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Questionably generic

Re: Thankful for a chance to help (Oct. 15). Every effort to increase the viability and profile of Winnipeg's Siloam Mission translates into the very real welfare of this city's less-advantaged residents. The many donors and volunteers who give so generously of their time and resources all graciously respond as one when asked why they've chosen to help.

That is sufficient reason to applaud former Baywatch star Donna D'Errico's contribution to this year's successful and much-appreciated Thanksgiving Day feast. It is caring people like her who understand the plight of the underprivileged and make themselves available for the benefit of others.

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In a small way, let's return the favour by recognizing D'Errico as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does. She is proudly an "actress," not the trendy, politically correct but questionably generic "actor."

Television viewers certainly didn't see a man sporting that red swimsuit, which is now up for Siloam's online auction.




Committed to inclusion

I would like to correct some of the assumptions and speculation from a recent Canadian Press article you referenced in your Oct. 15 editorial Less is more for 150th bash.

Canada's 150th birthday will be a tremendous opportunity for Canadians to celebrate our past, present and future. In the lead-up to 2017, the government will also commemorate a number of events that have helped shape our country, building momentum and giving Canadians an opportunity to remember and take pride in our history.

Our government is committed to ensuring that a broad, national perspective is brought to these celebrations. Canada's 150th birthday and the Road to 2017 belong to all of us as Canadians, and our government looks forward to celebrating them inclusively.

Our decisions on the nature and scope of commemorations leading up to our 150th birthday will come as a result of consultation with Canadians from all walks of life, so they reflect our shared experiences, values, patriotism and pride.


Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages



A vigorous campaign

With respect to the upcoming byelection in Provencher and Brandon Souris, Dan Lett's Oct. 10 column, Liberals don't need to win byelections to rattle Tories, was close to spot on.

I would have to take exception, however, to his assertion that I barely campaigned in that election. There were four all-party debates, two in Brandon, one in Boissevain and one in Deloraine. Hundreds of doors were knocked on in every sizable community and Brandon in particular.

Countless pamphlets and buttons were handed out and so many signs were put up in the riding that concerns were raised about driving safety. I therefore write this letter to decry the slur levelled at the volunteers who assisted in our efforts for success.

We weren't numerous but we worked hard and were effective. In addition, no arm twisting was necessary as the nomination was held in May and the election in October.




Welcome to the class

In response to Cal Paul's Oct. 11 letter, Student indoctrination, suggesting that I indoctrinate learners, I would welcome him into my classroom any day. I teach learners to analyze ideas and arguments by using evidence, not poor assumptions based on hunches.

I also emphasize that documents like the Royal Proclamation are not ancient history when they are still part of our political and social framework.

If I am guilty of indoctrination, it is with such ideas as empathy, community, justice and integrity. My students challenge me every day and often set me straight. This is what learning communities are about. I look forward to his visit.




I am dumbfounded and disappointed that the Winnipeg Free Press chose to print Cal Paul's Oct. 11 letter, which amounts to nothing more than uneducated vitriol.

Does your staff not have enough common sense to separate what amounts to hate literature from intelligently expressed opinion intended to stimulate thought, debate and discussion?




In 1763, the Atlantic slave trade was near its peak and Great Britain, ruled by King George III, was an eager participant. Only males who owned substantial property had the vote. The last beheading at the Tower of London had taken place only a few years before.

In the last 250 years, countless proclamations have been made and repudiated, treaties made and broken, laws made and repealed. Entire new nations have arisen and old ones perished.

When will we stop looking backward for solutions to today's problems? Current reality is what we must deal with and history, while at times instructive, will not change this reality. Why can we not accept the present for what it is, and with this as the starting point, look forward in order to create a better future?




No one to vote for

Thank you for such a thorough, well-researched and articulate analysis of the 2011 Manitoba election (Ballot box breakdown, Oct. 12). One sad conclusion is that those who believe in social democracy no longer have a party for which to vote.

As Nelson Wiseman of the University of Toronto put it, "The NDP did not highlight its social and economic justice agenda to reduce inequalities." Perhaps such an agenda no longer exists.

Perhaps it is time for social democrats to distinguish between brand loyalty and their values, and withhold their support from a party that no longer represents them.




Covering city expenses

With regard to the shortage of funds required to maintain the current level of snow clearing for the city, I have to say I am surprised.

I would have thought that with the number of $75 tickets handed out last winter in the East Kildonan area alone, the city would have had more than enough to cover this winter's expenses.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2013 A8

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