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Presumptuous exercise

A large percentage of the world's population lives under stable and productive social and political systems whose basic forms predate by millennia that of the West. They do not share our definition of, or regard for, the protection of their peoples' human rights, and hold no interest in "limit(ing) the power of the sovereign and consecrate(ing) the rights of individuals to form a social contract that safeguards the dignity of all," as your Dec. 3 editorial, It is not only a tale of horror, so eloquently states.

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It therefore seems no less an exercise in national presumption and cultural hubris for the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights to proselytize, directly or indirectly, the West's "evolved" democratic system to the likes of China, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates than it is for it to make claims, for instance, of unwarranted cultural appropriation in its future exhibits of historical, worldwide European colonization.

The museum's noble promotion of "the tale of heroism, inspiration and bravery" will undoubtedly precipitate one of this country's most embarrassing peacetime diplomatic rebukes when, I predict, the invited ambassadors of the world's leading banker and consumer goods provider, and the world's largest energy suppliers politely decline to attend the official opening of a building that symbolizes an uncommon set of human values this country nevertheless believes should be universally embraced.




I do think that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights must have major displays of the atrocities committed by the communists, national socialists, colonial imperialists and many others.

It is important for the shock effect that will linger on long after people, especially the youth, visit the museum, and hopefully it will inspire them to work for justice for everyone around the globe. History must be presented fully and reality must not glossed over.



Women do the screaming

Re: The 'roaring game' has become a screaming match (Dec. 5). Don Marks has painted both male and female curlers with the same brush. He is definitely off-base when he says the men yell or scream as much as the women.

The women are the ones who scream. They appear to panic as soon as the rock leaves their hand and some scream the whole time while the rocks is running down the sheet off ice.



Combating discrimination

Don Shau (Deflecting discussion, Letters, Dec. 6) cannot advocate censorship of material he and others deem as "anti-gay" without giving up the right to speak out against what he terms "gay bashing." The most potent weapon our society has in combating bias, bullying and discrimination is ridicule. That cannot take place if dialogue is stifled by censorship.

The way to stop discrimination and hatred expressed against our gay community is to confront those who discriminate and attempt to spread hatred, not to try to stifle the freedom of expression. Counselling harm to a person or identifiable group and disseminating hatred are Criminal Code offences.

I do not and never have condoned gay bashing. However, I do not accept protection of the gay community extends to protection from hurt feelings. Once we open that Pandora's box, our freedom of expression is extinguished.



Department supports wolves

Re: Wolves have had a bad rap from the beginning (Letters, Nov. 30). Having recently retired after a long tenure as a biologist and manager with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, I must come to the defence of the department.

Barbara McDole states that Manitoba "has turned its back on wolves being run down by people on snowmobiles and in airplanes." I must reply emphatically that the department I worked for does not condone such activity, and if and where it does occur, individuals if apprehended are charged accordingly.

The only time I am aware of wolves being taken by aircraft was when we sanctioned such for the purpose of attaching radio collars to monitor movements. Net guns were used and the animals released.



Beyond outrage

Re: Man gets fine after cows fall out of trailer (Dec. 6). I am deeply saddened and beyond outrage to learn of yet another irresponsible highway mishap involving the transport of live animals. Where is society's care and concern in demanding far more oversight and harsher penalties?

I commend the Free Press for reporting on this at all, but it was relegated to a tiny piece on page 12, indicating its perceived importance to the general public. Seemingly, the main concern is that no vehicles were damaged or persons were injured.

The more we allow ourselves to trivialize these issues or, worse, become hardened to the suffering of animals, the more we have only ourselves to blame when other members of society graduate to abuse of humans deemed of lesser value.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 10, 2012 A10

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