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Making intentions clear

I am in full agreement with your Feb. 14 editorial Mockery made. It is indeed a mockery for Coun. Brian Mayes to be seeming to find ways to spend this extra discretionary allowance.

If he wanted to support a project in his ward, he should have made that clear when requesting this increase. This was not done and whatever explanation councillors wish to make now, as evidenced by Mayes' and Ross Eadie's Feb. 19 letters, the logical conclusion remains that they were given this substantial increase without clearly stating how it would be spent.

Granted it is discretionary, but it is still taxpayers' money and it should not be procured for one purpose and then spent on another. As a taxpayer, I find it disturbing that city council is asking for tax increase from property owners and at the same time doling out such a large discretionary increase as if there is an inexhaustible supply of cash. The taxpayer deserves some consideration.

DON PALMER

Winnipeg

Portable crossings

Reading your Feb. 19 story Loss of bridge 'sad day' in St. Jean reminded me that during the Second World War, for the quick purpose of crossing rivers and the like, the British used portable Bailey bridges.

Wikipedia says the wood and steel bridge elements were small and light enough to be carried in trucks and lifted into place by hand, without requiring the use of a crane. The bridges were strong enough to carry tanks.

A Bailey bridge was constructed in 2004 at the Royal Military College to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the engineering branch. Why not consider the possibility of installing a Bailey bridge until a more solid and permanent bridge across the Red River can be erected?

CHRIS KENNEDY

Winnipeg

The job has changed

Re: Deep in the red, Canada Post denies it will cut delivery days (Feb. 15). I live in an area served by super mailboxes, an excellent and I'm sure much more cost-effective system of delivering mail. But even though our street box is located right at the end of my driveway, I only check the box once a week.

Even then, most of the material in the box is junk mail. The job of delivering mail has changed from a vital and important amenity to a flyer-delivery service. Until Canada Post finds a way to provide only the service that we actually need, the financial losses will keep on growing every year.

LORRIE BATTERSHILL

Winnipeg

Public versus private

Re: Student spared jail for sexual 'hazing,' Feb. 20). I wonder, had the precise circumstances surrounding these horrific incidents developed in a public school, would the perpetrators have walked away without as much as a slap on the wrist?

BOB LANDRY

Winnipeg

'Cheapskatoba' disease

I totally agree with Doug Brown's Feb. 19 column, Bowman's bolting raises more questions about Mack. But I think the problem goes beyond the general manager.

The ownership of the Bombers seems to have the Cheapskatoba disease, which plagues many Manitoba employers. The Bombers will never win another Grey Cup with the current ownership.

They are just like the employer who, when I requested a mere $15 an hour, wondered why I was asking for skilled labour wages for "unskilled labour."

What I can provide is not unskilled. This kind of insult is symptomatic of Manitoba. It makes me wonder why I stay here. Just try to buy a $300,000 home on minimum wage.

HERMAN GIESBRECHT

Winnipeg

Unrealistic expectation

There is little doubt that there were negative consequences of the residential school system in Canada. It is not necessary to misrepresent the situation to make matters appear worse than they were.

But in your Feb. 19 article, 3,000 kids died at residential schools, the research manager with the Missing Children Project, Alex Maass, makes the extraordinary statement that "one wouldn't expect any death rates in private residential school," presumably to emphasize how horrific residential school circumstances must have been to have any deaths, let alone thousands, albeit spread over more than a century.

But the core idea that residential schools should have been safe havens is misguided. In fact, children of the wealthy in U.K. boarding schools had higher mortality rates than children in public schools during the Spanish flu epidemic. One hypothesis is that they were less likely to have been exposed to earlier and less lethal influenza outbreaks that provided some immunization to survivors.

So to think that no child should have died from the flu or other natural causes in a residential school presents an unrealistic comparison, one that is likely to provoke unnecessary hostility among Canadians.

JIM CLARK

Winnipeg

Grow up and work

Re: Wheeler trying to boost jets' morale (Feb. 19). Let me get this right: Blake Wheeler's excuse for all of their losses is that "they're suffocating with all the expectations on them and they just have to go out there and have fun."

I wish I could earn $2,550,000 a year to just have fun with no expectations. It's time for these spoiled babies to grow up!

Barbara Johnson

Winnipeg

Our mistake

A photo caption on the Letter of the Day Feb. 14 should have said the writer believes special lanes for bicycles should be reserved in summer months only.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2013 A14

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