Proud history of boozing
Re: CentreVenture buys hotel to curb drinking (Nov. 16). Saying the city is buying the St. Regis to curb excessive intoxication is like saying the city is buying a gas station to curb speeding.
The notion is absurd.
Those intoxicated panhandlers that bother the squeaky wheels have been part of the city's culture for 200 years. The St. Regis pub does not cause an intoxicated person to annoy the businesswoman on the corner of Portage and Garry any more than Shell causes a teenager to speed on Kenaston Boulevard.
Is it CentreVenture's plan to eradicate pubs from the city centre? First the Merchants and now the St. Regis. Big mistake. Those old pubs, and the people who frequent them, are the real ties to Winnipeg's history, a refreshing connection to the past.
CentreVenture should be investing in them, not closing them. Many are boutique hotels that just need a facelift. CentreVenture needs to recognize the role that beer and alcohol has played in the history and origins of Winnipeg. Only when they are gone are we going to hear a collective sigh, "What happened?"
Sanity on cheating
The problem of cheating in university students (Keeping up with the cheaters, Nov. 15) must be addressed in a rational manner fair to students. This important requirement appears to have escaped Brad Oswald and the CBC documentary he reviewed.
One problem is that anecdotes about individuals who cheated their way through college may be good theatre, but they offer a poor basis for generalizing to the population at large. They certainly are not representative even of the 50 per cent or so of university students who admit to cheating on perhaps a few occasions and in ways that may have contributed minimally to grades.
Only a small percentage of students, for example, report they have ever submitted a paper written by someone else or copied from someone else during a test or exam. But more have engaged in such practices as submitting reworded sentences without referencing the source, a moderate form of plagiarism.
And serious cheating is hardly so simple that students could easily do it on repeated occasions. Faculty members like myself do take precautions with tests, have students sit apart or use different versions of the test and engage in other activities that make it unlikely that cheating has marked effects on grades.
There are dangers in sensationalizing cheating. One is that students might believe wrongly that many students are engaging in serious forms of cheating that put the non-cheater at a real disadvantage, which could increase everyone's tendency to cheat. This presumably motivated so many world-class cyclists to cheat using performance-enhancing substances.
The second danger is to undermine the honest achievements of the vast majority of hard-working students and indeed even the value of excellent performance that was in all likelihood honestly earned. Diminishing educational qualifications and achievement does a disservice to the students and also to society at large, which benefits so much from educated students and the generally valid accreditation afforded by universities.
University of Winnipeg
What is that ridiculous CUPE ad doing on television? The city employs more workers doing less work than any other organization I've seen.
I have always worked in the private sector and had I not produced, I would have been let go. Privatization, in my opinion, is the way to go. You get more bang for the buck.
For someone whose entire argument is built on a false premise, Donald James, in his Nov. 16 letter, Defining extremism, demonstrates quite the level of temerity in his rejoinder to Allan Levine's post-election column.
Levine is right on when he suggests the Republican Party has to shed its Tea Party-induced extremism. Mitt Romney flip-flopped on almost every issue because in order to secure his party's base, he had to take positions in distinct opposition to those he needed to adopt in order to have any chance of getting mainstream America to vote for him.
As for the marginalization of the "time-honoured" positions of opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, one only needs to point out that slavery and segregation were also traditions at one time. And to even attempt to defend Todd Akins' comments about "legitimate rape" is morally reprehensible at best.
But most egregious of all, James bases his entire argument of all time on the "magna carta of our civilization, the Bible." Well, a very large proportion of us don't believe in God or what's written in the Bible. And for the record, a "considered argument" is one that is based on logic and critical thinking, and not the sophistry that pervades James's arguments.
Ahead of the times
Geraldine Morriss, in her Nov. 15 letter, Archaic practice should go, in which she suggests that Manitoba should be on one time like Saskatchewan, is excellent.
We must not forget, however, that in the spring of 1967, Saskatchewan moved an hour earlier from Mountain Standard Time to adopt Central Standard Time all year long.
Also, the downside now is that Saskatchewanians feel left out that they do not go on Daylight Savings like the rest of the continent. They are ahead of the times now and don't recognize it.
Re: Colbert adds Winnipeg to Canuck insult list (Nov. 16). Ice-veined comedian Stephen Colbert needs to be taught a good Canadian lesson, since we seem to be in his gun sights yet again. The town of Churchill should extend an invitation to Colbert, escort him into the tundra, give him a tuque, a rifle, some maple syrup and a large compass, and see if he can make it back to Winnipeg on his own.
Or would it be Windsor? No matter. If he is able to survive the raw truthiness of the Canadian wilderness (and without freezing his rectum), he'll be given a warm hero's welcome, along with a rousing "cold bear" salute.
Missing some info
Ed Bailey's Nov. 15 letter, Beating the alternative, is certainly food for thought for those weighing their suitable treatment for prostate cancer. He refers only to surgery and radiation but fails to mention active surveillance monitored with PSA and biopsy.
He also doesn't share with readers what his PSA count and Gleason score were 13 years ago and how he monitors the growth of his cancer today. Without this information, his letter could be dangerous to those struggling with the next step in the very confusing world of prostate cancer.
Rock's title missing
Do you have no fact checkers? Under their joint column UN must step in to protect Syrians (Nov. 17), you write, "Lawyer Allan Rock and University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy are former Liberal cabinet ministers."
Surely someone at your newspaper must know that Rock is also a university president, of the University of Ottawa; he has been in this position since 2008.