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A dangerous precedent

Re: 'Nobody can stop this mayor' (April 6). Based on Judge Brenda Keyser's decision to let Mayor Sam Katz off the hook, municipal politicians across Manitoba can now spend public money on their own businesses secure in the knowledge that their punishment will amount to a scolding from a judge. If a citizen tries to hold them to account, the citizen risks being punished for it and being forced to pay $10,000.

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Keyser's argument that it is up to voters alone, and not the courts, to punish politicians' wrongdoing effectively places elected officials above the law so long as they can win the next election. It erases doubts, if there were any, that we have a two-tier justice system.

It is not a voter's job to decide whether or not someone has broken the law, and it is not a judge's job to dispense advice to Katz on whether what he did was good or bad politics.

If Keyser's decision achieves nothing else, perhaps Manitoba's conflict of interest laws (or oaths of office) can be updated to ensure that politicians know they're not supposed to help themselves to public money.

DOUGALD LAMONT

Winnipeg

ñü

So it's not about right or wrong, or about innocence or guilt? It's about cost. How nice to know that.

Pardon me, I have a bank to rob. Don't worry, I'll take less than what it would cost to chase, catch, charge, convict and confine me.

TIM SAYEAU

Winnipeg

ñü

So Joe Chan thinks that he shouldn't have to pay the $10,000 court costs for the lawsuit that he brought against Mayor Sam Katz and he wants people to send him cheques?

Give me a break. Chan started this lawsuit and he had to pay the costs for the previous lawsuit.

Doesn't he get it? He should ask his friend Coun. Harvey Smith to help him out. After all, he is behind this too, isn't he?

LYNN SOENS

Winnipeg

ñü

In Winnipeg you have Mayor Katz and in Toronto we have Mayor Ford. And why are the judges reluctant to deal with them?

I am afraid that these men who ignore the rules will get re-elected and expect us to follow the rules.

It is time we put an end to partisan politics at the municipal level.

I would bet the right-wing media in Winnipeg support your mayor as do the right-wing media in Toronto.

GLENN KITHEN

Toronto

ñü

It's a shame, with his lack of ethics and social responsibility, that Sam Katz is the reflection of us as a city. We, the responsible electorate that we are, have declared three times that we want someone like Sam Katz to represent us at the local and national level.

We have said we want Sam Katz to be the face of Winnipeg.

And that, dear citizens, is a shame.

DAVID JENKINSON

Winnipeg

ñü

Sam Katz's lawyer, Robert Tapper, is quoted as saying that Katz has been through an "angst-filled several months."

Was he agonizing about losing his job and wondering where he would get $3,000 for his next party?

BARBARA JOHNSON

Winnipeg

ñü

Our mayor is like our snow. Enough already. We are tired of shovelling.

KAREN DALKIE

Winnipeg

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As a longtime resident of east Winnipeg, I am used to the smell emanating from the nearby mushroom plant.

But in light of the judge's comments in the recent court decision involving the mayor (Politically tone-deaf mayor clueless on ethics matters, April 6), it's nothing compared to the one coming from city hall.

LARRY ROBERTS

Winnipeg

Contagion has causes

New bird flu kills more (April 5). Due to the globalization of food production by genetic modification and factory farming, man has severely altered nature's built-in safety nets. The results are showing up in the escalation of virus strains that would not have been possible if nature had not been circumvented.

Man is part of nature whether he wants to be or not, and the new virus H7N9 may be nature's answer to the factory farming of chickens.

RAY MORIN

Anola

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Re: Polar bear hunt ends in fines (April 6). We can't re-sell our Jets tickets for even $5 more than face value (which I am OK with) but the "local hunters in Nunavut" can re-sell their tags for $35,000! And to rich foreigners who fly there in their private jets, likely seeing snow for the first time, to kill what I thought was an endangered, or at least threatened, species. I bet those polar bears are glad we have such tough laws to prevent their hides from leaving our country.

WARD HARRIS

Winnipeg

Ignoring the numbers

I like numbers. For example, how many Christmas meals would $3,000 buy in a Chinese restaurant? Maybe 50 at $60 apiece? One hundred at $30? What is a "good deal" as claimed by a well-known Winnipegger?

How many truckers and travellers usually stop to eat in Morris one hour after leaving or arriving in Winnipeg? How many meals per day did the Pots N Hands restaurant in Morris serve in the dead of winter before its owners decided to close due to offensive comments? What was the restaurant's profit or loss in that town of fewer than 2,000?

I like numbers. Please provide some in your stories.

ALLAN JEFFREY

Winnipeg

Shortchanging tennis

The Davis Cup men's tennis event is the largest annual international team competition in world sport.

On Sunday, Canada beat Italy to advance to the semi-finals for the first time since 1913. On Monday, there was not one editorial word in the Free Press about this. OK, the line scores were on page C7. But that's it.

Tennis Manitoba made a big effort to have this weekend's Davis Cup play in Winnipeg.

And we are surprised it went to Vancouver?

DENNIS PENNER

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 9, 2013 A9

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