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Spinning half the truth

In his letter, Committed to low rates (Nov. 1), Consumer Protection Minister Ron Lemieux takes aim at Graham Lane's Oct. 30 column, Fudging on annual utility bills, by spinning half the truth.

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But when he talks about the cost of Manitoba Public Insurance rates being lower than private insurance elsewhere, why does he not compare the payouts as a result of accidents? These are the very important statistics that are conveniently missing.

Our no-fault policies are an abomination, and we're saddled with them. We no longer have the right to hire a lawyer to argue our case.

Here's the real laugher in his letter: "We have guaranteed in law the lowest combined rates in the country." You can probably do that by going outside the law and raising the PST.



No truth unimpeachable

Prof. Jim Clark, in his Oct. 25 letter, Challenging beliefs, reminds us that an important aspect of university education is to engage students in the practice of critical thinking. It is difficult to understand how this amounts to "veiled reinforcement of traditional western academic thought masquerading as unimpeachable truth," as proposed by Rorie Arnould (Veiled reinforcement, Letters, Oct. 30).

By the very definition of critical thinking, no truth is unimpeachable. It is not the content of one's knowledge or belief Clark seeks us to challenge; rather, it is the intellectual process by which one arrives at a conclusion.

History is replete with examples of discovery based on ignoring or rejecting accepted wisdom. Conversely, adherence to dogma often impedes the development of understanding.

Does this mean that there is no place in a university for indigenous learning? Of course not. Whether gleaned from Ojibwa, European or any other source, knowledge must bear scrutiny before it can be said to be valid.



Next they'll be dancing

If memory serves, the Free Press published a letter several weeks ago in which the writer took exception to the outdated stereotype that modern-day Winkler is a member in good standing of the so-called Manitoba Bible Belt.

In apparent testimony of that progressive sentiment, Margaret Peters, a Winkler nurse, solicits the public's blessing to wear a tarty costume and stilettos on Halloween (One night of howling, Oct. 31).

Confident that she will exercise all due discretion, I move that Peters be permitted to don a tarty costume and stilettos wherever and wherever she pleases. All in favour, say "aye."

Furthermore, in consideration of Peters' liberal views on the matter of attire (at least on Halloween), be it resolved that sober second thought be given to the time-worn, tattered notion that Winkler is a stout and abiding link in our Bible belt.

With Peters and her presumably like-minded cronies ("the girls") holding court in the public arena, one might well conclude that the old order is indeed in retreat.



Blipping and clicking

Free Press: "Go online to read the rest of this story."

Free Press: "Download Blippar to get the whole story or more."

My point? As a seven-day subscriber (oh, make that six-day now), a retiree on fixed income in her 72nd year, I find that my beloved newspaper is becoming inaccessible to me. All that is left to me is a paper filled with advertising and exhortations to click or blip.

Although many retirees have a computer and may even know how to use it, the majority cannot afford a smartphone, let alone know how to work it if they could.

It seems like the Free Press and technology in general are conspiring to isolate us even more from the modern world to which we still have so much to contribute.



Tremendous care

A few weeks ago, my partner went into labour after just 22 weeks. As we rushed to the St. Boniface Hospital, we were stricken with panic and disbelief.

The next 14 hours were the most difficult of our lives. We were told that the baby would not survive and that we might have to watch her struggle for her life following the delivery. Nothing can prepare you for life-altering moments like this.

Throughout the grief, however, I began to appreciate the tremendous level of care we were receiving. The doctors, nurses and staff were attentive, thorough, and compassionate. We had multiple visits from various hospital personnel, and each visit made the experience a little more bearable. Our bill at the end: free.

This was a level of stress we had never before encountered, and it is humbling to realize that these dedicated professionals do this on a daily basis.

Is our health-care system perfect? Absolutely not. I do believe, however, that what gets lost in the debate are the hard-working people on the front lines, making the unthinkable manageable.



King's plants well-tended

I wish to commend the City of Winnipeg and the Waverley Gardeners for the excellent care they taken of the plants in Carol Shields Labyrinth in King's Park this past spring and summer.

The plants were never so well-tended as this past season.

I walk the labyrinth and through King's Park several times weekly. It has been a pleasure to see the garden become a beautiful, restful oasis.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 4, 2013 A10

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