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Nuclear still an option

Recent articles and letters in the Free Press argue the pros and cons of electrical generation from hydro and natural gas. Yet Ontario's experience during the past hot summer shows nuclear might need to be reconsidered, since it provided 56 per cent of the province's electricity, while hydro and fossil fuels were responsible for 43 per cent, and wind, despite millions in subsidies, could come through with only one per cent.

Regardless of its reputation, nuclear is actually quite safe, since it gives off no carbon emissions. The accidents at Three Mile Island and Fukushima killed no one, and Chornobyl, according to UN statistics, has claimed only 56 lives, mainly because that plant was poorly designed from the outset and maintained just as badly.

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The 40-year-old Fukushima complex actually withstood the shock of the earthquake; it was the resulting tsunami that caused the backup systems to fail and was responsible for the huge death toll.

In fact, Japan is now considering reactivating its 50 nuclear-generation stations to alleviate its energy shortfall, because imported fossil fuels are too expensive and emit too much carbon, while wind and solar are again proving too unreliable.

Add a 30 per cent increase in consumer electricity costs, and nuclear, which has served the country well, has become attractive again.




Meaningful marriages

My heart goes out to Rich North and Chris Vogel as they continue their attempts to have their 1974 marriage recognized by the Province of Manitoba. The letter from Mr. Rondeau states the logical reasons why such recognition cannot be given, but as is often the case in law, he misses the heart of the matter. Bravo to Rich and Chris for their unceasing efforts to right this wrong. My husband and I have been married just a bit longer than have Rich and Chris. I don't believe that our marriage, even though it conforms to the laws of the land, is any more meaningful than is theirs.

Brenda Wedlake



Thank you for publishing the open letter Richard North sent to Jim Rondeau, minister of healthy living, seniors and consumer affairs, regarding provincial recognition of his marriage to Chris Vogel in 1974. The wedding was historic at the time; however Rev. Norman Naylor did not hesitate to officiate, affirming the values of Unitarian Universalism. The entitlement of every person to be and to love whomever we will -- gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, or questioning -- is a basic human right. Especially since it has been confirmed by law, recognizing the union of Richard North and Chris Vogel should not be a controversial matter. I hope Mr. Rondeau will come to the same conclusion.

Rev. Millie Rochester



Myopic argument

Re: Unfettered markets work (Letters, Sept. 16) Obviously Chris Buors was vacationing in Ayn Rand-land in 2008 when the unfettered U.S. banking system imploded the economy. His argument that the free market solves all problems is myopic and ludicrous.

Don't get me wrong. As a consumer I want a free market where competition should provide lower prices. The problem is, there isn't any.

In Winnipeg, a motorist has the freedom to purchase gasoline at any gas bar and pay $1.27 per litre. A consumer can choose to use any credit card and pay 20 per cent interest. A cellphone user can contract any wireless provider they feel comfortable with and pay the same exorbitant fee.

I confess that I am a member of a socialist gasoline supplier, and the comrades sent me a dividend cheque for $223 last year. It pleases me to believe that Buors is probably not a member.




If private health care is so great, why is the U.S.'s infant-mortality rate higher than that of 35 countries, including Canada, Cuba, South Korea and Taiwan?




Covering Day-timers' cost

As a past president of the University of Manitoba Students' Union in 2008-09, I would like to clarify some misinformation in the Sept. 14 article U of M students union, national body at odds. The Day-timer contracts mentioned in the article have always had a deadline of March each year.

This is to allow enough time to co-ordinate all of the content, including various write-ups, informational sections and ad space that is sold starting as early as November the previous year.

Al Turnbull is incorrect when he says that this year was any different and that UMSU could have saved $18,000. In previous years, and I am sure this year, UMSU sells ad space and other sections (such as what is provided by the Canadian Federation of Students) to cover the entire cost of printing the Day-timer.

It's unfortunate that there seems to be misunderstanding about this contract and that the current UMSU executive is misrepresenting it publicly.




A homecoming present

Re: It doesn't add up (Letters, Sept. 17). Wow. I come home from a few days at the lake and find I have been vilified by teachers (I assume) Moira Honey, Christine Krucko and Bob Donnelly.

I would like to apologize for suggesting that teachers get 16 weeks vacation each year. I must have been including in-service days, since my recalculation shows they only get 12 or 13 weeks. Oh well. It's nice to know that an old gaffer like me has something in common with today's students -- poor math skills.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 A16

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