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Exploiting shale gas

The June 20 article from the Economist, Summer brings new Arctic rituals, claims carbon taxes to support alternate energy sources are the best way to combat climate change. However, recent international conferences have shown nowhere nearly enough countries are prepared to adopt such levies, especially during periods of sluggish economic growth. So maybe more need to follow the American lead and increase the exploitation of shale gas reserves using fracking techniques.

Since 2006, U.S. emissions have fallen nearly eight per cent, even though that country has never signed any major climate treaty, imposed any carbon taxes or adopted a cap-and-trade system. Yet by aggressive extraction of shale gas, the Americans have been able to increase this power source from providing only two per cent of national energy output in 2000 to 23 per cent today.

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This has also created thousands of jobs, lowered energy costs to both manufacturers and consumers, and made the country less dependent on offshore oil, often from unstable and hostile foreign suppliers.




Group closer to Riel

I was disappointed to hear that David Chartrand is negotiating about the future of Riel House with the federal government on behalf of the Manitoba Metis Federation.

I think the group that should be responsible for this historic site is the Union nationale métisse du Saint-Joseph, the oldest Métis organization in Western Canada. This group is celebrating its 125th anniversary this summer and was founded by men close to Louis Riel, such as his brother Joseph and his cousins.

Their goal was to keep alive the memory of what the resistance of 1869-70 was about and to keep the oral history from their perspective understood in their community. They always refused to take government money, because they did not want the government to undermine their historical perspective. Their families suffered discrimination because of their association with Riel.




Fronting for Harper

Gwyn Morgan's June 8 column, Alberta is no Nigeria, Mr. Mulcair, offers another example of a corporate so-called leader fronting for Stephen Harper's agenda in making the Alberta tarsands the economic engine that drives the Canadian economy.

Morgan fails to mention that this economic engine is grinding up the environment. So far, multinational oil companies have stripped away more than two billion tonnes of soil and rock, exposing an ecological disaster of unprecedented scope.




Disraeli cheers

Kudos to the city planners, construction companies, engineers and workers responsible for the rebuilding of the Disraeli bridges.

Over the past year-and-a-half they have managed to maintain a smooth flow of traffic from Henderson Highway into downtown. Closures have been minimal and well-timed.

As one who lives in the northeast of Winnipeg and takes this route regularly, I am appreciative and looking forward to the completion of the new bridge spans in a few months.




Crushing dissent

The Syrian government's recent and continued terror tactics, including the murder of women and children, must be condemned in the strongest way. But is enough just to condemn the Assad regime?

Russia and Iran are taking sides and so is China to a lesser extent. There is evidence the Russians are sending Assad a number of attack helicopters to help crush the dissent.

These are probably a modern model of the old Hind attack helicopter, which was the bane of the mujahideen in Afghanistan. The Hind was greatly feared until the Afghan freedom fighters received Stinger missiles.

Surely, there is a way to supply Stingers and other military hardware to the rebels. If Syria's allies, and especially Russia, are supplying Assad's regime with the hardware to annihilate the dissenting population, it's only fair to offer the means of self-defence to the rebels.




And Mansbridge is hot

Re: Do we really need the CBC anymore? (June 19). I take exception to Nelson Peters' theoretical dismemberment of the CBC, which I believe is one of the only media that delves deeply enough into issues to actually make sense of them.

Besides this, both French and English arms of the CBC keep us in tune with the culture and art that are unique to our great land. Everywhere I go in Canada, I know I can tune into CBC to get real news about what is, or should be, important to all Canadians. It never ceases to be an education for my family and me.

Incidentally, though I do belong to the set of aging baby boomers he attacks, I am proud to say that my sons, who are 24, 28 and 30, all benefit from the CBC, in both official languages.

Intelligent broadcasting is becoming as rare as pure air and clean water. Let's not allow a few upstarts who spend their days texting and tweeting spoil it for the rest of us.




The CBC walks an increasingly fine line and has paid a price for shining a light on our current prime minister's activities, strategies and dirty tricks. For that reason alone, the CBC is essential in and to democracy in our country.

Radio programs such as The Current, Q, The House, Sunday Morning, Ideas and others such as Dispatches, now cut, are uniquely informative, stimulating, varied and well-researched -- in short, a national treasure.

The same can be said for much of CBC-TV's programming, although I would agree with Nelson Peters that Canada does not equal hockey.

Seems to me that CBC Radio and TV are more accessible to those on fixed or low incomes than ever-changing technology and certainly to many older listeners and viewers.




Unneeded and impractical

Letter writer Ron Charach (Gun fight has begun, June 20) is more than a little off base in his declaration of "great interest" in a handgun and ammunition ban (of all types) in Toronto.

In reality, beyond a couple of left-leaning city councillors who are well-known for their love of bans as well as the pursuit of hare-brained socialist intrusions into daily life, and the ultra-left editorial board of the Toronto Star, the idea has gained little traction.

Indeed, most have dismissed the idea as unnecessary, impractical and unenforceable; and for reasons that include lack of legal authority and common sense.


Garson, Ont.


Reliable information

Re: Parents know best (Letters, June 19). We need school-based family-life education by trained teachers who provide children with reliable, accurate information based on their developmental needs and interests in a classroom environment that promotes respect for the dignity and worth of each individual.

Family-life education programs encourage an open discussion of the wide spectrum of values that exist in our pluralistic, democratic society and the acceptance of others' values with tolerance and understanding.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 22, 2012 A13


Updated on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 11:22 AM CDT: adds links

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