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Protest against betrayal

Re: Betrayal worth fighting (June 11). I totally agree with Tory house leader Kelvin Goertzen's stand in opposition to the one-percentage-point increase in the provincial sales tax scheduled to start July.

While this opposition focuses on the tax increase, it is in fact a protest against the manner in which the Selinger government is betraying Manitobans in the way they govern. They are not respecting set rules or their pre-election promises by introducing a law to cancel the need for a referendum to increase taxes or cancelling the no-deficit rule because this government will have a huge deficit this year.

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What other new rules does this government plan to impose at citizens' expense?




I agree that government wastes money. I agree that our tax dollars could be spent more wisely. But I also believe that we are best served when government has the funds to provide essential services that protect the social fabric of our community.

These services are infrastructure, social and environmental in nature. Taxes are necessary, and we do not vote when we decrease them so why vote when we increase them?

The modest increase in the PST is what our community needs if we wish to continue providing services. I lived in California during the big tax-cut era of the 1970s and '80s. Public services fell apart and many people got hurt.

Manitoba can choose a more responsible path. I am on board with my taxes being raised a modest amount to ensure adequate services for all.




Anti-pot actions widespread

Your June 10 story Arrested for legal pot, man claims is really just the tip of the iceberg. As a medical marijuana licensee myself and a retired Winnipeg police staff sergeant, I know that such actions by the police, where citizens produce evidence of lawful possession, then are handcuffed, detained and their product seized, is tantamount to unlawful arrest and seizure.

The smell of marijuana coming from a car is not sufficient grounds to arrest and search, whether the subject is licensed or not. But the oppressive and apparently violent arrest of a licensed medical-marijuana user because the officers are not familiar with medical-marijuana laws is outright nonsense.

Ignorance of any law is no excuse from a citizen. Why should we let police officers get away with this kind of attack?

I have seen and heard of this many times before with people in possession of a small amounts of drugs, legal or illegal, because our drug warriors in policing seem to get confused about what is really important and what is even a crime.

It is time to legalize drugs, take them off the streets away from children, and stop the violence by organized crime and the police in our communities.




Conspiracies are everywhere

Conspiracy theories (Lapse in sanity fuels ammo conspiracy, June 10) are relatively widespread among some members of the public and demonstrate a number of interesting if perplexing qualities that provide some insight into the underlying psychology.

One interesting finding is that people who believe in one conspiracy theory are more likely to believe in other conspiracy theories. But, logically, there is no reason why Princess Diana being killed by the Royal Family should be related to John F. Kennedy being assassinated by government agents or the U.S. government stock-piling ammunition.

A related and particularly puzzling finding is that people can even believe in contradictory conspiracy theories. For example, some people who endorse the belief that Princess Diana faked her own death also endorse the belief that she was killed by the Royal Family.

The explanation for these and other results is that some general psychological factor underlies belief in conspiracies. One candidate is a general distrust of authorities, leading to a belief authorities engage in cover-ups. This underlying distrust is more central than the specific nature of the cover-up, allowing for shared belief in unrelated or even contradictory conspiracy theories.

Another explanation is suggested by research showing people who believe in conspiracy theories are also more likely to believe in such paranormal phenomena as ESP. This could reflect a general tendency of some people to entertain certain beliefs despite a lack of compelling evidence or even a lack of logical consistency, as in belief in contradictory theories.

The systematic study of conspiracy theories is a growing interest in psychology, and such work promises to help us understand who is likely to believe unfounded notions and ultimately to find ways to persuade people about the irrationality of sometimes damaging beliefs in conspiracies.


Department of psychology

University of Winnipeg


Animal violence linked

The June 6 editorial reprinted from the Prince George Citizen, Animal-cruelty story causes loss of perspective, says that "we should not lose sight of the needless suffering being inflicted on our two-legged friends that are of the same species as we are."

To this I respond that if people paid more attention to animal cruelty, and if courts treated animal-cruelty cases more seriously, some of the violence against humanity could very well be prevented.

There is a correlation between animal cruelty and violence against humans. Animal-rights advocates recognize this correlation and are therefore demanding harsher sentences and tougher laws against animal abusers.

The letter of the law is what we are working towards changing, because as the law exists now, there are far too many loopholes. Abusers either escape conviction or receive lenient sentences. British Columbia has the strongest animal-cruelty legislation in Canada, but it isn't worth the paper it's written on if it's not put into action.

Life is precious, no matter the species. All beings deserve the right to live without violence thrust upon them, and those committing these acts of violence need to be held accountable by our judicial system and given sentences appropriate to the crimes committed.


New Westminster, B.C.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2013 A14

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