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Importance underplayed

Your Aug. 31 story Sioux Valley celebrates self-government agreement (Aug. 31) reports on the most significant agreement in recent aboriginal history in Manitoba. It is surprising the story was buried in the middle of the first section. This story warranted a major headline on the front page.

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As was reported, this agreement could be just the beginning for several First Nations in Western Canada that have requested self-government. Let's hope this is so, and that greybeards such as myself will finally see the day when First Nations people find the solutions that will enable them to realize their true potential.



Unfair treatment

The Brian Sinclair inquiry clearly shows the entire world how First Nations people are treated in our homeland of Canada. Sinclair was stereotyped because he was aboriginal and because he had a disability.

I wonder if the staff who were working that night can sleep at night. Myself, I sleep very well, even though I know how poorly native people are treated in this country.

I wonder if the staff were traumatized by the death of this humble man. I did not know Sinclair, but every time the news comes on regarding this man it is so sad and I know it must be very difficult for the family.



Sloughing off responsibility

Gordon Sinclair Jr. likely doesn't understand the observation he makes in his Aug. 31 column, Many Homeless Joes out there, is the result of everybody sloughing off personal responsibility to the state. This happened in both the case of Harry Brown and Brian Sinclair. Does he think a private health-care system would let the customers sit around and die of neglect when there is money to be made?

Mix in the intervention of rent control and combine the rules and regulations that put many landlords out of business and you get what we have to take care of the sick, the elderly and the downtrodden in general. Bad as things were before the government got involved, things are worse now that the state relieves the people of the responsibility to care for others.

Strangely enough, Sinclair finds there is love on the streets. Where the love seems to be missing is in the cold hearts of the bureaucrats who are supposed to be looking out for the Joes, Brians and others who need help. Charity belongs to the realm of the church and not the state. This is the lesson everyone needs to take home from Sinclair's observations.



Attacking with impunity

Re: Israel plays no part (Letters, Sept. 3). Israel has taken action against Syria four times this year. In the latest strike, Israeli fighter jets tried to destroy Syrian air defences in Latakia. They failed to destroy all surface-to-sea missiles.

Previous Israeli attacks (without declaration of war) include a strike on a convoy allegedly ferrying SA-17 air defence missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in January, and two strikes in May in the Damascus area, targeting storage facilities that housed Iranian Fateh-110 missiles.

Israel has to thank its close ally the U.S., and its nuclear-weapons arsenal for being able to attack neighbours with impunity. And let's not forget that Syria is still waiting for the return of the Golan Heights. Assad kept things pretty quiet for Israel but gets no thanks in return.


Chesterville, Ont.

Beware yellow grass

Your Aug. 26 story Fido's footprint clearly outlines why all dogs should be barred from all provincial and municipal parks. Most dog owners are definitely not concerned about the environment.

One does not want to roll in the grass in a provincial park and there is definitely no safe place to pitch your tent between the yellow stains in your campsite.

I do not know of any dog owners who flush their dog waste in a toilet to send it to a water-treatment plant. Apparently this is concept that dog owners do not comprehend.



Approval data incomplete

Re: Regulated pesticides safe, effective (Sept. 5). I am a retired senior federal public servant familiar with the pesticide-approval process in Ottawa. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada has no labs of its own and approves pesticides on the basis of incomplete data submitted by the chemical industry.

It is common knowledge that the PMRA is very weak in epidemiology, which means that its research and evaluations may not be fully applicable to humans.

I very much doubt that the PMRA evaluates all pesticides, since some information is being withheld from this agency. The recent evaluation of herbicide 2,4-D could hardly be considered extensive.

We would like to know how is the "acceptable" risk being distinguished from "unacceptable" risk? We may also ask: "acceptable or unacceptable" to whom? Obviously, sound science is an important concept, but it can be manipulated to protect vested interests.




When did the Free Press start accepting advertisements on the editorial page? This pseudo-editorial, submitted by 12 pesticide companies and their umbrella association, should have been clearly identified as an advertisement rather than being allowed to masquerade as analysis.



Amazing convergence

The large cellphone companies and their unions are on the same side. Therefore, Verizon's entry into the Canadian market would have been good news for the lowly cellular consumer.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 9, 2013 A10

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