No, No & Yes

One day, one paper, three stories.

Here’s the one about a retired veterinarian advocating for mandatory rabies shots in the city:

Hudson is scheduled to present a report on Thursday calling for the city to change its rules around vaccination. While pet owners are required by a city bylaw to license their pets, no rule requires them to get rabies vaccines along with their licenses. That opens people up to unnecessary risk of contracting the deadly and untreatable disease, Hudson said.

While no one in Saskatoon has been infected by rabies in years[emphasis mine, ed.], the city does have a serious issue with domesticated pets biting people, according to a public health nurse who works at the communicable disease control program.

Maggie Simm said 21 people had to have some kind of rabies vaccine treatment this year after they were bitten by animals.

Threats are not risks. They inform risks, they are not to be discounted, but if the probability of the threat is extremely low, then the risk is commensurate. Especially since rabies, pace Dr. Hudson, is treatable. And most especially when, as the article notes, people are usually treated for rabies even if they aren’t bitten by rabid animals.

The second story here is that the city is considering spending money on high-demand facilities:

Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison has some big ideas about adding indoor rinks to the city’s small number of aging facilities.

On Wednesday, Atchison said he would like to see a multi-sheet facility in the city and wants to start the discussion during next week’s budget talks. He acknowledged that securing the money to build one will either involve the private sector or higher levels of government.

ACT Arena, the newest city-owned and operated facility, added its hockey rink in 1981. The newest private facility, Harold Latrace Arena, added its most recent sheet in 1998. Saskatoon has five public arenas and eight private sheets with varying availability for minor and recreational hockey.

Ice sheets in Saskatoon are in such high demand that teams are heading out to neighbouring small towns to rent the ice for the kids. There is a market to be had, a significant one at that. While I appreciate the mayor’s concern over this, there is no reason why a private group couldn’t raise its own money and build a multi-sheet complex, taking both the risk and making their own profits, to the benefit of the users. I would prefer the city zone out some land in the growing suburbs for sports complexes and see who steps up to the table.

Finally, the great Les MacPherson gets it right:

Federal broadcast authorities in distant Ottawa have commanded and decreed that we have more than enough radio stations in the city as it is.

Proponents of a new station were told to forget it and don’t even ask again for two more years. In other words, piss off.

What is not so clear is why we need anyone in Ottawa to tell us how many radio stations Saskatoon can support. Why not let the market decide, as it does with every enterprise? Ottawa doesn’t tell us how many restaurants we need in Saskatoon, for example. That’s why we have restaurants in such profusion and diversity that we can’t keep track of them all.

If restaurants were federally regulated, however, we would have about five of them, all serving turnips.

That’s how it worked in the old Soviet Union. Authorities there tried to decide for everyone what they needed, in all respects.

It worked so well that barbed wire and guard towers were required to keep people from escaping.

Bang on, Les. There is no reason for the CRTC to limit the number of radio stations in this town. The CRTC should limit its function over the enforcement of bandwidth, if that, and allow spectrum to be sold to the highest bidder.

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