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Dangerously out of touch

Re: James Jewell's blog of the week, Our police board: The blind leading the blind (March 17). The police can't and shouldn't police themselves. It's one of the reasons this board is being created.

As for Jewell's list of attributes that he says "could be plagiarized from just about any police officer's resumé," he's kidding, right? "Strategic planning"? "Risk management/audit"? Any officer's resumé?

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Jewell, a former police officer, admits to having "never heard" of Leslie Spillet prior to reading Randy Turner's Nov. 17 piece, On the front lines of the missing and murdered women tragedy, pain never fades. Spillet has been a figure active in Winnipeg's "urban aboriginal context" for years, garnering recognition from both the grassroots and the mainstream. She has the Order of Manitoba.

The fact that Jewell didn't know who she was is just one more piece of evidence supporting the "sensational" (as he characterized Turner's piece) assertion that, as an organization, the Winnipeg Police Service is dangerously out of touch with the needs and realities of indigenous people living in Winnipeg.




Liberals look to future

In his gloomy lament for the Liberal party (Liberals must find their centre, March 16), Don Hermiston is mistaken in suggesting the party's long-standing "fiscal sanity" and "sense of fair play" have been drowned in the current tide of uncertainty.

These principles are fervently supported by Liberals. Practical and forward-looking fiscal policy is a central theme among Liberal leadership contenders, along with the urgency of a federal voice in interprovincial co-operation.

Hermiston concludes by suggesting that the front-runner, Justin Trudeau, is inadequate to the task of rebuilding the Liberal party. It disappoints me that he ignores both Trudeau's abilities and the contributions of the other candidates, especially the brilliant women who are current or future MPs.

Most pundits are also missing the fact the public expectations of a leader's role have changed in the 21st century. The modern political leader not only must be receptive to diverse viewpoints, but also must be a good talent scout.

Effective leadership involves the ability to select and empower qualified people for the work of identifying national priorities. Balancing the needs of multiple sectors of society takes the expertise of a team of capable parliamentarians. Teamwork does not diminish a confident leader.




Guaranteeing all freedoms

In his March 12 letter, Prioritizing freedoms, Bill Rolls suggests his definition of freedom comes from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its articles proclaim the freedoms of owning property, of movement, of thought, of religion, of opinion, of assembly, and so on.

It also refers to a healthy standard of living. The point is that member states need to guarantee all of the freedoms, not pick and choose, or prioritize, as Rolls admits Cuba does. It should also be noted the members of the UN Commission on Human Rights (now called Human Rights Council) includes some illustrious practitioners of respecting human dignity, such as China, Russia, Pakistan, Libya, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Sudan.

And this UN to which Rolls genuflects did nothing when 8,000 Muslims were executed in Srebrenica, Bosnia, and was likewise idle in the Rwandan genocides.




Jesus respected everyone

As an active member of the United Church, I agree completely with Rev. Mary Best's sign because it does speak the truth (A sign of good faith amid the uproar, March 15).

When you read the gospel, you find evidence of Jesus having respected everyone and he did not discriminate at all against anyone. He had healed the blind and cast out demons, and if we are to follow his example then we need to live as Jesus lived. This does mean to practise what we preach.

So many say, "Oh, I am a Christian. I love everyone." I ask only that these people who say this can also come to realize what that really means. Why do people come from fear when this topic arises? We all have these desires and so what is the big fear?

What right do we have to judge someone just because they are gay? Does the Bible not say, "Judge not, lest ye shall be judged"?




I applaud Rev. Mary Best for her pro-Bill 18 stance. She is practising what I believe is true Christianity.

I also want to thank Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, because his comment that Bill 18 may be in violation of the freedom of religion section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms gave me an idea on how to resolve this difficult issue.

The solution is for the GLBT community to form a religion; then their beliefs, views and practices will be sanctioned and protected under the Charter.




When will all the protesters realize that a support group for gay and lesbian students promotes homosexuality about as much as a support group for people with missing limbs promotes amputation?




An odd inclusion

Re: An absolutely wonderful man (March 14). I thought it was odd that the reporter deemed it necessary to include what the Aboriginal Catholic Council of the St. Kateri Tekawitha Church ate at their meeting, including "a bucket of KFC and a pitcher of red Kool-Aid."

I found this detail unrelated and unnecessary. I had to wonder why it was included at all, if not to make light of, or to slight this group that had agreed to be interviewed and was quoted numerous times in the report.




Dousing the fire

Re: Boeing has a fix for battery (March 16). Beneath the photo of a Boeing 787, the caption reads, "Boeing now has a battery for the 787 they're hoping is inflammable."

I, for one, would certainly not want to fly on an aircraft with an "inflammable" battery. I'm sure Boeing is hoping that the new batteries for their grounded 787s are "non-flammable."



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 19, 2013 A11


Updated on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM CDT: adds links

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