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Most motorists are respectful

Sasha Ostrowski's concerns (Cyclists don't feel safe on the road, May 13) are warranted but, as a longtime commuting cyclist, the majority of Winnipeg drivers I encounter on the road are respectful and inclusive to cyclists.

Moving from the sidewalk to the road for the first few rides can be unnerving, but as long as you cycle confidently, use hand signals when appropriate and make eye contact with motorists when possible, you shouldn't encounter many problems.

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Just like driving, cycling on the road takes practice and experience to gain confidence.

Conversely, motorists should understand that cyclists sometimes need a full lane, especially when navigating obstacles on the road. Winnipeg's infrastructure deficit is also experienced by cyclists and conditions on the streets, especially near the curbs where cyclists ride, often require them to move into the centre of the road to avoid potholes and other impediments.

Consider Los Angeles County's recently implemented awareness campaign to increase bicycle traffic safety, with the message: "Every lane is a bike lane... Bicyclists may need a full lane; please share the road."

Everyone has a right to get around safely. Ostrowski should keep at it. With a few more rides, Ostrowski should realize that Winnipeg's a pretty good city for cycling.




A lesson to remember

Re: Canada and the Arctic Council (May 13). I was an observer on the icebreaker John A. Macdonald when she traversed Canada's Northwest Passage with the oil tanker SS Manhattan and completed the historic first passage of that treacherous waterway by a commercial vessel.

I learned a profound lesson that I respectfully suggest the planners of the Arctic Council's forthcoming oil-spill response strategy should never forget and the superlative mariners of the Canadian Coast Guard would be sure to remind them: While technology and caution reduce the risk, Mother Nature will always rule the Arctic and man tinkers with it at his peril.




Hockey violence unjustifiable

On Page C2 of the May 10 Sports section, a large picture exposes a violent assault with a raised hockey stick. There is no reference to a penalty.

There is no justification for violence in sports.

Violently slamming an opponent into the boards or using a hockey stick as a weapon against an opponent is not sport. What kind of an example do we set for our young people?

If I were still attorney general in Manitoba and such incidents occurred, I would expect my Crown attorneys to lay assault charges against the perpetrators.

Those who love sports should speak out to end uncalled-for violence.




Trade deal in our interest

Re: Costs of free trade with EU (Editorials, May 10). Canada's research-based pharmaceutical companies believe that the successful completion of the comprehensive and economic trade agreement is in the best interest of Canadians.

CETA will not drive up the cost of medicines. This notion is based on unfounded arguments and faulty assumptions.

Any CETA provisions on pharmaceutical intellectual property would come into effect over a 10-year horizon, for the most part applying to products that do not yet exist. It is impossible to predict what products will emerge from the pharmaceutical pipeline so far into the future, or at what price -- making cost assumptions about new products, safety approvals or pricing purely speculative.

What we do know is that drug-plan payers have very effective tools at their disposal to manage pharmaceutical access and pricing, and that won't change because of CETA. And we also know that Europe already benefits from these intellectual-property standards and has not seen price increases for medicines.

CETA presents us the opportunity to regain our competitive edge and see more innovative medicines and vaccines developed here in Canada.


President, Rx&D



This editorial provides specifics of how we'd lose but absolutely nothing concrete (except saving a few pennies on cheese) on how we'd win in this trade deal. Instead, the writer offers vague hope that it might open markets for "our industries" in an economically depressed Europe.

We were promised similar prosperity during Brian Mulroney's promotion of free trade with the U.S. and we know how that turned out -- a devastation of Canada's industrial sector that continues its erosion today.

Personally, I'd prefer to support Canadian workers, farmers and generic-drug manufacturers rather than place my trust in a "maybe."




It's factory farming

Re: Running a hog farm they thought she'd sell (May 9). Margaret Rempel said it herself: One reason more women are farming is there isn't as much brawn required as 50 years ago, thanks to modern technology.

"We're not feeding animals by hauling pails around," she said. "It's automated." In other words, it's a factory, not farming.

This article is just a whitewash over the travesty that is the hog-farming industry today.




Something's very fishy

The sub-headline of your May 11 story Angling for Manitoba's official fish poses the question "Which species should win this provincial referendum."

Two observations. First, the implication is that the government thinks that a referendum to select a fish is more important than one to change the PST.

Second, given the way that Manitobans have voted in the past four elections, the fish should be a sucker.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 14, 2013 A8

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