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Home ec remains relevant

As a University of Manitoba home economics grad with a lifelong career as a registered dietitian, it seems human ecology dean Gustaaf Sevenhuysen is dollar-focused, naive and short-sighted (The wreck of home ec, Feb. 1).

Sevenhuysen's plans expose a lack of understanding in human ecology's interdisciplinary relationship, the basis of which is a knowledge of psychology, finance and life sciences. Without the core focus on human ecology, however, those disciplines lose relevancy in day-to-day life.

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Sevenhuysen should be looking beyond job titles in places such as If he does, he will find human ecology grads gainfully employed and in demand.


Portage la Prairie


Buck hunt not a harvest

The act of trophy hunting is morally unacceptable and lacks any element of humanity (Manitoban snags fallow deer world record, Feb. 1). The slaughter of the largest buck Michie has seen in his 24 years of outfitting is not harvest, as suggested by the writer. Harvesting, or hunting, is the act of gathering food, not the taking of life for personal glory and pleasure.




Iceplex not ideal for curling

After attending the Safeway Championship at the MTS Iceplex over two days, I'm not sure it's a suitable venue for curling events (Championship back in the big city, Jan. 29).

The seating outside of the ice area of the arena is uncomfortable for more than one draw. And while the upstairs lounge provides a number of good seats near the windows, it, too, is less than ideal since one misses the exciting sounds of the game.

Even if the seats were more comfortable inside the arena, they are limited to side viewing of the ice. There are no end seats and no corner seats, which are desirable to most curling fans.

If future curling events are held at the MTS Iceplex, I would also encourage them to remove the hockey glass from around the ice surface, as it mars many sightlines, especially near the players' benches and penalty box.




Don't rush balanced budget

In his recent House of Commons announcement of the date for his 2014 budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty could not resist again mentioning his government's commitment to balancing the budget in 2015 (Budget to drop in middle of Olys, Jan. 28).

Absent in these reminders is a recognition by the government of the difficulties (and, in some cases, downright misery) a headlong rush of cutbacks to balance the budget by 2015 will cause to many Canadians.

There is nothing magic about the 2015 date -- except the fact the next federal election will be that year. A more gradual approach balancing the budget would achieve the same end result while sparing many Canadians the hardships of rushing the issue.




Child welfare training needed

I agree with Grand Chief Nepinak when he says child welfare agencies must look at preventions and support of parents whose children are at risk (Escaping a vicious cycle, Feb. 1). Apprehension should be the last resort.

Aboriginal child welfare agencies have not yet provided the answer, but staff selection and training is a move in the right direction. Having worked with aboriginal agencies as a trainer and consultant, I have seen staff who aren't equipped to deal with dysfunctional parenting or children in need of protection.

Sufficient training and staffing levels are needed. This will be costly, but could help reduce the likelihood of another murdered child and a subsequent multimillion-dollar investigation and report.




The value of unions

Re: Public pension liabilities top $300 billion, Feb. 4.

I feel sorry for the employees of the five global corporations for which Gwyn Morgan has been a director -- I'm guessing none of the workers have pensions.

Unilaterally ignoring democracy by using tools such as back-to-work legislation and contracting out public services is the reason unions continue to exist.

It's easy for Morgan to talk about the excesses of public pensions from his golden (not just gold-plated) retirement. If I was in his position, I probably would not be concerned about having a defined-benefit pension plan.

Morgan fails to mention Canada Post got themselves into this mess by making two conscious decisions: terminally funding pensions by taking "holidays" (or undercontributing year-by-year), and not negotiating better contribution terms with their employees.

The fact private-sector employees do not have a gold-plated pension is not a reason to celebrate or to take away what has already been bargained in good faith with public employees.

If governments are truly strike-fearing, that is hardly the fault of the workers. They should stand up for what they believe is right -- that's what the unions have done.




Given the gold-plated pensions provided to postal workers by Canadian taxpayers, it seems only fair postal workers be first on the list to have their home mail delivery eliminated in favour of community mailboxes.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 5, 2014 A8

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