Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
letters march 12
Nick Martin's article A degree of faith (March 6) was frustrating to read. Like so many similar articles, it does not mention the potential fallout if government funding were taken away from independent institutions. The government funds these institutions at the rate of 50 per cent, give or take. The rate for a public institution is 100 per cent. It is cheaper for the government to have independent institutions than to not have them.
I attended an independent school from K-12 and two years of university at considerable cost to my parents and then to me. My wife and I send our children to the same independent school we attended at considerable cost. We are not an elitist bunch. Some families can afford their tuition easily but many are sacrificing much and would not be able to absorb a tuition that would be doubled. The result would be to pull their kids from independent schooling and enrol them in the public system. The money that the Canadian Association of University Teachers' Jim Turk says the public system would love to have would be inadequate by 50 per cent.
Every controversial issue tackled at the university level is tackled in a school like Trinity Western or Canadian Mennonite University as well, with all viewpoints considered, which is also a good approach to writing an article.
The CAUT's effort to find problems with CMU and other universities that require faith adherence by faculty raises serious questions about the rights of faith-based universities that serve people of all religious persuasions.
Canada's universities and their faculties owe no small debt to the churches and religious orders that founded most of those institutions, often as seminaries that included liberal arts education open to non-clergy. Though many would now be better described as having a religious history than as actively affiliated, theology schools are still part of most universities, especially the older ones. There is room in the academic landscape for all shades of religious affiliation.
That is what is so troubling about an effort to identify a religious requirement as an infringement upon academic freedom. In a very real way, the spirit of academic inquiry is part of the Judeo-Christian heritage. In any event, if the policy were causing problems for students or other faculty, they would be well-known. In general, the graduates of these schools are academically strong, and contribute valuable service to their employers and society at large.
Catholic Civil Rights League
Re: Iraq vote advances democracy (March 9). Actually, the Iraq vote is quite ludicrous as the country is in the vortex of a civil war as well as being occupied by American and NATO participants. There is absolutely no possibility of having a fair election at this time without a lot of death involved. To suggest that George W. Bush had a vision of democracy in Iraq shows a clear attitude of seeing what one wants to see rather than the truth.
I would suggest anyone researching Iraq and other countries affected by American-style imperialism would know the truth of these matters.
RUSSEL C. Johnsen
As part of the active transport plan, the city wants to replace the bike/pedestrian bridge over Omand's Creek at Wolseley with a street-level bridge that spans the creek and valley without dipping to creek level. This design has some appeal -- it is marginally faster and won't flood in the spring -- its negative impact on the park and the natural area outweighs anything gained. Part of the allure of the existing pathway and bridge is the connection it provides to the creek and natural areas along its banks. The freeway-like design of the proposed structure will only encourage people to speed through.
With no connection to the landscape below, it risks becoming a trash heap as people feel less inhibited about throwing their garbage over the edge of the bridge. In winter, the area is a major draw for tobogganing. The support piles as shown in drawings posted online look perfectly placed to act as slalom gates, except slalom gates are supposed to bend when you hit them.
If the goal is to address the flooding, building a bridge at roughly the height of the existing bridge's handrail would accomplish that. Savings from the less expensive option at Omand's Creek could be used for more necessary cycling projects.
On the topic of stop signs and cyclists, another traffic issue that needs to be reviewed is traffic signals. Currently, lights are timed in such a way that there is no delay between a red light in one direction and a green light in the other. It is crucial for cyclists, especially in larger intersections, to have a few seconds of delay before the other direction gets a green light as it takes longer to get through the intersection than a vehicle. It's only a matter of time before there is a major accident.
Matas wrong on Israel
Re: B'nai Brith opposes Israeli Apartheid Week on campus (March 5). David Matas is being disingenuous in asserting that when comparing apartheid in South Africa with Israel for its treatment of Palestinians "there is no familiarity whatsoever." He further claims that "I'm very familiar with apartheid," Really, Mr. Matas? Then you must also be familiar with the fact that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu all have described the nature of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza as apartheid.
Matas' willful blindness is disgraceful when he arrogantly states that the security measures in place "are not that much different than the airport." Checkpoints every half-kilometre, bulldozing of family dwellings, confiscating of land and property, use of phosphorus gas, disregard of international treaties and laws, discrimination and oppression as modus operandi is just another day at the airport. Really?
David Matas' well-deserved reputation as a human rights activist would not be tarnished if he acknowledged the Palestinians suffer economic, social and political deprivation and discrimination in their own land. To excuse the actions of the Israeli government (including unjustified attacks on civilians, destruction of Palestinian homes and livelihood, and forced relocation to make way for Jewish settlements) as mere "security" measures is, to use his own word, "disingenuous."
John T. Wiens
Yank Kenney's guide
The Free Press is to be commended for criticizing Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's deliberate attempt to misinform newcomers to Canada about equality rights in our country (Homosexual rights are part of Canada, March 4). The Canadian Press should also be thanked for uncovering clear evidence that Kenney imposed his personal political views over the advice of his professional staff. Every copy of this erroneous study guide must be withdrawn and replaced with a factual version. And lest we think Kenney is a lone "rogue," we should remember this is the same government that removed 'women's equality' from the mandate of Status of Women Canada in 2006.
This is a blatant abuse of power. Regardless of Kenney's personal opinion, he has an obligation to include relevant information to the immigrants of Canada. Canada is proud of its achievements of implementing universal human rights in our charter as we are known to be a fair, benevolent, equality-based country. When we gave gay individuals the right to marry we made a monumental step that reaffirmed our national identity. Beside the fact that Canadian immigrants are given a skewed perception of what to expect in Canadian society, it also shakes my confidence in our government's reliability.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 12, 2010 A15
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