By Lynne Fernandez
Did you happen to read the editorial in June 12’s Winnipeg Free Press – the one about plastic bags? It explains that Glen Laubenstein – the City’s past chief administrative officer – had been tasked with providing a strategy to eliminate plastic bags in Winnipeg. Laubenstein’s report, if it ever existed, has never seen the light of day. Pity, because a properly-designed strategy could raise much-needed funds while helping us get rid of an environmental scourge.
The left-wing policy group referred to in the piece was no other than the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Mb. Not only did it, as mentioned, propose charging a fee for plastic bags (in our 2010 Alternative Municipal Budget), but the same policy suggestion appeared earlier in our 2008 Alternative City Budget. In fact, Councillor Russ Wyatt was so taken with our 2008 suggestion that he arranged a meeting with a CCPA staff member and Mr. Laubenstein to discuss it.
It’s hard to know for sure, but it’s probably fair to say that this policy was introduced to the council of the day through CCPA. On one hand it’s gratifying to think that one of our suggestions was seriously considered by the City; on the other hand it is disappointing that it never came to fruition. Nonetheless, as the Free Press editorial demonstrates, our ideas are still being debated even if they sometimes seem removed from our office.
The editorial also reminds us that change takes time and that what is important is getting our ideas out there . . . eventually some take root.