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Ex-KGB tale raises red flags

Re: Feds look to toss ex-KGB spy, Mar. 4.

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) has consistently said no veterans of the notorious Soviet secret police should be in Canada, with no exceptions.

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While we are pleased to learn Ottawa is finally taking steps to remove a KGB man who somehow managed to get into Canada by claiming to be a refugee, it's shocking to read that his presence has been known to the federal authorities for many years without any action taken to remove him.

How many other KGB men are there in Canada? Why are any of them still here?

As a service to Canada, home to hundreds of thousands of survivors of Soviet tyranny and communism, the UCCLA stands ready to pay for the one-way transport of any KGB man found in Canada back to Russia. Steerage class, of course.


Chairman, UCCLA



Hydro exports a short-term fix

Graham Lane's article Selinger spins electricity export sales (March 3) is refreshingly informative about the facts affecting electricity export sales and the lack of anything other than spin from Premier Greg Selinger.

Exporting energy is a blind continuation of the short-term thinking that, since the fur-trade era, has removed the riches and potential of this country and blatantly deposited those riches in foreign pockets.

In many ways, Selinger is continuing the traditional role of Canadian politicians, trumpeting short-term ideas but in effect working on behalf of foreign concerns in the continued exploitation of Canadian resources for the benefit of everyone except Canadians.

Selinger's plan sells the future of Manitoba for the short-term benefit of his re-election.




Don't axe support group

Re: Sex-offender program victim of funding cuts, March 4.

If ever there was a program that protected the community with a big bang for a few bucks, it's Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA). Why has this national program that is such a proven success been slashed from next year's federal budget?

For a mere $2.2 million per year (out of a massive Correctional Service Canada budget), this is one of the only programs that protects the community from repeated sex crimes of released offenders.

With 18 such circles from coast to coast, why would Correctional Service Canada cut ties with such a hugely effective program that safeguards our communities, involves such a huge group of citizens and costs so very little to operate?




Compassion versus vengeance

My maternal grandmother was in the Brandon Mental Institution from 1929 to 1978, the year she died. Forty-nine years of confinement due to mental illness was her penance for being called mentally unwell or insane. Treatments were primitive and, more than likely, discriminatory.

We now know that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other conditions are devastating health concerns to families everywhere in Canada. We also know that mental illness may be managed in so many different ways than solely in prisons and institutions.

Yes, Vince Li committed an act under an extreme schizophrenic episode. This was abhorrent to us. But treating mental illness shouldn't be relegated to the days of my grandmother.

Winnipeg Police Chief Devon Clunis attended a conference on compassionate cities in May of 2013 (Chief driven by divine purpose, March 1). For all of the years she was kept in Brandon, I think my grandmother would have relished this caring attitude.

We need to be on the side of compassion rather than vengeance.




Nancy Griffiths is being disingenuous claiming that her motives are based on public safety, not vengeance (No easy answers in Li case, Letters, March 4).

By all accounts, Li is aware of his past actions, and is taking medication that works. He's lucky -- I've known people who are aware of their past actions but do not get any benefit from medication.

Li has every incentive to continue taking medication. He is likely as horrified by what he did as Griffiths is.

Being compassionate means setting aside fears, looking at things objectively and caring about people. Locking Li in jail for life would be and act of fear or vengeance, not compassion, and would have no effect on public safety.




Politicians have no role in criticizing the decision of the Manitoba Review Board (Criminal Code) in the Vince Li case (Preaching vengeance wrong, March 1). The board based its decision on the evidence, the facts presented and the governing law.

Both the public and Li were represented at this hearing. If a politician disagrees with a decision made by a tribunal or other judicial body, they can change the law.

Otherwise, they're simply interfering with the administration of justice and the rule of law and undermining the public's confidence in the justice system.


President, Manitoba Bar Association


Pharmacies' services vary

Re: Meds-fee disclosure may not help poor, March 1.

Not all pharmacies offer the same services: Some don't deliver prescriptions, or don't blister-pack them, don't compound prescriptions or don't have staff available to answer your questions and spend the time when you need it.

Sometimes you get what you pay for.




Maurice needs extension

Re: Maurice, Jets agree contract talks can wait, Feb. 21.

Here's a scary thought: The Winnipeg Jets and Paul Maurice have put off signing a contract until the end of the season, which we hope will end very successfully.

What if a wealthy team such as the New York Rangers or the Toronto Maple Leafs steal Maurice away by offering him a mega-million-dollar deal?



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


Updated on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 8:27 AM CST: Formats text, adds links

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