– 30 –

Roger Currie is a writer, blogger and broadcaster, now based in Winnipeg.

He can be reached at

Comments on: "common sense about power bills and drunk driving .." (2)

  1. Laurell said:

    Kudos to the Judge.
    But remember….that a 15 day sentence will likely be 3 days.
    In Canada, those sentenced actually serve about one fifth of their sentence.
    i.e. a 3 year sentence for a pedophile means he is out in 6 or 7 months.
    (Yes, I do know that of which I speak!!)

  2. patricia said:

    Re: East-West Power Grid: a brilliant suggestion. Unfortunately, like Mulroney before him, Harper has his gaze fixed ridgidly on the USA. It’s unlikely he’d take any action to solidify Canada as an independent entity, with cooperation between the Provinces, and an eye to guarding the environment or conserving our own resources. I fear it is up to the Provinces to initiate their own partenerships, and I really hope they would.

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