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Calling Cuban shots

Re: Cuban question divides leaders (April 16). I find it laughable that Prime Minister Stephen Harper refuses to allow Cuba to participate in the next Summit of the Americas because the country does not have a democratic government. Yet just a couple months ago he was in China trying to hammer out a free trade agreement with the world's most powerful communist government.

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This seems to be just another example of our so-called sovereign government heeling to our U.S. masters. Doesn't it seem a little absurd for the U.S. and Canada, two huge economies, to be petrified of allowing a tiny country like Cuba to join in a trade agreement?

Mexico, which borders the U.S., is infinitely more dangerous and crime-ridden than Cuba, but it has a democratic government, so it's OK to move manufacturing jobs there so we can buy cheap appliances and cars. Go figure.




John Diefenbaker, then prime minister in a Conservative government, courageously stood up to a popular U.S. president, John F. Kennedy, and refused to sever diplomatic relations with Cuba after Fidel Castro became president.

It is interesting to note that another leader of a Progressive Conservative government, Brian Mulroney, decided to let Canada join the O.A.S., arguing that Canada could help counter the overwhelming influence of the U.S.




Bill Rolls (Disagree on fundamentals, Letters, April 14) needs to know that the "fundamental freedoms" are the same everywhere. There is no debating them; they are absolutes.

They include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of internal and external movement, and freedom of worship.

These freedoms the people of Cuba do not have, nor are they anywhere where the flag of enslavement flies. If Rolls is so enamoured with Cuba, Canada gladly grants him the freedom to go live there.



Water-park options

Re: Katz all quiet on water-park front (April 14). Shoehorning a hotel water park onto near-sacred land in the shadow of the Esplanade Riel, and surrounded by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, The Forks and the Shaw baseball park, may not be the best use of a valuable and important parcel of land.

A short ride away is the ideal location, the Portage Place Shopping Centre. Picture multi-level water slides where the escalators currently sit; at least one of the escalators is closed for repair most weeks.

A wave pool would quite easily replace the food court. "Going under" at Portage Place would take on positive meaning, one for which vacant store fronts in the current mall weren't able to wait.

If a sizable portion of Portage Place were gutted and retrofitted for Winnipeg's water park, it would achieve a number of desirable benefits, while correcting a decades-old mistake that left Winnipeggers with a downtown mall that it didn't want and to this day does not support. The knife-check stand at the entrance will ensure worry-free tubing.




The Forks, the human rights museum, a water park

One of these things is not like the other.

One of these things just doesn't belong.

Can you guess which thing is not like the others, before I finish this song?




The city has been talking about selling the Kildonan Golf Course. Sell the back half, keep nine holes and build the water park.

It is close to downtown and has access to parking and outside entertainment. That is where the stadium should have been.

If the city doesn't move on the opportunities that are on the table, maybe someone with vision at the South Beach Casino will jump on the idea. After all, plenty of Manitobans head out to the Thief River Falls casino and water park every spring break.




I'm OK with a subsidy for a world-class water park but not a fancy hotel pool. Our family with four kids had a great day in Edmonton at its water park for the first time this past spring break.

If what Winnipeg proposes is less than 25 per cent the size of Edmonton's, it won't be a world-class facility. Councillors should be encouraged to look at Edmonton's facility before making a mistake on allowing a less than adequate water park at The Forks. A world-class water park is a destination in itself and can be located somewhere else.




Four hundred and fifty parking stalls can't make up for the space lost to a 50,000-square-foot water park, or the footprint of a 250-room hotel, but it will be a huge attraction to Shaw Park, literally feet away.

There has been insufficient parking at The Forks forever; our St. Boniface streets are evidence of that every time something big happens there. That said, the magnificent human rights museum, on level with other world-class buildings like the Guggenheim, will bring hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world. Where will they park?

A hotel and water park will be a massive affront to this beautiful space. The already cramped Forks is a symbol of Winnipeg's history and a unique place.

Finally, Mayor Sam Katz's involvement with the Goldeyes, Shaw Park and the ownership of Riverside Park screams conflict, technicalities aside.



Revealing strong character

Thank you to Tom Oleson for reminding us that life is a lot more than politics (She was some woman, April 14). I wish to thank him for the way he has shared the impact of the life of a worthy woman.

But more than that, he has revealed an incredible strength of character on his part. I cannot imagine how precious Jaxson is in his life. I think it a timely reminder to all of us to re-think our values.

I referred to Oleson's editorial in a talk I just gave and of course found others who read him for the same reasons I do. The Free Press is incredibly enriched by his sane perspectives on what humans can really do to make their lives better.


St. Pierre Jolys

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2012 A11

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