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Put it on

Re: Helmets save cyclists' brains (June 29). I found the article by Patrick McDonald quite right. A law needs to be in place to save those who can't or won't do it for themselves. Take all the motorcyclists in Manitoba who ride without a helmet. Most got a "letter/note" from their doctor to relieve themselves of the burden of wearing one on the grounds that it may strain or hurt their neck or any other wayward excuse they wanted to use. The police do not seem too concerned about checking out the legality of all concerned.

Maybe the new noise law for bikes is easier to enforce. But it's up to the province to change that antiquated law. Either that or withhold medical coverage after a crash.

By the way, I started riding with a helmet in the 1960s. Helmets save lives.

Angela Temple


Arbitrary enforcement

So, Coun. Grant Nordman has had enough of illegal ads placed on traffic lights, street signs, etc. I personally don't care for this type of advertising either. However, I have some advice for those who are found in contravention of this bylaw; simply appeal, then re-appeal your fines, and hopefully you will wind up with a two-man appeal board comprised of politicians who can arbitrarily and capriciously strike down the bylaw you oppose.

This appeal method was perfected when a two-councillor panel allowed the cat lady on Elm Street to keep her 28 feral cats in her home! This occurred in spite of a bylaw that set a three-cat maximum. Who was on that two-man panel? It was Grant Nordman and Mike Pagtakhan, the chairman of council's protection and community services committee! Enforce all bylaws on the books, not just the ones you like.

Guy Crackel


Lee and God

There are a couple points I have to raise with Stan Penner in his letter, The cruelty of war (June 30). He quotes General Robert E. Lee as saying, "What a cruel thing is war; to separate us and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in the world."

It should be remembered that Lee was fighting for a government that professed slavery as being divinely mandated and entrenched in the Confederate constitution. Slaves were separated; families and friends destroyed. And their joys and happiness were certainly marred.

And if Penner checks his own Bible he will find in Exodus 15 verse 3, "The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is his name."

So much for Lee and God.



A true privilege

Winnipeggers were privileged to share in the first Truth and Reconciliation event for survivors of residential schools. My family and I were overwhelmed by the bravery, beauty, and emotional integrity of survivors, their children and grandchildren. The well-being of native people and their culture is important to all Canadians.

I cannot help but feel an urgency about the healing that is taking place among native people; we need a multitude of healed native voices to bring forward the wisdom of native teachings to humanity. We need traditions that honour and comprehend the living spirit of the Earth and the interconnectedness of people, animals and all things.



E-health care

Re: Province's eHealth push slow, costly (June 29). Your story presents a somewhat unbalanced perspective of what is happening in Manitoba. It inaccurately positions the enhancement and operations of the hospital information system within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority as part of the province-wide deployment of the electronic health record (EHR) throughout Manitoba. They are, in fact, two separate initiatives.

Hospital information systems exist in almost all hospitals within Manitoba and have for many years. These systems continue to be expanded and enhanced, as is currently the case with the hospital systems within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

The EHR being created for every resident is a separate initiative. A complete EHR contains six components: laboratory results, medication profiles, diagnostic images, clinical reports, patient and provider registries. Manitoba has already made significant progress towards this initiative.

For example, diagnostic images captured in hospitals, such as X-rays, are almost entirely digital throughout the province, allowing health providers to instantly share images with colleagues at the other end of the province. This helps reduce the need to transfer patients to larger centres. Components of two important registries are now in place and operating. Provider registries in place identify the authorized health professionals accessing and creating information in a patient's EHR, and the client registries ensure each patient has a unique record. It is my understanding that complete patient laboratory and medication profiles will soon be available in a private and secure manner to authorized clinicians throughout the province.

This is an ambitious undertaking that will transform health care in Manitoba. While this effort requires a lot of work, resources, patience and time, its value is unquestionable. A better-informed health system will lead to increased patient safety, shorter wait times, and a host of efficiencies.

Richard C. Alvarez

Canada Health Infoway

Safe drug options

Re: Psychiatric drugs tied to heart attack, stroke (June 15). This article does not address the other highly effective medication options available which do not increase the risk of developing these side effects. These newer treatments, such as ziprasidone or aripiprazole, mean that people living with a mental illness now have medication choices associated with a decreased risk of problems such as weight gain or diabetes. It is important for patients to be aware of all their treatment options and not to avoid taking medications because they believe they all have the same side effects.

People living with a mental illness or their caregivers should talk to their doctors about treatment options.


Department of Psychiatry

University of Alberta

Spread the luck

About that $50 million lottery, the winning of such a large sum ends up destroying the winner. We read of these winners who end up losing friends, family and even a life purpose. Would it not make more sense if there were 50 winners? Or even better, 100 winners?

Mary G. Friesen


Magnetic Manitoba

Re: Province to do own promo (June 28). Instead of spending another few millions on drivel to advertise Manitoba, why don't we go to the people who know and feel the heart of Manitoba and its treasures? British Columbia has Beautiful British Columbia. "Friendly and thriving" could be great adjectives as before, but I think that "Magnetic Manitoba" would cover it all considering that we draw countless immigrants from all over the world.

Dolly Dennis


Cynical police strategy

Re: Winnipeggers demonstrate against G20 protesters' treatment (July 2). Having observed the G20 protests, one can clearly suggest that the police allowed property destruction by the Black Block (since when do police cars burn for hours on end and when do police abandon blocks of streets completely to rioters?), and then use that destruction as an excuse to round up randomly and arrest randomly peaceful demonstrators, citizens who were there to see what was happening, and even journalists. Police even physically beat some of the demonstrators and put them in holding cells for hours (which they had no right to do).

Unfortunately, the police strategy worked -- but at what expense? Democracy has suffered a significant blow that will not be forgotten around the world.

Nick Ternette


Thank you, Burton

I would like to thank Don Marks for his touching article, Finding Common Ground (June 26). It helped me immeasurably.

It was a long time ago in a small coffee shop where several friends and I had heard Burton Cummings might appear. Sure enough he showed up and his beautiful voice enchanted and amazed us. But then out of that beautiful voice came a most offensive remark. We were so stunned and angry that we all stormed out shouting curses behind us. I have carried that anger a long time, and every time Burton's name came up in conversation I would tell the story of how he violated us.

Reading Burton's words in your article made me realize that none of us is ever finished learning about forgiveness. This anger I have been harbouring all these years is exactly the kind of emotional baggage he now talks about trying to leave behind, so unseemly and so useless. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I just want to say something I thought I would never say. Thank you, Burton.

Steve Oetting



Congratulations to Burton Cummings on receiving his high school diploma. Also, accolades to St. John's High School for taking the time and effort to make this happen. I also commend Gord Sinclair (who is not afraid to take the less popular view) for acknowledging the need for our education system to examine how students need to be treated in an individual and compassionate manner.

I appreciate the need for rules, but I also appreciate how society needs to embrace care and compassion towards our young. They are learning, growing and susceptible to the slights that our communities so often send their way. My heartstrings pulled when I read how a 61-year-old man could be reduced to tears at the recollection of how poorly he was treated by his principal, a man in power.

The strength of Cummings is shown by his success in the music industry, how very proud he should be of this success. I worry about the rest of the children who lack the talent or strength of his, and the path that they follow as a result of the abuse by people in power. As we reflect on the graduates of 2010, let's consider how we may increase the success of each and every potential future graduate and consider how more inclusion may be their ticket to success. Who knows who may be in the wings to make Manitoba proud?

Kim Toews


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2010 A11

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