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Broader subsidies needed

Re: Reserves hunger for fresh food (July 4). As a retailer in northern Manitoba, the North West Company appreciates the efforts of Jonathon Naylor's column to bring to light the need to make healthy food more affordable to people living in remote communities.

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The federal government's Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program provides freight subsidies on healthy perishable foods, bringing lower costs to customers. Since the implementation of this program in 2011, it has resulted in lower prices.

This program is independently audited to ensure the full value of freight subsidies are reflected in lower retail prices that are passed directly through to customers. Since implementation, we have recorded increases in consumption of dairy (11 per cent) and produce (seven per cent) in our 11 NNC fully subsidized stores in northern Manitoba.

We agree more needs to be done. That is why we are advocating that all remote communities in Manitoba be fully eligible under NNC.

Today, perishable foods in communities excluded from NNC cost up to 1.5 times more than neighbouring communities that receive a full subsidy. For example, four litres of milk in the fully subsidized community of Lac Brochet is $8.49 as of July 4, whereas the same product in the non-subsidized community of Brochet, located just 80 km away is $14.69.

In addition, NNC has provided retailers, such as the North West Company, with the ability to use more efficient freight options and negotiate directly with transportation carriers, resulting in savings that are passed along to customers.

MICHAEL BEAULIEU

North West Company

Winnipeg

History being preserved

In response to Gordon Sinclair Jr.'s July 4 column, Our archival yearbooks should stay in our province, I'd like to say that the Manitoba Historical Society is currently collaborating with the legislative library of Manitoba, the University of Manitoba archives and special collections, the Manitoba Library Consortium and the lieutenant-governor's office to make yearbooks widely available to the citizens of Manitoba. We will have a full announcement in the fall.

This project will be in keeping with the work currently underway to digitize all of Manitoba's local history books. People interested in these initiatives are directed to check out our website, mhs.ca, for updates and other useful information about the history of Manitoba.

As a teacher who runs a school archive in Portage la Prairie, I know full well the importance of yearbooks. We have a collection that is complete for our two city high schools and have started to accumulate yearbooks for our middle-years schools as well. We have digitized the high school yearbooks and those are available to those who make requests through our school's website.

At Portage Collegiate Institute the yearbooks are used in history classrooms for a variety of projects. Students are able to study everything from the evolution of hair styles to changes in graphic design. As a teacher, and as president of the Manitoba Historical Society, I wanted to let Free Press readers know that the minders of our province's history are on watch and are taking significant steps to preserve our province's school history.

JAMES KOSTACHUK

Portage la Prairie

Trusting a witness

Your July 3 story Red flag raised on roadwork is terribly slanted. Throughout various articles on Mitchell Blostein's trial, you have reported that Blostein had been travelling 112 km/h in a 60 km/h work zone.

However, another witness reported that Blostein had been travelling 80 km/h. That witness was in a vehicle following him, according to your June 6 story Reckless driving cited in flagger's road death.

But your July 3 story now blatantly accepts a reconstruction of the accident without acknowledging the testimony of a witness who was at the scene.

Jodi Mousseau was not at the trial. She did not hear all the testimony. Yet she questions Justice Doug Abra's decision.

This terrible accident took the life of a young woman. Yet it was an accident. Let's all slow down in construction zones and watch for all workers.

DAVE TYSON

Winnipeg

Hire some students

Your July 3 story Get a park pass and avoid folk fest lineups is in line with my own experience last weekend in the Whiteshell. There was no staff at the gates to sell passes, ergo many people in the park with no passes.

By my informal count, approximately 40 per cent of the cars at Falcon Lake golf course on June 29 had no park pass, about the same percentage at the Falcon Lake beach parking area on July 1.

I thought the Selinger government needed revenue. If so, put a summer student on the park gates so that everyone has to pay to use our lovely parks. I'm sure that a student being paid $11-12 an hour would easily generate much more revenue for the province than that.

BOB SALES

Winnipeg

NDP attitude 'cavalier'

I am in full agreement with the July 3 column by Deveryn Ross, Immunity for NDP, enforcement for others, concerning the proposed increase in the PST. It emphasizes the Selinger government's cavalier attitude towards the rule of law.

Ross is quite right in contending the NDP government is telling the citizens to "do as we say but not as we do." Greg Selinger refuses to accept that as a premier whose obligation is to defend the rule of law, he has betrayed the people by ignoring the legal requirement for a referendum before an increase in PST.

He contends that questions of the legality of the PST increase is overblown. This is far from being the case as any government that is prepared to ignore the rule of law cannot be trusted to act in the interest of the people.

DON PALMER

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2013 A14

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