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Holding Mack accountable

Gary Lawless's Sept. 4 article, Mack complete failure as GM, hits on a number of reasons for the disastrous season the Bombers are having, including the failures of GM Joe Mack. He hasn't stated, however, Mack should have been doing in lieu of throwing Paul LaPolice under the bus.

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Mack is, or should be held accountable by the club president, for management and supervision of his immediate subordinates, as well as for the cost of doing business. Firing someone for reasons that are readily correctible, thus incurring an obligation to pay out the balance of the recently signed contract extension, demonstrates an abysmal lack of understanding of the job of a general manager and VP of football operations.

LaPolice didn't all of a sudden get stupid. Mack apparently just isn't able to deal with personnel issues in a cost effective way, and it would seem the club president isn't any better, as he is reported to have signed off on Mack's decision.

J. HUGH McMORROW

Winnipeg

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I can only imagine the amount of mail you're receiving in regards to the Bombers and the disgust that is felt among anyone who follows them. The entire club, players, coaches and management, including both Joe Mack and Jim Bell, should all be replaced.

I'm at the point where I'm going to remove my Blue Bomber licence plates to avoid anymore embarrassment.

BILL CARTLIDGE

Winnipeg

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New Bomber head coach Tim Burke indicated in several interviews after being appointed that he wasn't sure exactly where to start to get the team back on track. May I suggest he enroll his troops in Tackling 101?

LAURIE JOHNSTON

Winnipeg

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Staying the course is apparently not in the vocabulary of the board of the Bombers. They have so little confidence in their ability to choose coaches that they let them go at the first sign of trouble.

The question is, "Why would a quality football coach want to coach in Winnipeg?" They are undermined by general managers speaking to players behind their back. They are fired the year after going to the Grey Cup and being handed a losing hand by management.

I can't imagine an organization firing a coach and maintaining dignity in light of their miscues of the past six months.

BILL WALLACE

Winnipeg

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Apparently Tim Burke's favourite beer is India Pale Ale. I'd guess Saskatchewan head coach Corey Chamblin favours Blue; it goes down so easy.

VIC TAYLOR

East St. Paul

Still one great city

Re: What's the deal with fire halls? (Aug 31). Funny fire hall deals? Welcome to Shindipeg.

ARNOLD REIMER

Winnipeg

Touching portrayal

I want to commend Mia Rabson for her column on Senator Joyce Fairbairn and her battle to hang on to parts of her life in the face of advancing dementia (Senate's dementia case raises questions, Sept. 4).

It brings to light an issue faced by so many Canadians. It was a touching portrayal of someone who wants to stay attached to her workplace as long as she can, as this has been an anchor in her world all her adult life.

I've known Fairbairn for many years. I can think of no one who has been more dedicated and effective in serving the public interest in and out of government. She was one of those senators who saw her role as a commitment to making the upper chamber a place of respect for the work it does in seriously bringing to the fore issues, in her case those with disabilities that are not properly dealt with in the House of Commons.

Now her capacities are becoming more and more limited as the onslaught of the disease takes its toll. But it would be wrong to ask for a resignation based purely on outside judgments of competency or to take away a position that means so much to her.

Waiting a year or so until mandatory retirement takes hold is no hardship. There is after all a place for compassion even in government.

LLOYD AXWORTHY

University of Winnipeg

ñü

In life, hard decisions need to be made from time to time. Senator Joyce Fairbairn's condition is such that she can no longer perform her duties in an informed way, as she has been declared legally incompetent. That in itself is sad.

The Senate, however, does not seem to want to deal with her situation. This perhaps is a perfect example of why an elected senate is needed. Accountability to the public by the Senate is paramount. Given that no one seemed to have a desire to deal with the facts that were at their disposal in the Fairbairn case, perhaps it is time for the public to react and to demand a Senate where elections are held.

Then the senators themselves could be held accountable for the first time to the people. Only then can it be said the Senate is truly be a chamber of sober second thought, and a democratic one at that.

ROBERTA BATY

Winnipeg

Necessary guidance

I would like to clarify some points raised in Harold Jantz's Sept. 1 column, Toews and a history of torture. I'm afraid that he has missed the point of the directive to Canadian security agencies that receive information from sources who have utilized questionable interrogation techniques in the past.

Under no circumstances does the directive authorize illegal activities by our security agencies. What the directive does is provide guidance to our security agencies on how to deal with this information when it comes into their possession from these sources.

When the information received suggests that Canadian lives or their property may be at risk, our security agencies must follow up on that information in order to ensure that any threat to lives and property is addressed. For example, should the information suggest that a school or community centre might be the target of a terrorist bombing, ignoring that information is not an option.

As for Jantz's suggestion that I have forgotten my own family's refugee history in authorizing such a directive, to the contrary, it is precisely that history that has taught me what terrorists and criminals can do to innocent individuals and defenceless communities.

Governments have a responsibility to protect lives and property and, without condoning any unlawful activity, our government's directive does exactly that.

VIC TOEWS

Minister of Public Safety

Ottawa

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I agree with Harold Jantz; torture is deplorable. You can force anyone to confess to anything, if pressured hard enough.

Although Toews is front and centre on this policy, he is not the one who has laid out the direction our government has chosen to take. Rather, it is the "deciders," Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party elite.

If you think Harper is right and that Canadians should condone torture, then go talk to a 1940s Hong Kong vet, or a Canadian vet who was held in a Nazi POW camp. Stephen Harper should have.

DON HALLIGAN

Winnipeg

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I applaud Harold Jantz's stance that there can be no equivocation about torture. He is absolutely correct in saying to find any reason to use the result of torture is to forfeit one's ethical basis opposing it.

Therein lies the dilemma for the public safety minister. If he wants to use the results of torture under any circumstance, he should make it clear that Canada is not against torture and live with the consequence. He cannot have it both ways.

I have no argument with terrorism being the top national security priority. However, if we have three agencies dedicated to this endeavor and still see a need to get information gathered by torture, we need to thoroughly examine the operations of these agencies.

My advice to the minister is to step back from these directives. If left as they are, Canada will be seem as wavering on a fundamental aspect of any democracy, which is the respect for human rights.

DON PALMER

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2012 A11

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