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Penalizing prisoners

Re: Make prisoners pay, says Toews (May 10). Way to go, Vic Toews! What better way to get prisoners prepared for the outside world than have them start to realistically pay their way. For Bob Rae to try to portray criminals as victims is what is truly bizarre.

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It has nothing to do with putting more criminals back on the streets; it has to do with Rae trying to discount Toews' good idea.

The victims are outside the penal system. We are not going to correct a criminal's behaviour by allowing him to keep more of what he stole from the public in the first place. Notice I said "penal" system, not "correctional."

Once prisoners account for what they have done and the position they have put themselves into, then they can be corrected.

ROD ROLAND

Headingley

ñü

The majority of us know that dealing with prisoners in the way the government is leaning is not the best way. Every other civilized country appears to know this but us.

This government is becoming more punitive in its attempts to save money. Making prisoners pay for their telephone calls, or making them give back to room and board more of the little income they do earn -- all this will do is make it harder for prisoners to stay in touch with their families.

Imagine how this will affect prisoners' spouses and children who are already struggling at home. Well, I guess then we can arrest the children of the prisoners and repeat the process.

One day we will see the results and wonder how on earth this happened.

CAROLE CLARKE

Winnipeg

Imitating their hero

Re: Spectrum of opinion (Letters, May 8). All of those angry readers calling on the Free Press to censor Frances Russell sound an awful lot like their hero, King Harper. If you don't like what someone says, don't debate them, just shut them up.

Russell is one of the only journalists in Western Canada who provides a progressive voice for the majority of Canadians who see this prime minister for what he is -- a mean-spirited, spiteful, control freak.

In case all these whiners haven't noticed, Russell's columns appear in the editorial section. To the credit of the Free Press, these editorials are placed at the back of news section, unlike their competitors, whose front page and first 10 pages read like a daily unpaid advertisement for the Conservative Party of Canada.

ANDREW J. MORRIS

Winnipeg

ñü

Ho-hum. Another Frances Russell column, another knee-jerk right-wing contrarian. Apparently letter writer Gordon MacFarlane (Depth and perspective, May 5) is at a loss for meaningful debate concerning the content of Russell's May 2 column, The birth of a banana republic.

Does MacFarlane think Russell is lying about the declension of democracy in Toryland? Does he deny the incompetence demonstrated by this government's F-85 scandal, Tony Clement's shameful pork-barrelling, Stephen Harper's self-serving prorogation of Parliament, the Bev Oda outrage, etc., etc.?

Caught somewhere between sycophancy and the Stockholm syndrome, MacFarlane's brief bluster eschews fact for the standard right-wing personal invective.

PATRICK J. BURTON

Winnipeg

Counting on Wasyliw

Re: Math program under review (May 8). Thank you to Mark Wasyliw for having the integrity to raise some very important issues. Manitoba students have not been performing well on national and international math assessments, and I am disappointed by the dismissal of this worrisome fact by one school trustee who described this as misinformation and fear-mongering.

I am a parent of two girls who attend a school in the Winnipeg School Division and I hope that the division takes Wasyliw's motion to investigate why students are not performing well in math seriously.

Children deserve the best education possible, and school divisions have the power to make this happen. If there is one bright light in all of this, it is the fact that our deputy minister of education is listening to our concerns about student math performance. I hope that this will result in some positive changes to math curriculum at the provincial level.

If the WSD is confident that its comprehensive assessment program is useful, and if attempts to raise awareness about poor math performance are simply fear-mongering, why doesn't the division release the average CAP scores in math to the public?

ANNA STOKKE

Department of mathematics and statistics

University of Winnipeg

A meeting place

Re: Restoring downtown icon (Letters, May 8). The Hudson's Bay Store was such a great place when I was growing up. It was a great meeting place and it was always bustling with shoppers and nearby workers, who would grab a lunch at the Paddlewheel.

In order to keep it as a grand old building, why didn't they think of fixing it up and putting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in there? What a great place to house it!

MARG RIXEN

Winnipeg

The perfect metaphor

Regarding development at The Forks, has anyone suggested a reflection pond? With obvious deference to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, it could do double duty as a public skating rink in the winter, completing the perfect Canadian metaphor.

As for water parks, could something Winnipeg-scale be done in conjunction with the Pan Am and Sargent Park facilities? How about something truly world-class in partnership with Polo Park? In my humble opinion, no world-class-sized water park could work as a stand-alone facility.

BILL PETERS

Winnipeg

North End institution

Re: Kids just gotta be kids (May 7). Contrary to Don Marks' memory, the bottling plant opposite King Edward School on the corner of Sinclair Street and Selkirk Avenue was Arctic Drinks, not Blackwoods Beverages.

Arctic Drinks was my family's business for more than 50 years. We bottled Nesbitt's orange, Frostie root beer, Snow White cream soda, etc. We also had a family residence alongside. The yard behind the plant had a high wooden fence and brick garage.

Blackwoods Beverages was Pepsi, 7Up and Orange Crush, among others. I seem to remember them in the Clifton area on Ellice Avenue. It was a much larger company.

I agree with the article somewhat, but if Marks really did grow up in the North End, I would consider the plant information a rather large oversight.

FRANCIS PETERS

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 11, 2012 A13

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