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Yanukovych Putin's pawn

It's appalling Viktor Yanukovych still denies he did anything wrong during the turbulent time in late February ("'I was wrong' on Crimea", April 3).

It's not surprising Yanukovych knew Russia was amassing troops in Crimea and along Ukraine's borders before the Sochi Olympics.

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Yanukovych should reflect on historical comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2008, Putin told then-U.S. president George W. Bush that "Ukraine is not even a country, part of its territory is in Eastern Europe and the greater part was given to us."

Putin wants to revive the Soviet empire, and people like Viktor Yanukovych have become puppets in his master plan.

The threat of a Russian invasion of the rest of Ukraine is very real, and must be taken very seriously.

PETER MANASTYRSKY

Winnipeg

 

New Ukraine solutions needed

Is it not possible to imagine a new creative response to the present crisis in Ukraine -- other than thinking of engaging yet again in a military role ("NATO is back", Editorial, April 3)?

It's particularly ironic at this time, when the costly 12-year involvement in Afghanistan is being seriously questioned, that a new threat is immediately treated as requiring a military response.

What kinds of infrastructure, industry, community goodwill, etc. does Ukraine need to be viable? What kinds of accommodations do the Russians, (Putin) want to be regarded as worthwhile citizens in Ukraine?

Surely a show of force by either side isn't going to produce meaningful solutions. Instead of grandstanding in Ukraine, let's ask our prime minister to spend money on people who can negotiate honestly and meaningfully.

PETER PETERS

Winnipeg

 

Sex-trade workers vulnerable

Mike McIntyre's and James Turner's article "City cop focus of investigation" (March 26) initially gave me great hope that it would reflect the understanding of the plight of sex-trade workers and those being exploited on our streets.

However, I was disheartened when the article shaped the character of these vulnerable and victimized women by showcasing their "living a transient lifestyle" as well as histories of criminal charges for prostitution and robbery.

The article described the accused officer as a caring father fighting for custody of his children during a marriage breakup, trying to juggle parental responsibilities around busy shift work. It emphasized none of the allegations has been proven, and that he is presumed innocent. Yet, nowhere did the article state the same for the women whose charges are pending.

For years we have worked with vulnerable sex-trade workers, and have heard their emotional stories of men who extort, sexually and physically assault and violate them through their power. These women are incredibly brave to come forward to report these crimes to their abuser's professional colleagues.

Society has already judged these women's credibility by their lifestyle choice. Yet their lifestyle is rarely a choice; rather, it's often a result of being victim to years of abuse and psychological trauma.

BILLIE SCHIBLER

Grandmothers Protecting Our Children, Winnipeg

 

Focus on accomplishments

I'm disappointed with the way Karen Taraska-Alcock has been described in the article "Open nomination process" just a pipe dream (April 2), as well as in previous Free Press articles.

Women aren't just the wives of our husbands; we're accomplished in our own right and ought to be represented as such.

Karen is an entrepreneur and business owner with more than 20 years' experience in e-commerce, emerging technologies and human resources; she's an active member of her community and a mother of three.

Yes, the late Reg Alcock was her husband, too. But she's so much more than that -- precisely why I'm supporting her in Winnipeg South Centre.

NAOMI GERRARD

Winnipeg

Patching potholes a waste

Why does the city persist in wasting taxpayers' money on the useless practice of filling potholes with tar and gravel?

An intersection on my street with several potholes was spritzed with this concoction on a Monday morning.

By the Wednesday morning, the holes were exposed again.

Anyone with a grain of common sense would know that if the tar and gravel isn't tamped down into the hole by a roller, then it will not last. Moisture and traffic will pull it out again with in a few days.

What a waste of time and money.

SUSAN PANNELL

Winnipeg

 

CPP, health-care cuts costly

The Fraser Institute continues its fear-mongering against average Canadians ("$243,000 bill courtesy of government", April 3).

Now that the artificial bogeyman of deficit has been slain on the backs of workers, the debt -- both real and imagined -- emerges as the latest plot to further undermine the Canadian economy and transfer more wealth to the rich.

The Fraser Institute claims the Canada Pension Plan is a nearly $800-billion liability, and alleges the cost of health care is unsustainable given an aging population.

There's no mention, of course, that if government cuts health care or the CPP, the costs are simply transferred to individuals, making it an even more expensive, unfunded liability, rendering these services out of reach for many Canadians.

The Fraser Institute says it's concerned with debt because it could mean important services for Canadians would have to be cut, then claims we need massive cuts to important services such as CPP and health care. Only in the delusional world of ideologues can such bizarre thinking be promoted with a straight face.

JIM CLARK

Winnipeg

 

Find fun in sports

I've been participating in sports for 50 years, and one of the main reasons is my loving wife, Cheryl.

Participants, spectators and parents have lost the most important aspect in this age of highly competitive sports and athletics. Cheryl always tells me to have fun before I leave to participate in a sporting event, and when I come home I am greeted with the comment, "Did you have fun?"

Regardless of the score or how I played, she grounds me in what's important in athletic participation -- enjoyment and having fun.

Before every game I play, I also look at a poster, which I had in my office for 30 years as a physical-education specialist.

It reads: "Games are not so much a way to compare our gifts as a way to celebrate them."

KENNETH MILLER

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 A16

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