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Harbouring trepidations

Re: Canada's Magna Carta turns 250 (Sept. 26). In the neutrality characteristic of his station, Treaty Relations Commissioner James Wilson compares the Royal Proclamation of 1763 favourably to the Magna Carta.

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Wilson says we should look back at the past with new eyes, but in the list of speakers he provides, all are conspicuously partial toward validating aboriginal particularism on the basis of the 1763 document. Their legal footing is solid yet they are compelled to ameliorate the treaty relationship to other Canadians.

On a basic level, relating to Canada is not the same thing as being a part of Canada, and anyone could be excused for harbouring trepidations about nationalistic separatist movements that implicitly exclude them. Wilson's tack is to present the 1763 proclamation as moral rationalism: there would effectively be no Canada were it not for that act.

Conversely, would there have been the sordid legacy of residential schools, the Indian Act, the reserve system and all the other abuses of colonial prerogative?

Canada's trail of tears begins with the 1763 proclamation. Separated from common humanity, aboriginal people have since suffered a different fate and are now slated to experience nationalism. Seeing a monster with new eyes does not change the nature of the beast.

MICHAEL MELANSON

Winnipeg

Bible condones slavery

I am not sure how Marvin Dyck can come to the conclusion that the Bible in any way supports the concepts we think about in terms of human rights (Not always a hindrance, Letters, Oct. 1).

The central message of Christianity, the requirement to believe in Jesus and that he died for your sins in order to escape the torment of hell, violates what A.C. Grayling identified as the core of the development of human rights, freedom of conscience.

In addition, those who opposed slavery and used the Bible as their guidebook were surely engaging in some very selective reading of the text, as it clearly condones and lays out rules for owning slaves, which groups could be enslaved and how badly slave owners could beat their property.

Those Christians may have done the right thing to oppose slavery, but to give credit to their book is mistaken.

DIANA GOODS

Winnipeg

Scientists nix creationism

In his Oct. 2 letter, John M. Craig writes, "There are thousands of scientists worldwide who have rejected the whole concept of macro-evolution and believe in the literal six-day creation of the world 6,000 to 10,000 years ago." That's not an opinion. It is just blatantly false.

I defy Craig to present the names of 100 credible scientists who believe the creationist nonsense. There is ample, actual, scientific evidence that there are cultures older than 10,000 years, not to mention thousands of species of animals.

DAVE FERGUSON

Winnipeg

A way to help homeless

Re: Real street people open eyes of city's elite at CEO sleep-out (Sept. 28). What can Winnipeg's business community do to help the homeless? Instead of posing for photo-ops and talking to reporters about their philanthropy, business leaders could quietly pay their fair share of personal and corporate taxes.

This much-needed revenue would ensure our provincial government is better able to deliver social programs to the homeless and those on the margins. A housing strategy is an essential part of this.

The article mentions the CEOs raised $191,644 to "employ people who are homeless," but should the money not logically be used to house people who are homeless? Are we not missing a step here? Before one can get a job it is important that they have food and shelter.

Affordable, safe apartments are rare, and property owners have managed to get around Manitoba's rent controls by regularly converting apartments to condos, and, on West Broadway, rooming houses to apartments. It is these strategic actions by Winnipeg's property development and the business community which result in a whole new group of homeless, people who once had places to live.

CANDICE BODNARUK

Winnipeg

Same old refrain

Let's see now. Sen. Leo Housakos denies he's done anything wrong. Haven't we just heard the same refrain from Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb?

I wonder who will be next?

ANDY CHIASSON

Selkirk

Abortion is a messy business

University of Manitoba student Ashley James is upset at the "completely graphic and disgusting" images placed by the pro-life community on campus. She wants the display removed immediately as it "infringes on (her) ability to focus and learn" (Anger over anti-abortion pics, Sept. 24).

Yet there is no denying the truth of these disgusting images and she protests too much. Here revealed is the soft underbelly of the pro-choice movement, which seeks to trivialize the true impact of abortion on the "products of conception." No pictures, please.

As a society, we have chosen to decriminalize abortion and provide freedom of choice. Many of us support these policies. But this has been a hard road and we should never forget the price we have paid and the price ongoing for these freedoms.

In the end, abortion is a messy business and lives are lost. A spade is a spade, disgusting or not, and we need to be reminded about this from time to time.

CHRISTOPHER BOURQUE

Winnipeg

ñº

I am vexed that the University of Manitoba Students for a Culture of Life group has been allowed to bring the so-called Genocide Awareness Project to the U of M's Fort Garry campus. While undeniably attention-grabbing, comparing abortion to genocide is asinine because embryos and fetuses do not comprise a group, and Raphael Lemkin's aim in coining the term genocide was to describe the deliberate elimination of groups.

Furthermore, the graphic images GAP uses aim to shame women who have chosen to terminate a pregnancy, as if we don't have enough of that to deal with already.

As someone who has researched and written about GAP, I know what to expect from them. But as someone who has had an abortion, that doesn't stop me feeling victimized by the display and the not-so-subtle suggestion that I am a child butcher.

If these people are truly interested in fostering a culture of life, they could better invest their energies in ensuring each child is wanted and loved and has food, clothing, shelter and every opportunity to thrive.

It's easy to cry for an embryo or fetus, something that is really more theory than reality and, what's more, a private matter, when all around you children are hungry, neglected, abused and dying.

JESSICA WOOLFORD

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 5, 2013 A16

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