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Kids have right to safety

Re: Anti-bullying bill praised, ripped (Sept. 4). All kids have the right to a non-hostile school atmosphere. I don't care what kind of school it is or if that school's educators are concerned that they will need to start accommodating anti-bullying clubs such as a gay-straight alliance.

We live in an age of equal rights, and I find it deplorable that some of these people are still so intolerant. Brendan Hiebert's claim that forcing Christian schools to adopt supportive programs for LGBT kids is "bullying Christians" is absurd.

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You should feel free to practise your religion, so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people do not feel that is the case.




As a teacher for 20 years, I have been watching with interest the debate in Manitoba around the new anti-bullying legislation. Here in Nova Scotia we have had no such consultations, but our NDP government recently passed what it is calling the Cyber Safety Act.

The act has some merit to it. It includes the creation of a "cyberscan" unit, a group of investigators who will look into allegations of bullying. It also has a wide list of punishments for those found guilty of cyberbullying, including forbidding the perpetrator from using digital communication devices, fines and jail time.

However, there only five investigators for the entire province. As well, there is no mention of repercussions for those who make false accusations. Furthermore, the bully can be sued in civil court for damages, and if the bully is a minor, the parents are on the hook.

Finally, the legislation is worded in such a way that school principals have a major burden to investigate every single report of bullying. This could leave many with no time for anything else, even if the incident happens off school property and after school hours.

Some may applaud these ideas, but one has to be naive to not see the danger in some of this. With no repercussions for false accusations, no limit on who can call in the cyberscan unit and the possibility of civil litigation, the pitfalls of this legislation are, quite simply, immense.

I hope that the consultation process in Manitoba, regardless how painful, will bring about better results.




Kane is able to pay

Re: Court takes Kane's pay for fines (Sept. 5). How embarrassing. Does Evander Kane think he's above the law of average people? Maybe he doesn't make enough salary.

But for the Free Press to suggest this might just be the actions of an average 22-year-old is an insult to every responsible 22-year-old out there. Even 16-year-olds.




The Jets should get Keane to raise Kane if they're able.




World has moral duty

Re: West's credibility in tatters (Letters, Sept. 4). The brutal conflict in Syria has killed over 100,000 people and it is estimated that the number of Syrians who have fled the country has surpassed two million.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has supported violent extremism whenever he found it useful. Relentless bombardment and continuous mass killing continue to this day across the country. The world has a moral duty to help the tens of thousands of Syrian victims of the long-running conflict, along with the complete destruction and elimination of chemical weapons.




In 2003, I supported the attempt by the United States to democratize Iraq by "shock and awe." I was wrong.

I did not fully understand how evil Islamic fundamentalism is, nor did I understand the deep enmity between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Not that I fully understand the situation now, but I have learned enough to realize that of all the possible scenarios concerning Syria, not one will result in a democratic and civilized government that will protect the rights and lives of its most vulnerable citizens.

The U.S. should not bomb Syria. It will do more harm than good.


Ste. Anne


Without a doubt, Bashar Assad is among the most brutal of the world's dictators. There is also little doubt that the United Nations inspection team will show that nerve gas was used to kill more than 100 innocent civilians in Syria.

The UN team has not issued its report yet, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's arguments "demonstrating" that the nerve gas must have come from the Assad regime comes from an unreliable source. Given the U.S. record of lying through its teeth in the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, for example, I think that the Canadian government should wait for the UN inspectors' report before endorsing any military action against Syria.

Even then I have not heard any opinion to indicate what could or should be done after the U.S. has lobbed a few Tomahawk or cruise missiles into Syria, killing a few innocent civilians and leaving Assad unharmed.




Sustaining a living

Marilyn Braun-Pollon of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is quoted in your Aug. 22 story Unionized workers better-paid: report.

She claims that this is "unsustainable spending," particularly in the public sector. The CFIB consistently opposes even the most modest increases to the minimum wage, and opposes every increase in employer contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan.

The CFIB refuses to acknowledge that family-supporting wages allow people to pay their mortgages, to send their children to the dentist and help in financing their college and university educations.

Apparently, the CFIB believes those necessities are unsustainable as well. People earning a decent wage spend most of that locally and that is good for small businesses, the group that CFIB purports to represent.


Canadian Labour Congress


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2013 A12

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