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College has two options

Re: RRC president under attack for spending (March 14). Somebody, somewhere in all this mess is either incompetent or irresponsible. Either fire the president if these expenses are not part of her contract (unless she makes minimum wage, which I doubt), or fire the board if they are.

And thanks to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for revealing another example of upper-echelon hypocrisy. Nobody's above the law, but some in this college are above common sense and financial probity.

BARRY CRAIG

Winnipeg

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Two stories in the March 14 Free Press, one about the Red River College president's expense claims and the other about the new pope's expenditures (he takes a bus and makes his own meals), make for quite a comparative joke.

I doubt if the RRC president would even know which bus to take or how to make her own meals or, better yet, how to walk around a college wearing her so-called work shoes. Heck, she sounds more like a chauffeured golfing senator.

KAT THOMPSON

Winnipeg

A shallow critique

The headline on Morley Walker's March 9 review of George Saunders' collection Tenth of December, Satirically demented tales for mainstream readers, was my first clue that he had missed a lot in his reading. Rather than being "satirically demented," Saunders' latest is full of pointed satire, beauty of the human condition and deep truths.

Walker's summation -- oh, these are some nutty stories -- is a shallow critique. To say that the title story is about a fat boy saving a cancer patient is like saying The Grapes of Wrath has something to do with fruit-picking in California.

The Semplica Girl Diaries points at consumer obsession and the coldness, and brutality, of making other people subservient to the level of ornamentation for a rich and ruling culture. Escape from Spiderhead speaks in pointed satire to a culture that worships at the temples of Viagra and Prozac.

Saunders got his genius grant for a lot more than just "dreaming up this stuff." I feel like the whole review was created so the final Alice Munro dig could be inserted.

Don't get me wrong. I love Munro's work -- both writers are geniuses in their own way. Clearly, Walker misses a lot of layers, and even the whole boat.

CRAIG TERLSON

Winnipeg

Ending the bullying

In his March 9 column, Why not anti-bully clubs?, Hendrik van der Breggen argues Bill 18 should refer to "anti-bullying clubs" rather than "gay-straight alliances."

First, Bill 18 does not prohibit general anti-bully clubs. Second, the critics are blind to the reality in our schools. Gay and lesbian students did not form GSAs on a whim. They formed them as a reaction to vicious bullying. If the bullying would go away, GSAs would soon go away.

Then some publicly funded schools banned GSAs, or insisted that they not use the word "gay." The GSA clause in Bill 18 is a reaction to that situation.

If some schools didn't target GSAs, there would be no need for Bill 18 to specifically state that GSAs are allowed when students want to form them.

The sad reality is there is a pressing need for GSAs, and there is a pressing need for Bill 18.

ELLIOT LEVEN

Winnipeg

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Bethany Epp (Letters, March 11) has an erroneous understanding of Christianity. It does not teach hate towards homosexuals.

Jesus's second commandment says, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Most churches and the Old Testament condemn the acts and not the orientation.

Medically speaking, it is also unhealthy, and on evolutionary grounds, it is a dead end. Having said this, I do not mean that such individuals do not have a right to happiness and legal beneficiary rights.

Everyone is against bullying, but the majority object to promotion and indoctrination.

ERNEST DIAS

Winnipeg

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It is the right and responsibility of parents to teach their children. A truly free society always upholds this right. A totalitarian society always attacks this right, and tries to give it instead to the government.

Many years ago in our society, some parents gave permission to the government to handle part of the teaching of their children. The government was permitted to teach their children how to read and write. The government did this for a long time and did not exceed the mandate given to it.

However, about 25 years ago, the government decided to expand its own mandate, and forced its way into the domain of the parents. Over the protests of many parents, the government started to teach "sex education" in the schools, which it had no right to do. This in turn forced many parents to leave the public education system and either start private schools or begin home schooling.

The government continued to push further into the parents' domain, adding its own form of morality into its curriculum over the years. And now, under the umbrella of an "anti-bullying" bill, the government seems determined to force a new morality on everyone.

Morality is an integral part of religion, and so the government is in effect promoting the teaching of a new religion in all Manitoba schools. The new religion is not only to be allowed, it is to be supported, promoted and absolutely believed by all people. This is true bullying.

GREG STETSKI

Winnipeg

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Re: Francis shows 'he is here to serve' (March 14). Thank goodness the pope charades are done. Perhaps the media can now concentrate on real news.

As illustrated by the opposition to Bill 18, we have freedom of religion, but freedom from religion, not so much.

VICTOR LOEWEN

Ste. Anne

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2013 A10

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