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Exploiting immigrants

Your July 28 feature about Chinese people in Manitoba, From head tax to figurehead, was enlightening. More than 100 years ago, the Conservatives brought in thousands of immigrant workers to build the Canadian Pacific Railway and paid them a fraction of what Canadians were paid, and today the Conservatives are bringing in thousands of immigrant workers to build the Alberta tarsands, and they are also being paid only a fraction of what Canadian workers earn.

It is true history repeats itself, especially when it benefits the friends of a Canadian Conservative government.

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Manitoba Building Trades



Although the principal focus of your excellent articles was on the Chinese community of Winnipeg, at least one exception was made, and I would like to add a second.

Wesley Wong (1922-2004) devoted his life to the advancement of Brandon College, now Brandon University, throughout a student, teaching and administrative career that extended over more than four decades.

Wong obtained his bachelor of science degree at Brandon College in 1944, and after obtaining his master's degree at the University of Toronto he returned to Brandon in 1946 to teach physics in the faculty of science. He continuously led the physics department until his retirement in 1983.

His administrative career also included a period as acting dean of science (1970-72), vice-president (1972-74), and director of general studies (1972-84).

Wong co-authored the essay Blueprint for Action, which was the nucleus for a presentation to the Manitoba government called Higher Education in Western Manitoba which laid out a plan for the development of Brandon College and the foundation for transformation of Brandon College to Brandon University.




Kudos to the Free Press for the coverage you have been providing of the various ethnic groups that make Winnipeg and Manitoba so unique. Keep up the great work.




Time for inclusion

Re: Pallister's message: Aim higher (July 31). You quote Brian Pallister saying "I want us to have the most inclusive political party in the history of this province."

The provincial Conservative caucus voted as a block against human rights protection for homosexuals when the current human rights code passed into law in 1987.

The PCs voted as a block against all subsequent provincial legislation that removed inequalities under the law for this minority group.

Is the new leader of the provincial PCs prepared to change with the times and include the queer community in his big tent?




Questioning the path

Re: Wind not only reason for delay (July 26). What a fiasco. One of the first items that must be produced when a construction contract is signed is the contractor's construction schedule detailing the sequencing of work and the time frame in which to accomplish that work.

The main purpose of this schedule is to identify what is called the critical-path activities. Did the stadium contractor provide such a schedule, and were the stadium roofs and their foundation supports on the critical path?


Hillside Beach


A lack of belief

Contrary to what Reg Gallop thinks (Pathetic inconsistencies, Letters, July 26), not all atheists are materialists. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god or gods. That being said, he'll get no argument from me on this point, as I do happen to be an atheist and a materialist.

The fact my existence is fleeting has no bearing whatsoever on the meaning I find for myself. The mind I have produces feelings like love, which I value. The knowledge my feelings of love for my child are connected to my genes in no way diminishes the experience of that love.

I am curious as to how exactly the belief in a god or gods adds anything to the picture of finding meaning, purpose or value. Does belief in the non-material somehow add an extra degree of specialness to one's life?




Ludicrous pretence

MP blasts porn biz for school recruiting (July 30). Operators of strip clubs and their publicity-shy clientele have no regard for the girls and women they exploit. Their need to continually recruit young women tells us much about the working conditions and career stability of those who are coerced into plying the trade.

Adding a stint as a stripper to a résumé will not open doors to increasingly competitive positions for advanced education. Our major cities are overrun with teenage prostitutes and the bodies of those who ran afoul of an angry pimp or a deranged customer. The pretense that strip clubs are above all that is ludicrous.

Where is the feminist lobby denouncing this exploitation and degradation of girls and women? Prostitution is synonymous with exploitation. The reality is that thousands of sex trade workers awoke this morning battered and bloodied from last night's encounters and a few lie in a gutter or ditch and will never awaken again.




Far from superficial

The euphoric sense of going back to the land is captured beautifully by Jamie Wilson in his July 26 column, Summer is time to rebuild connections. But I was stopped in my tracks by the sentence that begins, "Yes, while there are certainly superficial shortcomings..."

I would hardly call the problems on reserves superficial. The lack of amenities we take for granted, such as clean, running water in our homes, the choice not to live in overcrowded, ramshackle housing and the expectation of, at minimum, graduation from high school for our children, can hardly be called superficial.




Chances are slim

Re: Streets hot source of solar energy (July 24). The potential benefits that could come from tapping into urban asphalt as an energy source are enormous. The chances of doing so, however, are slim, because this energy retrieval system costs money, and lots of it.

This idea has been acknowledged for years, and as pretty as it sounds, tearing up city streets and parking lots to lay piping would take lots of time, incur lots of frustration, and strip the government of more money than they can afford.


Huntsville, Ont.


Focus on tap water

I was dumbfounded by your July 21 story Water log. Why is the Free Press singing the praises of bottled water when the focus now is on returning to tap water? This piece reads like it's at least 10 years out of date.

Nowhere in the article do the panelists address the excess garbage created by water bottles and the fact that most of these bottles actually end up in landfills, not in recycling bins.

Moreover, many institutions have moved away from carrying water in vending machines for exactly those reasons. The trend now is to buy your own reusable water bottle, fill it up at home and then refill throughout the day. Or maybe your panelists have never heard of such a thing?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 1, 2012 A7


Updated on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 4:09 PM CDT: adds links

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