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Leading by example

So Christine Melnick gets removed from cabinet for lying to the legislature by the guy who lied to Manitoban voters about raising taxes (Melnick done in by lie to legislature: premier, Dec. 18). That's about right.

You know, there's a reason some senators didn't want to suspend their dirty brethren. It's because they knew their books were next to be audited and they didn't want to seem hypocritical if and when they got caught.

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I'm not saying those senators have more integrity than Greg Selinger, but how can you lead by example when your example is vacuous? Oh, right, you can't.




Chris Melnick was a bright light as minister of water and stewardship. She showed strength, character and fiscal responsibility in the face of unpredictable weather patterns. She also opened up great opportunity in her willingness to create an excellent university exchange program with the state of Israel in the area of water stewardship.

I have been privileged to work alongside Melnick in the area of interfaith and multicultural events. We have lost one of the most genuine, caring and hands-on ministers in Manitoba history.




Amen to more women

My response to Linda Taylor's Dec. 17 column, Sweep the 'old boys' from boards -- can be summarized by one word: amen.

When I was given the task of carrying on the work of a late beloved colleague, Mary Beth Dolin, I was faced with the reality of undervalued women in our society. As minister of labour, Dolin initiated the development of pay equity in our province.

So-called women's work was and still is undervalued in our male dominated society.

We made some progress for pay equity in the public sector, but much more needs to change in the private business world.




Feds hurt Manitobans

Once again our illustrious federal Conservatives have found another way to hurt Manitobans ($500M snatched from budget, Dec. 17).

I am not surprised that provincial Conservative finance critic Cameron Friesen manages to twist the situation to blame the Manitoba NDP. What an absolute crock.

In fact, our population numbers were badly skewed because these poor people who were not counted were too busy dealing with the flood. I suppose that Friesen will also find a way to blame the NDP for that as well.

As a former federal government worker, I can confirm that the feds move in slow and mysterious ways. I am not at all surprised that it has taken this long for the effect the floods had on the census to be reflected in the transfer payments to the province.


St. Adolphe


The federal Conservative government changes the regulations for Statistics Canada and for national census-taking and an NDP province pays the price.




Conflating Disney heroines

I was delighted to see the story on the survival of the Fort Garry Hotel (Hotel of dreams, Dec. 14). It is a reminder of how a few determined individuals can make a difference in the face of the noisy demand to chop and change.

But the accompanying list of the hotel's celebrated guests shows Mary Costa as the voice of Snow White. This would seem unlikely as she would have been seven years old when the movie was released in December 1937.

I believe Adriana Caselotti voiced Snow White. (Costa voiced Sleeping Beauty). Caselotti was paid a flat fee of $907, and Disney saw to it that she rarely worked after that, seemingly protecting his investment and the image.

According to University of Manitoba film professor Gene Walz's book on illustrator Charlie Thorson, Snow White was based on a girl Thorson met in a Winnipeg restaurant before he went to Hollywood. There's even a Winnipeg mural for visual proof. But don't tell Disney.




Excusing Jets mediocrity

I keep turning to the Free Press sports section in the hope there is something beyond the three to four pages of Jets coverage trying 10 different ways to explain mediocrity. Your reporters keep looking for the one magic bullet that will evolve our collection of mediocre talent into a consistently, competitive team.

The key word here is "consistent." Your reporters insist on looking everywhere except where it really counts. We do not have an NHL-calibre head coach. It is time for the Claude Noel experiment to end.

This hard reality will never be explored with any vigour by the press corps because the one thing Noel can do is woo the press. He is a media darling. Heaven forbid that the scribes would bite the hand that feeds them their beloved sound bites.




The Winnipeg Jets have used the excuse that in past years they were victims of extensive travel in their schedule. Now their excuse for their mediocrity is that they are now in a "tougher conference" (Faithful fans getting fed up with mediocrity, Dec. 14).

Maybe it is time that fans don't show up to games until our teams play with the passion and determination to win at all costs. Remember, sports are a form of entertainment, and no one is entertained by watching their team lose.


East St. Paul


Too close to call

Hollywood sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland were enemies for 90 years. But how little it mattered to others is perhaps symbolized by their pictures in the Dec. 18 Free Press (Only death could end actress sisters' feud) -- under which the captions switch their names.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 19, 2013 A14

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