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Leave rates alone

Re: Hydro rates on the rise, again (Aug. 29). When is enough enough? It is hard to believe that Manitoba Hydro can come up with all kinds of excuses for raising electricity rates.

It's time to stop provincially owned companies from gouging Manitoba customers. We should sell electricity out of province at a higher rate and leave our price alone.

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Hydro is a needed commodity in other provinces and south of the border, so it's not an excuse to say that they would not pay more.




Arrogant expedition

Re: New bid to find Franklin's ships (Aug. 24). I suppose it is fitting that an arrogant prime minister would announce in a time of restraint unprecedented funding to search for the remains of the equally arrogant John Franklin. This is the prime minister whose Conservative caucus voted unanimously against the Tlicho land claim and self-government agreement in 2004 on the basis that the agreement was "race based."

The Tlicho people, who actually had contact with Franklin at Fort Enterprise and Fort Franklin, remember the explorer as one who expected the indigenous population to share their resources (and their women) with his party while he was unwilling to share his supplies with them. Of course, our historians and Franklin fanatics give short shrift to the indigenous oral tradition while honouring British common law which has never been written down.

If we, as Canadians benefitting from First Nations' misunderstanding of European concepts of land ownership, and Harper really wish to save our souls, then a good start might be to put at least an equal amount of funding into searching for the graves of children who died in residential schools.

Certainly those bones deserve as much respect as Franklin's.




Hypocritical message

In your Aug. 27 story, Meet the Blue boss, you imply that winning is the only goal in sports. Then why are children told by their coaches that it's not winning that counts, it's how you play the game?




Refused admission

Your Aug. 25 This Day in Manitoba, featuring Monty Hall, is misleading. You note that Hall chose a career in broadcasting rather than continuing on to medical school.

In fact, Hall was twice refused admission to medicine because of an odious quota system at the University of Manitoba that severely restricted Jewish admission.

According to the U of M, Hall, as president of the student body, helped lead a protest that eventually led to quashing the quota system, but by then he had chosen another path in life.




Calling kettle black

Canadian and U.S. governments in the last decades have been active in keeping commercial trade with China, while our media continue to highlight the topic of human rights abuses in that country.

Let us remember the historical fact: Western powers invaded and humiliated the Chinese empire at the turn of the 19th century, at a time when the Chinese did not have proper military defences against modern weaponry. Now it is the time for the Chinese to restore their independence and dignity, as they grow into a strong military and economic nation.

Like anywhere else, there are dissidents in China who are victims of human rights violations. Ironically, as champions of freedom and democracy we have to ask ourselves, what rights do we have to criticize China when we have seen the U.S. government deposing democratically elected presidents through covert violence and marine invasions? One doesn't have to look far for examples: Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, though the list of nations extends.

Each engagement involved and assumed a gross abuse of human rights, like the genocide of 200,000 dead in Guatemala after the U.S. ousted President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.

Maybe the U.S. media should instead focus on another aspect of the the Americans' thorny relationship with China: The country owes $1.3 trillion to China, and probably will not be able to repay that if it continues its perpetual wars against other countries.




Ending attack ads

Re: Saul Alinsky and the rise of the attack ad (Aug. 28). Anne McTavish, in her criticism of attack ads, could have pointed out that in the true democracies (Scandinavia, Switzerland, the Netherlands) attack ads are impossible. They only work in our 19th-century electoral system.

If we were to move into the 21st century, or at least the 20th, and adopt the proportional representation system we would be voting for the party with the best platform, rather than for an influential character who will go to Ottawa to ensure that we get our fair share of the goodies. We would not be voting for a personality but for a party.




While it is true that one of Saul Alinsky's rules was "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it," this concept in no way contributed to today's attack ads.

Alinsky did, in fact, talk about issues and how to mobilize people around issues -- pick the target, personalize it and polarize it.




Under the flight path

In his Aug. 18 Homes section feature, Pristine, practical postwar home, Todd Lewys writes that a house in St. James "is not underneath a flight path of any kind."

My wife lived next door to that house, at 417 Amherst, until she was 20, and her parents lived there until seven years ago. We had many a summer barbecue there, and when the Winnipeg airport's runway No. 31 was in use, we could not talk to each other because of the deafening noise. The house is about 100 metres below the flight path.

I am a retired airline pilot and many a times I used runway 31. It was almost impossible to see my inlaws' house without banking the airplane, so close was it from the runway centre line.


East St. Paul


Too much regulation

Re: GOP should rethink ideas on moocher class (Aug. 27). If limited government, individual liberties and free markets were of any concern to the U.S. Republican Party, Ron Paul would be the nominee instead of big-government proponent Mitt Romney.

It's not as if the Democrats are going to touch any third-rail issues like social security or Medicare or anything else. There isn't a dime's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Automation and globalization are not responsible for job loss in America; tax policy and over-regulation are. End all labour laws, and joblessness would end virtually overnight. Get rid of all the rules and regulations that favour the established and soon enough prosperity would be restored to America.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2012 A13


Updated on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 10:25 AM CDT: adds links

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