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Well worth the walk

Bravo to Margo Goodhand for her positive attitude toward restaurant Chez Sophie gamely taking over from the Sals on the Esplanade Riel (Bonne chance, Chez Sophie! Ignore the trolls, March 14). I also applaud Salisbury House for having been the first to step up to the challenge of running a restaurant on the bridge.

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Meanwhile, I can't wait to take visitors to this unique culinary experience. Chez Sophie's delicious authentic French food is well worth the walk, and, indeed, the journey will be welcomed by many who want to burn off the calories they are about to ingest!

On that note, it's a sad state of affairs when the notion of a little walking, before or after sitting and eating for a couple of hours, is viewed as a horrific drawback. Since obesity and inactivity are major contributors to heart disease, it's time we actually started celebrating and seeking out opportunities to exercise.



Diminishing the sincerity

I always enjoy reading the Random Acts of Kindness in the Saturday Free Press. Most of the letters are a testament to the caring spirit and generosity of our fellow Manitobans.

However, I was very disappointed to see in the March 13 edition that you have turned that beautiful column into a contest by encouraging submissions "for a chance to win one of five Tim Hortons gift cards each week."

By doing so, you have diminished the beauty and intent of a simple and sincere thank-you.



Live downtown, don't drive

Thanks to Bartley Kives for his thoughtful response to the new Longboat development downtown (No residential for vital new core development?, March 13).

I live downtown and would be happy to see more people enjoy what is available here. But I'm getting a message from developers and city hall: "Come downtown, live downtown, but don't bring your car."

I'm fortunate to live in a building with its own parking. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here. With the civic parking mall now closed and parking costs increased and no sign of replacing lots that are being redeveloped, being downtown is not such a pleasant prospect. Hey, no major grocery outlet, either.



Studies back pesticide ban

In his March 6 letter, Pesticides ban a noxious idea Martin Harder attributes the province's belated move to regulate the use of cosmetic pesticides to fervent environmentalists who have not done their research.

In fact, the major motivation for the reality that over 50 per cent of the Canadian population is now protected from off-target cosmetic pesticides were three studies:

-- The 2004 Ontario College of Family Physicians Systematic Review of Pesticide Human Health Effects (

-- Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of hospital and health-care systems, medical professionals, community groups, environmental health organizations and others (

-- Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed monthly publication of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Public Health Service, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The EHP Toxigenomics issue in 2003 highlighted advances in biomarker research.

These studies are uncovering the mechanisms behind individual susceptibility to environmental chemicals, including pesticides. For example, some people are more sensitive to malathion because of variation in one gene involved in the metabolism of organo-phosphate pesticides.

The body burden/monitoring studies performed in the U.S. and Canada have also been an influence, since these are showing that a large number of chemicals (including pesticides) or their metabolites are being found in human blood and urine.



Making Tom proud

Re: Memorial gives fans a rousing tribute to Canada's Stompin' Tom Connors (March 14). I only wish that I could have been in Peterborough to pay my respects to Tom. He was a true original and proud Canadian, and I think that all Canadians can do him proud by honouring him every July 1 by flying a Canadian flag high and proud.

We are often reserved in showing our patriotism. I am not suggesting that we become like our neighbours to the south, and fly the flag on everything, but more of our national pride does need showing.

The passing of Stompin' Tom may be the shot in the arm we need to wake up and realize that we really do live in the greatest country in the world and we need to show it once in a while. Tom would be proud to see this and will be smiling down from his new stomping grounds.



Colonialist thinking

Re: Time to give the Black Death plague its due (March 12). I challenge Foreign Policy's framing of the Black Death and the Free Press's decision to carry the piece.

It says that the "rapid increase in trade that began during the Industrial Revolution" as a result of the 14th-century plague was a great breakthrough. This is an example of the West's persistent reluctance to talk about colonialism. This needs to change. One of the goals of Idle No More is to bring this conversation into the mainstream.

Also, even alluding to the possibility that high HIV-mortality rates in South Africa could be a good thing is insensitive and a perspective that excuses our ambivalence to the ongoing AIDS epidemic.



Defending dog breeders

Re: Giving dogs a chance (Letters, March 7). I take issue with the premise that the breeding of dogs for specific characteristics is itself inherently wrong.

My complaint is that dog-loving legitimate breeders are tarred with the same brush as amateurs, opportunists and ingrates, In fact, legitimate breeders usually stipulate in their contracts that any dog they release to a home must never be abandoned and must always be returned first to the breeder, who will either find a good resettlement or keep the dog.

It is almost easier to get a driver's licence than it is to be approved to take home a dog from a caring breeder.



Shifting to first gear

Re: Reserve doctor feared for her life (March 14). It looks like Manitoba chiefs need to "idle no more" when it comes to dealing with rampant drug use in their First Nations.

Or is a centuries-old land claim still more important?



Confusing reality with comics

Poor Chris Kennedy. He hasn't figured out the difference between reality and the comics (Snorkel's bullying must stop, Letters, March 12).

I've watched cartoons from a very early age and it has not made me a bully. Please, people, let's get serious. What's next?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 16, 2013 A15

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