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Beat of a different drummer

Thank you, Travel Manitoba, for the solid research and money spent to determine that Canada's heart actually beats (The research behind Canada's Heart Beats, Letters, Dec. 21). I was worried that Canada's beautiful wilderness heart had been slain at the hands of oil and gas interests.

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Why Canada's heart beats in Manitoba is a bit puzzling. The spirited energy from our sugar beets is long gone. Perhaps it is because Manitoba beats all other provinces in uncontrolled flaring of sour greenhouse gases that will heat the heartbeats of our Mother Earth.

Perhaps Travel Manitoba could explain if "beats" is a noun or a verb. Beat on, Manitoba.

DENNIS LENEVEU

Selkirk

ñº

Colin Ferguson does not in fact clarify the grammatical confusion the slogan Canada's Heart Beats has raised when reading the words in two different ways.

If "beats" were read as a plural noun, one wonders why Canada's heart needed more than one beat to refer to just one province. If, as Ferguson suggests, it is a verb -- that Manitoba is Canada's heart beating, then isn't it moot to say that a heart beat(s)? Isn't that obvious?

Only with additional or further qualification will this message become clearer -- which then would require a long-winded slogan -- beats for what, for whom, how, etc? Any which way it is read or interpreted, I agree with Terry Aseltine (Manitoba stumbles on name game, again, Dec. 20) that Travel Manitoba has fumbled again in coming up with a user-friendly slogan.

PRABHA MENON

Winnipeg

ñº

I am surprised by the number of negative comments about the new slogan for Manitoba.

I have to admit, I heard it before I read it, but when I did hear it, I immediately loved it. It so perfectly describes the way I feel about Winnipeg (not my original hometown).

This IS where Canada's heart beats. That's why people like us from Toronto and New York stayed for 40 years, even though we only intended to stay for a couple of years.

I like the fact that you may have to read it a second time to get it right, because it then brings a smile when you realize how it reads. And being an active verb makes it just that -- more active. Nothing passive about us. I love it. I hope others do, too.

MARTHA EPSTEIN

Winnipeg

ñº

I agree our new slogan clunks along when said aloud. But I think the "heart" concept is on the proper track. Terry Aseltine sounds like he knows his stuff but, my goodness, it is time to get over the fact folks from southern Ontario are not interested in coming here.

Quite honestly, a marketing guy should know as much. In fact, I am proud to say that most of us are OK with this fact.

How about "Manitoba, the heart of it all"? This sums up our geography for others and more important, our understanding of ourselves. Those in the plains south and west of us who will, ultimately, be among our most frequent guests will understand the slogan as well.

We really need to get over the angst of what the rest of everywhere thinks and celebrate what we know; this is the heart of it all, as far as we are concerned. If they want to come and see for themselves; we are good with that.

For those who don't, no social for your wedding!

KEN KINRADE

Winnipeg

Kept in the dark

Entomologist Taz Stuart, fire chief Reid Douglas and CAO Phil Sheegl left their respective city jobs in 2013 under a cloud of speculation and for less-than-transparent reasons. Winnipeg is still abuzz with the question "why?" (Bug man Stuart still around but won't say why he left his job, Dec. 20).

Non-disclosure employment terms are meant to protect the employer's proprietary intellectual property rights, product lines and unique methods of service provision -- not the boss's personal reputation. Former employees are routinely prohibited from disclosing privileged company information for a specified length of time and within a defined geographical area.

In contrast to employment provisions, which safeguard private practice, municipal government is a public enterprise where elected officials and city bureaucrats are meant to serve the electors willingly and openly for their community's beneficial welfare.

If the electorate is purposely kept in the dark over matters that may involve political interference, professional negligence and mismanagement, or (as Coun. Paula Havixbeck suggests) perhaps worse, the results of future elections may well be compromised through incumbent candidate misrepresentation at the polls. Voters must necessarily be privy to all relevant city-related matters before casting their ballots.

Without providing details to disprove the contention, it would appear that Mayor Sam Katz is hoping that Winnipeggers' memories too are frail and fleeting and that questions regarding the abrupt departures of three high-ranking, high-profile city officials will disappear into the political mists like the ephemeral May fly.

ARTHUR ELLIS

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 26, 2013 A12

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