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Hearts relive the pain

In response to Don Marks's July 24 column, Canada's history of denial, we need to include Inuit as members of those groups who suffered mistreatment while forced to attend residential schools.

I am familiar with the legacy of dysfunction and abuse common in many northern communities. This cannot, however, be attributed only to residential schools. Not to be forgotten are the effects of forced relocations and subsequent abandonment to barren, unfamiliar and hostile areas of Canada's North.

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Nor can periods of famine, suppression and then eradication of shamanism beginning in the 1940s, economic collapse of the fox-fur trade in the '50s resulting in extreme and widespread hardship. These events continue to live in the hearts and minds of family members.

In the 21st century, the federal government continues to trivialize the needs of northern aboriginal people by failing to implement settled land-claim agreements, dictating harvest quotas based on questionable data, failing to consult on the management of northern resources and so on.

I'm not convinced continuing to express remorse and horror for past wrongs will be effective in making things better. Rather, I find Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column on the same page, Race fatigue can be constructive, to be instructive.

As Pitts points out, decent people need to be held to a higher standard. Perhaps the change Marks wants to see can start with us making the effort to treat everyone we encounter with respect. A small thing maybe, though from what I've seen and heard in Winnipeg, it could be a big thing.

HELEN FAST

Winnipeg

 

Sign of the times

MP Joy Smith's endorsement of British plans to require Internet service providers to adopt an opt-in system to access online pornography, supposedly to protect children, seems to me to be a sign of the times (MP backs porn blocker, July 24).

Society has a problem -- pass a new law. But to my mind, parents are the ones responsible for keeping children from accessing the seamy side of the Internet, not the nanny state.

Beyond superfluous laws, the government's secretiveness is of grave concern. Witness Prime Minister Stephen Harper's clandestine push to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership adopted, which would radically alter everyday use of the Internet.

MICHAEL DOWLING

Winnipeg

 

A barrier for Headingley

In the July 24 story Tragedy renews safety concerns, there are a number of important comments made pertaining to the seven-kilometre stretch of road west of the Perimeter Highway through Headingley.

Our provincial government should look into placing a barrier wall or boulevard as a divider between lanes on that stretch of highway, which has become the death alley for motorists.

Headingley and the surrounding area are growing. How long will it take the NDP to rectify this problem and invest money so Manitobans can drive a stretch of highway with ease, knowing that they will be safe merging onto the Trans-Canada Highway.

Must we wait for future collisions that will take another life to make that change?

PETER MANASTYRSKY

Winnipeg

 

Diet and exercise helpful

I was pleased to see the July 23 article Preventing dementia is in your hands and would like to add that exercise and a healthy diet are equally effective in preventing and managing many other chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease and arthritis, to name a few.

Every day at the Reh-Fit Centre, we see people who are able to reduce their reliance on prescription medication, eliminate or delay the need for surgery and live a better quality of life thanks to the power of a more active lifestyle. Exercise truly is one of the best proven forms of medicine.

SUE BORESKIE

Reh-Fit Centre

Winnipeg

 

Bearers of bad decisions

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 23 years of futility (Game-day grumblings, Letters July 26), needless to say, will end up like every other bad decision in this province -- be it $33 billion worth of hydro development (including Bipole III), condo subsidies, a $200-million stadium for this football team and other blunders too numerous to mention -- ultimately on the backs of already overburdened taxpayers.

BRYAN OKURLEY

Winnipeg

 

Kudos for courage

I would like to express my respect and admiration to Ron Bilton (Officer reveals sexual-abuse trauma, July 25) for his courage to speak about the sexual abuse he experienced as a 10-year-old boy.

Kudos also for his courage to write a book about how he has moved from the trauma of that abuse to inspiring others who have similar lived experiences.

Men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse have great difficulty talking about their abuse, asking for help and walking the healing journey.

Bilton is a beacon of hope and light for other men. Those of us with similar experiences applaud his courage. I look forward to reading his book.

KEN REDDIG

Pinawa

 

The purpose of roads

Re: Cyclists have right to road (Letters, July 22): Roads are made for and meant for motorized vehicles, not bikes, which have no ability to travel at or reasonably below the posted limit.

Just imagine a city with roads clogged with bikes in every lane all going 10 kilometres per hour. Michael Zajac would sing a different song if he could not get his favourite omelette at breakfast because the restaurant's egg delivery was delayed, or being told the hardware-store flyer item was again not available due to transportation problems.

ROBERT TOLLEFSON

Winnipeg

 

Of course bicycles have the right to use the road. I'm waiting for the day that they choose which they want to be, pedestrian or vehicle.

How can I respect the rights of the cyclist who uses the controlled crosswalks rather than the stop sign next to it? Why should I treat them as a vehicle with rights to the road when they clearly feel that when it suits them best, they can take advantage of pedestrian options?

I'll respect their rights when they decide which rights they want.

PAUL SKIRZYK

Ste. Anne

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2013 A8

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