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The right to live at home

My wife and I are two of those "community-based wolves" that Glen Beck refers to in his Oct. 16 column, One-size-fits-all view of MDC absurd.

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As advocates for people living with disabilities, we disagree with Beck's point of view that it's absurd to say all residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre belong in the community. We believe all people with disabilities, regardless of its type or severity, can live in the community when they receive all of the necessary supports and services.

Persons with disabilities are Canadian citizens and have every right to live in the community. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Canada signed and ratified, gives us the right to live in the community.

Beck refers to the expertise of professionals. It wasn't long ago experts were telling us homosexuality was a mental illness. For more than 100 years, First Nations people were excluded from Canadian society. History teaches us the disabled weren't the only group institutionalized simply because we were born different.

As a teenager, I was in and out of various institutions. I have also spent the last 23 years working and volunteering in the disability field. I have witnessed first-hand many of the abuses that take place behind institution walls.

Why then do some people, like Beck's brother, call MDC home? The reasons vary. Some have simply never been exposed to life outside the institution. My wife and I live with physical and intellectual disabilities. We are fiercely independent. We also value our right and freedoms as Canadian citizens.



Up for the occasion

My son-in-law from Osaka, Japan, recently favoured us with a visit. He is a medical doctor, well-travelled and urbane. He was very favourably impressed with Winnipeg.

He was charmed by The Forks Market, admiring of the Esplanade Riel and delighted by the variety and quality of our ethnic restaurants.

But the thing that impressed him the most was the hardiness of the man who exposed himself on the Gateway Trail in 4 C weather. It is nice to know our perverts neither shirk nor shrink from their duties.



Erasing a history

In his Oct. 11 letter, Jewish sites desecrated, Rabbi Lawrence Pinsker condescendingly suggests that Erin Thompson "improve her education so she doesn't unwittingly contribute to efforts to erase Jewish history from the ancient Near East."

I won't suggest Pinsker improve his education, because I'm sure he is aware of continuing efforts to erase another people's history from the Near East. And I'm willing to wager that he is a willing contributor to these efforts, facilitated by the Jewish National Fund. I'm referring to the 86 Palestinian villages that lie buried underneath JNF parks.

One such park is Canada Park. It was established in the West Bank, outside of Israel's internationally recognized borders, in what is now known as the Occupied Territories. It was built over the ruins of three Palestinian villages.

More than 5,000 Palestinian villagers were forcibly expelled and their villages bulldozed by the Israeli army when the area inside the West Bank was captured from Jordan in 1967. Canada Park was created and paid for with millions of dollars in charitable, tax-deductible donations from Canadian Jews. In effect, Canadian taxpayers' money has been used -- in contravention of international law -- to annex an area of the occupied West Bank to Israel.

It is sad that ancient architectural edifices are damaged or destroyed by acts of war, as in Syria and Afghanistan. But Israel is erasing the Palestinian history from the land even while the villagers and their descendents live as refugees.




Re: Rome refuses to bury ex-Nazi (Oct. 15). As the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a close friend of Adolf Hitler, I think Nazi SS captain Erich Priebke should be buried in Gaza, the home of oppressed Palestinians who venerate anti-Semitism and who glorify brutal Jew killers such as Priebke.



Clarifying red tape

Regarding your Sept. 24 story Tour strangled by federal fees for performers, I would like to clarify a point made relating to artist immigration.

While the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is not a new requirement for entertainers entering Canada, the $275 fee as of July 2013 is. This new fee is paid by the engager to the federal Human Resources Department.

The $150 work permit fee is not paid by the engager but by the musician to the Canadian Border Service Agency.


Winnipeg Musicians' Association

An ingrained habit

I work at a personal care home and we receive the Winnipeg Free Press. Every morning we have coffee and cookies and read (or listen) to the paper.

This simple habit is ingrained in most of us and the residents enjoy it. Thank you for continuing to deliver.



Worst skating in Canada

I recently checked out the new skate park on Henderson Highway, and with as much respect as I have for the city funding these amenities, this skate park is the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen.

Nothing is right about it. I don't even know where to begin. I get the location and the idea, but this might be the worst skate park in Canada.

I'm sure everyone at J.D. Penner worked really hard on this project, and the actual park looks great, but the skating area itself had no thought put into it, whatsoever.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 21, 2013 A14

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