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Salvage health-care system

Re: Cascade of errors, Nov. 19; Sidelined for speaking out?, Nov. 25.

To me, as a Canadian and a Manitoban, it is disheartening to see the health-care system in such disarray.

We hear the words "accountability and transparency," but what we see and experience does not reflect these principles.

Ethics are lost to the silencing of folk at all levels within and outside of the health system. Morale is low. People within the system know the "flaws" however are disempowered from being parties to the solution because of the fear instilled by the "if you talk you walk" philosophy, as Dr. Reynolds appears to have experienced with his dismissal. People within the community are also reluctant to express their opinions because of a possible backlash when attempting to access the system for treatment.

We have a Canadian health-care system that needs to be reclaimed and revived with sound Canadian values. We need input from all levels within the health-care sector and the community at large. This cannot and will not happen in the toxic environment that appears to exist.

We need a national inquiry headed by the likes of a Sheila Fraser, the auditor general of Canada, with a mandate to salvage our once greatest national institution.

BEVERLEY A. GOODWIN

Winnipeg

Marriage not equality issue

Re: Equality for gays, Nov. 24.

In response to Caelum Vatnsdal, whether one agrees or disagrees with changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, there is no question that the change came about in Canada through the decisions of courts and elected officials. We don't know whether Canadians would have voted any differently than Californians just did, since the question has never been put to a ballot. Those black American voters who voted against gay marriage did not say or imply that gays have not suffered inequality, only that marriage is not an equality issue.

The suggestion that a pro-traditional marriage viewpoint denotes an approval of violence against gays, whether in the Holocaust or more recently, is a rather serious charge. Violence is wrong. Redefining marriage is something that decent, reasonable people will disagree about. Violence is not.

Debate about the merits of same-sex marriage is likely to continue. Let's not complicate it by putting words in people's mouths.

FRANCINE LEE

Regional Director,

Catholic Civil Rights League

Carman

Make room for strollers

Re: Anything but ashamed, Nov. 26.

My sincere congratulations to Ardith Paige Henoch Bitton in her response to what I agree was an offensive letter to the editor. With no car, she has no choice but to use public transportation. Ardith could easily have responded to the writer of Strollers too big for buses (Nov. 22) in a similarly offensive manner.

Instead she chose to compose a thoughtful response and shared some of the details of her family's situation to help us all understand the challenges she faces in getting around our city with her infant daughter. We all should be so dedicated to our environment, our family and our community as she seems to be. I would gladly make room for her stroller on any bus on which I was riding.

David Kazina

Winnipeg

Where is democracy?

Re: Residents miffed at plan for towers, Nov. 26.

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, persons who opposed the Whellams Lane apartment complex expansion received a letter in the mail from the city stating, "the East Kildonan-Transcona Community Committee orders that the application for a Variance File DAV-142644/2008D is rejected." The city did not inform anyone in opposition that this same plan would go before the city council property and development committee (coincidentally on the same day we received the letter), and hence the "scant three of those residents" returning to city hall, as reported by Bartley Kives.

At the original meeting, Couns. Lillian Thomas, Russ Wyatt and Jeff Browaty listened to both sides and all voted against the variance. Four members make up the city property and development committee. Because Coun. Wyatt chose to attend another meeting, how is it that Coun. O'Shaughnessy was able to dismiss our arguments as "emotional" and outvote Browaty? Where is there a democratic process when residents' oppositions are not heard because one man chooses not to attend a meeting?

Kelly House, which affects the "emotional" values of one family was given more than the "three minutes" that the Whellams Lane issue was. Something is rotten in our "state!"

JAN KUSHNIER

Winnipeg

Build better cars

Re: Let the auto giants fall, Nov. 17.

There is a way to guarantee a successful U.S. auto industry and the many thousands of jobs at stake. My message to Detroit is quite simple: Stop putting profit over people, stop producing junk and start retooling your product. It is a concept that the Europeans and the Japanese understood long ago.

If General Motors can be "nimble abroad," as The Economist suggests, how much more respect should they give the North American car buyer and subsequent labour market?

I believe it is a hard lesson that the Big Three automakers have yet to learn, and the ominous clouds of bankruptcy will only strengthen the ones who will no doubt be potential buyers -- the Europeans and the Japanese.

DON WARKENTIN

Winnipeg

Wrong approach on spray

Re: Province to restrict sales of bear spray next year, Nov. 26.

Once again our police and nanny state government get it wrong.

Parallelling the costly and ineffective controls introduced by the Liberal federal government to combat gun crime, the Manitoba government is set to place onerous restrictions on sprays people use to protect themselves.

Already classified as a prohibited weapon when used against humans, Manitoba is incorrectly dealing with people who criminally use such sprays. The only way to discourage crimes committed with these sprays (or other weapons) is to prosecute the offenders to the full extent of the law.

The police seem to have forgotten this.

Winnipeg police Supt. Gord Schumacher claims that the proposed measures will cause "a dramatic drop" in such crimes.

Right.

Prohibitions on drugs and handguns haven't worked -- how are a few annoying restrictions on sprays going to make it "more difficult to get pepper spray," as Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk claims?

BARRY GLASGOW

Woodlawn, Ontario

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2008 A18

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