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Dogs need clean water too

Re: Splash-pad plan for the dogs, Letters, Jan. 23.

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If Kevin Brown read the entire article he would have seen that the splash pad isn't just a tax grab. Rather, Kilcona Park Dog Club members are raising funds for the fountain as well.

The many dogs that venture through the park need access to a clean water supply. Dog owners simply want to keep their pets happy and healthy.



Heed climate-science warnings

The number of frost-free days across the Prairies has extended by at least two weeks, and possibly as much as three (Growing season longer: stats, Jan. 17), as a result of global warming.

Perhaps climate-change deniers will now cease their anecdotal rhetoric. This article could be spun as a positive for crop production in Manitoba, but in the bigger picture global warming is already devastating to many and only bound to get worse as atmospheric carbon concentration increases and global heating intensifies.

Will our federal government follow the science and heed the warnings of the vast majority of climate scientists? Not likely, when Canada is an energy superpower and there is so much profit at stake.

Carbon extraction will continue apace and our planet will get hotter, the oceans will become increasingly acidic and future generations will suffer immeasurably.

The real wealth is in Canada's natural biosystems, not in the short-term monetary gain of a select few. I thank people such as Neil Young, David Suzuki and the Greenpeace Arctic 30 activists for saying what they say and doing what they do.



Getting along no easy task

Re: An unfortunate time to protest (Jan. 24).

Correct me if I am wrong, but weren't the origins of the Idle No More movement rooted in protesting Bill C-45, which eroded First Nations rights in order to make the TransCanada Pipeline a reality? I can understand why people would be unhappy enough about Phil Fontaine being a liaison for the pipeline project that they would boo him off of the stage at the University of Winnipeg.

Bartley Kives is entitled to his opinion that Fontaine as a liaison may be a positive thing, but the title of his article might well have been Why can't you people get along?

By writing that the lack of unanimity present on Jan. 22 reinforced the stereotype of First Nations people as "angry Indians" by many Winnipeggers, Kives has treaded into dangerous waters.

Isn't that the same thing as saying that it hurts the cause of white people if they don't all agree with Stephen Harper?



Quebec bill limits freedoms

The federal attorney general must proactively seek a Supreme Court reference on the constitutionality of Quebec's proposed Bill 60 which, if enacted, would limit fundamental freedoms of religion and expression as guaranteed under Sections 2 (a) and (b) of the charter.

Ottawa must take a firm stand against any encroachment on these basic rights and make it clear that any diminution or derogation will not be tolerated in the free and fair society that is Canada.

In its search for existing constitutional means to reform the Senate, Ottawa has adhered to fundamental democratic practices by requesting legal guidance from the high court. It should be equally guided in its support for the democratic rights of all Quebecers.

The federal government must not wait. It must address this fundamentally undemocratic and patently unsound political sophistry now, before Canada's reputation for protecting its constitutionally enshrined freedoms can be further eroded by a dangerously self-selected and restrictive few.



PM right to support Israel

Jules Legal's letter criticizes Stephen Harper's visit to Israel (Questions over Harper trip, Letters, Jan. 23) and implies his expression of Canada's support for a freely elected democratic state is somehow a detriment to peace in the Middle East.

More democratically elected nations would be better served to follow the prime minister's example rather than follow the logic the letter-writer implies.

Democracy needs to be nurtured, and while Israel is far from perfect, it stands as a beacon for democracy in a region notable for its despots and tyrannical regimes. Before lambasting our prime minister -- your right in our democracy -- try looking at the bigger picture.



Abolish insanity defence

The editors overlook the basic principle of equality before the law in making the case for an exemption in our courts for the benefit of the mentally ill (Basic principle, editorial, Jan. 24).

The so-called insanity defence should be abolished. Clinical psychology, psychiatry and mental-health treatment generally have not made any advances that would merit legal standing in our courts.

There is no scientific test to determine if a person has or had a guilty mind or not. Relying on the opinion of experts to tell us what state of mind an individual was in when a criminal event takes place is to put too much trust in a profession that directly benefits from their own doctrines.

Equality before the courts still leaves a lot of room for legal mercy. Nothing stops our justice department from hiring psychiatrists for jails.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 27, 2014 A8

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