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Discourage teen pregnancy

Your July 15 editorial Too many 'poor' babies, too little aid makes for dismal reading. I strongly support Manitoba's healthy baby program but I'm wondering if there isn't an element here of closing the barn door after the horse has long since bolted.

Where are the programs designed to discourage young, poor, uneducated and un-partnered women from getting pregnant? Have we simply given up? What can we do?

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Is it a matter of redrawing sex education curricula to be aggressively focused on the technical aspects of pregnancy prevention? Are we reaching teens at an early enough age with this information?

Are family-life and health classes clearly emphasizing what hard work it is to raise children even in a stable, well-financed household? Do these courses stress how mind numbingly boring and tiring it can be to care for babies and toddlers, how tied down you are, how much frustration and worry even a reasonably well-adjusted adolescent can cause, and how all is compounded if you have to endure parenthood without a dependable partner?

Do civics or social studies classes include material not only emphasizing our rights and what our country owes us but what our responsibilities are -- like making reasonable life choices that are healthy and future oriented and that don't drain the resources of the state?

And what about providing some financial incentives not to have children too early? As a society we rightfully think it's important to support poor moms and kids, but wouldn't it make just as much sense to pay deserving but at-risk girls to stay in school, go on to university or community college and not get pregnant? Would it even be politically possible to set up this kind of program?

I fear, however, that the above just scratches the surface and that the problem is more complex than a few new programs can fix. I've read several times that often teens get pregnant deliberately in order to have someone to love and to provide stability in their lives. How unutterably sad. I have no idea how to fix such dysfunctional families.

Does anyone?




Focus on potential threat

Re: Women make historic gains in cabinet shuffle (July 16). I am very concerned that a former police spokeswoman will be in charge of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, whose reportage often reveals police misconduct.

Considering the track records of Conservative cabinet ministers (Bev Oda as minister of international co-operation, Lisa Raitt as minister of labour, Peter Kent as minister of environment), I hope that the media will focus on the potential threat to investigative journalism by Shelly Glover's appointment.




Different monkeys. Same organ grinder. Don't expect a new tune.




Option for the oath

Re: Chrétien nearly nixed oath to Queen (July 13). I joined the Armed Forces in the '60s at a time when Canadian nationalism was being well tested.

The officer giving the oath explained that we were promising to serve our country faithfully and that we could say "Canada" instead of "the Queen."

I would guess that approximately 50 per cent of those taking the oath with me said Canada.

Some years later I was the officer administering the oath. I provided the same guidance as I had received years earlier.

It felt good making the oath to Canada.




Problem is Mexico's

Re: Immigration reform looks like last gasp for GOP (July 9). America will never solve its Mexican immigration problem because the root of the problem is in Mexico. The problem, again, is wealth disparity.

Where much of America's wealth is controlled by one per cent of its population, most of Mexico's wealth is controlled by a dozen wealthy families.

Minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour, Argentina's is $4 US, Brazil's is $2, and Mexico's is $5.10 -- a day. Even China's is much more at $1.03 per hour.

If Mexicans were paid a fair wage, to create a thriving middle class and self-generate a strong economy, Mexicans would stop entering the U.S. to work and would stop risking their lives in the drug trade.

So, if Mexican and U.S. politicians had any intelligence, they could solve their shared problem in a heartbeat, and each save billions in tax dollars. The U.S. would not need the costly fence and border security, and Mexico could dramatically reduce the cost of its war on drugs. This may even leave jobs open for Americans.

But I did say if.




Attack of consultantitis

Some years ago a virus attacked city hall and infected some politicians. This virus is called consultantitis. The primary symptom of this malady is an uncontrollable desire to hire consultants.

In the years since, millions upon millions of scarce tax dollars have been spent on consultant services. It is very encouraging to hear that recently councillors are attempting to cure this infection and have decided not to spend $400,000 on a pedestrian bike path study that was to have been carried out by a consultant.

There is no doubt that planning for the future is necessary, and there are times when consultants with a specific expertise may be required. It is also true that, at this time, as stated by the mayor and some councillors, the $400,000 would be better spent on actually building paths.

Meanwhile, there is nothing stopping the mayor and area councillors, along with the administration, to engage citizens in public consultation meetings and continue the planning process.




God's healing touch

I'm sure the feelings expressed by April Phillips in her July 16 letter, Wishing Reynolds well, expresses the feelings of hundreds or even thousands of us all toward Lindor Reynolds.

We pray that she will benefit from the healing touch and power of God and that her health will be restored in the days ahead. Unto God's gracious mercy and protection we commit you.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 17, 2013 A8

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