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New name for Tories?

Re: Get busy and sign up to lead PC party (March 13). I read with interest Jim Downey's concern at the lack of interest in leadership of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative party and his suggestion that the party should rebrand itself. I presume his feeling is that a new name will revitalize the party and dampen the memory of the election scandal that marked the last Filmon government.

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The apparent answer to negative political reaction is to change the name of the party by rebranding. The Saskatchewan Conservative Party did so after a scandal that resulted in a number of criminal convictions. Some Alberta Conservatives have demonstrated their dissatisfaction with their party and have split off and developed a new identity. The federal Conservatives revitalized the old Conservative party by merging with the Alliance party in an effort to mask its inadequacy. The federal Liberal party struggles with picking up the pieces of its damaged reputation and some believe that a merger with another party will accomplish the same purpose for them as it did for the federal Conservatives.

Now that we can see the results of the autocracy of the current federal government, can we expect a rebranding of both the Manitoba and federal Conservatives to encourage the failing memories of an inattentive electorate?

FRANK E. PRICE

Winnipeg

Wind, solar a long way off

Caroline Baum's piece on the surge of shale gas production (March 17) indirectly explains why wind and solar power are still the energy sources of the future, but probably the distant future.

Despite billions in subsidies, wind currently provides a mere one-half of one per cent of global energy output and solar even less. In Britain, more than 100 MPs are demanding cuts to wind subsidies that annually amount to more that $620 million Cdn and cost each household $1,040, yet provide only 0.6 per cent of the nation's energy while reducing carbon emissions by a negligible one per cent. Meanwhile, the U.S. reduced its emissions by seven per cent in 2009, not through the use of alternate generation, but by increasing the consumption of natural gas, whose emissions are only half those of coal. These vast gas reserves can be found worldwide and are soon to be exploited by the fracking techniques described by Baum.

Solar power shares the same fate as wind since Germany, which has invested over 100 billion euros in it, is seeing high energy prices forcing companies to move abroad, so it has announced support for the industry will end by 2017. Spain has experienced similar problems. In the U.S. the collapse of the heavily subsidized Solyndra Corp. with an accompanying loss of 1,100 jobs due to a lack of demand for its solar products, and production cutbacks by China's two largest solar manufacturers, are pushing this power source back to Square 1.

Electricity costs in Ontario also have gone sky-high due to an ill-advised large-scale commitment to wind farms. So before any other provinces repeat this folly, they need to wait until technological advances make alternates more economically viable rather than trying to placate the environmentalists.

Edward Katz

Winnipeg

Violence is failure

Re: A failure of humanity (Letters March 16). Harith Chaukhary puts it well: "Bullets can win wars, but they cannot win hearts." This reminds me of something similar Mahatma Gandhi said: "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary."

Stan Penner

Landmark

The meaning of halal

With Quebec's recent controversy over halal meat, it seems the word "halal" hasn't yet been properly understood by society.

The term halal means "lawful" for a Muslim.

For example, kosher food is halal, my pursuit of an education is halal, following traffic regulations is halal, my position as a public servant is halal.

One instruction for Muslims regarding the consumption of meat is to ensure that the blood has been properly drained, the least amount of pain reaches the animal, and that God's name be proclaimed.

As an Ahmadi Muslim living in Canada, although I seek halal options, I also understand it's not always readily available.

But because the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the health and safety aspect already, meat from grocery stores is almost halal anyway. This allows me, at least in times of necessity, to eat such meat.

The Qur'an also supports this: "But he who is driven by necessity, being neither disobedient nor exceeding the limit, it shall be no sin for him. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful."

So before eating, I silently remember and pray to God, and that is halal.

Muneer Ahmad Khan

Ottawa

Justify spending, Sam

Mayor Sam Katz says he may run again to get a new deal from the province. Proper intergovernmental spending agreements are desirable. We must realize, however, that the province has other financial responsibilities, especially in health and education. Also, there is only one taxpayer.

The mayor could improve his argument for another term by properly rationalizing all existing city spending, and holding all public meetings at convenient times. He could end the use of ward allowances for partisan political reasons. We do not need tax dollars being used by some councillors for bus-bench advertisements.

Fred Morris

Winnipeg

The power of justice

There is an injustice, an abuse of human rights, an imbalance in the access to wealth and resources jointly owned by all of us on the planet. The strategy must be to liberate the economy and share fairly. This is the strategy of the 99 per cent, the well-known Occupy movement.

Strategies of the one per cent always depend on physical or military power. These, in turn, depend on the resources we jointly own but are being stolen by the one per cent. The strategy of the 99 per cent is rational, fair, compassionate and optimistic for life; the strategy of the one per cent is cruel, selfish, stealthy and uncivilized.

The makeup of the one per cent are governments in the grip of the elite against the web of life, which include big corporations, like Big Pharma, mining companies, food and water companies, etc., or any powerful elites that are taking the people's assets to sell.

Margaret Maier

Winnipeg

Abortion reality

Re: Doonesbury's crusade (Letters, March 17). Although I don't read Doonesbury cartoons, I have a response to the recent series of Doonesbury comics and Garry Trudeau's crusade against the Texas abortion law.

When a woman is making such an irreversible decision to end the life of her child in the womb, ignorance is not bliss. I, for one, applaud the Texas law requiring a sonogram prior to an abortion. With any decision, one should be completely informed, and this law provides the woman more information. What exactly is so repugnant and terrifying about seeing a child alive in the womb? Does witnessing this truly bring disgust to mind? If it does, perhaps it is because the reality of abortion can no longer be hidden.

Cathy Brunet

Winnipeg

Repeal prohibition

Re: For druggies, I prescribe chopping wood up North (March 16). W. Gifford-Jones provides a lot of truthful information about heroin. It seems, however, that the good doctor lets his bias as a gatekeeper to drugs cloud his judgment on the evils of prohibition.

For instance, if heroin is not even as addictive as tobacco is said on cigarette packs to be, and withdrawal is not medically serious, then why bother users at all?

Why not support the repeal of prohibition instead of supporting a police state like Singapore or Canada? Does the doctor have any idea how much prohibition costs taxpayers? Once prohibition is repealed then the money saved on law enforcement could be freed up for more palliative-care centres.

Chris Buors

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2012 A11

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