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The 'haves' and 'have-nots'

Re: Equalization program is dividing, not uniting, Canada, Jan. 27.

Contrary to the article by the Fraser Institute's Mark Milke, Canada's equalization program has always served to unite this country -- not divide it.

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"Have" provinces come and go. Saskatchewan was for a long time considered "on the dole" until vast quantities of oil were found in that province. Ontario was once a "have" province until Alberta's oilsands resulted in an overinflated Canadian dollar, destroying Ontario's manufacturing sector.

What Milke deems "resource-rich" are really the oil-producing provinces. He should be careful; as the world turns more to renewable resources, oilsands could slowly become redundant.

Who are the "have" provinces of the future? Manitoba, with its vast network of hydroelectricity, could become one of those provinces. Ontario, with its "expensive green-energy schemes" will rebound and will "have" in the future.

What about Alberta? As this generation becomes more sensitive to the world our children and grandchildren will inherit, we might just wean ourselves from the oilsands. If that means Alberta joins the ranks of the "have-nots," we'll be there with our equalization payments.

We treasure the unity of our country more than its divisive politics. Milke and the Fraser Institute divide the country -- not unite it.

DOUGLAS OLSHEWSKI

Oak Bluff

 

Improve existing energy sources

While the article CEC could challenge 'clean' Hydro mantra (Jan. 27) is timely and informative, Will Braun omits any discussion about efficient usage of existing sources of electricity -- the real solution to both environmental problems and the increased need for electric power.

Technological advances in engine efficiency in cars have resulted in savings to the consumer and better fuel efficiency. Similarly, moving from existing lighting to LEDs will result in further savings and could completely eliminate the need for any new dams.

Sadly, our government's last-century concepts are leading Manitoba backwards.

SHANE NESTRUCK

Winnipeg

 

Radon risks can't be ignored

While I appreciate the attention to the moral question of looking after lung cancer patients (Morals and lung cancer, Editorial, Jan. 28), I feel you missed one aspect of the discussion.

Many individuals are dying of lung cancer who haven't smoked, but who have had extended exposure to elevated levels of radon. This is a major health concern for both smokers and non-smokers.

According to the Health Canada publication Radon: Is it in Your Home?, the lung cancer risk for a smoker is 12 per cent, but when combined with high radon levels, it jumps to 30 per cent. The lung cancer risk for a non-smoker at high radon levels, meanwhile, is five per cent.

There is a lot of information to assist people in quitting smoking, but we also need to ensure they are aware of how to test their homes for radon and reduce their indoor levels if results come back high.

PAM WARKENTIN

Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists

Winnipeg

 

Harper's speech hits home

Seeing the headline Harper's words welcomed in Israel (Jan. 21), I was inspired to read the full text of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's prepared speech to the Israeli parliament.

I was moved by his words regarding the hospitality of the people of the land and his acknowledgement of history, especially: "After generations of persecution, the people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland." He goes on with fervour to condemn those who "hold the differences of people and cultures in contempt."

I applaud Stephen Harper for going on record indicating Canada's solidarity with those who are threatened, acknowledging that "we have periodically made terrible mistakes," expressing his outrage at acts of injustice, and pledging Canada's commitment to stand with those whose land is threatened.

Now that he has the speech written, can he change the word "Israel" to "First Nations peoples" and repeat the speech here in Canada?

EV MILLIKEN

Winnipeg

 

Ski trails need grooming

As a retired physical education specialist and avid cross-country ski enthusiast, I'm very upset with the conditions of the cross-country ski trails at Birds Hill Provincial Park over the past three weeks.

The Manitoba government preaches the importance of being physically active to maintain good health, with the reduction of the financial strain on Manitoba's health-care system as a benefit.

However, they can't seem to provide decent, well-groomed cross-country ski trails for people to get that beneficial exercise during our long winters.

These trails need to be groomed so Manitobans can enjoy this beneficial and enjoyable outdoor activity.

KENNETH MILLER

East St. Paul

 

Cartoon evokes stereotypes

I object to the vile depiction of Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Steven Nease's cartoon in the Jan. 21 Free Press.

It's always convenient to defend such caricatures by saying they only represent a political comment on Harper's steadfast support of Israel, but this cartoon evokes racial stereotypes.

At some point, we are going to have to acknowledge what these kinds of images are and where they emanate from.

SID ROBINOVITCH

Winnipeg

 

Fewer mistakes needed

The writer of the headline for your letter of the day More answers, less questions (Jan. 27) should know the difference between "less" and "fewer."

Less refers to an amount, whereas fewer refers to number.

There were "fewer" people at the game this week than last, not "less." On the other hand, we would say that the stadium is "less" crowded than last week.

SPENCER SCHELL

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2014 A9

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