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Deafening hullabaloo

Imagine my jaw-dropping amazement to see that some rural reeves and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities are objecting to the closure of a number of Manitoba Hydro's rural offices (Municipalities want Hydro to rethink closures, Oct. 28).

The never-ending mantra for government "efficiencies," cutting red-tape and cutting taxes is something we've become accustomed to from our rural worthies. But try to actually implement efficiencies and the hullabaloo is truly deafening.

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I note in passing that whereas 11 provincial departments saw cuts to their budgets this year, the local-government ministry saw an eight per cent increase.

So perhaps this signals a belated recognition in our rural hinterland of the value of the public sector? Or is it simply a matter of whose ox is being gored?




Wrong expectations

The Waterloo Region Record (Time to clean up the Senate, Oct. 28) has it exactly right when it says the Senate needs reform. We cannot expect to get unbiased sober second thought from a bunch of political flacks who take orders from the prime minister.

Abolition would not be a good thing, however, and reform could be a simple matter. The government should appoint a panel of responsible citizens (five deans of universities, for instance) to nominate candidates who would then be affirmed by a parliamentary majority.




Ugly side of beauty

Re: Beauty products should pass smell tests for hazards (Oct. 24). The other ugly side of beauty products is animal testing. Rabbits have chemicals dripped into their eyes or applied to their shaved skin. Animals are force-fed ingredients over weeks or months to supposedly determine their effects or are fed massive amounts until they die.

None of these tests is legally required or even applicable to humans due to the difference in species.

The European Union has banned cosmetics testing on animals, yet Leona Aglukkaq, our former federal minister of health, continues to defend the practice via a form letter. Caring Canadian consumers should do their homework and purchase products from companies that do no animal testing. Coincidentally, they tend to use superior ingredients that are both safe for the user and kind to the environment.




Incumbents can lose

In your Oct. 25 story Notable names could challenge in elections, MLA Jim Maloway is quoted as saying "it makes sense for the party to choose the incumbent candidate with an established track record." Maloway should be reminded that even though he was the incumbent candidate, he lost the last federal election. Perhaps, it's time for a fresh face.




Long live Lou Reed

Re: No superstar, just an icon (Oct. 28). Lou Reed deserved the credit he got for his influence during the time late 1960s and '70s when most of the best popular music in history was made.

He sang about the same underbelly of New York that Mick Jagger did on Shattered: "Don't mind the maggots."

The live version of Sweet Jane is in on my all-time Top 10, and The Gift is the scariest song I ever heard.




Getting what we deserve

Re: Electorate deserves better than these guys (Oct. 24). The same headline could be applicable for provincial and federal officials. It might also be argued that we get what we deserve.

In my municipality, the incumbent was elected by one in three people who were eligible to vote. My MP won the election with 61 per cent but adjusted by the actual turnout shows he garnered 39 per cent of possible voters.

The participation in the election is particularly noteworthy as it occurred in the days following the flooding of Lake Manitoba. Amazingly, the flood was a non-issue.

In the end we have to break the trend of wilful neglect of our democracy by raising the bar of expectations. We have to start by finding those who speak to us and our reality. We have to demand more from media than breaking news on the latest from the Kardashians.

Do we deserve better? Yes, but we have to demand better to get democracy back.


St. Laurent


As a scholar who has devoted much time and effort to research and publications on Joseph de Maistre, I was intrigued to find him mentioned in Bartley Kives' Oct. 24 column.

However, I was disappointed to find Maistre misquoted. Although a renowned counter-enlightenment writer, Maistre never "sneered" that "in a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve."

In fact, the closest he ever came to penning anything like this was the statement "Every nation has the government that it merits," which he made in a letter he wrote from St. Petersburg in 1816.

I find it curious that anyone would characterize Maistre as "a monarchist nut-job of a philosopher." I've written Maistre's biography, and I'm familiar with all the secondary literature on him, and I've never run across any serious scholar who denigrated him in this way.

Richard Lebrun



One night of howling

This is in response to everyone decrying the current popularity of sexy adult Halloween costumes.

I'm a nurse. I wear scrubs every day to work. I get pooped on, peed on, barfed on, bled on. I wear sensible shoes that are comfortable for 12 hours.

My social life is, pretty much, evenings out with the girls and exercise classes.

Seriously, please, one night a year, let me wear a tarty costume and my stilettos.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2013 A14

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