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Incomplete description

Re: Mayor's ex-adviser questions police HQ deal (Dec. 12). While describing Brian Kelcey as a "former mayoral staffer" or "local political consultant" may be accurate as of today, what other information could be added to complete a description sufficient to the needs of those reading his comments?

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Did he leave the employ of the city on good terms? Are there past incidents that involve confrontations with the mayor or others that might colour one's perception and understanding of his continuing attacks on his former employer? Is it possible that whatever supposed dirt is being displayed has been construed or imported in order to gain the advantage of a first blow?

A sad manifestation of news coverage is that most often the aggressive attacker scores a point, while leaving the attacked choosing whether to respond and seem defensive, or ignore the allegations and seem aloof. The freedom to speak your mind is not always fair, nor admirable.

I claim no direct knowledge of the process that resulted in the contracts Kelcey alleges were awarded improperly. But I do follow the press and remember that the scope of work at the new Winnipeg Police Service headquarters changed dramatically midstream when building envelope issues arose.

Could that have been a reason to extend the scope of the engineering contract and keep the project moving? Is it possible that rational decisions, made by honest civil servants, have put them at risk of accusation? And if that is so, is it proper to judge any of the involved companies without recourse to full research of the facts?

Kelcey is a smart political operative. He was smart enough to abandon his aspiration to run against Mayor Sam Katz in the last election, a fact I can report from first-hand direct discussions with him. He is also smart enough to know that his continuing to berate the mayor and the administration holds little or no risk for him personally, but can do damage to others' reputations by innuendo. And if the mainstream press continues to publish unsubstantiated reports of malfeasance, he seems to be getting his wishes fulfilled.

I have too much respect for Kelcey's abilities to believe that he is unaware of what he is doing. I just wish his intentions were more clear, and his objectives openly disclosed.



Reinforcing bad practice

In his Dec. 11 letter, Happy talk about trash, David Zinger expresses pleasure with the two-bin system, using one for garbage and the other for recyclables.

I suspect that some of his pleasure is due to his following the guidelines provided by the city. These included mention of an arm's-length distance between the bins when they are set out for pickup. This gap is necessary for the mechanical arm of the pickup vehicle to grasp the bin.

Unfortunately, the picture from the Free Press archives accompanying Zinger's letter shows the bins placed shoulder to shoulder, reinforcing a practice that still continues on many properties throughout the city and has detracted from the efficiency of the new system since it began.



Guidelines must be clear

In his Dec. 10 column, A critical examination of human rights, Dan Lett speaks to the conundrum faced by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in presenting the stories of human rights atrocities and outcomes. Rather than debating whether a story is positive or negative, and whether the focus should be on the survivors and heroes or the atrocities inflicted, I suggest that the guidelines should be clear.

The museum, to have any credibility, must also tell all the gruesome details of atrocities and injustices in our Canadian history, including those of institutional racism and abuses of law to inflict damage on our own citizens. This includes blacks, not just in Nova Scotia, but across Canada, aboriginals, both status and non-status, Inuit, and immigrant groups such as the Chinese, Japanese and Italians.

Many of these injustices are insidious and not apparent to most Canadians. After-the-fact remedies do not erase the pain, suffering and humiliation endured by victims, and this must be made abundantly clear.



Hardly illiterate

Re: 75 years for province's first credit union (Dec. 10). Ramonde Gosselin, manager of the St. Malo Caisse populaire branch, claims that "the priest who founded the credit union in 1937 was the only person in the community with an education, the only person who could read and write."

How insulting. Our mother was born in St. Malo in 1909. I can tell you that she and her four sisters and one brother all received a decent education at the convent in St. Malo run by the nuns who taught up to Grade 9 at that time. At the age of 17, our mother left St. Malo for the village of St. Charles to work as a nanny. There, she met and married our dad in 1929 and raised a family of six boys and one girl in the 1930s. Let me tell you, she could read and write.




Needless to say, we are having a jolly good time trying to imagine that in 1938 no one in my hometown could read or write. Whoever made this up deserves the comic award of the year.



Connecting the dots

Let's see if we can get the picture. The Fraser Institute, a "think-tank" a little to the right of Attila, thinks that Greg Selinger, leader of a left-wing crypto-commie province, Manitoba, is the worst fiscal manager in Canada because of our deficit. Mark Gavard from Morden, that bastion of left-wing thought, agrees (Missing a lesson, Letters, Dec. 11).

Forget that the Harper Tories, who inherited a balanced budget from the Liberals, are running the largest deficit ever, and mighty Alberta, Canada's energy superpower, is also in deficit. Ah, now it makes sense.



Same name, different views

Over the past few years, the Free Press has published several letters from a Val or Valerie Edwards. You did it again on Dec. 12 (Attacking success).

Although we have the same name, I wish to make it clear that I do not share her opinions and, as a retired teacher, I was not the author of any letters to the editor.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2012 A17

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