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Doer can't have it both ways

In The pragmatists' pipeline (Jan. 25) Gary Doer insists Keystone XL doesn't violate his environmental principles.

Doer wants to be both forest protector and pipeline proponent, but he is betraying concessions that he once stood up for.

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As premier of Manitoba, Doer initiated the safekeeping of half of the boreal forest, approximately 4 million hectares, on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

As ambassador, Doer favours the Keystone XL pipeline delivering a product derived from the Alberta oilsands. To date, hundreds of kilometres of boreal forest in that area have been disturbed by mining operations and even more will become victimized.

Doer should continue to be chastised. His environmental principles have been compromised, and are not worthy of support -- at least not in Alberta.

JOHN FEFCHAK

Virden

 

An Olympic alternative

While Charles Lane makes a good case for dismantling the Olympics (Olympics not worth it, time to go, Jan. 23), an alternate option would likely cut expenses drastically.

A half-dozen permanent Olympic sites could be established worldwide on several different continents. Funding for maintenance of the site would be the responsibility of the member nations of the International Olympic Committee, and countries in arrears of their dues would not be allowed to compete.

Such a move would make security easier and reduce the huge expenses and cost overruns associated with new infrastructure projects. Downsizing or eliminating the opening and closing ceremonies wouldn't hurt either.

Lane's proposal makes sense when one considers major sports such as track and field, swimming, soccer, basketball, hockey and volleyball already have world championship tournaments every two to four years, and less-popular sports could establish their own if the demand exists.

Soccer's World Cup attracts as least as much global interest as the Summer Games and much more than the winter ones. Retaining the Olympics may be little more than an exorbitant redundancy.

EDWARD KATZ

Winnipeg

 

Make care homes safer

The fire in L'Isle-Verte has reminded people of the risks posed to people with mobility problems ('Desolation' at seniors-home blaze, Jan. 25). Buildings should be constructed with fire ramps wide enough for two wheelchairs to be easily moved past each other rather than fire stairs.

More able people should be able to assist the less physically stable residents during a building evacuation, a practice that could be worked on during fire drills, which should be carried out regularly. Smoke fans to pressurize stairwells and ramp wells should also be installed.

While these things cost money, they are measures that could help save people from dying in fires.

JIM HARRISON

Winnipeg

 

Our late mother was fortunate to live her last two years in Carman's Boyne Lodge, a Southern Regional Health Authority personal care home. Helen wasn't alive to experience it, but we're confident she would have been very proud of her home's handling of a fire that occurred in June 2013.

Every resident from the lodge's two floors was safely evacuated and no injuries occurred. The lodge and the town of Carman executed their well-practised, integrated emergency plans with the entire community coming together to ensure the successful evacuation and temporary accommodation of the residents.

In hindsight, I wish we had extended our congratulations and admiration for this wonderful accomplishment of our hometown seven months ago.

MARJORIE PATTERSON

Winnipeg

 

Target hotel drug sales

Re: Dozens arrested as police target gang's drug trade, Jan. 25.

Here in Point Douglas, we have worked diligently to remove the drug trade. Landlords have evicted tenants selling drugs and police have worked closely with residents. As a result, Point Douglas is now a very different neighbourhood than it was 10 years ago.

Gangs know they can no longer sell drugs out of Point Douglas homes and are now relocating to hotels. Legislation must be put into place to charge hotel owners that allow these gangs to operate out of their establishments. Until something is done, this process will continue.

ROANNA HEPBURN

Winnipeg

 

Slaughter anything but gentle

Absent from Laura Rance's description of the slaughtering process (System promises chickens a kinder, gentler slaughter, Jan. 25) is mention of the scalding tank.

After electrical immobilization, throat cutting and bleeding out, chickens are then immersed in a tank of scalding hot water that loosens the feathers prior to plucking. Because of the high speed of processing, large numbers of chickens, at least one per cent of the birds are still conscious and are literally boiled alive.

What sense of entitlement do we possess that allows us to turn a blind eye to such suffering? What does it say about our society when our animal-protection laws are written to accommodate this kind of cruelty?

DEBBIE WALL

Winnipeg

 

Seniors' safety key

The article No such thing as a safe trip for older adults (Jan. 24) by Dr. Lynne Warda provides valuable insight into the rising number of falls by older adults, and can hopefully help older adults be more cautious.

As a resident in a retirement residence with approximately 200 seniors, I see an average of two or three falls each week requiring a trip to the hospital emergency ward.

More attention should be given to this problem and seniors should be kept aware of the need to be cautious.

ISSIE OIRING

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2014 A8

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