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Bullying is bullying

Thank you, Margo Goodhand, for articulating so well what many of us are thinking (We need Justin to silence bullies, April 18). Why is it OK for Stephen Harper's Conservative party to bully Justin Trudeau, using film footage to mock and devalue him, in its attack ad?

How different is this to the cyberbullying among young people? How can we expect our youth to be respectful of one another when politicians, who should be role models, are not? Good for Trudeau for refusing to play along and choosing to take the high road.

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One response to the Conservative attack ads could be: Stephen Harper -- undemocratic, untrustworthy, un-Canadian.

But the Conservatives' cowboy-macho mentality (borrowed from the U.S. and not always successful -- who remembers Mitt Romney?) contributes nothing to the political discussion that should be taking place on important issues such as FIPA, the Canada-China trade deal our PM is so eager to sign.

The Conservatives' bullying tactics reflect badly on them, reveal their insecurity and only serve to distract the media and voters from their secretive activities in other areas. Rather than tearing down others or muzzling those who disagree with them, let's have an open, intelligent discussion to address Canadians' legitimate concerns about the activities of the PM and his MPs, being done in our name, and the direction he is leading our country in.




Is the Free Press in the employ of the Conservative party? Ever since Justin Trudeau became leader of the Liberals, the Free Press has selected political cartoons bashing him and the party he now leads, sometimes in belittling ways similar to those of a bully.

It would be in the service of objectivity to feature cartoons that find ways to go after every party and its leader. Better yet, find cartoons that do not belittle or bully anybody and instead focus on issues that matter to Manitobans and Canadians.




Defying logic

John H. Baillie's April 17 letter, The terrorists have won, defies logic. If the automobile industry is to blame for traffic fatalities, and not driver error, then it is only logical that the FBI needs not look any further than the makers of pressure cookers to explain the Boston Marathon bombings.

Also, the FBI should not have wasted time hunting down Osama bin Laden, because it was the airline industry that was to blame for 9/11.




Liberals' impact disastrous

In his plea for money and public support for universities (Don't sacrifice universities on deficit-reduction altar, April 10), Lloyd Axworthy seems to have forgotten the disastrous impact of the Chrétien government in which he served as an influential cabinet minister until 2000.

Provincial operating grants for post-secondary education are greatly influenced by federal transfer payments. Federal cash transfers for post-secondary education went from a high of 0.5 per cent of GDP in 1983 to an all-time low of 0.15 per cent in 2005 under the Liberal government's cuts in program spending (despite the budget being back in surplus in 1998).

These federal Liberal fiscal policies have led in Canada to continued requests for higher and higher fees from students, more and more underpaid part-time faculty and the creation of private fundraising bureaucracies in the universities.

To be fair to the current provincial government, it has demonstrated, in comparison with other provinces, an ongoing serious commitment to funding post-secondary education. But whether those funds are used to best advantage for the key functions of the university in society -- teaching, research and community service -- is open to debate.




In the face of death

Finally, after 70 years, the brave men who flew Bomber Command are being recognized (New bar honours Bomber Command vets, April 16). As a small child in London who survived the Blitz and the V1 and V2 rocket attacks, I truly appreciate the efforts made by Bomber Command to bring the war to an end.

The average life expectancy of a bomber crew was reportedly two missions. They knew that returning home was slim, yet they went. They are true heroes.




Keep parsecs coming, Bart

Re: Just a parsec (Letters, April 17). Clive Russell, in his criticism of Bartley Kives's April 13 column, Chance to do it right at Forks, classifies "parsec" as a "big" word.

For heaven's sake, it's only six letters. Furthermore, must we capitulate when we are confronted occasionally by an unfamiliar word (which is often meaningful in context)?

Sadly, as Thomas Grey once said, "Where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise." I hope Kives continues to challenge me, one of Russell's "unwashed masses."



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 22, 2013 A10

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