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Roots of courage

Of the 165 Conservative members of Parliament, is there not one who has the courage to cross the river from Parliament Hill to meet with Chief Theresa Spence on Victoria Island?

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What about those Mennonite MPs (Toews, Bergen, Block, Fast, Hiebert) whose roots go back to the martyrs in the Martyrs' Mirror? I'll bet the pope and the cardinals and authorities during the Reformation thought those crazy Anabaptists were just grandstanding.



Open to technology

Your Dec. 22 story Internet no longer an un-Hutterite thing is at least 12 years late. I began teaching Hutterites online high school courses through the Internet in 2000. They were very open to technology then, even more than other groups.

Online learning is the best way to level the playing field for all students in a class. Perhaps the reason for this lack of coverage is that not all people need to announce to the world what they are doing. This apparent humility could certainly be spread to some others in our "look at me" society today.



Minimum security

Re: No rush to lock doors, Manitoba school divisions say (Dec. 22). Manitoba Teachers' Society president Paul Olson says that because the killer in Newtown broke in through the window that locking doors is ineffective. Really? Does he not lock the doors to his own house, because, well, any intruder can break in through his windows?

Just because locking doors is not a panacea, does that mean it should not be done at all? At the very minimum, it would cut off a would-be intruder or assailant's first point of entry.

Make it as difficult as possible difficult for him to enter. Treat a school as you would your home, an airport, a seniors homes or apartments. Have a security system in place. Safety trumps inconvenience.

The subtext of Olson's message is that it won't happen in Winnipeg. Newtown has proven that wrong: It can happen anywhere.




The National Rifle Association appears totally out of touch with reality and completely self-absorbed. For such an organization to wield so much power and influence in Washington is far more scary than any gun-toting American with a mental-illness diagnosis.



Infallible hypocrisy

I continue to be amazed that anyone would pay attention to anything Pope Benedict XVI has to say (Pope blasts gay marriage, Dec. 22). Here is a man who didn't have the courage to resist Nazi ideology when he was young, and doesn't have the moral courage to deal with the real cause of the sexual abuse of thousands of young children during hundreds of years at the hands of the Catholic Church.

To add insult to injury to this worldwide obscenity, Pope Benedict has the audacity to tell us gay marriage is dangerous because "people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being."

The Pope is right; some people dispute the idea that humans have a nature. The Pope's intractable and disastrously misguided objection to priests being men, heterosexual or homosexual, with sexual needs underlies the Catholic Church's problem. If the Pope truly believes that man has a nature that identifies him, he mustsurely know that denying the sexual nature of man is equally unforgiveable and problematic.

Unfortunately, you can find this kind of hypocrisy and self-deception in all religious leaders, but it is even more laughable in one where adherents are asked to believe he is infallible.



A brain disease

I must take issue with John Vanwalleghem's Dec. 22 letter in response to the Dec. 18 editorial Prevention is the only true cure. I agree that loving families and community support go a long way in raising productive and healthy children, and that these are key components in supporting those affected by mental illness.

However, Vanwalleghem fails to understand, as does much of society, that severe mental illness is a physiological brain disease that can affect any child from any background regardless of loving family support.

Would you tell someone that if they had loved their child more, or took them to church more, or got them involved in the community more, they would not develop diabetes, or cancer or cystic fibrosis? Well, the same goes for mental illness.

Once we as a society banish the stigma, remove the ignorance and accept the fact that mental illness is a disease, maybe, just maybe then, we will be able to get the medical and governmental support and recognition to really help those individuals and their families who suffer in the shadows daily.

Just as one mother cannot love the cancer out of her child, there is no amount of love that will remove this disease from my child's brain.



He swears it's true

Re: MP cancels his Twitter account (Dec. 21). What did Santa give naughty New Democrat Pat Martin for Christmas? Answer: penny loafers, a pair of well-worn jack boots, a hot-water bottle, a ham, a bar of soap, and a big box of Shredded Tweets -- under a Christmas tree beautifully adorned with hoarfrost.




It is high time. Pat Martin was in danger of becoming known as being the most honest person in Parliament.



Changing the weather

I was dumbstruck by the absence of two words in Ryan Bowman's Dec. 22 article Strange, with a chance of extreme. Even though 2012 saw the release of a report that concluded there is 20 times more chance of finding someone who believes aliens walk among us than finding a published climate scientist who disagrees humans are materially contributing to climate change, no mention of "climate change" appears in this article.

When taken in addition to recent findings by NASA climatologist James Hansen that show a statistical correlation between increasing extreme weather events and our warming planet, the absence of "climate change" in this context appears almost as whacky and weird as the weather on which it reports.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2012 A16

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