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Shrouded in secrecy

In his June 11 column (Children's advocate off base), Dan Lett states that the biggest threat to the child welfare system is the public's lack of interest in child welfare. I disagree strongly with this statement.

My heart breaks every time I hear or read of another death or injury to a child in the system. The death of Phoenix Sinclair was not a one-time event that we can brush off with a "well, it happens." She was a little girl who deserved something much better, as did Gage Guimond and Nathaniel Meeches -- the list goes on.

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For the general public, it's simply impossible to find out what's going on until a tragedy occurs, and that is thanks only to the media. The system is shrouded in secrecy. Of course, this is designed to protect the children, and even the parents, to some extent, who may have severe difficulties themselves, but it's also designed to protect the anonymity of the workers, whose jobs never seem to be on the line for disastrous errors in judgment.

MacDonald had stated that the social workers didn't kill Phoenix, but as a ward of the system, she was taken from a foster family where she was safe and loved, then disappeared from sight for nine months, only to re-emerge as a corpse.

We need to know if someone was criminally negligent in making (or not making) decisions that led to her death. Bring on that inquiry, because we want to know, so that it never happens again.

SHARON COREY

Winnipeg

 

Kudos to Dan Lett for the insightful critique on Darlene MacDonald's "personal" comments regarding the Phoenix inquiry.

I disagree, however, that MacDonald has no right to a personal opinion regarding this issue. What seems amiss is that if the Free Press deemed the advocate's comments personal and inappropriate, it went ahead and published them anyway.

A question-and-answer session at the News Café would have provided both Lett and the public the opportunity to question MacDonald on her reason for the stance. We are now left to read between the lines.

PRABHA MENON

Winnipeg

 

Children's advocate Darlene MacDonald believes that the caregivers and not the Child and Family Services social workers killed Phoenix Sinclair. MacDonald fails to recognize a fundamental truth: were it not for the actions of the social workers, Phoenix would not have been placed in a perilous and ultimately fatal situation.

There are two tragedies here: the preventable death of little Phoenix and the inability of MacDonald to see the forest for the trees.

WALTER MELNYK

Winnipeg

 

Higher in Regina

In his June 7 letter, Gas price mystery, Frank Stroppa writes, "Prices in Regina have also come down several cents per litre in the past week."

This is totally incorrect. The gas price in Regina is currently $125.9 cents per litre, which is .01 cents per litre cheaper than it was April 1. Only two independent stations are lower than Winnipeg's lowest price.

The last time Winnipeg gas prices were higher than Regina was approximately February 2010.

WARREN CHUBEY

Regina

 

A divided nation

My family and all who we have told about the plight of Makoon the orphaned bear cub in Manitoba are outraged that in this day and age he could possibly be released to his doom before he is able to have a good chance of survival.

There are thousands of Australians watching this case. Many, like us, are from Animals Australia, a popular animal welfare group.

Our impression of Canadians to date is that you are a deeply divided nation. On the one hand, you are forward-thinking and culturally diverse, but on the other you allow such barbarically cruel acts as the seal pups cull and now bear-cub killing.

Many countries including Australia have a less than proud record in their treatment of animals, but you are at risk of destroying your reputation as a good tourist destination with backward thinking actions like this when there are far better options available.

STUART ARMSTRONG

Brisbane, Australia

 

Ignoring the facts

Dianne Baker's one-sided letter blaming Israel for the lack of water in the West Bank (Pawns in their game, June 6) ignores both history and the facts behind the drought. All of Israel, along with Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, has suffered a steadily worsening drought situation since 1999, with 2010-2011 being the hottest seasons in recorded history -- which in that part of the world, is saying a lot. To portray Israel as "stealing" Palestinian water so Israeli farms can be lush is ludicrous and prejudicial.

If the Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza want to improve their water situation, they should drop their preconditions, recognize Israel's right to exist, and come back to the negotiating table. Jordan did this 18 years ago, and since then has peacefully shared the water table with Israel. (Israel actually exports water to Jordan in some years).

Israel has been recognized by the United Nations as the world leader in water reclamation and recycling (over 70 per cent) and Israel shares that expertise with water authorities as far away as Manitoba. Israel's new seawater desalinization plant will begin producing 600 million cubic metres a year of fresh water when it opens in 2013. A bit of compromise could see residents of the West Bank and Gaza share in this 50 per cent increase in available water, none of which comes from "their" aquifers.

Finally, I hope Baker is working hard to reverse the trend she mentions in her letter, that of boycotting Israel and its partners. I can think of a second country whose immigrant majority has a problem providing water to its aboriginal minority. If the world chooses to boycott countries on that basis, Canada, as the residents of Island Lakes can attest, is doomed.

DAVID SELCH

Winnipeg

 

While Dianne Baker's letter merits some comment in its own right, even the most casual reader must be appalled at the choice of the headline, Pawns in their game.

This calls to mind the inane and ultimately murderous libel propagated by the Third Reich (and others who ought to have known better) that the world is controlled by a secret conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons.

Out of charity, let us simply assume ineptitude and not ill intent.

JAMES CHRISTIE

Winnipeg

 

But who's the dummy?

Re: Oil spills into Alberta river system (June 9). The caption below the photo of Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen and Premier Alison Redford says it all.

The minister and the premier are looking downward with closed mouths, although the caption reads, "McQueen and Redford discuss the oil spill at nearby Dickson Dam."

Ventriloquism, perhaps?

MARNIE TURNER

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 12, 2012 A11

History

Updated on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM CDT: adds links

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