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Address transparency

I am not an expert on the Indian Act or the government omnibus bill that is in the works, but I imagine more than 90 per cent of the people protesting with the Idle No More movement are in the same predicament as I am. This, however, is common knowledge. Chief Theresa Spence’s Attawapiskat reserve contains approximately 1,800 people, many of whom live in Third World conditions, yet she receives millions of dollars from both the federal and Ontario governments along with revenues from mining and casinos.

One can only hope that after she is finished with her meetings with the federal government that the residents of the Attawapiskat confront her and demand financial transparency and fairness.

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Don Hermiston’s Jan. 3 letter highlights many ignorant and incorrect beliefs regarding Attawapiskat. Clearly, Hermiston can correctly operate a calculator to determine that $17.6 million divided by 1,550 people equals $11,354 per person. He is perpetuating the erroneous belief, however, that Attawapiskat is handed a blank cheque for $17.6 million and is squandering it.

An examination of Attawapiskat’s audited financial reports, readily available on the Internet, clearly shows that their spending is in line with most other jurisdictions. For example, $5.5 million of the $17.6-million budget was spent on teacher’s salaries in the last fiscal year. Although their school is still closed due to a toxic oil spill, students are still attending school in portable classrooms.

Hermiston’s comments are typical of those who like to falsely imply there is no financial accountability on First Nations reserves. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Stephen Harper began this finger-pointing when he intentionally misled Canadians into believing that Attawapiskat had wasted $90 million instead of building muchneeded housing (clearly a deceptive number). Hopefully, Canadians and Canadian media outlets learn more about Spence and the history of Attawapiskat soon and we stop hearing more of the same tired and blatantly untrue accusations.




An inconvenient truth

Exporting assault weapons approved (Jan. 3). The recent decision to allow the sale of automatic weapons to Columbia uncovers an inconvenient truth about Canada. Although it would be logical to blame the Harper government for such short-sighted profit-motivated weapons trade, the truth is that Canada has been in the top 15 arms exporters for many years — regardless of the kind of government we have had (Stockholm Peace Research Institute).

Our national self-opinion holds high the ethic of peacemaking, but our exports tell a far different story. Weapons and war equipment making industries proliferate in our country, including Winnipeg. Do we really want to continue to have such blood on our hands?




Pope acted quickly

Jerry Storie’s base attacks on Pope Benedict XVI ( Infallible hypocrisy, Letters, Dec. 29) need rebuttal. Joseph Ratzinger’s whole family was absolutely opposed to all Nazi ideas and actions. Sixteen year-old Joseph was conscripted, given military training and assigned to serve in an anti-aircraft battery in Germany. To survive, he had to do this. What else would his critics have done?

The abominable, 20th-century tragic sexual abuses (mostly homosexual) among a tiny minority of Catholic clergy, brought on by the sexual manias of the 1960s and compounded by the deliberate subversion of some seminaries by sodomists, shocked Pope Benedict when he heard about them. He promptly condemned them, and took corrective actions.

In his global visits, he has met, and apologized to, many of the victims. He took very firm measures to tighten up church laws and procedures to try to prevent the abuses recurring and to hold those responsible for them accountable in civil and church courts.

All these grave sins and crimes were in contempt of rational Catholic requirements, carried out by a fraction of one per cent of the staff and members who make up the human side of the divine church, established and commissioned by Jesus Christ. It is the guilty persons who deserve blame, not the church.

Sexual addicts dislike Pope Benedict because he knows very well what is wrong with their absurd, evil, destructive lifestyles, and courageously teaches accordingly, under his 2,000-year-old papal mandate. They should be thanking him for warning them about nature’s heavy penalties for those who mock its laws.

Even plumbers know that one never puts two parts of the same gender together if one wants a good result; and they also know where, when, how and why such parts were meant, by their complementary nature, to ideally fit together.




Reynolds reaches deep

Re: Reynolds’ raw reporting some of best in 2012 (Jan. 2). Congratulations to Lindor Reynolds on being recognized for her touching column on Ana Marquez-Greene.

Reynolds is a wonderful writer who reaches deep into her soul to convey the feelings of the person or family she is writing about.

She never just gives us just the facts; we can turn on the TV for that. Instead, she gives us a connection to the person or issue she is writing about.

It can’t be easy to write this way. It’s what makes her so special, and it must be emotionally draining sometimes.





Doubly stigmatized

Re: Bid to reshape dementia attitudes (Jan 3). I note in your article regarding dementia that there is a tendency for people to see the disease and not the person who is suffering from it.

Unfortunately this is a common experience for those individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, as it is for anyone with just about any type of mental illness. What is truly disturbing, however, is how this attitude is reflected in the minds of policy-makers when it comes time to allocate health-care resources. Here we have a group of patients who are doubly stigmatized by being both elderly and with mental illness, and cannot effectively advocate for themselves.

As a psychiatrist who provides care to the elderly, I can only hope that as the demographics of our society evolve over the next few decades, and we have an ever increasing number of people who fall into this double jeopardy of age and mental illness, the message will eventually get through that we cannot forget about these people when it comes time to plan how our health care system will respond to their needs.



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