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Protecting Parker Lands


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Re: Bus corridor moving forward (June 4). I attended the BRT meeting, voiced my opposition to the "dogleg" proposal and the plan to cover the Parker Lands with housing, and asked questions about the legality of the land swap as well as the routing of BRT through the Parker Lands.

Councillors failed to answer adequately, Coun. Jenny Gerbasi proclaiming it’s "morally wrong" not to have rapid transit.

If that’s true, isn’t it equally true to say it’s morally wrong to destroy a priceless wetland? None of us who want to preserve the Parker Lands said we oppose rapid transit; rather, we requested a compromise so we can have both.

Gerbasi also spoke about health and active transportation, but seemed deaf to the fact that obliterating nature damages physical, mental, and spiritual health. Further, she said rapid transit makes a city sustainable. BRT alone won’t make Winnipeg "sustainable;" to be sustainable, a city needs a holistic vision of its future, something we obviously lack.

The impression I got from all but Coun. Justin Swandel was that allowing citizens to speak was little more than a technicality — that the Parker Lands route is going ahead no matter what.

I challenge the city to change this unconscionable plan so that BRT doesn’t demand the death of the Parker Lands.



The perils of personal care

While the editorial Resolve MDC’s future (June 4) is provocative and timely, it might easily have been written 40 to 50 years ago and doesn’t represent current thinking or language in today’s community-living movement.

Group homes are not natural settings for anyone — disabled or non-disabled. In the 1970s and ’80s, it was the only way we knew how to support people in their communities.

We now know there are more "natural" settings in which people can live and thrive. Regardless of their challenges or disabilities, and with the support of their families and friends, people are choosing how and where they live and who they want to live with — and the majority are not choosing group homes.

Enough has been written about the need to close institutions — that is a given. It’s time we acknowledge we are talking about people who have desires, needs, dreams and possibilities, and that continuing to link any individual to a specific service model, particularly an outdated one, is just plain wrong.



Re: Cheap, dangerous fix for elderly in nursing homes (June 4). Nicole F. Bernier is correct — in theory, better, more appropriate surroundings with more intensive medical and nursing support is what is needed.

But that will not be available in the foreseeable future. What to do now to deal with some residents with aggressive dementia?

There is a role for these medications today in carefully selected residents to prevent injury to all residents and staff.

We should always strive for the ideal, but we must accept and deal with reality.


Chairman of the board Saul and Saribel Simkin Centre

Prisoner swap irrational

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed off on something so irrational it could be deemed mindless ( Obama defends exchange, June 4).

Five top Taliban commanders are being set free for the return of one deserter. Obama brushed aside criticism by saying the U.S. has a "sacred" obligation to not leave soldiers behind.

But Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left his post, seeking out the enemy; at best the man is a deserter, at worst a collaborator.

Maybe Obama should have thought of the "sacred" obligation of keeping American citizens out of harm’s way and who may die because of this obtuse decision.



Tutu deserves scrutiny

Letter-writer Robert Granke thinks the Free Press is at cross purposes regarding a part of its motto "Liberty of Religion" as it relates to the editorial page cartoon depicting Archbishop Desmond Tutu on June 4 ( Tutu cartoon appalling, Letters, June 5).

There is no evidence whatsoever of any threat to this liberty. Are religious leaders somehow not to be questioned or challenged? Are they beyond public scrutiny?

Bring on more challenges to people who hide behind religion to make public pronouncements clearly beyond the scope of their calling.



A good political cartoon should provoke indignation and fury among part of its audience, preferably because it reveals a fundamental but unpopular truth.

So it’s good to see letter-writer Robert Granke was shocked and appalled by your cartoonist’s take (June 4) on the oilsands visit by the selfpromoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu.



Relearning a language

I appreciated the Free Press article Precious words (May 24), which highlighted Sandra Rubin’s rehabilitation and recovery after a hemorrhagic stroke. Many Manitobans aren’t familiar with the communication difficulties (including aphasia and apraxia) that can result from such an event, the hard work required for recovery, or the rehabilitative support available from speech-language pathologists who specialize in this area of practice.

Many individuals with aphasia fear that others perceive them to be lacking in intelligence, or "in kindergarten," as Rubin noted. As speechlanguage pathologists, a critical part of our job is to help our clients and their families understand that this is not the case.

Rubin not only spent two months recovering in hospital following her stroke, she also participated in additional rehabilitation with a speechlanguage pathologist for nearly a year and a half. This dedication and effort was critical to her success, and Rubin deserves recognition for her hard work. Her positive attitude helped her find various ways of returning to an active life — including work, volunteering, and family roles.

Despite the challenges of aphasia and apraxia, individuals can work hard, overcome them, and experience a positive quality of life.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2014 A12

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