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Tyranny of minority

Re: Fairness for all (Letters, May 31). Participation in a democracy, by youth or anyone else for that matter, in no way entails the violence demonstrated by the protesters in Montreal.

How does the smashing of windows or burning of police vehicles present one's position in the discourse of democracy? The blatant disregard for the rule of law (a foundation of democracy) and the disruption to classes of willing students are nothing more than tyranny of a self-centred minority.

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The future of Canada rests with the many proud graduates witnessed at the recent convocation at the University of Manitoba (and other universities across Canada) and not with the rabble in the streets.

IHOR HOLOWCZYNSKY

Winnipeg

 

Re: Student protests mulled here (May 30). While students may be dismayed by the idea of raising tuition, I would encourage Bilan Arte and her constituents to take a long-term view on this issue. The standard proposed for tuition increases is reasonable. Inflation is not an arbitrary number, picked at the whim of university administration. The ask could be worse.

I have degrees from both the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba. There is no arguing that our universities are underfunded. While I agree that our government should continue to be a majority funder, it is an incredibly callous position to suggest that the cost of education for students should remain constant, while the cost of delivering that education for our universities rises each year.

You don't need a university degree to understand that the situation is unsustainable.

MARK LIPSON

Winnipeg

 

Governments, with full voter endorsement, made school attendance mandatory and also built universities and trade schools, all at significant cost.

Since there are no tuition fees for students in elementary schools, what is the justification for imposing them on students attending university or technical schools?

Since we already pay the bulk of the costs of university and technical schools, why do we make it difficult for many families to have their children pursue the higher learning that is vital to a vibrant, successful society? Why do we insist on tuition fees for higher learning -- fees that augment the debts owed by graduating students, debts ranging as high as $40,000?

If we look upon education as a collective investment in society's well-being, why do we cut off that investment prematurely? If we are concerned that highly specialized graduates will be lured from Canada, we could require by contract that they utilize their skills here for a minimum of five years, failing which they would have to pay the costs of their higher education on a pro-rated basis.

While the violence associated with the Quebec students' protests is unacceptable, shouldn't we at least acknowledge the logic in their cause in trying to prevent increases in fees that are logically wrong in the first place? Shouldn't we be asking governments to seriously consider changing an illogical tuition-based higher-education system?

AL MACKLING

Winnipeg

 

Huge contribution

I was delighted to see the May 26 package (Our City, Our World) celebrating the many contributions members of the Jewish community have made to life in Winnipeg, and especially pleased at the inclusion of Jewish members of the arts community.

As a theatre artist in Winnipeg, I would respectfully add Steven Schipper, Leslee Silverman and Kayla Gordon to this list. Their collective decades of artistic leadership have contributed immeasurably to the quality of life for the citizens of Manitoba and beyond.

MARIAM BERNSTEIN

Winnipeg

 

Vital research

I am pleased that respected voices like David Schindler (Closing ELA penny-wise, pound foolish, May 28) and Bob Brennan (Ex-Hydro boss slams closure, May 26) are speaking out in hopes of preserving the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario.

Nothing has been said, however, about cuts to the northern contaminants program, also run and administered through Fisheries and Oceans.

This program is also being gutted and it, too, provides important data to Canada and the world. The current government and its lobbyists cannot believe that this work is important or else they would transfer those positions and projects to Environment Canada, which they have not done.

In fact, Environment Canada has been cut as well. I hope they reconsider, for all our sakes.

ELIZABETH DOREY

Winnipeg

 

It is noteworthy that David Schindler's article did not mention his research into so-called acid rain and the impact of acidification of lakes and the trailing effects on the mercury cycle.

The work carried out by scientists and graduate students in the 1980s, and directed by Schindler himself, became landmark studies that impacted on the policies of U.S. governments of the era.

IAN DIXON

Winnipeg

 

As a retired scientist, I have to voice my concern about the many federal scientific centres that have been recently closed in Winnipeg. This will have a devastating effect on our scientific culture and the hope for the future of young science graduates here.

Scientific thinking, where issues are not taken for granted but are investigated and subjected to critical analysis before acceptance, is rare in our society. Losing this many career paths for science graduates will impact high school graduates' decisions on whether to enrol in the sciences. Surely, there are better ways to keep Canada competitive in the world than decimating our local science base.

ROBERT JANZ

Winnipeg

 

Housing alternative

In his May 28 column, Make residential splash at Forks, Brent Bellamy suggests putting housing on Parcel 4 at The Forks.

This would be like building apartments or condos at the front step of the legislative building. Furthermore, city council has already twice denied applications to build housing at The Forks.

It is a great idea to get people circulating downtown at all hours of the day. But as an alternative, how about acquiring the land on the east side of Main Street between Union Station and Earls restaurant for a tall residential building with underground parking, or for parking structure shared by the Union Station?

It is rightly out of The Forks but adjacent to it -- even with the enhanced entrance to The Forks as part of the Union Station renovation planned for the coming year.

LES WEST

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2012 A19

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