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Prohibition ups danger

Gordon Sinclair's April 2 column, How heroin failed a hero, clearly shows the failure of our prohibitionist drug policies. The attempt to interdict drugs by the authorities not only continues to fail but also makes our world a more dangerous place.

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Mack Herron has been arrested 20 times since his football career ended, mostly for drugs. This is an extraordinary amount of time and money spent to supposedly help him with his addiction. We should have been able to do better than locking him up and turning a gifted athlete into a criminal. We cannot arrest our way out of these social health problems.

Sinclair is correct: People like Mack Herron are addicts. The federal government has reluctantly agreed to fund the Winnipeg drug treatment court to keep non-violent drug offenders out of the prison system. It is necessary, in my opinion at least, until such time as the United Nations sits down seriously to end the war on drugs. I agree that drug use has many negative consequences, but prohibition has become downright dangerous and even enabling to addicts.


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition



If drug prohibition did not exist, would Mack Herron be a hall of famer in both Canada and America? The the answer is likely yes.

In short, drug prohibition ruined Herron's life, not the drug use per se.

Who is to tell to what heights Herron would have risen if he were judged on his talent rather than what amounted to be his bad habits.

Where would Babe Ruth have been if he was arrested for his bad habits rather than being celebrated in spite of them?



Treatment is our right

Like Jarrett Beyko (Focusing on the good, Letters, March 25), I, too, would not complain about a three-hour wait at the St. Boniface emergency department.

I have had the occasion to be there three times in the last few weeks with a very sick person. Our wait times were each more than five hours. I agree that the treatment, once it was accessed, was good, as it should be.

We do not receive medical treatment for free. As taxpayers, we foot the bill and it is our right as Canadians to receive health care. The wait times in emergency are unconscionable.



Cartoon a mockery

I am deeply offended by the editorial cartoon in the April 3 edition, captioned "Baird goes on friendship tour to Middle East" and depicting an armoured vehicle dispensing taxpayer money to the winds.

The only recent announcement of foreign aid by Baird was additional funds to Jordan to assist the refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.

I am a taxpayer and I approve of my government giving aid to people in obvious distress. Making a joke of kindness and care for less fortunate people is not called for.



Arm 'em with iPads

Re: NRA calls for school staffers to carry guns (April 3). Would not a better solution be to decommission the antiquated bricks-and-mortar education system? In 2013, there is no need for masses of students to go back and forth to some central oral-based learning structure.

Children aged three are happily tapping on iPads. As well, they are socializing in a manner less stressful and damaging than physical interaction and bullying. One's virtual self may be presented in a confident manner and not subject to the vagaries of physical form due to cohort differentials.



Four times the cost

Re: Drugs cost $9 billion more than necessary (April 2). I spent some time in Portugal this winter and contacted a lung infection, which is a recurring problem. The drug I am prescribed in Canada is Teva-Levofloxacin, 500 milligrams (10 tablets) for $45.

I had to purchase the exact same drug, same dosage, in Portugal for a cost of 7.75 euros. The euro was trading at $1.33 Cdn. So the drug costs approximately four times more in Canada than it does in Portugal.

Why? No wonder we spend $9 billion more than necessary.



Give us all the angles

Regarding Gwyn Morgan's April 1 column, CRTC is wrong for cable TV, and Dougald Lamont's April 2 letter, Fettering the free market, I don't agree that a group of bureaucrats should decide what I can and cannot watch. The news channels should all be mandatory. I want all angles of news, not just the ones the CRTC deems suitable for me to watch.

I am one television viewer who wants to have the Sun News Network on basic cable. I have to pay twice for some channels, like CBC News Network -- once in my taxes and then again for the mandatory channel feeds.

I can get U.S. networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) in the mandatory channels but have to pay extra to get CTV News Network. Having the CBC put into the basic section gives it an unfair advantage over the other networks. That does not even address the fact that they get my tax dollars to operate, which puts them ahead of the other networks to start with.

I cannot get SNN at all because my cable provider is MTS. They either have not or will not sit down with SNN and work out a deal so that their customers can watch the channel. I have to access it via the Internet, and that only in 15-minute segments.

I don't agree that letting SNN into the mandatory section is a form of government tax. If that is true, then we are being taxed for putting the CBC in there. Give all the news networks a level playing field and then see what happens. That is the right thing to do.




Re: Fettering the free market (Letters, April 1). The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission already supports otherwise unprofitable services by forcing cable companies to carry their signals, so why not Sun News also?

Dougald Lamont wants "free markets" in broadcasting. I am sure he will agree with me that the CBC's annual subsidy of $1 billion should be cancelled. Surely, Canada could find a better use for this money.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2013 A8

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