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Putin's grim next step

Phase one of the Crimean crisis is nearing its end, as Russia expels the last of the Ukrainian military (Harper questions 'mentality' of Russian government, March 26).

I'm surprised no one has addressed phase two, which will likely be the ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians still living in Crimea.

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I suspect in Russian President Vladimir Putin's mind, the sooner he can force these people out, the sooner international outrage will subside.

He won't need to resort to a "Kristallnacht" or mass deportation. Those ways are problematic in the age of cellphones and YouTube. But a loss of Ukrainian language, property and other rights, job discrimination, voting restrictions and a tightly controlled media will have the same effect.




Quebecers truly unique

I disagree with Cheryl Nielsen's comment that Quebecers are the same as the rest of us (Quebecers not so different, Letters, March 26).

Make no mistake, I'm totally against separation -- it's an affront to all anglophones who have been there for many generations and are deemed an unwelcome nuisance to their cultural preservation.

But as an expat Quebecer, I can say with all certainty that Quebecers are unique to the rest of Canada. They have preserved a sui generis culture since Samuel de Champlain, and they want to carry that culture into perpetuity -- they don't want it diluted by anglophones.




Garbage pickup stinks

Since making the move to privatize our city garbage collection, a core city service, Winnipeg has found itself dealing with a significant drop in the quality of our garbage pickup (Councillors dump on Emterra, March 27).

From bins being missed or delays in pickup times, there's no doubt the quality of service has fallen dramatically.

What really smells in this deal is the financial aspect of it all. Members of city council voted on a landmark privatization deal where not all members of council were able to see the final cost of the contract before voting on the decision. Additionally, the city won't disclose how much Emterra has been fined for its subpar performance.

It's one thing to have lousy service -- it's an aspect that can always be improved. But to have such shady business dealings still occurring within our public service is reason enough to dump this company.




Fining companies or other entities for causing a burden to taxpayers -- what a novel idea.

Perhaps the city should also have fined those responsible for building Investors Group Field, the Richardson International Airport, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. There was a lot of shoddy work and cost overruns with those three as well.

Why stop there? Fine all the contractors responsible for snow removal, as well as all the bureaucrats and elected officials who hired these people and spent our money in the first place.

There's lots of blame to go around in this city. Unfortunately, only the residents and other taxpayers end up paying the price.




The subheadline Firm missed garbage collection more than 16,000 times in 2013 on Aldo Santin's article Councillors dump on Emterra (March 27) is misleading.

Given that Coun. Justin Swandel noted Emterra's record of missed pickups was less than one per cent, it could have read Emterra hits 99 per cent efficiency in one of Winnipeg's coldest winters ever.




Stadium fix confounds

Re: Rise in stadium cost just leaves me cold, March 27.

Why on earth was Investors Group Field put up in Winnipeg without adequate insulation?

Ron Lemieux states "We have the finest new football stadium in Canada" -- except for the part where it still needs to be Canada-proofed.

The stadium will apparently be cheaper than the one to be built in Regina. I guess we should be glad to have beaten Saskatchewan for once.



Identifying real threats

Based on the editorial Protesters will be watched (March 26), it would seem the Free Press editorial team has made some sweeping assumptions when it comes to who should be watched by CSIS.

There's an apparent disdain for what is called the "aboriginal" and "environmental" movements. The editorial suggests both movements are leaderless, then that the groups' claims are the same. If there are no leaders, how can you assume what their claims are?

It is then suggested that these movements pose a threat to Canadians. Michael Champagne and the Manitoba Eco Network inspire people to make change in their communities, and shouldn't be painted with the same brush as people blowing up pipelines.

The biggest threat to Canada isn't the inspiring aforementioned activists that the Harper government has deemed "radicals," but those who do nothing. Complacency and ignorance are the threats we should be most concerned with.

Perhaps oil companies and suburban developers should be watched by CSIS, too.




Tory's choice irksome

As a resident of Whyte Ridge, I'm offended by Brian Pallister's decision not to run in River Heights, where he resides (Top Tory won't run in River Heights, March 27). I recall reading an interview in which Pallister, in the spirit of entitlement, stated he worked hard and deserved to have a multimillion-dollar mansion on Wellington Crescent, the richest street in the city.

Well, the folks of Whyte Ridge work hard, too, and they deserve better than a non-resident member of the legislature.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2014 A10


Updated on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 7:22 AM CDT: adds links

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