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Assisted-suicide debate stoked

Having cared for a child with special needs, I have great difficulty accepting any whiff of contemplation that we can choose to end a life we consider not worth living (MP fights for assisted suicide, March 27).

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The joy and peace I experienced through caring for my son, with all his physical challenges, was enforced by the big smile he greeted each day with in spite of his pain and discomfort.

If the anguish of caregivers is the litmus test for legalizing assisted suicide, I reject this repugnant precept.

I would rather we put our resources into home care, hospice and palliative care than ask doctors, bound by oaths to preserve life, to end a life.

A political system with a history of residential schools based on forced "Europeanizing" of the indigenous people hardly garners confidence when deciding who deserves to live.

Recommending Canada legalize assisted suicide because of high-profile cases of people seeking this option due to degenerative health conditions is a reaction stemming from pain rather than a reasoned response on how to make the lives of such patients comfortable.

I don't have a definitive answer except to plead for reason, sanctity of life and justice to prevail.

SHAHINA SIDDIQUI

Winnipeg

ñº

No one should be asked to assist another to die -- it's an unfair burden.

The patient alone should make the final decision and commit the act themselves without involving anyone else.

I know some can't commit the act of suicide for a variety of incapacitating reasons, but to ask a relative, a friend, a doctor, or anyone else to assist in the act is unfair.

CHRIS KENNEDY

Winnipeg

ñº

Despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper's avoidance of the topic, Winnipeg MP Steven Fletcher has the courage to break ranks and speak out on behalf of Canadians who are in favour of end-of-life assisted suicide.

Not only has he dared to introduce legislation in Ottawa, he has declared from his wheelchair: "If my cognitive functions are compromised in any way, I'm not interested in going on."

As a pastor for 45 years, I have sat by the dying, and they have taught me about dying with dignity.

Mr. Fletcher: When you decide the time has come, give me a call and I, along with others you choose, will support you on your spirit's journey.

JOHN WESLEY OLDHAM

Winnipeg

Dams require forward thinking

Re: Power point, March 28.

It's very fortunate that the Free Press and all the other naysayers didn't hold sway over a century ago, when the pie-in-the-sky visionaries were imagining an aqueduct to bring good water to Winnipeggers all the way from northern Ontario.

Can you imagine how these people would have screamed about truly crazy ideas such as building a railroad all the way to the Pacific Ocean? Why must we always be short-sighted and think so small?

Do we need more capacity for generating and delivering electrical power right now? No.

Is it likely that this additional capacity will be needed in the relatively near future? Absolutely.

There's a cost to be paid now. What can be bought by paying that cost may very well be the future prosperity of Manitoba and Manitobans. Let's imagine a future in which our grandchildren will have good reason to stay in Manitoba.

GARY ROBSON

Winnipeg

Quebec culture shouldn't exclude

If it's true that Quebecers "have preserved a sui generis culture since Samuel de Champlain," why the need for a charter of values that discriminates against minorities (Quebecers truly unique, Letter, March 28)?

By "that culture" does Jackie Morin mean French Quebecers only? Because anglophones have lived there since Champlain, too.

The reality is that the Quebec birth rate is down, like the rest of Canada, and many leave to live elsewhere like Morin.

It's time those in Quebec who want their "unique culture" perpetuated carry on without blaming everyone and everything else for it dilution.

JANICE ISOPP

Selkirk

Kudos for Kives

On March 25, Bartley Kives answered all our questions about the complexities of preserving Winnipeg's modernist buildings (Heritage-building victory cast in granite), questions we might have asked had we been knowledgeable enough about the subject in the first place.

The next day, he wrote a most insightful and thought-provoking article on our twisted priorities (Dead pets sad, but let's get real, March 26).

Then last Thursday, he cut through all the spin regarding the costs of Investors Group Field (Rise in stadium cost just leaves me cold, March 27).

Finally, on Friday he wrote a hilarious piece on our quirky city for the benefit of Juno visitors (Welcome to the 'Peg!, March 28).

Here's another reason this quirky, flat, cold, windy city built in the middle of a flood plain should be proud: Bartley Kives.

ROGER TURENNE

Winnipeg

Crimea will be trilingual

Re: Putin's grim next step, Letters, March 28.

Ukraine made Ukrainian the ONLY official language in Ukraine, including Crimea -- where over 60 per cent speak Russian.

In contrast, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar will be the official languages in a Russian Crimea.

ROBERT MILAN

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 31, 2014 A8

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