Politics

Winnipeg Taxis: In Short Supply

I have been in the taxi business since 1973.  I did spend several years as a professional jewelry appraiser and Graduate Gemologist.  I also worked as a manager for a large contact center.  My years in the taxi industry included driving, dispatching, training, owning and supervision. 

About 30 years of my working years involved taxis and I also developed a supreme knowledge of Winnipeg. Below is a section of the Taxicab Board website.  They operate currently under the provincial ministry of Municipal Government.  The mandate has not been followed.  Please enjoy the blog.

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The Taxicab Board is an independent quasi-judicial administrative tribunal established under authority of The Manitoba Taxicab Act to licence and regulate all taxicabs, wheelchair vans and limousines operating in the City of Winnipeg. As legislated, Board membership includes a member of the City of Winnipeg Council, the Chief Constable of the Winnipeg Police Force, and five other persons appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

Objectives:
The mandate of the Taxicab Board is to ensure that persons within Winnipeg receive adequate taxicab service at a reasonable cost. The Board fulfils this objective through engaging in the following activities:

Conducts public hearings to consider applications for:
more and/or different classes of licences,
fare increases,
industry proposals,
interest group(s’) proposals, etc.;
Establish, review, and revise the limit on the number of taxicab licences, as determined by public convenience and necessity;
Control and issue taxicab business licences;
Review and approve taxicab business licence transfers;
Issue taxicab driver licences;
Facilitate training for taxicab drivers;
Assess and establish the fare structure and monitor actual rates charged;
Implement a comprehensive inspection program for taxicabs including general inspections, street patrols, mechanical inspections, and taxicab meter inspections;
Investigate and resolve complaints against taxicab operators and drivers;
Discipline taxicab operators and drivers by conducting Show Cause Hearings on perceived violations of legislation and regulations, or on complaints;
Monitor the accessibility of transportation for the physically disabled;
Monitor the health and viability of the taxicab industry in Winnipeg;
Determine policy and procedures which arise in the exercise of the Board’s discretionary powers and provide policy input to the Government on broader taxicab policy issues; and
Maintain a liaison with the taxicab industry, user interest groups, other taxicab regulatory agencies and governments.

Manitoba is the only province in Canada that has jurisdiction over the taxi business in its cities. All other cities in the other provinces control their mass transit including Taxis.

Winnipeg had 300 taxis way back in 1947. It was decided by the province that an additional 100 taxis was needed to provide employment for war veterans.  A company called Veterans Nash was formed in 1947.  That brought the total to 400 taxis in Winnipeg. 
Approximately 40 years later the province added 10 taxis in a luxury class.  These Cadillac taxis ran under a company called Blue Line, however, after 5 years it failed and those plates were converted to regular taxis bringing the total taxis in Winnipeg to 410.

Since then the Taxicab Board has added about 41 Accessible Taxis to the Winnipeg fleet. These are vans with wheelchair access. Total increase in 66 years is a whopping 51 taxis.  Winnipeg only has 451 taxis.  Compared to other similar cities we are very short on cabs.

The following statistics are drawn from Statistics Canada 2011-2013 and the Websites of the cities to be mentioned.

  • So, Winnipeg has 451 units to service 750,000 citizens or 1 taxi per 1662 souls.  Cost: $1.38/km
  • Calgary has 1466 units to service 1,214,839 citizens or 1 taxi per 829 souls.  Cost. $1.55/km
  • Edmonton has 1971 units to service 1,159,869 citizens or 1 taxi per 588 souls.  Cost.  $1.48km
  • Regina has 146 units to service 230,000 citizens or 1 taxi per 1250 souls. Cost. $1.81km

Winnipeg has the lowest cost taxi rides of the above samples. We also have a fraction of the taxis. Funny thing is that the price to pay if you want to purchase a taxi is about $450,000.  In the other cities named the purchase cost is a fraction of that.

Winnipeg taxi owners have a monopoly on taxis since the Taxicab Board supports this monopoly and refuses to allow more taxicabs in Winnipeg. 

Immediately, the new city council should begin negotiations with the province to take over the taxi service in its city.  The province doesn’t seem to realize that we have urban sprawl and almost twice the population since 1948.

The taxi service in Winnipeg is awful. So bad that a trip to our new airport can’t be guaranteed to be on time or even show up. 

If you go out for the evening and plan on a few drinks, do you deserve to wait 30 minutes to go out and even longer to return? Yes, if taxis were readily available we would reduce the drinking and driving.

Shame on the provincial government for not enforcing the mandate to provide service. It’s time to break the monopoly and bring Winnipeg in line with (at least) Regina. 1 taxi for every 1250 citizens. You want a better Winnipeg for visitors and its citizens. Start with the taxi service. It requires no civic investment. I’m embarrassed to have to force a 45 minute wait for a taxi at times. 

We should not be the lowest cost taxi and we should be able to service all of Winnipeg promptly. 

In closing, you should know that with the exception of Toronto and Vancouver, a taxi trades for 50 to 250 thousand dollars. Winnipeg = $450,000.

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Did we forget about Keystone XL to go to Iraq?

The Canadian Government is debating and ultimately will decide to join the USA in Iraq and Syria on a combat mission.

A combat mission from the air and no boots on the ground is devoid of Intel to determine targets. Canada, with its slashed defense budget, could better participate in humanitarian missions.

Since President Obama has yet to approve our Keystone XL Pipeline, in my opinion we should take a stand and hold back our troops until this approval is signed by POTUS.

As you can read below, the pipeline can only benefit both countries. Iraq and Syria can benefit no one in North America at this time. Harper needs to stand his ground!

Canada has done its part and has been a willing and patient partner throughout this process. This project will enhance our relationship with Canada and increase our drive towards North American energy security and independence, and there is no consultation required to arrive at that conclusion.

Keystone-pipeline-XL

Senate Democrats letter to President Obama in support of Keystone XL
Eleven Senate Democrats to President Obama
This process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth and scope. It has already taken much longer than anyone can reasonably justify. This is an international project that will provide our great friend and ally Canada, a direct route to our refineries. These refineries were specifically built to process heavy crude, and Canadian crude will help replace heavy crude imports from unstable and unfriendly countries like Venezuela.

Keystone XL makes sense
Alex Pourbaix – TransCanada Executive Vice-President
It has been our experience that with vigorous review and oversight, projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline can be constructed and operated without jeopardizing public health or the environment.

Letter to the State Department in support for Keystone XL from Missouri Gov.Jay Nixon
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon:

“Keystone XL opponents are running out of straws to grasp. Now that the Inspector General has found no conflict of interest, environmental groups should join LIUNA and others and sit down to discuss an all-of-the-above energy strategy to address climate change issues. We continue to urge the President to approve the project. It will unlock new jobs for thousands of working men and women and harness energy that a trusted neighbor can provide. Keystone isn’t just a pipeline – it is a lifeline for working men and women and for our nation’s energy security.” With IG Finding, Keystone XL Opponents are Running Out of Straws to Grasp
Terry O’Sullivan – General President, LIUNA
“Killing the pipeline would have little impact on reducing the use of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that they emit. The Canadians, if they don’t ship it through Keystone, it’s going to come by rail. The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. [So] Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”

Boston Globe — Fossil fuels remain at the forefront, energy expert says
Daniel Yergin — Founder, IHS CERA
“What we probably need is more of a pipeline infrastructure and to diminish the need for rail transport over time. Frankly, I think pipeline transport overall probably has overall a better record in terms of cost, in terms of emissions and in terms of safety.”

Energy secretary: U.S. infrastructure unready for rail-crude boom
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
The State Department’s latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions — and we have. These include additional protections like more remote shut-off valves spaced closer together, high-strength steel, more frequent inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. All five federal reviews have concluded that this pipeline won’t have an adverse impact on the environment or on greenhouse gas emissions. The heavy oil from the oil sands is less carbon intensive than oil currently produced in California.”

pipeline – it is a lifeline for working men and women and for our nation’s energy security.” With IG Finding, Keystone XL Opponents are Running Out of Straws to Grasp 
The Canadians, if they don’t ship it through Keystone, it’s going to come by rail. The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. [So] Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”

Energy secretary: U.S. infrastructure unready for rail-crude boom
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
The State Department’s latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions — and we have. These include additional protections like more remote shut-off valves spaced closer together, high-strength steel, more frequent inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. All five federal reviews have concluded that this pipeline won’t have an adverse impact on the environment or on greenhouse gas emissions. The heavy oil from the oil sands is less carbon intensive than oil currently produced in California.”

LA Times — Myth vs. fact on Keystone XL
Alex Pourbaix — President Energy and Oil Pipelines, TransCanada
The State Department’s latest study — the product of more than five years of investigation — largely confirms the conclusions of previous assessments and those of many independent energy experts:

Keystone report from State Dept. puts common sense back in the pipeline
Washington Post Editorial
“The total annual GHG emissions (direct and indirect) attributed to the No Action scenarios range from 28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed Project [Keystone XL].”

Department of State — Keystone XL Final SEIS
U.S. Department of State — Final SEIS
The U.S. needs pipelines, “not only to improve conditions in terms of rail, but trucks. With the Keystone pipeline, we’d take 500 trucks a day off our roads in western North Dakota.”

Hoeven: Obama will approve Keystone — The Hill
U.S. Senator John Hoeven — North Dakota
Canada has done its part and has been a willing and patient partner throughout this process. This project will enhance our relationship with Canada and increase our drive towards North American energy security and independence, and there is no consultation required to arrive at that conclusion.

Senate Democrats letter to President Obama in support of Keystone XL
Eleven Senate Democrats to President Obama
This process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth and scope. It has already taken much longer than anyone can reasonably justify. This is an international project that will provide our great friend and ally Canada, a direct route to our refineries. These refineries were specifically built to process heavy crude, and Canadian crude will help replace heavy crude imports from unstable and unfriendly countries like Venezuela.

Fatih Birol on environmental subsidies, carbon emissions and climate
Faith Birol – IEA Chief Economist
Canada emits just 2% of global greenhouse gases, and the emissions from oil sands contribute 0.16% to global emissions. For context, three coal-fired power plants in the United States emit more greenhouse gases than the entire oil sands industry.

Keystone XL makes sense
Alex Pourbaix – TransCanada Executive Vice-President
It has been our experience that with vigorous review and oversight, projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline can be constructed and operated without jeopardizing public health or the environment.

Letter to the State Department in support for Keystone XL from Missouri Gov.Jay Nixon
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
“Keystone XL opponents are running out of straws to grasp. Now that the Inspector General has found no conflict of interest, environmental groups should join LIUNA and others and sit down to discuss an all-of-the-above energy strategy to address climate change issues. We continue to urge the President to approve the project. It will unlock new jobs for thousands of working men and women and harness energy that a trusted neighbor can provide. Keystone isn’t just a pipeline – it is a lifeline for working men and women and for our nation’s energy security.” With IG Finding, Keystone XL Opponents are Running Out of Straws to Grasp
Terry O’Sullivan – General President, LIUNA
“Killing the pipeline would have little impact on reducing the use of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that they emit. The Canadians, if they don’t ship it through Keystone, it’s going to come by rail. The big winner from not building Keystone is Venezuela, because their heavy oil has the same carbon footprint as the oil sands. [So] Venezuela or Canada, take your pick. Who is your favorite country and who is your neighbor?”

Boston Globe — Fossil fuels remain at the forefront, energy expert says
Daniel Yergin — Founder, IHS CERA
“What we probably need is more of a pipeline infrastructure and to diminish the need for rail transport over time. Frankly, I think pipeline transport overall probably has overall a better record in terms of cost, in terms of emissions and in terms of safety.”

Energy secretary: U.S. infrastructure unready for rail-crude boom
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
The State Department’s latest report reiterated that Keystone XL would be the safest pipeline ever built in the U.S. if TransCanada agreed to 59 additional conditions — and we have. These include additional protections like more remote shut-off valves spaced closer together, high-strength steel, more frequent inspections and burying the pipe deeper in the ground. All five federal reviews have concluded that this pipeline won’t have an adverse impact on the environment or on greenhouse gas emissions. The heavy oil from the oil sands is less carbon intensive than oil currently produced in California.”

keystone-pipeline1

Facebook & Twitter Limits

Firstly I am still trying to figure out why the word “Status” is used on Facebook to post.  The word status doesn’t fit most posts however, that’s not the issue.

I received a call from a friend informing me that I was posting too much about the Middle East and it’s various war’s. I was doing too much for my friends comfort.  So what? I don’t complain about my friends regular posting of family pictures of grandchildren, wives,  and family.  It’s very nice and some people enjoy those posts.  

facebook-vs-twitter

Some people enjoy my news related posts.  Just as much, as a matter of fact.  Then we have the the jokes, cartoons, recipes,  favourite restaurants and whatever.  If you Like a post, hit Like.  If you want to comment, make a comment.  That’s Facebook and unlike Twitter there are no limits.  If you just don’t want to see someone post then unfriend them. SIMPLE.

On Twitter the issues are different. Very few twits actually tweet. Many twits retweet and act like a baby more in a tweet.

I tweet globally, locally and nationally.  My favourite subjects are dependent on where I’m tweeting but I’m an opinionated in all events. I’ll start with a retweet or reply and try to get debates going on my subject matter that I enjoy.

It seems that I get more action on the global side. The local politics in my city of Little #Winnipeg is harder to get twits tweeting. Winnipeg has always been a little backwards. Tweets are mostly complaints about infrastructure, etc…

Twitter will not allow you to follow more than 2000 twits unless your followers exceed that number by 5%. That is a random number and not really correct if you are looking internationally for a following. As such the follow trains are useless. 

Anyways, Facebook and Twitter,  I am what I am and I love the action. Keep it up and don’t whine! 

The-twits

 

 

The Iron Dome

 

A couple months ago I was posting on Facebook and Twitter about the Genocide (ethnic cleansing) that was occurring in Syria. I would post about ISIS or ISIL. The response was excellent from the Arab world. Here in America and Canada, nobody even stopped to read the writing on the wall.

A month ago, when Hamas started up with the rocket fire into Israel, the whole world media, social and otherwise, jumped on the bandwagon and vilified the Israelis for killing women and children. All Israel was doing was returning fire or defending itself.

Israel would warn the civilian population of Gaza by roof knocking, pamphlets and phone calls of an attack and advise evacuation.

Meanwhile back in Syria and Iraq ISIS was slaughtering 100’s of civilians all day and a very day. The media still didn’t get it. Total deaths in the 500,000 range and not a peep from the media.

Meanwhile back in Israel, the IDF had purchased a Patriot missile system from the USA years before but It’s accuracy was only about 75%. Not good enough. So Israel developed a highly improved system of rocket defense and called this system the Iron Dome.

1121-iron-dome-israel-630x420

The accuracy of the Iron Dome is set at 93%. It was developed in conjunction with the USA who may need to USE IT IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

After thousands of rockets had been fired into Israel with little effect and just a few deaths and injuries, Hamas was ready to ceasefire and regroup.

The Iron Dome is being developed to eliminate ICBM long range missiles, and a laser system to knock mortars out of the air is in Beta test mode. If the free world ever needs defense. Israel best be your Friend.

Meanwhile, the truth about Gaza and the UN is finally hitting the media. The wasted money on tunnels, the UN schools as missile storage depots, etc…

Now, why all of the sudden the interest in Iraq? Christians and Shea being slaughtered by the 1000s. Killed and overrun by ISIS with American weapons taken from the American trained Iraqi forces.

Remember that ISIS is a Sunni group dedicated to creating a Sunni Muslim nation under Sharia law.

ISIS IS THE ISLAMIC STATE SOMETIMES CALLED ISIL which means Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Levant includes Israel. It also includes Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and North Africa. The focus now is on the Kurdish and other minorities. The future does not look good and the American people have offered too little too late.

Israel can take care of itself. It has the Iron Dome and other surprises. It remains the only true democracy in the middle east. Common sense and the vision of Muslims killing Muslims should define the real enemy of the free world.

 

MH17

Even though this blog is a collection of life stories, the madness in the Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip has me upset enough to deviate, slightly, this week.

The Gaza and Hamas are active missions that require no further comment at this time.

My focus today is Russia and the Ukraine. How in heavens name can either country allow an indignity of abuse to the dead as these countries have?

After 3 days in a field, they toss the recovered bodies into refrigerated cars but they don’t claim that the refrigeration is working.

The rebels continue to collect body parts including the odd body that has been laying in the sun for days. What kind of people are they?

I would call them animals. Finally, the recovered black boxes have been turned over to the Malaysia authorities. Meanwhile, the hunt for bodies continues not for dignity, but for credit cards, valuables, and whatever else those animals can grab. This has become a treasure hunt. The inspectors, meanwhile, wait for the all clear to begin the investigation and the train has left with the bodies.

No international country has rushed to the assistance of Malaysia. The world’s power has only rhetoric to offer. A LOT of talk. No action.

Now let me make it clear: Most international airlines do not fly that route. The Captain’s have the final say and will never fly a passenger jet over a war zone at any altitude. Malaysia followed the ICAO directives that do not include that war zone. ICAO has changed since then.

One had to wonder why Putin claims no responsibility even though his military supplied the rebels with a missile launcher. No matter who shot it down – Ukraine or Russia – it’s their responsibility to seal the crash scene and safely admit the inspectors and recovery staff. Both countries have acted like animals and irresponsible children. The world watches in horror turns of the TV and goes to a protest about Gaza and Israel. The world powers hold another news conference.

 

Pic: Mashable

Pic: Mashable

In a Drunken Stupor

Since my business was demonstrating monthly growth, so grew my workday….past 14 hours a day.

The ensuing exhaustion weakened my stamina to the point that I needed a way to get through the day. A customer of mine who noticed this challenge offered me a little vial of cocaine powder, and instructed on its use. That vial sat in my desk for a couple week’s.

One night I finally drew a couple lines of the cocaine and snorted away. After about 15 minutes I was energized and continued to work until 5 am. A couple days later I repeated the process with the same results. It wasn’t long before I was looking for a refill.

Eventually, unable to wake up in the morning,my day began with a couple lines of cocaine which continued throughout the day. Exhaustion was now the enabler to use of cocaine. By the middle of 1986, I had burnt my nose linings and could no longer snort the drug.

I then began to inject the coke and continued to do so until 1990. I was finally admitted to the hospital for treatment, where I remained for about 1 week.

Until the hospital stay my addiction was a secret. I was able to hide this sickness for 4 years but now it was game over. I was becoming financially strapped, and could no longer carry the load of work. My world was crumbling.

I was reminded of my story when Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford, finally admitted his addiction to alcohol and left office for rehabilitation in the USA. Mayor Ford liked his crack cocaine. The hard working mayor enjoyed a drink after a long day and when the alcohol buzz kicked in that was the enabler that led the mayor to crack use. Exhaustion first would motivate and enable the hidden desire for crack that required an initial alcohol buzz. He called it “a drunken stupor.” His demons caught up to him just as mine did.

Rob Ford

Rob Ford

Every Monday I will post a new blog post (the continuation of my story/the above post). Feel free to follow my blog and comment below.