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Shareholders deserve info

Re: TCIG moves to buy up dissident shareholders (Dec. 1). I am in full support of Chief Dennis Meeches of the Dakota Ojibway Investment Group in its pursuit of financial accountability as rightful shareholders of the Tribal Council Investment Group.

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Opaskwayak Cree Nation has also been refused the financial information from TCIG over the past eight years. The last three years have seen the chief of Opaskwayak produce no financial statements for our community. Even as the newly elected grand chief of Swampy Cree Tribal Council, he sits as a director of TCIG and still cannot produce financial statements for our community.

The former chairman of TCIG, who sits as a councillor for Opaskwayak, also produced no results of accountability. He is on record with the Winnipeg Free Press claiming the TCIG board is not treating the shareholders properly and this is the reason he stepped down. Now the question is, why didn't he take this approach over the past 20 years as chairman?

TCIG also used legal measures to threaten the Swampy Cree council and withhold information from them.

It is difficult to accept the fact that shareholder money is used to hire a lawyer to withhold shareholder information, but TCIG has no problems with this practice.


Opaskwayak Cree Nation

There's a better way

Re: Students want universal bus pass (Dec. 3). It is somewhat passé in 2013 to have 38,000 university students travelling back and forth to expensive bricks and mortar buildings in order to attend classes 90 per cent of which could be made available online from anywhere in the world.

Eventually, even such things as medical-student laboratory practice will be virtual-reality user-friendly, as could the sports focus through an evolved Wii system. The expensive cap-and-gown focus of the 16th century is long past its best-before date.



Traps remain legal

Re: Province suspends all trapping in Grand Beach Provincial Park (Dec. 3). We read with great sadness about the recent incident in which a dog was killed in a trap set in Grand Beach Provincial Park. Trapping season runs from October to April, and during this time of year, our organization, the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, hears similar stories from pet owners across Canada.

The public needs to know that traps including the leg-hold trap remain legal in every province across Canada. Under most provincial laws, traps can be set 300 metres from a dwelling and even in parks and on public lands.

Few industries have as much blood on their hands as the Canadian fur trade, which causes the suffering and death of more than 3.3 million animals each year for a product few people want and nobody needs.



Exterminating Armenians

As a Canadian of Armenian origin, I am upset and disappointed to see the inaccuracies in your Nov. 30 article Atrocities gallery 'too much' when referring to the Armenian genocide.

First, the number of Armenians systematically murdered by the Ottoman Turkish authorities was around 1.5 million, not "at least 600,000," nor the "highest estimate" of 1.8 million. The 1.5-million number has been accepted as accurate by more than 20 countries, including Canada, after decades of research by the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Second, there have been many attempts by Turkish authorities to exterminate Armenians, beginning in the 1800s and continuing on to the first half of the 20th century (some would say even to present day). Your article suggests that Turkish attempts to exterminate Armenians lasted for only four years, when in fact Turkey's genocidal tendencies lasted at least 30 times longer.

Finally, to characterize the 1.5 million massacred Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire as being "residents" implies that Armenians were not (or are not) indigenous to the region. This is not only a ludicrous innuendo, but rather insulting to not only Armenians but to academia and, more important, to human history.

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is not only a necessary and noble endeavour, it is also a complex one. By its nature, the concept of human rights is multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, and evolving. As such, the task of creating a museum dedicated to human rights is, innately, immense and difficult. Perhaps Canadians should view the creation of the CMHR as a starting point and not an end point.



Defining genocide

In his letter Dec. 3 letter, Ian Toal complains that Michael Melanson is "determined to stick with a definition of genocide that only includes killing people." I imagine that the reason for Melanson's doggedness is, as I have written before, the etymology of the word.

"Gens'" is the Latin word for a group of people who are related to one other. It comes from the Greek word "geno," which means the same thing. "Caedo" is Latin for cut or kill. When used in English, "-cide" means kill, whereas "-cise" means cut.

Using the word to mean forcefully changing a society's culture does not fit with the meaning of the word's two parts. For the same reason, "regicide" means to kill a King, not to kidnap him and force him to stay in a boarding school. A "herbicide" kills plants, but it does not modify their language nor force them to wear different clothes.

There is already a term to describe this sort of thing: forced assimilation. This is the term used by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states: "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture."



Something less blurry, please

Re: Probe to cost 'tens of millions' (Nov. 30).

Yet another article about Lori Douglas? Ideally, stop writing about this case until it has been tried and a verdict has been declared. And then give us just a paragraph tucked away on Page 4.

If you can't do this, could you at least find a current picture of Douglas, and one that is not blurry? The details of the saga are blurry enough -- surely the Free Press can find a more complimentary photo.



Time for vitamin C study

Re: Flaxtastic! (Dec. 3). Hurrah for flaxseed! Now that we have studies supporting the best nutrition in the fight against heart disease, how about some rigorous long-term scientific studies using Nobel Prize-winner Linus Pauling's theories about vitamin C.

Big pharma has effectively blocked any serious attention to this idea. Any takers, Manitoba? This could save our beleaguered health-care system millions, if not billions, of dollars.


La Salle

Repeating history

Re: Buy fair trade (Letters, Nov. 30). It's unfortunate, but until the public starts buying quality, made-in-Canada shirts for $75, instead of offshore goods for $14.99, history will keep repeating itself.

Walmart and The Gap specialize in offering the lowest retail prices because that's what the public will pay.



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

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