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An inspiring teacher

I wish to commend Matt Henderson, a teacher at St. John's Ravenscourt, who won the Governor General's Award and you for publishing the story (Awards for work on aboriginal issues, Oct. 24).

I had the pleasure of working with Matt when he taught at an elementary school in St. James Assiniboia School Division. He is an excellent teacher who knows how kids learn. He was an inspiration to a group of Grade 5 learners with his innovative, challenging and motivating ideas to "turn kids on to learning."

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When kids enjoy learning and feel success, they are successful. Matt knows how to reach into learners' minds to spark their own thinking. Learning is about doing your own thinking and this is Matt's gift to education.

Margaret Ann Attenborrow



Insubstantial argument

Cal Paul seems to believe he won an argument because Len Flett didn't dispute his assumptions about tax dollars and the "huge amount of this money that is wasted by mismanagement by aboriginal chiefs and councils" (Letters, Oct. 22).

Perhaps he didn't bother disputing the latter because there is nothing to substantiate or quantify it. Legal agreements (treaties) are more important than the bank accounts of disgruntled taxpayers.

I suggest Paul take Matt Henderson up on his offer to visit his classroom and get a history lesson. The vast resources that made Canada wealthy are thanks to First Nations people who generously agreed to share their land and its resources with us. Paul's claim that tens of billions of dollars flow to First Nations annually is patently false.




Raising legal questions

Responding to Karen Loewen's Oct. 22 letter, Reprehensible decision, I would point out Justice Lori Douglas, deputy chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench (family division), was photographed in the nude, in bondage, by her husband Jack King, a lawyer whose specialty was family law and who practised in the Manitoba Court in which his wife presided.

Allowing herself to be photographed in this manner surely raises the question of what objectivity would Douglas have to the plea of a wife who objected to that kind of demand from her husband, where such conduct formed the basis of an application for divorce.

The present ongoing inquiry by the Canadian Judicial Council has raised many challenging questions, which many in the judicial and legal circles would like to have disappear:

-- Why was King allowed by the Manitoba Law Society to practise family law in Manitoba Family Court where his wife was a chief justice?

-- Why did the Manitoba Law Society and its members remain silent while knowing of King's offensive conduct?

-- What is the role of a chief justice such as Glenn Joyal respecting his colleagues?

-- Should Loewen, a law-school professor, hopefully charged with infusing a high ethical code in her students, be publicly arguing the Douglas inquiry was unnecessary?

The current attempts by application to the federal court to shut down this judicial inquiry are another black cloud in a growing storm of doubt and uncertainty about the standards for ethical conduct in our legal and judicial systems.




The positive picture

In your Oct. 21 story Tories tweak policies, hone attack plan, you report Brian Pallister, the leader of the PCs, stating the NDP is "not fit to govern" and maintaining Manitoba had the lowest job growth and the lowest retail sales in Canada.

But his selection of two recent monthly figures does not provide an accurate assessment of our provincial economy. Pallister should study the comprehensive data published by Statistics Canada describing Manitoba's overall economic situation during this year and revealing a positive picture of development. Let me refer to a few:

  • In the first nine months of 2013, employment increased by 0.9 per cent in Manitoba. In 2012 Manitoba ranked sixth highest among the provinces.
  • In the first nine months of 2013, our unemployment rate was 5.3 per cent, the third lowest and below the national average of 7.1 per cent.
  • Our retail sales in the first seven months of 2013 increased by 2.3 per cent, being fourth among the provinces.
  • As of July 1, Manitoba's population stood at 1,265,015, a 12-month increase of 14,983 and a gain of 1.2 per cent. This was the third consecutive 12-month period ahead of the national rate and was the third-best growth rate among the provinces.




Based on fear factor

Your Oct. 23 editorial Political justice rightly points out two of Canada's worst criminals never will "walk freely again" -- this long before the Tories came to power.

I argue the Harper Conservatives law-and-order platform has largely been based on the "fear factor." Justice Minister Peter MacKay's claims his new "life sentence" law will protect us. But another law on the books will neither thwart rare crimes nor prevent lesser ones.




Taxing equilibrium

In his Oct. 22 letter, Repeating the big lie, Bob Milan indicates "the whole purpose of government is to tax and spend." Neither he nor the NDP seem to understand taxing and spending must be in equilibrium, a moral responsibility of good government.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 28, 2013 A10

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