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Newsletter Vol. # 56 That's how I see it!


Due to the great weather we are having and the plethora of emails I am receiving from various golf courses that are still open- you will find this week's newsletter a little heavy on golf!

Golf ... A game where the ball always lies poorly and players well.

Golf--Very Profitable

Golf remains the most popular sport in Canada, with more participants than any other sport. The sport will return to the Olympics stage in 2016--with Canada as defending champion from 1904. A Canadian golf economic impact study released in June measured the sports worth to the Canadian economy at more than $14 billion. Direct revenues generated by golf courses and their facilities, as well as stand-alone practice ranges ($5 billion), are more than the revenues generated by all other participation sports and recreational facilities in Canada, a combined ($4.8 billion).

Golf is the most popular sport in Canada, more than the revenues generated by all other participation sports and recreational facilities combined--I never saw this coming. I am an avid golfer, and love the game, but never saw it as Canada's most popular sport. Perhaps one can't always believe what one reads in the Letters To The Editor column.

If You're Sick Stay Home But if You're Not...

--$27 million faced by-Winnipeg taxpayers over banked sick days for its firefighters

--$5 billion-Ottawa sick-leave liability. The average federal civil servant claims 18.2 sick days per year

--$9 million-Calgary transit's overtime costs in 2011 when drivers took an average of 15 sick days off.

--Toronto-sick leave liability totals $490 million

Nancy McDonald in her article entitled "The Sick Day Scam" states: Last year, absenteeism cost the Vancouver School Board $20 million. It's not just teachers. The public sector is rife with rampant sick-day abuse. The problem has been building for decades, creating huge financial burdens for government.

She goes on to say that Public Sector Collective Agreements are incredibly over-generous:
. Professional employees in the government of Quebec earn 12 sick days per year and can use them for early retirement or cashed them out on retirement.
. City of Niagara Falls workers get 26 days per year; 18 per year can be carried over for a cash payout at retirement (up to a maximum half-year's salary).
. New Brunswick government employees get 15 sick days per year; 240 can be carried over.
. Employees of Ontario's Workplace Insurance and Safety Board can convert five of nine annual "wellness days" to vacation time, and earn a cash payout on retirement, worse, 50% of unused sick days to a maximum of half a year's salary.
. Calgary schoolteachers can be awarded up to 90 calendar sick days per year.

Am I missing something? I look at these collective agreements and think they aren't just generous but obscene. Perhaps in a lifetime, but nobody needs 90 sick days per year written into their contract. Of course there are people who need to be off work due to long term sickness, but that's covered by their insurance plan, not their working contract. It seems to me the unions have done an excellent job for their members but in some ways are failing society.

That's what Nancy and I think!
What do you think about this topic?
Drop me a short email and give me your thoughts.

Golf ... An awkward set of bodily contortions designed to produce a graceful result.

I have printed this article in a previous newsletter but feel it appropriate to reprint it. After reading the article I would appreciate your answering this question: What do you think should be done with Winnipeg's public golf courses? And perhaps you could comment on my suggestions listed below!

Golf-Not Just a Game!

There has been a lot of controversy in the last year or two regarding city golf courses and whether they should be tendered out, kept in-house, or turned into condos.

I make two suggestions that aren't necessarily new, and probably not even mine. Suggestion one:City golf courses should get the same respect and consideration as the Arts do. I am an avid supporter of the arts and would want them to continue receiving financial support from the city-I want them to exist and keep on providing their unique contribution to our "quality of life" as a Winnipegger and Manitoban. In the same way I want sports, including golf to receive support and not to have to be concerned that they have to make money or be shut down. I believe if you allow the city run golf facilities to operate independently, they will generate revenue. And if allowed to invest that revenue back into the golf facilities, instead of siphoning off any excess and putting it into general city coffers, we will continue to have beautiful green spaces and affordable athletic facilities.

Suggestion two: turn one of the city courses into a Golf Academy for kids. The Academy would be all about golf programs for school-aged kids--beginning, intermediate and advanced golf classes run by professionals. Most golf courses in Manitoba have golf professionals running their programs. Why not use this incredible resource during their down time (fall, winter, part of spring) to have them set up the Academy--teach classes, organize experienced volunteer golfers, organize equipment drives and in general promote the Academy and golf. I believe this concept would be in the best interests of these Manitoba golf courses and pros since in 10 years time they will have helped create a new generation, a significantly larger generation, of golfers who will become members or play at their golf courses.

How does one pay for such an Academy? I believe this all could be paid for by: reasonable group user fees (school divisions), individual lesson fees, manufacturers of anything that is golf, corporations looking to improve their image could invest; and so many other ways that clever marketers know about and I don't.

That's how I see it! How do you see it?

Golf ... The game in which you yell fore, shout six and write down five.

The weather in Manitoba has been incredible in the last two weeks. It has enabled my friends and me to golf in November, which I have never done before. Alas, golf is just about finished for this year in Manitoba. However, at the North Sound golf course on Grand Cayman Island, golf is alive and well. The only thing that would prevent a person from a daily round of golf would be that it is too hot to play.

I will be gone for a month parked at our son's home in the Caymans and will resume the newsletter when I return.

 Golf ... An easy game, it's just hard to play.

Take care of yourself!