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Suche decision laudable

Re: Judge overrules law on gun crime (Sept. 25). Congratulations to Madame Justice Colleen Suche of Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench for seeing the mandatory minimum sentencing law for what it is: a cruelty upon our system of justice, an embarrassment to our country and an irrational and misguided approach to what are often difficult criminal cases.

Our judges are not dunces. Moreover, they are better placed to adjudicate issues before them than are politicians, who often play to the gallery in crafting criminal law.

I am sure Suche thought long and hard before deciding upon her ruling. And she got it right. Is Ottawa listening?




Thinking about choice

Re: Anger over anti-abortion pics (Sept 24): What was the University of Manitoba administration thinking? It is one thing to allow such a display in an enclosed space people can make the choice to visit. While I can't identify from the picture where on campus this display is, it is obviously in an outdoor space where people will come across it unexpectedly.

What effect will this have on those women and men who have been in a position to proceed with an abortion, a decision I don't think anyone takes lightly? What of those who are in the process of making this difficult decision?

To be faced with this grotesque display in a public space flies in the face of the student experience the university purports to provide.




Regardless of where you stand on the issue of abortion, both sides have the right to state their case. That's freedom of speech.

Ashley James has the right to offer her opinion that the display is offensive. But to say it should be taken down because it offends her is the antithesis of free speech.

To quote Salman Rushdie: "What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."




I commend Ashley James for appearing in the photo. It takes a lot of courage to speak up about this issue.

The "legitimate student group" exhibit is obviously well-funded. Will the U of M facilitate a display, by law and human rights students, to present Canada's laws regarding abortion?

It seems to me the "challenging balance" university spokesman John Danakas speaks of is missing in his centre of learning.




Parents are the key

Re: Division eyes full-day kindergarten, nursery (Sept. 24). It seems to me there would be less of a need for full-day kindergarten and nursery school if more parents would simply do their jobs.

Perhaps they could read a story with their child every night, or take them along to the grocery store for math lessons (multiples and taxes, anyone)?

If that's too complicated, there are, I'm sure, plenty of apps that teach basic life skills, so parents don't have to waste their precious time. Nothing says "love" like a computer program educating a child.

I went into kindergarten knowing my alphabet and numbers. I did the best I could in school every year -- and graduated with honours. That was because of involved parents, not full-day kindergarten.




Winnipeg School Division trustee Mark Wasyliw's proposal to implement full-day kindergarten and nursery school makes sense from both an educational and an economic perspective.

The educational benefits are self-evident: studies from Ontario unequivocally show improvements in physical health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognition, communication skills and general knowledge. But this proposal will also help improve our economy, both in the short and long terms.

First, there is a shortage of expensive daycare spots in our city. Wasyliw's proposal, if implemented, would relieve pressure on this sector of the economy and help parents who struggle to make ends meet. Second, it would create well-paying jobs, helping to fix an oversupply of accredited teachers and boosting demand for goods and services in our local economy.

Third, better-educated kids means more productive workers and leaders in tomorrow's economy.




Mark Wasyliw's suggestion of full-day schooling for children who have not yet mastered socializing and self-care skills like going to the bathroom is like building a house without laying a foundation.

As a licensed early childhood educator, I don't believe doubling the cost of kindergarten and nursery in the Winnipeg School Division is the best use of our tax dollars when it comes to providing a strong educational start to our children. If Wasyliw is so committed to exploring educational options that come out of Ontario, they should explore a program called Toronto First Duty.

This is a joint project that has brought together childcare, kindergarten and parental supports into one program. Winnipeg School Division is positioned to become a leader in early-years learning if it just utilizes current research and a little imagination.




A stormy forecast

Your Sept. 25 story Bad bolts shut down dam reports the "export prices for the Wuskwatim Dam's power output have averaged less than half Hydro's forecast, resulting in the prospect of the dam losing $100 million a year."

Is this the same forecasting model Manitoba Hydro is using to justify the need for Bipole III?

The estimated cost to build Wuskwatim was half of the actual cost. So if Bipole III is estimated at $3 billion, can Manitoba afford to be on the hook for the $6 billion this project could eventually cost?




NDP scores knockout

Your Sept. 14 story, Team Selinger took it on the chin, in reporting on the recent long legislative sitting, asks, "How did it go so wrong and how do they (the NDP) recover?"

Yet, only the day before, your own poll asked which party came out the winner. Out of nearly 6,000 responses, the NDP scored a knockout over the PCs, 45 to 24 per cent.

Is the Free Press, in its infatuation with the PCs, losing touch with the majority of its readers?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 26, 2013 A14


Updated on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM CDT: corrects typo

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