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Conserving woodland

Re: Manitoba doing better than most in conserving woodland caribou (Dec. 17). The progress on the conservation of woodland caribou is great news for Manitoba. Woodland caribou have historically flourished in our boreal forest but have been under threat due to human disturbance and land fragmentation.

Their sensitivity to these disturbances has made them a key species for assessing the health of Canada's boreal forest. Therefore, it is good to see the concerted effort of the Province of Manitoba in managing the natural landscape, through forest management and replanting, which may provide valuable habitat in the future.

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However, we are decades away from knowing if these efforts will be successful. For now, we must conserve the large habitats caribou need to make sure they don't go extinct.

It is particularly reassuring that the province is developing a recovery strategy. Though the strategy is not yet in place, we can remain hopeful the procedures to be outlined therein will help with the conservation of caribou in the province. It is also commendable that the government and its partners are conducting research that can be applied to protect and manage the species. Though, more needs to be done to regulate new development and infrastructure in ways that can minimize impact on the boreal forest and the woodland caribou.




While Manitoba should certainly be commended for coming in ahead of many other provinces in our efforts to conserve and protect woodland caribou, we should not let an article like this soften our focus on the work that still needs doing.

In an otherwise admirable piece of writing, Bruce Owen fails to explain the main reason people should care about this issue.

Protecting the large tracts of habitat that caribou need is the only way to save these animals from extinction. It is also the only way to protect what we need from the boreal region -- fresh water and clean air.




Bus suggestion simplistic

Retired transit driver Doug Belcher's overly simplistic suggestion that police officers take public transit to work shows his lack of insight into their role (Solve issue with bus pass, Letters, Dec. 18).

Their shift work, unexpected overtime, special projects, call-ins, especially for major crimes or fatal accidents, do not correspond with peak transit coverage. They do not travel with their weapon, pepper spray, handcuffs, or their partner as backup, which leaves them vulnerable to the mentally unstable or criminal element that might opt to cause a disruption on a bus.

His suggestion would put our officers in risky situations. Doubling the parking rates would not solve parking issues. Rather, this would erode the take-home pay of our officers who put their lives on the line for us every day.




Just keep swallowing

Re: Studies hard pills to swallow (Dec. 19). There are many expert opinions, both negative and positive, regarding the health benefits of taking vitamin pills, but I would seek out my family doctor's view.

I am a strong believer in the benefits of vitamin pills. At 90, I have been taking them now for 73 years, and no doctor ever told me to stop taking them. As a point of interest, I spent my first night in any hospital at age 89.




Another fumbled slogan

Terry Aseltine nails it in his Dec. 20 column, Manitoba stumbles on name game, again, on the failure once again of Travel Manitoba to brand our province by fumbling out yet another dumb and clumsy slogan. "Manitoba: Canada's Heart Beats," indeed.

What would be the matter with, for example: "Gateway to the West"? It's short, simple and descriptive of who we are and where we are in a great nation.


Poplar Point


Support not unanimous

John Orlikow is considering a run for mayor in 2014 "after being asked by constituents and others" (Orlikow weighs run for mayor, Dec. 19).

Just for the record, I am asking Orlikow not to bother.




Lighting up lives

Re: In conversation with ... Sean Quigley (Dec. 14). The late Roman Catholic theologian Bishop Fulton J. Sheen loved to say: "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."

Applying that illustration to Winnipeg's Sean Quigley makes him no less than a human power plant. This young man lights up all our lives with his generous nature and courageous and creative spirit.

It's people like Sean, not Santa, who exemplify the real message of this holiday season.




Adding to the evidence

Kudos to David Asper for his Dec. 19 column, Put the confession to the test. It is a balanced and thoughtful overview of false confessions, often leading to wrongful convictions, elicited through the interrogator's use of the Reid interrogation technique.

That system of interrogation was first developed in the 1950s by John Reid and is still in use. There is increasing concern among social scientists and legal scholars that the Reid technique leads to false confessions by innocent people. This is not to say it should be discarded.

However, additional incriminating evidence should be mandatory to secure a conviction if the confession was obtained using the Reid technique. A confession with no incriminating evidence is not reliable because, incredibly, it is not unusual for innocent people to confess guilt following a Reid interrogation.


East St. Paul

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 21, 2013 A16

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