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Experts agree on ban

In your Sept. 18 editorial Pesticide ban skews evidence (Sept 18), you say when considering a pesticide ban the "best experts" should not be ignored.

Indeed. The best experts -- organizations such as the Manitoba College of Family Physicians, Canadian Cancer Society, Manitoba Lung Association, and the Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba -- all support a lawn pesticide ban.

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GIDEON FORMAN

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

Toronto

 

The current debate to ban all pesticides is simply nonsensical and highlights the limits of the scientific literacy of our august and learned provincial government.

Most likely recall the debate over pitbulls, a purportedly dangerous breed that some argued should be banned in the interests of public safety. Had the same logic been applied to the current proposition to ban the use of all cosmetic pesticides, we would have been considering the ban of all dog breeds, including our neighbour's poodle.

CALVIN SONNTAG

Winnipeg

 

Population grows downtown

In the Sept. 14 article All this fuss for 700 people?, the Free Press significantly relies on Statistics Canada to paint a picture of the downtown. Those data aren't current.

The article indicates downtown has only grown by 700 residents since 2006. The stats and article fail to include more than 1,000 units of housing that have been completed since 2011 and another 1,000 plus units either proposed or under construction.

In 2001, the downtown residential population was estimated to be just below 13,000. By 2014-15, it could approach 17,000.

STEFANO GRANDE

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ

 

Favouring the top dogs

Former Conservative senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin have chosen to blame others for their deceit and embezzlement of taxpayer dollars (Wallin writes huge cheques, Sept. 14), pretending that filing an expense account is rocket science and cumbersome. But ask any sales representative how truly simple it is.

Over the past few months the Free Press has reported on one woman who embezzled funds from a local arts group and received either several months in jail, while another woman who embezzled funds from the newspaper association received one year.

Why do the peons and peasants usually go to jail, while the likes of Duffy, Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb seem to get off easy?

DON HALLIGAN

Winnipeg

 

Rooming houses have place

Institute of Urban Studies director Jino Distasio wants stricter controls on Canada's rooming houses that would result in many of them being shut down (Time to tackle the rooming-house paradox, July 17)

Closing rooming houses would increase the number of homeless people, but Distasio sees them already as "hidden homeless." He hopes the closures would force governments to take the issue seriously. Billions of dollars are being already spent annually to help Canada's homeless. Putting more people on the streets is not the way to help.

I lived in a rooming house in the early 1960s. I had just turned 17, left school, left home and started a job. It was clean, safe and affordable. My room and board was less than half of my minimum wage salary.

My fellow roomers and I ate breakfast and suppers together, celebrated birthdays and special occasions and had enormous sandwiches bagged for our work lunches. When I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, they held a going-away celebration for me. I was not homeless; I was more at home than I could remember being for a long, long time.

If rooming houses are closed, where do the roomers go? There is no room in homeless shelters. Who pays for new housing for those who just need a cheap place to live?

A recently approved singles housing in Edmonton will cost taxpayers an incredible $600,000 per person over a 10-year period and is a cash cow for the so-called non-profit agencies who profit from the project.

With alternate private-sector affordable singles' housing shut down by social-industry-encouraged authorities, low-income Canadians have to turn to the state.

PETER GOLDRING

Member of Parliament

Edmonton East

 

Tolerating a symbol

Our son Rob has been a resident of Montreal for a couple of decades. He remains a deeply devout Winnipeg Jets fan. I told him I admired his courage when he wore his Jets jersey to a Jets-Habs game in the Bell Centre last winter.

Academics have argued that the real religion of la belle province is devotion to Les Habs, so my question for Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is this: if the Quebec charter becomes law, will Rob's Jets jersey, symbol of his devotion, be tolerated in the holy shrine of Canadiens' hockey?

Or should I be prepared to contribute to my son's legal defence fund (or bail)?

VIRGINIA PLATT

Winnipeg

 

Competition has downside

In his Sept. 12 column, Alberta's privatized booze stores dispel myths, Mark Milke trumpets competition, convenience and job creation but ignores any down side.

Competition and convenience mean you get inundated with flyers, signage and billboards promoting the myriad of liquor stores located every few blocks. It means you have to shop around for the good deals or else you might step into the wrong store and get gouged for picking up the wrong product, as I did when I paid $48 for a flat of beer that cost $42 in Manitoba.

Most important, he takes a shot at government employees who want to maintain the status quo. I take this to mean he prefers we eliminate jobs with decent wages and create another sector of underpaid service workers with no benefits. Why don't we start questioning the ridiculous salaries and perks of people in the upper income levels rather than keep pounding the little guy?

RON NORDAL

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 19, 2013 A14

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