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Apology insufficient

Re: MP cancels his Twitter account (Dec. 21). I have voted for the NDP in my riding for as long as I can remember. This last offensive comment by Pat Martin, however, leaves me with no option.

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Martin is in my riding, and to vote for him now would be to support the actions of someone who no longer has my respect. This is not just a local issue any longer. It should be of national concern to the NDP.

He does not get to say the things he does, including the word "whore," and think an apology will suffice. His lack of respect for his position and his constituents is noted.




Call me crazy, but if I have to choose between a politician who uses foul language (Public safety minister returns fire following NDP MP Martin's Twitter tirade, Online, Dec. 21) and a Harper promotional machine (a.k.a. the PMO) that uses taxpayer money to promote its political party rather than acknowledging in local funding announcements the entire government, including opposition members, I think I'll choose the politician with foul language.




Hockey is entertainment

Re: NHL's cuts go even deeper (Dec. 21). Well, I finally have seen the light. This is the revelation. Hockey is a form of entertainment, and these millionaires and billionaires have decided not to entertain their fans. So I have decided not to contribute any funds to finance their business.

I feel sorry for any other businesses indirectly affected by their greed, but I reserve the right to spend my hard-earned money where ever I choose. It certainly will never again be spent on supporting the NHL.


St. Paul

Inadequate response

Your Dec. 18 editorial following the Newtown massacre, Prevention is the only true cure, does not go nearly far enough. To say that prevention is key is correct. To define prevention as the provision of more mental-health services is inadequate and creates a false target. We must delve deeper and ask why so many young people are experiencing mental-health problems in the first place.

I am no expert, but my belief is that we are, collectively, reaping what we have sown. We are not giving our youth the safety and social belonging they need to develop personal social skills and resilience.

Why? Because we are too focused on consumerism rather than relationships, on electronic screens rather than people, on celebrity rather than character, on living wealthy rather than living well.

The answer lies not with increasing professional supports but with increasing our connectedness and community. As a teacher, I think we have some of the foundation for improvement in our schools' developing commitment to inclusion. However, I know we have to go further than that -- to the other community organizations that create healthy children, such as churches, community centres and clubs. Ultimately, it goes all the way back to the family and the closeness and safety that we create there.

Particularly in this season, let us recognize the power of loving as the most truly preventative action we can take.




Time for politeness past

If I had been an organizer of the protest encountered by Nathan Klippenstein (Blockade 'petty and infantile,' Letters, Dec. 20), I would consider his letter proof that the event on Dec. 15 had been a success. From what I've heard about the frustrations of First Nations peoples to protect their basic land and treaty rights, polite diplomacy has not been a very effective way to bring about changes that are urgently needed.

Would Klippenstein have written a letter to the Free Press if he hadn't been directly affected in some way? Moreover, if he wants to effect social good through his role as a teacher, he might bring his students together with protest organizers, either at the front lines of a protest or in his classroom.

Maybe then he could actually contribute to this movement, instead of hiding his judgments behind sniffy sympathy.




Growth needs auditing

Re: Big tax hike or cutbacks for biggest division (Dec. 19). It is time the school trustees started doing their jobs and do an audit on the empire-building that has been going on over the past 15 to 20 years in regard to the cancerous growth in numbers of superintendents, assistant superintendents, consulting contracts and the like.

Yes, we need to have a management system, but certainly not the enormously bloated system now in place and the millions of dollars needlessly paid in fat salaries. School trustees are supposed to serve the public, not the school administration.




I have no objection to paying school taxes for services, teachers, materials, etc.

However, it has long been my contention that public schools should not be assessed property taxes, particularly because churches are tax-exempt.

I cannot understand why religion is given a free ride. (I do believe "revenue" buildings are taxed.) Private, for-profit schools should be taxed. Religions (basically a licence to print money) should absolutely pay property taxes.

I don't know how many churches Winnipeg and Manitoba has that are tax-exempt but I'd wager there are as many as there are public schools. How much less in taxes would we pay for schools if churches and religions would pay their fair share?




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2012 A14

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