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Israel plays no part

Your Aug. 30 story Syrian community here split is accompanied by a photograph that carries the following caption: "A woman carries gas masks in Haifa, Israel. Israelis are preparing for a military intervention in Syria."

The report makes no mention of Israel, nor does the story Canada to stay on sidelines: PM, which appears beside it.

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Israel has played no part in the devastating civil war in Syria. Britain, France, and the US have all raised the possibility of intervention in the wake of the suspected use of chemical weaponry by Syria against its own citizens. Israel has not.

Both Syria and Iran have threatened to attack Israel in retaliation for any Western military action. That is why Israelis are preparing themselves.

Your cutline, together with your failure to report this serious threat against Israel, raises the possibility that some readers will interpret Israel as the aggressor. It also raises the possibility that is what you intended.




Whites suffer racism, too

I'm not sure why Monique Woroniak (Letters, Aug. 27) thinks that white people don't and can't experience racism. Maybe she lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane.

Yes, white people have experienced racism. My grandfather was from Ukraine and was white and was stuck in an internment camp near Brandon because of Canadian government racist policies. My mother, who is white and born here, was told to go back to where she came from by another white person who spoke with a British accent.

How many white people had to change the spelling of their last name to something more anglo-sounding just to gain employment? Woroniak should read The Great Depression by Pierre Berton and The Winter Years by James Gray. She will find more than enough examples of white racist attitudes toward other white people.




Governments drop ball

Re: Police praised for stand on mentally ill, (August 22). While I agree with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that the onus for mental-health care should fall on the government and health-care system, it is simply a fact that governments, both provincially and federally, are not taking the lead on this issue, leaving an ill-equipped justice system to deal with mental-health issues.

It was the Harper Conservative government that refused to allow an amendment to their omnibus crime bill that would allow judges to set aside mandatory minimum sentences when mental health was an issue.

Here in Manitoba, we finally have one mental-health crisis unit in Winnipeg and one mental-health court in Winnipeg, but still no Gladue court, a court that would be geared to deal specifically with First Nations who often, due to harm done them through the residential school system and colonialism, wind up in the justice system.


John Howard Society of Manitoba



Police have tools

Your Aug. 24 editorial Arrest police costs is long overdue. However, where is the real evidence for its opening statement that police have "tough, dangerous jobs, and they deserve to be paid more ..."

Does it take into consideration the myriad tools they're provided with, from guns and Tasers to modern surveillance equipment, even a helicopter? And, of course, all at taxpayer expense.

And what's the result? Look at crime stats in the Free Press and it becomes clear what a measly bang we get for the buck.

Furthermore, I'd bet that there are more deaths and injuries caused by police than by civilians in so-called dangerous situations.

I do agree strongly that "provincial governments need to consider legislation to change the rules of the game" that police associations play by and have been allowed to get away with for too long. Has Andrew Swan got the guts?




Cheating is everywhere

John Feldsted's claim that no cheating happens in Manitoba elections (Preaching to the converted, Aug. 24) reflects the influence of Conservative propaganda. In reality, dirty tricks by power-seeking political candidates happen everywhere, including in our province.

In the 2011 federal election, overspending by the campaigns of two local Conservatives was allegedly used for political advantage. In 2006, some Manitoba campaign officials kept secret the massive overspending-concealment scheme called the "in and out" fraud, for which four national Conservative party bigwigs eventually admitted guilt.

Also in the recent federal election, telephone messages targeted to Winnipeg seniors were used to spread misinformation about the Liberal platform. Although these calls from an unidentified political group (and out-of-province phone number) violated Elections Canada rules, they were not included as part of the Elections Canada "robo-call" investigation into voter misdirection on polling day.

At least three Winnipeg Conservative MPs allowed voter misdirection to happen in their ridings. Their election wins were ruled to be valid, but tainted by their denials of attempted interference with electors' rights.

Let's choose our representatives by their individual achievements, not by whose party spends more money on slander and propaganda.




Defending the Enfield

It is quite apparent that Chris Kennedy knows nothing about the Lee Enfield or the Canadian Rangers (Rifles out of date, Letters, Aug. 28).

The Lee Enfield depicted in the original photo has been modified down to a hunting rifle. With its bolt action and scope, it makes a fine hunting rifle. With ammunition and spare parts hard to find, it may be obsolete but it is not substandard.

Although Rangers are currently (I think) only in the North, they previously were also on the West Coast and in Newfoundland and Labrador. (I was a liaison officer for a time for the West Coast in the early 1970s).

Rangers are not necessarily aboriginal. And the reason Kennedy couldn't hit the bull is because he was in the Air Force.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 3, 2013 A12


Updated on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 10:49 AM CDT: adds links

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