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CMHR column misses mark

Dan Lett's column Museum's good intentions undone by battle over blog (March 14) completely misses the mark.

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The Canadian Museum for Human Rights' mandate is to "... enhance the public's understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue."

The CMHR mandate doesn't include pointing fingers at specific political parties or discussing "Canadian politics and policy" as Lett suggests it might.

The Strong-Boag post criticizes the Conservative government for five separate "anti-woman" issues, including "major cuts to the Status of Women Canada."

His comparison of the Strong-Boag post about funding cuts to an article about Rwandan genocide is both absurd and insensitive. The Rwandan genocide is a human-rights tragedy that killed nearly one million people.

That particular subject deserves to be researched and discussed at the CMHR. The other subject is a politically motivated statement and should be printed in the op-ed section of a newspaper or on a personal blog.



Dam delay not a bad thing

Re: Clarifying Hydro comments, Letters, March 13.

Ed Wojczynski of Manitoba Hydro fails to explain why Hydro wants to build the Keeyask generating station for service beginning in 2019, when Hydro's own submission to the Public Utilities Board review reveals it isn't needed until 2023. He then tries to rationalize Hydro's admission to the PUB Keeyask's completion could be delayed until 2028 if a more aggressive conservation program were undertaken.

Hydro needs to admit its forecast for increasing Manitoba load is out and it is counting on increasing demand in the regions into which it hopes to export at twice what utilities in those regions are forecasting.

Increased conservation would allow the 2028 date to be pushed back beyond 2031. Instead, Manitobans will be required to pay, through their Hydro bills, for a dam completed in 2019 that isn't required until many years later.



A matter of transparency

In 'A closed mind' on the bench? (March 13), Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan is quoted as saying of Vic Toews "The minister's decision does not meet the requirements of transparency, intelligibility and acceptability."

Considering the above, neither does Toews' appointment to Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench.



Canada's dark past

Anyone listening to John Baird talk about the Ukraine crisis might think Ukrainians have always been cherished in Canada (Canada ponies up $220M as part of Ukraine bailout, March 14).

But examining history and seeing the disgraceful treatment of ethnic Ukrainians in Canada reveals the blight of Canada's past.

In the 1890s, Ukrainians were lured to the Prairies with promises of fertile land, but mainly received lands largely unfit for agriculture -- the best had already been taken by English and Scottish settlers.

They eked out a living under harsh conditions without any assistance from the Canadian government. They were simply abandoned to their own devices.

Between 1914 and 1920, 4,000 Ukrainians were branded as "enemy aliens" under Canada's War Measures Act and interned at 26 different camps across Canada. Ukrainians were held and forced into labour camps, and what little wealth and hard-earned assets they had were confiscated.

During this time, 109 died of disease and accidents, six were shot when trying to escape and others committed suicide rather than endure their wretched conditions.

From their first entry into Canada in the last decade of the 19th century, Ukrainian-Canadians have worked their way up in a country that so proudly portrays itself as multicultural.


Chilliwack, B.C.

An over-the-top solution

After reading the article All over map on Portage and Main (March 14), I figured I had to resubmit my letter printed in the Sept. 30, 2013 Winnipeg Free Press:

I have a literally over-the-top idea to make Portage and Main a true pedestrian crossing.

Build four glass-enclosed pedestrian bridges from each corner meeting at the junction of Portage and Main. It would be a glass-enclosed meeting place, where one could watch the traffic flow by from above. Elevators would be needed at each corner to lift the pedestrian from street level to the bridge walkway.

More marvellous bridges than this have been built and erected around the world, I am sure. This is just the germ of an idea.

Perhaps a benefactor or sponsor would like to contribute to the bridge construction and in perpetuity have his or her name attached to the bridge at this world-famous crossing.



Animal laws not tough enough

The Winnipeg Humane Society is hobbled not just by a lack of resources, but also by our animal-protection laws (Humane society can't stop all the abuse, March 13).

While we all know chaining a dog for hours on end is wrong, it's only a violation of the province's Animal Care Act if it "significantly impairs the animal's health or well-being."

Of course, kicking a dog in the head is cruel, but charges can be laid only if it causes "acute suffering, serious injury or harm or extreme anxiety or distress that significantly impairs its health or well-being."

Our government's proclamations about our tough protection laws for animals mean little. Perhaps politicians would change their tunes if it became an election issue.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 17, 2014 A8

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