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Insulted by derogatory term

As longtime daily subscribers, we chuckle some mornings about the Liberal slant that seems to pervade the paper.

On the days when Frances Russell appears, we find ourselves avoiding her writing because it is so inflammatory. Again, in her April 5 column, Harperites undermine democracy, your editorial team allows her the use of the derogatory term "Harperites" to describe our federal government -- not just in the headline but throughout.

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She is entitled to her opinion but not to insult Canadians by calling their democratically elected government by such a degrading name. She has done it many times in the past, and we are tired of it, and her writing. Too bad we've lost the balance provided by Tom Oleson's writing. May he rest in peace.




Frances Russell's column on the dismantling of democracy in Canada is bang on.

Rather than muzzling or shooting the messengers (Canadian feminists, environmentalists, aboriginals, scientists and federal civil servants, now including librarians and archivists, to name a few), Harperites should consider that the majority of Canadian citizens don't support their ideology and act in the interest of the nation, not that of big oil.

Contrary to the PMO's spin, it is the Harperites who engage in "high-risk" activities as they eliminate federal regulation of the environment. Current and future generations will live with the consequences of their actions.




Value provided for fees

As a fourth-year pharmacy student, I was frustrated to read Noralou Roos's April 4 column, Beware of drugstore dispensing fees.

Dispensing fees are not in place simply to "fill the cash register at the pharmacy." There is a lot of work by the pharmacy staff -- technicians and pharmacists alike -- to prepare a prescription for a patient. Pharmacists take the time to ensure the dose the patient has been prescribed is appropriate, check for drug interactions with a patient's other medications, verify that the prescription has been filled correctly and counsel the patient if the medication is new. If there are issues that require contacting the doctor, we do that on the patient's behalf.

Dispensing fees are meant to compensate the pharmacist and pharmacy staff for all the important work done to ensure a high quality of patient care and safety.

Many pharmacies also offer other valuable services such as blister packaging, free delivery and disposal of expired and unused medications without charging extra fees. And let's not forget all of the advice we provide about over-the-counter products without charging any fees at all.




The first thing anyone taking prescription or over-the-counter medications should consider is, what to do with the leftovers? A small survey by University of Manitoba students found that most Winnipeggers are unaware of the consequences that prescription and over-the-counter medications present to our environment when not disposed of correctly.

Creating awareness in the public on proper disposal methods of unused or expired pharmaceuticals should be a priority. Most pharmacies in Winnipeg have take-back programs at no cost to consumers. In Canada, 423 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2006, and this is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.3 per cent.

If all that medication is flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage, higher levels of chemicals and toxins will be found in our environment and water supply. How sustainable is that?




Comics mirror life

Once again we see art mirroring life in the comics page of the Free Press. A short time ago we saw Crankshaft chaining himself to his tree, defending it from the tree removers.

Now we read of a local hero, Patricia Kuzak, running barefoot in her bathrobe to the boulevard to rescue a tree she has enjoyed for so long (Saving tree is about protecting her roots, April 5). Good on you, Mrs. Kuzak!

There is much to learn from the comics in the Free Press, although not all of them. I find myself selective, which likely would prove a reflection of me if a psychologist ever got me in his chair. No thanks.




Aware of injustices

I can understand Jack McLaughlin's concern in his April 4 letter, Zoo might be next, that so much effort and energy are directed toward attempts to save unwanted dogs on northern reserves, or for that matter attempts to reunite lost pets with their owners.

It's true that there seems to be an increased awareness of the plight of animals from the slaughterhouse to the circus tent. This can't be a bad thing. Social media such as Facebook make it easy for us to hear about and respond to the latest terrible story, whether we send a cheque, foster an animal or get in our car to go and look for a lost dog.

This is not replacing our concern for the plight of children here or in war-torn countries. If anything it increases the level of awareness of injustice and makes if possible for people to jump right in and do something immediately.

What a great feeling of satisfaction comes from this, not to say good karma, and often this leads to other actions in other arenas such as child poverty.

No one is walking past suffering children on reserves or in cities or Third World countries. It's just more difficult to get involved because of the structures that are already supposed to be in place to protect these children, such as families and agencies.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 8, 2013 A8

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