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Ukraine at crossroads

The editorial Ukraine has one option (Feb. 20) did an excellent job in summarizing the present situation in that country and the consequences that would follow if President Viktor Yanukovych doesn't resign.

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The violence in Ukraine has seriously escalated, and citizens are at a crossroads. The choice is frightening: live in a police state run by corrupt oligarchs controlled by Yanukovych, or strive and struggle for a sovereign state.

Ukraine is not a piece of real estate to be plundered. The thousands of protesters are respecting their native heritage and choosing democratic values, not Yanukovych's medieval, autocratic, imperialist abyss.

Action must be taken by Canada and other Western nations, and support must be given to the opposition in Ukraine who stand for their right to a free and just country.






The protests in Ukraine have now turned a new, bloodier page. The police and special forces have been issued combat weapons and live ammunition, with the result being one of the bloodiest days in the country's recent history.

The police are supposed to protect and serve their people, not kill them in the streets. If the current crisis escalates, a civil war could erupt.

The politicians need to realize the point of no return has been crossed. A leader who kills his own people is no leader. Let sanity prevail in the current round of talks.



Maple, Ont.


Problems beyond 'the system'

Re: Family turns back on inquest, Feb. 19.

We hear that "the system," not Child and Family Services, failed Phoenix Sinclair. We hear that "the system," not the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, failed Brian Sinclair. Adding insult to injury, our health minister assures us all procedures were properly followed in the release of two elderly people who died before they made it from emergency care to their homes.

The province is ignoring major deficiencies in critical services Manitobans depend on. There are no photo opportunities or "good news" releases involved in fixing problems in these fundamental services. Addressing the problems is an admission deficiencies exist.

Our government is the architect and administrator of "the system" they tell us is at fault for the unnecessary deaths of our most vulnerable.





Vouching for voters

Re: Canada's voting law perilous: U.S. lawyer, Feb. 18.

I know elderly voters have used the vouching system when they didn't bring their voter cards, and I've vouched for out-of-town university students, who were eligible voters.

I don't buy claims our vouching system is a problem. It's hard to believe Elections Canada would allow any kind of voter fraud to go unchecked.

Volunteers have always been part of our elections; why are law-abiding citizens' voting intentions suddenly suspect?

An improved voter card may be in order, but we should expand simple ways to increase our dismal voter turnout -- not restrict them.





Return to sender

Re: Say goodbye to home delivery, Feb. 21.

I sure hope the end of Canada Post's home delivery doesn't interfere with Shelly Glover's weekly taxpayer-funded political advertisements. Otherwise, I might forget how sensibly she is spending our money.





The virtues of salt

Dr. John Sloan has a very good point (Is salt really a killer?, Feb 21). Salt, far from being a killer, is absolutely essential to our health.

When serving in the tropics in the Royal Navy, making full speed meant it was inevitable one or more of the boiler-room stokers would be overcome by heat prostration. They would be hauled onto the upper deck, placed in the shade and given a drink of water and some salt pills.





Shelter dogs on death row

While doing her research, letter-writer Cheryl Moore should have looked up whippet rescue groups (Shelter dogs not always best, Letters, Feb. 20).

Besides breed-specific rescues, there are those for cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs -- pretty much any type of animal that has been abandoned or discarded like yesterday's fashion.

By purchasing from a breeder or pet store, you are taking away a home from one that is literally on death row.

Perhaps humane societies should install webcams in their euthanasia rooms. That way, anyone could bear witness along with the shelter workers, whose only solace is knowing they provided a little kindness to an innocent being before its death.





Olympic accolades

White Snow and the Seven Little Dolls, a popular souvenir of the Sochi Winter Games, is selling out fast.

The dolls' names and their meanings:

Ouchi: Finishing in fourth place, missing a bronze.

Smoochi: Smartphone GPS app that allows you to find a match without the need to compete.

Slushi: The Russian groundhog apparently didn't see his shadow.

Sleazi: Olympic dirty tricks found on the men's luge.

So-Cheezi: Vladimir Putin cuddling with zoo animals.

Snoozi: Empty spectator seats seen at Olympic events.

Scotchi: A 40-pound granite curling stone -- the real winner of the Games.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 22, 2014 A16

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