Re: Movers and shakers (Jan. 26). An aspect of the treaties that wasn't mentioned in the article is the question of water as a resource. The First Nations surrendered the land, but apparently not the water rights. See the book Denying the Source: The Crisis of First Nations Water Rights.
A special case
It seems hard to understand why the city would deny Raymond Zaste an opportunity to honour his son with a hand-picked, natural stone with genuine personal significance (Dad unable to mark son's grave, Jan. 25). I do understand the basis of the reason offered to deny his request. But in some special cases there is an overriding need to make exceptions. This is one of those cases.
As a matter of fact, I would not be surprised if many people already made offers to assist Zaste to help make his dream come true. If limestone is a durable enough stone for our legislative building it most certainly is appropriate as a burial marker for Daniel Zaste.
Thanks to Aldo Santin for reporting this story with journalistic sensitivity.
Due diligence lacking
I must express my deep concern about the lack of editorial standards demonstrated by your paper in publishing Gwyn Morgan's column Hollywood version of fracking (Jan. 26).
Setting aside Morgan's absurd point that Hollywood, run by such mom-and-pop operations as Viacom, Time Warner and Sony, is anti-big business, I would like to know who was responsible for fact-checking a column that repeatedly refers to Michael Moore's documentary The Corporation. Moore will no doubt be surprised to learn that it was he, and not Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, who directed the film.
Morgan is a former director of Encana, a natural gas company engaged in fracking, the very process that is the target of the movie Morgan is attacking in the column. You have done your readers a disservice in printing this column.
When Morris Mirror editor Reed Turcotte made racially tinged comments about aboriginal people, the Free Press rightly exposed his actions. The same was true when Braydon Mazurkiewich, president of the youth wing of the provincial Progressive Conservative party, spoke about "freeloading Indians" last December.
Ironically, and sadly, the same negative sentiments abound in the online comment section of the Free Press website as with most other news sites.
Too often the online comment threads feel less like a forum for meaningful reader engagement than an open platform for the lightly moderated bigotry of anonymous armchair pundits.
Putting prayer to work
Thank you to John Longhurst for focusing on the response from faith groups to Idle No More (Canadian churches respond to Idle No More, Jan. 26). He documents the wide range of Canadian churches that have rallied to the call for fairness for First Nations.
I have witnessed the many Christians who have responded individually to these demonstrations around Winnipeg. I have been heartened by the atmosphere of friendship and prayer that has been characteristic of this movement. The ecumenical justice coalition Kairos joined in the call for fasting and prayer on Jan. 11.
May all these prayers be answered.
In Calgary, on Jan.19, a hearing was held on the lawsuit by Jessica Ernst against Encana and the Alberta Gas and Oil Regulator for the contamination of her well water from coal bed methane extraction. What has this to do with the Idle No More protests that are occurring in Manitoba and nationwide?
The lawsuit launched by Ernst will drag on for years while the resource extraction and contamination continues unabated. Similarly, dialogue promised by the federal government concerning the Idle No More environmental and treaty issues will be just talk. The federal government has no intention of deviating from its current course of abetting reckless and irresponsible resource extraction.
After we have extracted the last drop of oil and gas from shale, coal and tar sands what will be the legacy after the petro dollars are gone? Despoiled surface environments, polluted aquifers and waterways, toxic fish and wildlife, global warming from the carbon dioxide we have belched into the air.
The environment affects us all. It is our heritage and our responsibility for our children and future generations. Let us join our partners who have the courage to take a stand. Let us all be Idle No More.
Rethink Hydro's plan
So Minister Dave Chomiak wishes to compare the development of more dams in Manitoba to developing Alberta's oilfield.
With oil hovering at $80 to $90 or more per barrel like it has been for most of the past decade, it makes economic sense to make large infrastructure investments if your cost is below that amount. What the NDP is proposing is billions invested so we can sell electricity at below cost.
Given the economic slowdown in the U.S. and an oversupply of natural gas, this is what doesn't make sense and needs to be re-evaluated before we waste billions more. It's this kind of thinking that has led to the doubling of Manitoba's debt under their "leadership."
It is shocking to know that fluoride, a bio-accumulative toxin, is still being added to our drinking water supply under the guise of preventing/lessening childhood dental caries when there is no proof of efficacy and the dangers far outweigh the perceived benefits -- if there are any benefits.
I would strongly urge ceasing to add an expensive chemical to the water supply and that a study be conducted to determine any benefits or harm that might be caused by the continued irresponsible use of such an additive. At this point in time, it is the right of the citizens of Winnipeg to not have chemical additives in the drinking water having no proven safe use.
Calgary has recently removed the additive from the water supply and so have other enlightened Canadian cities. There are many industrialized countries throughout the world that have not used fluoride in the water supply for obvious reasons. There are other locations and situations where naturally occurring fluoride is removed from the water supply due to health concerns.
The money saved can be spent elsewhere.