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Last of its kind

Your June 13 story City team finds new Ebola cure is both excellent news and sad news. It is excellent for obvious reasons in that it shows what amazing things Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory can accomplish when given half a chance and adequate funding.

A treatment for one of the world's deadliest viruses, which can also be used to treat other diseases, is not something that comes along every day, and even Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq acknowledges that. The fact that it was developed in Winnipeg is most certainly a feather in our collective caps.

The sad part of this story is that, given Stephen Harper's ill-conceived and illogical budget cutting, this type of discovery will likely never occur again. As we have seen, his government is not as much concerned with such scientific breakthroughs or environmental protection issues as it is with his concept of what the world should look like and Canada's place in it.




Slap on the wrist

Re: Ruff start, but happy ending (June 13). It's pretty sad to realize that even if the person who tossed the unwanted puppy in the Dumpster is caught, he or she will likely only get a slap on the wrist for that dastardly act.

Animal abusers continue to thrive in this province, and our elected officials don't care enough to do anything about it.




People are too quick to judge that someone put the puppy in the Dumpster. I can think of two other explanations for what happened.

First, depending on the surrounding of the Dumpster, the puppy could have fallen in from climbing on things nearby.

Or perhaps due to its small size, it could have crawled into one of the garbage containers and accidently got tossed in the Dumpster without anyone knowing.

We must not jump the gun and let our emotion get in the way of determining how something came to be.




Too big to regulate

In his June 7 letter, Gas price mystery, Ken McLean asks if anybody polices the oil companies in Canada when they are gouging the consumers. Modern corporations and multinationals have become so huge and powerful that they are above all government regulations. There is no way to police them or control their activities.

Corporations are only concerned with making profits, not in public interest or human rights. They are like untouchable, invisible monsters. What can be done to control a super corporation like Shell, for example, that has financial assets equivalent to the combined national budgets of Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador?

Former U.S. president George W. Bush once commented on Exxon's responsibility for polluting the coastal waters: "Nobody can tell those guys what to do."

Economist Adam Smith, the so-called father of capitalism, warned about this two centuries ago. He supported a fair free market, but one under government supervision.




With the June 13 crude oil price of $US83.22 per barrel and the U.S. dollar at $1.03, the price of regular unleaded gasoline in Winnipeg should be 96 cents per litre at normal profit margins.

At a price of $1.21 per litre, you are paying 25 cents per litre in pure excess profit. Across Canada, an extra margin of 25 cents per litre generates an additional profit of $25.42 a day.

These calculations are based on Hugh Mackenzie's Gas Price Gouge: The Sequel.

I want to know why neither the provincial or federal government departments of consumer affairs are not investigating the oil companies for price gouging and price fixing.


St. Adolphe


Protecting ourselves

In his June 7 letter, Denying medication, Richard Goldman complains about reduced health-care benefits for refugees and cites as an example an illegal immigrant.

Refugees do not fall from the sky or appear out of the sidewalk in Canada. We have to protect ourselves and our economy from illegal immigrants and medical tourists who come to Canada for free health-care services. The Supreme Court recently upheld a decision by the Federal Appeal Court that illegal immigrants are not entitled to health-care coverage under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (see Nell Toussaint v. Attorney General of Canada).




Jets won't miss it

Re: Manitoba politicians seek reprieve from federal government for Riel House (June 13). It is my opinion that perhaps a very small portion of the millions of dollars that the province and the city are giving to the Winnipeg Jets in either cash or tax concessions be directed instead to Riel House.

The Jets are a very, very successful business entity. They do not require any government handouts.




Let's make a deal

Re: Research facility price tag? $1. I have emailed Joyce Bateman (with a copy to Pat Martin) offering $100 for the Experimental Lakes Area facility. I am prepared to go to $1,000.

I send this letter to the Free Press editor to make my offer public, certain and clear. I am not joking; I will make that purchase if I am offered it.

I look forward to my purchase. Ms. Bateman, please contact me. You have my address and home and work phone numbers.




At this time, when the federal government intends to close down the research station at the Experimental Lakes Area, we at Tall Grass Bakery recognize how important it is to acknowledge the role environmental education provided by ELA scientists played in the formation of our Winnipeg business.

Tall Grass, formed in 1990, currently employs 50 people and supports at least a dozen local and organic farms. These farms provide the bakery with grains, vegetables and fruits, eggs, pasta, meats and cheese.

We were inspired by scientists at ELA who taught us how to protect the environment by linking healthy economic activity with the protection of water and health of the soil. Our founding partners included an ELA scientist who brought an awareness of how important clean water and soil is to the production of healthy food, a former ELA head cook who was raised on a Hutterite farm where production and preparation of local food were strongly linked, and other environmentally aware members of the Grain of Wheat Church community.




For only $1, the NDP can purchase this world-class facility and the $2-million yearly operating costs are only half of the $4-million subsidy the province has agreed to give to the Winnipeg Jets every year from lottery revenues.

Surely, this is at least half as important as subsidizing millionaires for playing a game they love.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 16, 2012 A17

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