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Lockerbie questions linger

After reading Gwynne Dyer's column Libyan official was framed for Lockerbie bombing (March 18), I'm left wondering how a country such as the U.S., which claims to be the epitome of democracy, could stoop so low as to purchase evidence in order to convict an innocent man for a crime he did not commit.

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This is an outrage of monumental proportions, and the passage of time should not dim the imperative to hold the U.S. accountable. Dyer contends the life of an innocent man was cynically destroyed by the same people who brought us the invasion of Iraq, mass surveillance and much more.

I hope letter writer Jim Swire is correct, and that there is an appeal of this verdict (Lockerbie appeal forthcoming, Letters, March 19). Hopefully, those who perpetrated this diabolical miscarriage of justice will be exposed to the shame and repudiation they deserve.




Devastating dog attack

I'm appalled by the Free Press' coverage of the death of seven-year-old Gracie Herntier-Clark (Girl, 7, fatally mauled by dogs, March 18).

To call it a mauling is inaccurate, and to imply something set the dogs off is cold-hearted. What set these malamutes off was lack of training, lack of supervision and a disregard for their wolf lineage.

Letting untrained dogs run loose in a rural area was a disaster waiting to happen; they were bound to attack another animal, whether it was wild or domesticated.




I share letter writer June Slobodian's condolences for the family of little Gracie Herntier-Clark, mauled to death earlier this week (Lessons for kids, dog owners, Letters, March 20).

I do not, however, share her emotional knee-jerk reaction that the dogs be put down and the owner banned from owning dogs for life.

Perhaps these actions will be the result of the investigation. But let's wait for that investigation and weigh the evidence before leaping to conclusions.




No blind eye turned

In the letter "War criminals should be tried" (March 11), a response to my letter "Deportation double standard" (March 8), Roman Zakaluzny and the UCCLA make an odious, false, and unfounded accusation against me -- namely, that I "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."

Nowhere in my letter did I take or advocate such a position, either expressly or implied.

The point of my letter was to draw attention to the UCCLA's inconsistent approach with respect to the treatment of an alleged Nazi criminal who knowingly deceived Canadian immigration officials to gain citizenship versus alleged KGB members. Apparently, in the eyes of the UCCLA that challenge qualifies as "Nazi hunting."



Saints and sinners

Re: Auditor blasts NDP on STARS, March 20.

Some people think it was wrong for the Selinger government to break the law when it raised the PST.

How would the NDP "saints" find the money for the STARS contract, or for their generous $250 million in infrastructure grants to the City of Winnipeg -- where they collect five times that amount with just that extra penny on the PST?

Politics in Manitoba resemble more and more a religious contest in which belief in the intrinsic goodness of the NDP is supposed to blind the public to their "sins."




Flaherty pinched the penny

Re: Oliver to steer financial ship, March 20.

I'll always remember former finance minister Jim Flaherty was the minister who, along with NDP MP Pat Martin, took it upon himself to eliminate part of our Canadian coinage system that was the foundation of money-counting and saving.

They called the penny useless; there were other options that needed weeding, but no, the one-cent piece was sacrificed on the stained altar of common sense.

After a 154-year history, Canada's one-cent coin was officially discontinued on May 4, 2012.




Toews' values old-fashioned

It's time to blow the lid off the notion perpetuated by Tom Stamatakis' letter that Vic Toews has "strong law-and-order credentials" (A different view on Toews, Letters, March 19).

Toews has old-fashioned ideas about the value of mandatory minimums and retributive justice that even the Republican party has come to repudiate as useless in reducing crime, and is extremely costly to the public purse.

As a topper, Toews lost us our stellar gun control.

Toews was Harper's worst minister ever. And now he's a Manitoba Queen's Bench judge, who Harper would undoubtedly like to see on the Supreme Court.




Highlighting literacy

Re: Enhance literary training, Letters, March 20.

I believe letter writer Jessica Kowall was referring to teaching young children about the basics of reading, comprehension, and such, rather than an increase in the presence of Chaucer and Shakespeare in the classroom.

So, the headline for her letter perhaps should have included the word "literacy" rather than "literary."




Don't rail on referees

I'd like to make a suggestion to my fellow Winnipeg Jets season-ticket holders and fans: End the "ref you suck" chants.

Players who yap at a referee never get a call overturned. A whole crowd of fans jeering a referee won't have any more of an impact.

Fans won't agree with every call a referee makes. But referees are the ones on the ice involved in the action and have a unique perspective on the play.

Referees have the most extensive knowledge of the rules, are experienced in game management at the highest level, and have many years and games under their belts.

There will always be times fans are frustrated by calls and non-calls; that's as much a part of hockey as a great defensive play, a huge save or a goal. Go ahead and boo, or yell "bad call, ref," but a chorus of "ref you suck" isn't smart.

Jets fans are classy, passionate and knowledgeable. We shout "True North" in every arena in the league, we sing the anthem, we cheer opposing players when they hit a significant milestone in our building. "Ref you suck" chants may be a product of passion to some degree, but lack that class.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 21, 2014 A10

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