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Appointment politics

Re: A patronage critic on Queen's Bench, March 8.

Former public safety minister Vic Toews made a mockery of the position, relentlessly working for the interests of the gun lobby against the advice of the nation's police chiefs, the RCMP and numerous public-safety, medical and women's groups.

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His main achievement was to expand the old Tory triad of "hunters, farmers and prospectors" to include "target-shooters and collectors." He had the poor judgment to assume that all those who collect guns are law-abiding and had no interest in closer oversight of the hundreds of gun shows that take place each year in Canada.

I'll leave it to Vic Toews' fellow judges to debate whether the speedy destruction of gun-registry data, undertaken so any return to more sensible gun control would be as expensive as possible, was even legal.


Toronto, Ont.


After reading the collection of Toews' comments about political appointments, I'd sure like to learn why he himself has accepted a political appointment.

Perhaps it was because he didn't want to disappoint the appointer, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or his friends on the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench who urged him to let his name stand.

Perhaps he deserves the $288,000 annual salary after being subject to all this pressure.




In addition to being one of the most partisan politicians this country has every seen, Vic Toews can now add hypocrite to his profile.

Apparently patronage appointments were only wrong when they were made by the Liberals.




War criminals should be tried

Re: Deportation double standard, Letters, March 8.

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association has consistently said any person found in Canada who allegedly committed a war crime or crime against humanity should be brought to trial in a Canadian criminal court of law, regardless of the individual's ethnic, religious or racial heritage or where or when the wrongdoing occurred.

Our courts found Wasyl Odynsky innocent of all allegations made against him, and B'nai Brith Canada was, ultimately, obliged to pay costs. It seems Leigh Halprin is only too happy to play at "Nazi-hunting," but would have us turn a blind eye to the illegal presence in our country of people who served in the ranks of the Communist secret police who somehow managed to sneak into Canada, bogusly claiming to be refugees or victims of the Second World War.

UCCLA's position remains that any veteran of the Communist political police found in Canada should be given an opportunity, in a criminal court, to explain themselves.

We have no idea who the KGB man in Winnipeg is. Regardless, UCCLA's position is that if he was in the KGB, as he admits he was, he does not belong in Canada and should be deported.


Chairman, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association


Mayrand crossed a line

Evelyn Fletcher's letter The war on transparency (March 10) misses the point. Marc Mayrand's role as chief electoral officer is to enforce the Canada Elections Act as enacted by Parliament.

Mayrand's demand that he have the power to compel testimony is contrary to our common-law right to remain silent if accused of wrongdoing.

Mayrand crossed a line from making recommendations to trying to force his will on Parliament. Opposition leaders and members are well-qualified to point out flaws in proposed Elections Act amendments.




Hitler, Putin parallels valid

Re: Maybe the Hitler analogy isn't so wrong, March 7.

Putin's invasion of the Crimea is exactly what Hitler's invasion of the Sudetenland was -- trumped up. There has been no evidence of any Russians or Russian-speakers being "persecuted" in Ukraine. In fact, since Soviet times, they have often been the privileged ones when it comes to language, a remnant of Soviet (and earlier tsarist) times when Russian was more equal than Ukrainian and touted as more "prestigious."

People in their own country want their language to be the state language. Russia (tsarist, Soviet, post-Soviet) has not been able to accept that Ukraine wants to be Ukraine, an independent, democratic country with no danger from its dangerous, northern neighbour.

At least now the world knows that Ukraine and Russia are two separate nations.




Downtown groceries needed

The Bay and Portage Place could learn a lot from the article 'Tsunami' of retail closings to roar across N. America (March 8).

Once a grand old lady of the downtown strip, the Bay is now an emaciated skeleton of its former self. The basement, once brimming with grocery shoppers, now lies derelict and underutilized.

Similarly, Portage Place has plenty of space to integrate a full-service grocery store, yet, seemingly hasn't pursued any such opportunities.

Grocery shopping will never grow obsolete. A grocery store is the lifeblood of a community and may just be the lifeblood of the present-day mall.




NDP's 'plan' taxing

The NDP's so-called plan is typical of what we've seen from them over the past dozen years: tax and spend without worry (PST cash boosts road repairs to $5.5B, Mar. 6).

If the money runs low, raise taxes. In the meantime, we continue to hold out our hat and wait for the next federal transfer payment like the true have-not province we are.




Snow-tire slippery slope

Re: MPI to roll out loans for winter tires, March 6.

When exactly did our auto insurer become a bank? How long before they use lack of snow tires as a reason to put you at fault?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2014 A6


Updated on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 7:27 AM CDT: Adds links

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