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Honouring settlers

Thank you, Robert Vineberg, for your wonderful editorial (A park could honour immigrants, May 29). This year marks the bicentennial of the arrival of the Lord Selkirk settlers in the Red River Valley.

These people took great risks to come here and faced so many challenges that we can't even imagine today. By settling here and establishing an agricultural community, they played a crucial role in the creation of Manitoba.

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What a fabulous idea to turn the parking lot opposite the Canadian Museum for Human Rights into a park and dedicate it to the Selkirk settlers. What a great place to commemorate the settlement of 1812, which is such an important part of Manitoba history.

I agree that it is the immigrants, and the role Winnipeg played in the settlement of Western Canada, that should be recognized.




I really like the idea of a park in honour of the immigrants who settled Manitoba. In every country in Europe, a great effort has been made to gather up examples of early houses, along with examples of industry and farming.

We should look to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Steinbach as an example of how something like this would work. I think the $7 million should be given to this project.

We could cover all the different groups, and it could be almost like a year-round Folklorama.




Tricky definition

I would ask Florence Wiens, who maintains that "life begins when you draw your first breath" (Letters, May 28), what does one call the state of being of the hiccupping, swallowing, excreting and moving entity within a pregnant woman's uterus?

If it isn't life, what is it? Death? Unlife?




Ignoring value

Notwithstanding Jock Finlayson's disregard of his own finding that funding of public services as a percentage of GDP has dropped over the past three decades, his May 29 article, Cost of the public sector in Canada, completely ignores the value of public services as a measure of the best of all we are. Whether it is helping a stranger lying injured on the road or paying taxes to support a public health-care system, people are acting on the values of equality, empathy and responsibility.

In the face of yet another attack on our public sector, it is important to remember that public services matter -- they contribute to Canadians' living standard, they enhance conditions for doing business here, and they constitute the most powerful instrument we have to offset the impact of growing inequality in this country.




Relegated to irrelevance

Re: Worried Via workers probe officials on rumoured cuts (May 30). Via Rail workers have good reason to be worried. Over the years, consecutive federal governments, along with Via management, have done their best to dissuade passenger rail service in this country and to relegate a once-proud industry to less than irrelevant. They have succeeded amazingly well.

For the remaining few who still wish to ride by train, say to the West Coast, why would they even consider Via Rail? Especially considering the price of a round trip ticket from Winnipeg to Vancouver is more than double that of Amtrak's from Grand Forks to Seattle?

By the looks of things, our air industry is following the same path. By pricing themselves out of the market, with American venues so near, what could there possibly be to gain?




Our two national railways were given a monopoly to operate when this country was new. The railways were granted millions of acres of land to run their rails across the nation. The costs of creating a new rail system to compete with the incumbents would be astronomical due to the costs of acquiring land for rail beds.

How many tractor trailer units would it take to replace a single train of potash, grain or iron ore? It would take trillions of dollars in investments to buy enough trucks and build the infrastructure to create an alternative to move goods currently moved by rail.

There can be no equitable labour negotiations while there are thousands of enterprises and millions of people adversely affected by a rail strike. Our nation can never be taken hostage by 4,800 strikers.




Negativity oversold

The Free Press has been publishing a lot of stories regarding the negative aspects of a cosmetic pesticide ban in Manitoba. They aren't really all that negative and are being made to appear that way by the wealthy and influential pesticide companies.

Sports and lawns were enjoyed before pesticides, and will continue to be enjoyed after pesticides. Please present a balanced view. There are a great many people who are interested in seeing this ban come to fruition for the sake of all our children and the environment.




Refocus priorities

I applaud Mike Mager's position of no need for a tax hike (CAA opposes PST hike, May 31). He is correct in contending this government needs to refocus its priorities instead of imposing another increase on taxpayers who are already overburdened.

In the last provincial budget, the government increased vehicle registration by $35, ostensibly for infrastructure. This is about a 30 per cent increase. To now argue for an additional sales tax hike is unjust.




Don't blame the road

Your May 30 story Province yanks memorial crosses (May 30) is the most recent news article on the purported dangerous conditions of PTH No. 6 north of Winnipeg.

I am familiar with that highway and I have difficulty agreeing that inherent road conditions were the cause of those fatalities.

For example, PTH No. 10 near The Pas is about as good a highway as can be expected. Despite this fact, I am aware of 21 fatalities along a 35-kilometre stretch of this road.


The Pas


Risky business

In your May 17 editorial Driver defence, you stated that Winnipeg Transit drivers are complaining about being assaulted while driving their bus. What about the passengers being assaulted or threatened with assault?

I ride the bus every day and I am starting to doubt my sanity. Riding a bus is one of the riskiest things a person can do. The number of visibly intoxicated individuals on buses is appalling.

I hope Winnipeg Transit will do something to address this problem. You should not have to feel you are risking your life just to get to and from work.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 1, 2012 A13


Updated on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 12:16 PM CDT: adds links

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