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Elections Canada questions

Tucked away on the bottom half of page A10 of Wednesday's paper was the article Bill an attack on Elections Canada, opposition says (Feb. 5). Not only is it an attack on Elections Canada, it's also an attack on Canadians' voting freedoms.

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The robocalls and questionable election financing were conducted by the very people bringing forth electoral changes -- the Conservatives -- and many changes will benefit the Conservatives over other parties.

For instance, the elections commissioner position is being spun into the office of the director of public prosecutions, who in turn reports to Attorney General -- and Conservative MP -- Peter MacKay.

Rather than analyzing this major issue, the Free Press chose to focus on a non-issue issue: Selinger versus Melnick.






So Selkirk-Interlake Conservative MP James Bezan thinks Elections Canada's efforts to make our federal elections fair are "frivolous" (Dispute over MP's campaign costs resolved, Feb. 6).

If the Conservatives were really committed to fair electoral reform, their new proposed legislation would ensure campaign expenses do not favour incumbents.

This a fair, democratic rule Bezan should endorse.





Mayor rarely sorry

So Mayor Sam Katz is demanding an apology from the Uniter and volunteer writer Josh Benoit (Mayor seeks apology from U of W student newspaper, Feb. 6), and wants them to admit their "mistake" in publishing a piece on his handling of the fire-hall scandal, etc.

When was the last time Mayor Katz apologized to the citizens of Winnipeg for any of his mistakes? The most he has owned up to publicly was spitting out gum into a patch of grass.





Geothermal a bright idea

In their article Dim bulbs versus bright lights (Feb. 5), David Dodge and Duncan Kinney document the advantages of changing from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents and LEDs.

While those changes will generate large savings for the consumer, especially when considered over a longer period of time, there are much greater savings available to consumers as well as huge environmental benefits in changing from gas and electric heat to geothermal.

Unfortunately, the government, which has finally recognized the advantages of phasing out incandescents, is willfully blind to the possibilities of similar changes in home heating.

Perhaps a symbiotic relationship between the oil and gas industries and our government means small changes and improvements are the only progress we can look forward to.





Unions still necessary

Finally a few good words about unions in the media (Unionization linked to prosperity, studies find, Jan. 27).

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development notes that unions can help bring prosperity to countries, and in Canada's case to provinces as well. The fact that countries with the highest levels of unionization also have the lowest levels of poverty is no coincidence.

The attack on unions and dropping unionization rates in Canada, especially in the private sector in recent years, has led directly to a decline of the middle class and has contributed to the gap between the very rich and the rest of us.

The naysayers in the business community claim unions are irrelevant or unnecessary. They are more necessary today than ever.





Life's realities define us

Re: When faith, homosexuality hit home, Feb. 1

Thank you for John Longhurst's thought-provoking article in Saturday's Free Press.

Life's realities really do provide the springboard to see what kind of fibres constitute our moral and spiritual fabric.

Hopefully we are schooled enough to think things through so that we act on, rather than react to, situations that cause us discomfort.

Thanks also to those who shared their very personal experiences with you.





Faculty worth saving

Judging by the letters of support for the University of Manitoba's faculty of human ecology, perhaps university president David Barnard could explain why reducing the number of faculties from 20 to 13 is so vital to the well-being and continued existence of the university (The wreck of home ec, Feb. 1).

With an increase in enrolment in the faculty of human ecology, I find it odd human ecology dean Gustaaf Sevenhuysen would argue for dismantling of this faculty on the basis of relevance and potential job prospects.

It would seem that students past and present do not share his view, and place a higher premium on their education.





City crews going for gold

Kudos to the city's street cleaners for creating an Olympic-calibre mogul run down my back lane in Old St. Vital.





Nothing cleansing in murder

Re: Bikers proceeding with appeals, Feb. 5.

The murder of eight gang members in Ontario in April 2006 was no more a "cleansing," as described in the article, than Stalin's "purges," Hitler's "final solution" or any other mass murder.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2014 A10

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