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Envy and greed

Lindor Reynolds and Mary Agnes Welch are two of the finest writers the paper has on staff. Both contribute vital work toward our community's ongoing dialogue about social issues in Manitoba.

This is why I was so disappointed with the direction of their June 16 piece Divided we stand, about the widening gap between the rich and poor in Winnipeg.

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Canada and Manitoba are blessed with one of the very best economic mobility rates in the world. With a marginal income tax rate of roughly 45 per cent on our highest earners, Canada also does more than a responsible job of wealth redistribution, through comprehensive social programs available to all.

The writers suggest that Manitoba somehow fares better because of "our shortage of super-rich people." The incredibly wealthy, not to mention industries that may fall under their responsibility, are an integral benefactor of the social programs that Canadians hold dear. Without them, programs like disability and social assistance would not be feasible.

The politics of both envy and greed have been the downfall of many great civilizations. The ongoing politics of envy in this city since 1919 have done Manitobans little good. I ask that the Free Press exercise extra vigilance against it in the future.




Thank you for the article on the income inequities in Winnipeg. Social stability, which depends in part on equity in society, impacts all of us. As a result, we really need to look carefully at issues like this and ask ourselves why we create the systems in our society that result in these outcomes.

Certainly, individual decisions impact individual outcomes, but when overall numbers trend in certain directions, it is more likely the result of something beyond individual choice.

One thing the article mentions in passing that requires further exploration is the shrinking of the middle class and the growing powerlessness of workers at the same time as the declining reach of unions.

I would also welcome a deeper look at what has contributed to a growing median income in inner-city communities over recent years. One thing I do know is that there has been a shift in the work of community organizations away from charity toward initiatives that create change (give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish), healing and creating real economic opportunities for people.

I suspect we will see some directions that we can take as society to address the question in this article.




Shared moment

Judge in sex flap breaks silence (June 15). I used to feel sorry for Lori Douglas as I thought it was just a skeleton in her closet and God knows we all have them. What I now find is that the closet was bursting with lawyers, judges and the Manitoba Law Society all sharing in her moment of indiscretion.

The fact remains that naked photos of her were on the Internet for all to see, so her integrity as a judge has been compromised, and she should have done the right thing and resigned back in 2010.

Another fact is the law society knew about this incident and did nothing, so it is as complicit as she is. My only hope is the Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into this sordid affair finds her incompetent and censures the Manitoba Law Society for its part in this matter.




Develop clear plan

Re: Solution for 'eyesores' elusive (June 15). The necessary redevelopment of Winnipeg's surface parking lots won't happen by issuing a vague directive and then moaning and groaning when results don't magically appear.

It's not enough for Mayor Sam Katz to simply say, "Here's a tax incentive, now make it happen." I urge Katz to take the ideas that we raised two years ago in the last mayoral campaign for developing a clear plan that shifts the focus away from surface parking lots and encourages the development of multi-level parkades and multi-use facilities.

That means getting business and downtown stakeholders to the table to recommend a tax-incentive structure that works best for our city, investing the $24 million from the questionable sale of the Winnipeg Square parking garage in projects that combine retail, housing and community space with multi-tiered parking, and drawing on best practices from cities around the globe where cohesive, vibrant, liveable streets are a reality.

As Coun. Jenny Gerbasi astutely noted, tax incentives may not be enough, but we won't know without priority given to an actual plan that is debated on the floor of council and contains actual timelines for implementation.

Whether we're talking about water parks, rapid transit or surface parking lots, it is clear that the public is best served when all the facts are on the table, stakeholders are consulted and meaningful planning takes place.




Parents know best

Re: Picking up parents' slack (Letters, June 9). The press may be free in this province, but parenting is becoming more regulated and less free if parents cannot opt their children out of the school system's curriculum on human sexuality.

The medical profession confirms that children develop sexually at different rates. One only needs to observe the differing ages that menstruation or the need to shave begins with students. That means their hormone levels develop at different stages.

Why is the province insisting on stimulating sex instructions for all students at the same time? Parents are the best judges of when their children are ready for each aspect of sexual instruction.

The education system is supposed to prepare our children for global competition in reading, writing, mathematics and science, not in global competition on sexuality. Unfortunately, they seem to be doing a terrible job on the former and an even worse job on the latter.

Perhaps if they concentrated their efforts on the former and let parents take over sex-ed, our children would better learn the basics they need in life.




I am one of those parents who removed her children from sex education classes, as it is my firm belief that it should be taught in the home with abstinence being the No. 1 priority.

There are many reasons why premarital sex is not a good option. Does it get discussed in class how a young girl loses her virginity in a back seat of a car, let's say, and then gets dumped the next day. Why? Because there was no love, no commitment.

What about the emotional impact of having sex before one is ready? Parents owe it to their children to be open and up front concerning sex and to teach abstinence first and foremost.




Making a difference

The Manitoba Marathon volunteers, spectators and sponsors really make a difference.

I'm in my 50s and ran the Super Run on Sunday. The volunteers, spectators and even the announcer made it an experience I'll never forget.

Their support and encouragement made me feel like I was in the Olympics. Thank you so much. You have motivated me to shoot for the Free Press 10K next year.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2012 A7


Updated on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 11:55 AM CDT: adds links

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