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Choices cause behaviour

In her Dec. 27 letter, Missing the objective, Elizabeth Senderewich says the Free Press "would serve its readers better if it would ... support any measures that would help reduce the misuse of drugs and alcohol." With all due respect, I think the first "measure" to be taken is for people to make it a priority not to drink and take drugs, period.

Reaching out for help is something that has to come from the individual struggling with addiction. It isn't something that can be forced onto someone. People have to stop pointing fingers and come to terms with the fact that their behaviour is a result of the choices they have made, not something forced on them by "the system."

Phoenix Sinclair's parents made poor choices, not only for themselves but for their defenseless daughter. The idea that "when sober and lucid, they were wonderful parents" is ridiculous. It seems obvious that neither of them had the skills to raise a plant, let alone a little girl.

Senderewich is completely right in stating that playing the blame game is not going to bring Phoenix back. Please stop making a meal out of this tragedy and just let readers know when a final decision is announced.

JO DAVIES

Winnipeg

A dog in the fight

Laura Rance rakes David Suzuki over the coals for his supposed inflammatory speech at the Manitoba Conservation Districts Association convention in her Dec. 22 column, Suzuki speech shows source of polarization (Dec. 22).

She particularly condemns his attack on pesticides and the Harper government. But Rance has a dog in this fight, particularly regarding pesticides. Her livelihood as editor of the Manitoba Co-operator depends at least in part on the advertising dollars of the companies that make these pesticides.

She goes into a minor rhapsody over what the MCDA is doing to improve the environment, never admitting that their efforts are strictly palliative, not curative.

On my own farm, wild fruit, saskatoons, pinch berries and chokecherries, which could be picked by the multiple gallon when I was a boy, are for the most part no more. Why? I suspect Roundup. But nobody is looking into it, so I don't know.

With zero-till farming came even more pesticide and herbicide use, to the point that poison-laced water from sprayers almost needs to be factored into annual rainfall figures. From his vantage point as an old man, Suzuki is looking into the ugly face of reality, and he is both scared and angry at what he sees.

JOHN BECKHAM

Winnipeg

Sale deserves applause

Congratulations to Tim Sale for publicly disagreeing with his party's policy on Manitoba Hydro (Trim Hydro plans: ex-minister, Dec. 20). Nobody knows what future electricity prices will be, but certainly depressed natural gas prices have a big effect on how U.S. electric companies will deliver electricity to their customers.

To speculate on future energy prices could be very costly to Manitobans for years to come. Sale should be applauded for putting truth and reason ahead of a wrongheaded party policy.

JACK HIGNELL

Winnipeg

Elementary errors

Newspaper journalism certainly can be a cauldron of pressure, given the local deadlines to meet and the coverage reported from different time zones. So a reporter or a copy editor may not catch a mistake in usage that is noticed by a retired English teacher enjoying your paper with his morning coffee.

However, when common errors occur on the front page and in the first paragraph of a story, they need mention.

Page A1 of the Dec. 26 edition shows a picture of a taxi driver above the headline Attacks on cabbies growing, but taxi board has no data on it. Data on what? Data on the number of attacks one supposes. So the statement should have been "Attacks on cabbies growing, but taxi board has no data on them (the attacks)," or, "Number of attacks on cabbies growing, but taxi board has no data on it (the number of attacks)."

The Dec. 28 edition carries The Canadian Press sports story Creased lightning. The delightful headline refers to Malcolm Subban moving like greased lightning in his crease. However, in the first sentence, the plural subject (Subban's acrobatics, experience and flair) needs to be followed by the plural verb "have made him starting goaltender," not, "has made him," as written by Donna Spencer.

GARTH BRADLEY

Winnipeg

Burdensome bicyclists

I would like to apologize to the driver of the vehicle who honked at me while I rode my bicycle north on Dunkirk Drive the other morning. I'm very sorry that my lawful presence on the road, in my bright safety vest and flashing LED lights, caused him the heavy burden of having to lift his foot off the accelerator and move it over to the brake pedal and perhaps even depress the brake pedal to slow down before he changed lanes into the open lane to his left.

The additional effort of shoulder checking and using his turn signal (if he did so) must have been truly burdensome for him to feel the need to lean on his horn as he passed by me.

I also humbly apologize if the resulting delay to him -- which surely must have exceeded two seconds -- caused him to not be first in line at the next red light. I'm sure such an extensive delay caused him much emotional distress.

Hopefully, the satisfaction he derived from blasting me with his horn was enough to at least partially release the internal tension and turmoil my bike riding must have caused him.

MIKE PENNER

Winnipeg

***

Police, fire personal, tow truck drivers, hydro and cable workers, bus drivers walking to work and road workers all wear bright safety vests so they can be seen by drivers. But bicyclists are still allowed to drive, even after dark, in black hoodies, and sporty navy blue spandex, virtually invisible, especially if there are approaching lights.

When is our responsible, aware and caring city council going to make a law that bicyclists must wear clothing that is equally as visible as those safety vests our professionals wear? Such a motion could take up all of five minutes of councillors' valuable time.

SHANE NESTRUCK

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 2, 2013 A10

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