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A conversation changer

We learn in your March 2 story Remarks on child porn defended by academics that one of Tom Flanagan's colleagues finds the controversial incident "defensible" and one of his "personal bests," while a Halifax philosophy professor, Mark Mercer, doesn't know "why people are so up in arms."

As noted in the article, Flanagan and Mercer are both executive members of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship. How would the conversation change, if child porn were renamed "images of a crime scene," a term used by those working to end child pornography?

It would surely be less likely that anyone could dismiss the enjoyment of child porn as "not harming another person," as Flanagan did, first in 2009, then again last week.

GARETH NEUFELD

Winnipeg

Recipe for flooding

Re: Feds balk at continued flood payouts (March 2). Over the past two months, as every year, the Saskatchewan and Manitoba governments have been slowly releasing stored water from behind the Shellmouth and all other dams down river through Manitoba watersheds -- all in the name of inventory for Hydro generation.

Our provincial government's press releases again say we've had "record" precipitation leading to the flooding, all in the effort to protect all things to do with their sacred cash cow.

The levels of snow were more than normal in certain locations. Overall, however, this year is nothing more than average.

In the past, with localized high snowfall, our floodplain river systems would capture this excess with minimal flood impact. In today's world, add that snowfall melt to winter stored levels courtesy of Saskatchewan and Manitoba dams, and we get catastrophic flooding. Until someone smartens up these people, we will always get damaging floods every spring.

DAVID OWENS

Winnipeg

Avoiding the trappers

Re: Bipole III worries northern outfitter (March 2). The idea that Hydro is compensating trappers who have registered trap lines in the path of all new lines or Hydro project is misleading.

Manitoba Hydro doesn't pay trappers for up to five years' lost revenue. They would rather move a transmission line around a trapline boundary, so that they don't have to deal with trappers who don't buy into the mumbo-jumbo offered in the environmental assessment of Hydro project hearings.

The point is that not only do new dams and power lines open up the wilderness area to more people, because Hydro will have to build access roads for its machinery to clear the route and erect transmission towers.

It also decimates pristine forests and lakes up to a minimum of 100 kilometres from the actual project area.

GREG McIVOR

Winnipeg

Defining ban benefits

Thank you for your March 2 editorial Pesticide ban needs test period, but one point requires correction. You suggest the benefits of a pesticide ban are "poorly defined." But this is not true.

As you say, physician-scientists have found that people exposed to toxic lawn products are at greater risk for cancer, reproductive problems and neurological illness. What are the benefits of a province-wide prohibition on non-essential pesticides? Healthier Manitobans.

GIDEON FORMAN

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Toronto

ñü

In the past year I have spoken to at least 50 fellow Manitobans about the pesticide ban and have found only one individual who supports it.

Those I have spoken with come from all areas of society, and my experience reflects the Free Press's own survey on this issue. The survey conducted by special interest groups should be scrutinized very carefully by the Free Press and the government before they start quoting their findings -- especially, when general public opinion is obviously drastically pointing in the opposite direction.

The average Manitoban does not want a pesticide ban. It is only a vocal minority that seems to the have the ear of the government. It is time for the government officials to start listening to the majority.

As a friend in Ontario said to me, "If a political party ran on the platform promising to reverse the pesticide ban, they would be elected."

CLAYTON SKERRY

Winnipeg

Persecution priorities

With all due respect to Allan Hutchings, his Feb. 26 letter, Let's get pet friendly, misses the point. He wants more parks, restaurants and hotels here to allow pets, as they do in Florida.

I have a hard time worrying about that when, further on in the Free Press, I read about a gay man in Uganda who can't leave his apartment until night-time for fear that he will be lynched by those who hate him for being homosexual (Gay Ugandan man seeks safe haven in Manitoba).

Truly, as long as there are human beings who are still legally persecuted around the world just for being who they are, I think worrying about whether or not Fido can come for din-dins at the Olive Garden is more than a little ridiculous.

JO DAVIES

Winnipeg

A wonderful tradition

I was fortunate enough to attend the Winnipeg Music Festival on March 2 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The enthusiasm and excitement in the air were very evident.

Congratulations to all the participants, teachers and parents. Bravo to the festival organizers. The festival is a wonderful Winnipeg tradition, which we should all endeavour to strongly uphold and support.

LOUISA RYZ

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2013 A10

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