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Pretence for attack

If the Free Press wanted to use Remembrance Day as an opportunity to attack Mennonite practices and convictions, it should have done so explicitly, rather than through the pretence of running a historical report on Mennonite soldiers (A soldier shunned, Nov. 9).

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Those Mennonites who signed up for military service during the Second World War were certainly entitled to do so, but I fail to see why a church that views all violence as contrary to the Christian life should have welcomed these soldiers back, no questions asked. Indeed, such action would have been contradictory and hypocritical.

Meanwhile, I find myself resolutely on the side of those churches who "weren't interested in glorifying the war" and condemned the unapologetic stance that war is a good opportunity for adventure amid the nationalistic military fervour of the time. Certainly this is an interesting story, full of complexity, nuance and shameful acts on every side. That story still waits to be written.




Randy Turner's article is a remarkable and sympathetic portrayal of the young Mennonites who turned their backs on their history and the teachings of their families and home churches. He exposes the hurts these people suffered in making that decision, in serving in that conflict, and in returning to often difficult circumstances.

However, he shows little understanding of the difficulties of the conscientious objectors and their families and congregations.

To simply imply conscientious objectors spent the war in dance halls or they bought up farm land from families who lost their sons in the war is a gross misrepresentation of the experience of most Mennonite men who believed they were called to "love their enemies" and that bombing them into small fragments or running them through with a bayonet did not advance their commitment to peace.

Keeping a small peace-based community alive in the hysteria of war is not easy. Mistakes were undoubtedly made in relating to shunned soldiers, but a more balanced approach would be appreciated by those still trying to keep the small candle of peace lit in a conflict-infected world.


La Salle

Small thanks would be nice

As a veteran, I was shocked to see the results of your Nov. 9 poll asking people how they will recognize Canada's war veterans on Remembrance Day. The most common response, at 29 per cent, was "observing two minutes of silence." Is that all we deserve? "Thank a veteran" came in at 11 per cent, second to last which was "attend a ceremony" at 10 per cent.

For the 11 per cent of the people who did have the decency to say thank you, I want to say thank you back just for "you care."

That's all any vet needs to hear. Is it so hard to do? I'll ask for nothing more.




Re: Canada's moral obligation (Editorials, Nov. 9). War is devastating and the last resort in restoring peace. We must honour, respect and support those who put their lives on the line for all Canadians.

Let not our politicians cut health or pension benefits of our soldiers.



Bypassing Morris

As a former Manitoban who frequently returns and travels on many highways throughout the province, I wanted to applaud Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton's efforts to raise Manitoba's major highways to interstate standards (Diverting river part of Hwy. 75 plan, Nov. 12).

However, what the province is planning for the Morris area appears to be somewhat misguided. Highway 75 should be re-routed to the east of Morris. By elevating and routing the highway a couple of miles east of the town, you would avoid most of the problems you are having with flooding.

I recognize this would involve constructing bridges over the Red River both north and south of Morris, but it would permit the highway to bypass the town completely. Good highway planning would dictate the town be bypassed at some point in the future; Morris is one of the few towns or cities in Manitoba without a bypass.

It would also permit the construction of an interchange east of Morris, allowing the people who live east of the Red River to have easier access to Highway 75.


Ajax, Ont.

Generalizing guilt

Re: We all share blame (Letters, Nov. 5). First June Slobodian imagines what Brian Sinclair was thinking during his final hours in the waiting room, then she regards her imagination as fact and concludes Sinclair could only have learned to be so passive from "months or years" of experiencing broad indifference.

Slobodian then relates how "we" pass by the indigent and disabled and how "we" shun especially those who are aboriginal.

"If the person we see is First Nations, all too often we don't respond, even with a simple hello or human eye contact. We pretend they are not there."

Slobodian is too generous with presuming the general public shares her disregard and by generalizing her guilt, Slobodian shows her guilt isn't genuine at all. Sinclair's death is just an opportunity for her to foist moral righteousness upon the masses she does not know either and wishes only to characterize by her own flaws.



Simple solution for PST

Re: NDP seeks to stretch PST spending (Nov. 8). A simple solution to the PST excess-income problem would be to lower the PST to six per cent for a year. I am sure no referendum would be required.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 13, 2013 A8

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