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Ignoring the problems

Jim Collinson is to be congratulated for his great article Harper's 'lurch' strategy failing (Feb. 23). I agree with his statement that "Climate change can no longer be denied." Of course, neither can resource depletion, melting Arctic ice and increased species destruction. But why are we ignoring the many problems Collinson records?

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We have this idea that society is progressing if we look mainly at communications technology. I wonder if ignoring enlarged desert sizes while food supplies need to be increased indicates that we are regressing and not progressing.

The Mayans turned part of their intellect to mathematics and there is some indication they may have surpassed other thinkers of their time. Unfortunately for them, they did not focus their thinking on improving military equipment so the Conquistadors had little trouble destroying their civilization.

I fear that ignoring climate change (melting ice and assorted problems) and severe weather may indicate that our ingenuity is waning. If our intellect diminishes, we may end up polluting the world so badly that humanity may have trouble surviving beyond 2050. Let us cut back on fossil-fuel use rather than attempt to produce the technology that may allow us to survive.




Jim Collinson's article is at best sloppy journalism. Unfortunately, it is the type of drivel that seems to go largely unchallenged in an age run amok with the new religion of environmentalism.

Severe weather incidents are no more frequent and arguably less frequent than rather recent history. Are F3-F5 tornadoes over the last 10 years more frequent than in the past, say, 50 years? No.

Are hurricanes more frequent and more intense? Nope. How about droughts? One only need look at the last 100 years of weather records to understand that droughts are, unfortunately, all too common and the drought seen in some parts of North America in 2012, while unfortunate, was nothing more than a blip on the radar when compared with what Mother Nature has done many times in the past.



Charity of another sort

In his Feb. 23 piece, Charity for a new age, Kevin Rollason points out that there have been no changes in Manitoba's definition for charities since 1891.

There have been, however, changes in the way that charities are viewed for taxation. At one time, donations to charities were deducted at the rate of 100 per cent.

No more. Now, it is only donations to political parties that are deducted at 100 per cent.



Protesters are myopic

Your Feb. 20 article from USA Today, Keystone approval best for economy, planet, could have gone further by focusing on the myopia and hypocrisy of protesters at the Feb. 17 rallies opposing the project.

These demonstrators aren't merely against the pipeline; they hope to shut down the Alberta oilsands entirely. This is a faint hope, because even if the crude doesn't flow to the U.S. one way or another, it will be sold most likely to China, where environmental regulations are far less stringent than on this continent. So in the end, emissions levels will wind up being even higher.

The anti-Keystone types are also conveniently overlooking the fact that the U.S., despite reducing its overall emissions through higher natural gas consumption, still generates 44 per cent of its electricity from coal, which is by far the country's greatest source of pollution. In fact, during the next decade, 36 new coal-fired generating plants are scheduled to be built.

Meanwhile, Canada derives nearly 60 per cent of its electricity from hydro, and new dams are being built in five separate provinces. So if the protesters are ostensibly so concerned about carbon pollution leading to global warming and climate change, shouldn't they also be entreating U.S. President Barack Obama to demand cutbacks in domestic coal plant construction?



Let's get pet friendly

The Feb. 23 travel article The paws that refreshes, promoting the dog-friendly attitude of many Florida parks, restaurants and accommodations, makes me question the prohibitive restrictions against dogs in place by our local and provincial decision-makers and business owners.

We have been fortunate to travel to other North American cities where our well-behaved dogs are accepted on many restaurant patios and local beaches.

It's about time Manitoba's politicians and business owners realize it's a small step that taps into an ever-increasing demand for pet-friendly establishments, which proves to be good for business.



Leadership absent

Re: 'Victim' apologizes to police for story (Feb. 22). I for one applaud Evan Maud's apology. We all have made foolish decisions. We need to remind ourselves that we ultimately might be judged on how we deal and handle those decisions.

The First Nation leadership made a decision to support Evan Maud two years ago and throw accusations around of police brutality and racism. Sadly, these same leaders cannot bring themselves to stand with him when he really needs leadership. They are experienced in these types of events and should know better. They owe the Winnipeg Police Service an apology as well.



A foreigner's perspective

As spring approaches (hopefully) and our attention is again drawn to the condition of our roads, I am reminded of some comments made by visitors to our city. This happened last summer when we had a couple from just north of Harbin, China, visit Winnipeg and our home for the first time.

At some point, I asked them what they thought of Winnipeg. They had three main observations:

-- The clean air and blue skies.

-- The small number of people they saw on our streets.

-- The poor condition of our roads.

This was interesting and sad at the same time. Thank you, mayors Susan Thompson, Glen Murray and Sam Katz for creating such a tourist attraction and at no cost to the taxpayer.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 26, 2013 A10

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