Local News Briefs

Autopac to change its grading system

Manitoba Public Insurance is unveiling changes to the Manitoba driving system that will affect over 750,000 Manitoba drivers.

The new system, called the Driver Safety Rating, will replace the old merit/demerit system the organization has been using for years, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

Changes in driver premiums will be assessed according to individuals’ driving records.

According to figures released by MPI, the majority of drivers will receive either a $15 reduction in driver premiums, or no change at all.

A small percentage will see increases of $10 or less.

Katz outlines plans for new budget

According to Mayor Sam Katz, it’s time we try to be proactive and address the potential issues down the road—without raising taxes.

In an address made last week, Katz pledged to freeze property taxes for Winnipeg residents and committed $3 million to aboriginal youth in the city over the next three years, reported CBC news.

The mayor also discussed plans to have a team of local experts outline the city’s long-term goals on transportation and infrastructure.

Katz also plans to appoint a chief performance officer in an effort to increase government accountability.

Media locked out

The Manitoba government has asked to bar the media from the courtroom of a high-profile custody hearing for a suspected Neo-Nazi family.

According to CBC news, the request was made on the grounds that media are not allowed to report on legal proceedings involving children.

The case in question is a custody battle between the provincial government and parents believed to be Neo-Nazis, which sparked a national debate last year about whether racist parents should be allowed to raise their children.

Media outlets had until Feb. 3 to respond to the motion. More information was not available at press time.

Winnipeggers pass on atheist bus ads

A Toronto-based group received approval last Wednesday to run bus ads with an atheist message, but Winnipeg isn’t buying.

The ads read “There’s Probably No God—Now Stop Worrying And Enjoy Your Life,” reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

The group, the Freethought Association of Canada, said the ads are made possible by private donations to their website (atheistbus.ca). It will run the ads in the cities where it received the most donations.

To date, the group has received few donations from Winnipeg.

According to a 2001 poll, Canadians with no religious affiliation make up the third largest ‘religious’ denomination in the country.

Province aids mineral exploration

The provincial government is giving $1.4 million to support over 30 new mineral projects in the province.

Science, Technology, Energy and Mines minister Jim Rondeau justified the transaction in a provincial news release by stating the importance of mining sites to northern communities, as well as to the rest of the province.

The project is expected to cost over $26 million in expenditures, as private mineral companies must spend eight to nine dollars for every dollar spent by the Mineral Exploration Assistance Program (MEAP), the government agency providing the funds.

It is hoped the MEAP will help the mining sector through the economic slowdown.

Published in Volume 63, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 5, 2009)

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