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A loss for the country

I never had a chance to meet my hero, Elijah Harper ('I don't think he had any enemies,' May 21). The news of his death has greatly saddened me, as it has probably saddened the rest of Canada. His death is a loss for our country.

I first heard about him in my social studies textbook. It was about his iconic moment with the eagle feathers during the Meech Lake accord. His care for native peoples and his humanitarian work had long been my inspiration, and my idea of courage.

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Thank you, Mr. Harper, for showing everyone what it means to stand up for what is right. You are a true hero, for First Nations people and for everyone. I will never forget you. Rest in peace.




Elijah Harper was nothing more than a politician. We can dispense with the accolades.

History will decide the worth of his words and actions.




Where is Bethania balance?

Given the details in Larry Kusch's May 18 story, Bethania board puts CEO on leave amid probe, are allegations, could you attempt to provide some balance by indicating that Ray Koop's effective management has led to balanced-budget operations at the Bethania Group -- unlike the rest of our health-care system under Theresa Oswald?

Koop should not be fired. He should be given Oswald's job. If not that, he should be given a raise and more like him should be hired.




Senate haters line up

There is another political force in this country even more eager to abolish the Canadian Senate than the federal NDP (Political opportunity knocks to abolish Senate, May 21).

Quebec's current separatist PQ government is only too aware that any seminal changes to the upper house's selection process, manner of representation, legislative authority or indeed its very existence must necessarily be made through constitutional amendment agreed to by the country's federal government and the formulated majority of provinces.

Today, any constitutional conference commissioned to address Senate reform would open negotiations to provincial demands for increased powers that would swamp the concessions agreed to in the defeated Meech and Charlottetown agreements. Quebec nationalists and, for less destructive but parochial reasons nevertheless, most provincial governments salivate at that juicy prospect.




Covering migrants' health

Re: Rally prompts province to cover health benefits (May 16). Do I think that migrant workers who work in this province and who "pay taxes, contribute to the Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance" should be entitled to "free health treatment"?

If this means the treatment all of us are entitled to through paying taxes, then, absolutely, they should be covered. However, since Mike Giffin of the family-owned Mayfair Farms does not think that health-care coverage is an onerous cost, and since he is benefiting from the migrant workers' cheap labour, why doesn't he pay those "few cents a day" to provide the health-care coverage for his employees?

Employers sure love programs that allow cheap labour as long as you and I are footing the bill.




Imparting life lessons

I absolutely loved the late Tom Oleson's writing and perspectives. I miss him.

In his May 18 column, It's a beautiful story, Gordon Sinclair Jr. tells a "beautiful story" about Oleson's daughter Katie's challenges and gives us some intimate insights into the Oleson family. In the process, he highlights two powerful life lessons.

First, do not make the mistake of thinking we have tomorrow to apologize. They say the most common emotion at funerals is one of regret for things we wish we had of done or said to the departed.

More important, few people lie on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at the office. Thanks to Sinclair and Katie Oleson for sharing this "beautiful story."




Losers clearly identified

Margo Goodhand's May 18 column, Can't lose when end justify means, clearly explains which part of the Manitoba population loses in our casinos, especially given odds of beating the VLTs.

The provincial government, however, silently enjoys the $300 million generated last year, and obviously would enjoy even more, so it quietly decided to add 500 more VLTs around the province.




Surfing at Birds Hill

How thoughtful of MTS to establish high-speed Internet service at Birds Hill Park. I am sure it will be reassuring for campers to know they can now access Wi-Fi service while sitting by their campfire.

As for full-time residents of Gull Lake (and surrounding communities) who have supported MTS since the age of the party line, well, I suppose we can take our pup tent to Birds Hill Park and enjoy this wonderful amenity as well.


Gull Lake


Burying baseball

I am very disappointed that the Free Press has reduced coverage of Major League Baseball this season. The standings are not highlighted as in the past and are thus difficult to locate in the Sports section.

Box scores don't seem to matter anymore, as only the Toronto Blue Jays get theirs published now.




Taxing the teetotalers

Re: Driving us to drink (Letters, May 18). Since drinkers live longer than teetotalers, the government should be passing laws to force the teetotalers to drink. As well, to be consistent with their other policies, they should levy ridiculously high taxes on the teetotalers.

Of course, the drinkers would have the higher health-care costs because they live longer. This is merely to be consistent with their policies on smokers, not because it is fair or sensible policy.




'Ugly' not strong enough

Walter Gropius says it well (No cure for a hangover, Letters, May 21). In fact, ugly does not quite describe the liquor store building in the Richmond West Plaza.

We remember when we moved into King's Park, as it then was called, 49 years ago next month, there was an artful curve erected at the corner of Killarney and Pembina.

One expected a suburb of careful design. Now it is hard to describe.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 22, 2013 A11

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