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Those wascally humans

In his July 31 letter, Beware the coming plague, Philip Blain appears to take exception to my point that natural populations, such as those of Eastern cottontail rabbits, cycle in abundance and are kept in check by a variety of factors including predation, disease, resource depletion and, yes, variation in climate.

These are simple biological facts, which are supported by a vast scientific literature on both rabbits and other species, contrary to the assertion that my "Beatrix Potter prognosis" was rendered without evidence.

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Further, to cite New Zealand and Australia as examples of what could happen in Winnipeg is entirely unfounded. European rabbits in both of those countries were introduced deliberately by humans, without any natural predators or disease to keep their numbers in check. Eastern cottontail rabbits are native to North America, and thus have many natural predators.

The fact Eastern cottontails are very close to the northern limit of their range here in Winnipeg also suggests we'll not be overrun with them any time soon, though given the ever-increasing number of humans on the planet, and the impact we continue to have on the earth's climate, what will happen in the future is difficult to predict.


Department of biological sciences

University of Manitoba


The scurrilous attack by Philip Blain on creatures divinely designed to bring forth our better natures through the childhood-imprinting tales by our beloved Beatrix Potter speaks perhaps to his own childhood traumas.

This is not a colony founded by criminals. Further, the horrific, violent suggestions by Bill Rolls expose the worst excesses of marketing by a capitalist patriarchy insecure about female breeding competence.




Lack of judgment

Re: Committee knew of 'situation' (July 28). Justice Martin Freedman's approval of the appointment of Lori Douglas to the bench in spite of the sex scandal he claimed to have known about shows an appalling lack of judgment.

His belief that pornographic photos of Douglas, which had been posted online, would not resurface, reinforces Freedman's incredibly outdated views.

The fact remains: Douglas was only deemed fit to serve because she and her husband had paid to keep evidence of the scandal under wraps. Freedman and others knowing of the scandal who approved of this appointment demonstrate that Douglas is not the only undeserving member of the bench in Manitoba.




There are small-minded people among us who like nothing more than to see those in power fall from grace. Is Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas "incapacitated" as a result of the publication on the Internet of the photos? That answer is quite simply no.

It is part of the evidentiary record that the photos in question were first published online in 2002. Douglas was appointed a Queen's Bench judge in 2005. She was elevated to role of associate chief justice in 2009. The very issue of whether she is one of the finest jurists on our court has everything to do with the present inquiry. She has proved repeatedly that the publication of the photos has had nothing to do with her capacity as a jurist.

She has exemplified in her professional capacity all that one could want in a jurist. The scandal that now threatens her continued adjudication of cases and assistance to litigants is the very process that will decide her fate.




Respectful and courteous

My husband and I spent a week in your fair city. We arrived by plane, picked up a car rental and enjoyed our visit with our son who lives there.

On July 16, on our way to the airport, we found ourselves downtown at Portage Avenue and Fort Street. We got totally confused and turned around. A police officer pulled us over to ask us if we were having problems. He told us to follow him and he took us to the entrance of the airport.

He was kind courteous and respectful. (We are seniors.) To the officers of the Winnipeg Police Service, we offer three cheers and a big thank-you.


Weldon, N.B.


On the right path

Re: Hollande is Merkel's worst fear (July 31). It strikes me that Francois Hollande is doing what he was elected to do. It strikes me that he isn't being just one more politician who does the opposite of what he promised.

It strikes me that the French electorate figured that all Nicholas Sarkozy's neo-conservative programs weren't doing anything but making the majority suffer and the few (such as L'Oreal Cosmetics) better off.

It strikes me the world has been following the neo-conservative, radical market globalization shibboleths for decades without there ever being an end to the torment in sight. Enough already.




Global recognition

Re: Glimmer of hope for ELA (July 28). Canada's Experimental Lakes Area has received global recognition for research carried out on ongoing environmental issues during the last 40 years and support from at home and away in response to the federal regressive Conservatives' decision to axe $2 million in annual funding for the program.

Peter Kent, the so-called minister of the environment, should be speaking up and acting to conserve our country's environmental heritage for our own and future generations, rather than paving the way for tarsands and pipeline companies to despoil it.

Spin and repeated talking points cannot justify what this party is doing to expedite the exploitation of Canada's natural resources. These projects provide little in the way of long-term jobs, and Canadian citizens within and outside Alberta will bear the costs of the increasing number of pipeline leaks and damage to habitat, wildlife and humans.




Specious statements

In his politically motivated July 27 letter, An ideal solution, Lloyd Axworthy states that the government's $70-million loan to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will not cost the taxpayer anything.

Really? Has Axworthy never heard of investment earnings? He also makes the outlandish statement that the museum will somehow have "economic benefits."

At an estimated $20 million a year to run, the museum would have to generate $55,000 of income per day just to break even. Even at a ludicrously high $55 entrance fee, the museum would have to attract 365,000 visitors a year.

Axworthy is an intelligent man, but his specious statements that feebly try to promote a project that is and continues to be politically motivated demonstrates the desperation of those who now find themselves in for a pound.




Why would a president and vice-chancellor vaunt his university's failure to provide "a rich opportunity to learn" and "inspire future leaders?" Why would another entice our homeless and starving with a lofty profile of Winnipeg centred on the "stunningly beautiful" Canadian Museum for Human Rights?

The letters of Lloyd Axworthy and David Barnard unmistakably show that the "education, research and promotion" of human rights is only a solution for the conspiring elite.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2012 A7


Updated on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 3:13 PM CDT: adds links

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