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Lacking expertise

It should come as no surprise that the provincial NDP are pulling strings behind the scene to try to change ownership of Assiniboia Downs (Downs owner looks for lifeline, March 30).

They like nothing better than to get their paws involved in things in which they have no expertise. Let's face it. Without the NDP involvement, Hydro would never have elected to put the new Bipole line down the west side of the lakes and Manitoba Public Insurance wouldn't be talking about spending ratepayers money to upgrade provincial roads.

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We should expect nothing less from a government whose philosophy is to insinuate itself into every aspect of our lives.




The weakness of prisons

My heart goes out to the family of Ryan Russell, who do not feel there is closure for them after Richard Kachkar was found not criminally responsible for Russell's death in Toronto. The March 27 Canadian Press story implies that this resolution is less satisfactory than a jail sentence would have been.

But it is a myth that sending Kachkar to prison would be better than an indefinite term at a mental hospital. For example, the parole board here recently decided to release Dominic Urichen from prison, despite the presence of ongoing command hallucinations. This case underlines the inability of the prison system to adequately address mental-health concerns.

It is probable that Urichen had few opportunities to access psychiatric care in prison, and clearly he remains ill. Access to health care is very limited in prisons, and this is especially true for mental-health services.

As well, the prison environment itself has been shown to be a stressor that can increase the severity of psychiatric symptoms. Putting an ill person in prison instead of a treatment facility does not solve the problem that led to the criminal charges.

Nor is there any guarantee that a parole board would make a better decision regarding release from custody than a review board would.


Manitoba Schizophrenia Society



Uncalled for by law

I was appalled to read that a juror, who had delayed court proceedings, was later paraded through the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles.

If the facts reported are correct, and the situation warranted some form of action, so be it. I know enough about the law, however, to be certain that the spectacle described in your March 28 story Juror No. 10 pays for her tardiness is not what the law calls for.

This action does not speak well of our legal system, but rather, it is a distasteful retaliation by someone in power. If it was thought that this display (in handcuffs and shackles) would create more respect for our legal system, the thinker was seriously misguided.




Mindful of adages

Re: Prayer against bill held in tax-funded school (March 28). It seems supporters of Steinbach Christian High School (SCHS) and other private religious schools that oppose Bill 18 on the grounds that their religious freedom is being threatened would do well to consider the following adages:

  • He or she who pays the piper calls the tune.
  • Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
  • You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

If they feel so strongly that their religious freedom is at stake, then they should feel free to refuse public funding for their schools. There is no stone tablet that confers on any private educational institution the right to public funding with no strings attached.

I can think of a number of organizations who could use a share of SCHS's $1 million to fund programs that would enhance the well-being of all Manitobans.




While I respect opponents of Bill 18 to hold their opinions accordingly, I would like to remind them that there are many instances within our social contract that demand compromise from all of us.

Such is the fact that there are many who oppose the funding of private schools via their taxes but are by law, forced to do so. It's clear we as a larger community are only as functional as our willingness to recognize that inclusiveness will forever remain a fundamental component of truly great societies.




Rocking the baby

The March 26 article Lullaby and good night ... tells one perspective, but entirely misses another. There are many parents who choose to nurse or rock their baby to sleep, knowing that means their baby will need them when they wake up at night, and believing that is healthy and OK.

One baby needs a noise machine to fall asleep, another needs her mother's chest. Both can be healthy, sustainable ways for an infant to thrive. Both children will need to learn to be adaptable as they grow.

It would be refreshing to see an article on sleep that includes the concepts of nighttime parenting and co-sleeping, presented like they really are: loving nighttime ways used by many parents worldwide, instead of painting them as radical or unsustainable.




Missing the puzzles

Here I sit on another holiday Friday (and it could be a holiday Monday) with no daily puzzle page.

The comics readers get their double dose on Thursday; and the usual Friday advert sections showed up on Thursday. But no puzzles.

I paid for them but don't get them. Surely it can't cost that much more to squeeze in the extra page.




What a bunch of jokers

Checking my garbage, recycling, and yard-waste collection calendar, I see that my collection date this week has the first yard-waste icon of the season.

Yard waste, with all this snow? Ah ha, it is April 1. The Winnipeg water and waste department has a sense of humour. Who knew?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 2, 2013 A6


Updated on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 11:37 AM CDT: adds links

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