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Address right-to-die issues

Re: 63% support assisted suicide (April 5). The assisted-suicide debate should not be about choosing to end a vulnerable life that others consider not worth living; rather, it must be about people of sound mind choosing their own destiny when there is no hope of recovery.

The courage it takes for a person to make this decision is agonizing, and to the rest of us, unfathomable. I witnessed this first-hand as my brother struggled with ALS for four years.

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As this cruel disease progressed, this life-loving, brilliant man chose to stop eating and drinking to end what had become an unbearable daily ordeal. It was not a decision made lightly -- it was the only option available to terminate his suffering.

Each one of us should have the right to die with dignity surrounded by our loved ones, if that is the reasoned decision of the patient. The debate should encompass all concerns but shouldn't be overshadowed by the fear that anguished caregivers would be the decision-makers if assisted suicide were to be enacted into law.

We shouldn't have to go to a foreign country to seek assistance to end our lives when suffering a terminal illness.

Surely with sober thought as well as careful concern and study, Canadian lawmakers can pass legislation that addresses those challenges.




Fix local food rules

There's no better food-safety guarantee than a direct relationship between farmers and consumers (Farmers want sensible sales rules, April 7).

Preventing farmers from selling over the Internet or delivering food directly to customers at a central location wouldn't increase the food-safety risk over consumers picking up produce at the farm's gate.

People increasingly want local food. Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn, like his predecessors, says he supports farmers and access to local food. He does -- when local is defined, for example, as Maple Leaf Foods' pork products, grown and processed in Manitoba.

A provincial commitment to farmers and locavores means acknowledging, through appropriate rules, the vast difference in food-safety risks between farmers or small-scale processors and the establishments that span several city blocks and employ hundreds or thousands of people.




Leave kids' genders alone

Re: Rules on sex begin to vex ID holders (April 7). Until a child turns 18, nobody (including the child's parents) has any right to mess with their biological makeup.

My sister was a tomboy growing up. She looked like a boy, dressed like a boy, hung out with boys and could beat any boy at any sport any day.

Then she hit 13, the hormones kicked in, and guess what? That all changed. She's now happily married with kids. She still enjoys sports, fishing and guys' company, but doesn't want to be a guy anymore and doesn't look like one.

Many kids go through phases and a lot of times, it's just that -- a phase. To permanently mess with a child's gender (using hormones or changing birth certificates) is abusive.

You are what you are, and if you're a girl who is a tomboy, then you're just that.




Ad analysis refreshing

I appreciated the reality check provided in Saturday's Winnipeg Free Press regarding the negative NDP anti-Pallister ad (Reality check: The NDP's Anti-Pallister ad, April 5).

It's critical a non-partisan press do more of this type of analysis -- it should be provided for all political ads by all parties as a way of verifying claims or attacks.

If we are to be an informed and a just society, we need to move away from cheap, unsupported sound bites and go back to what papers always excelled in -- analyzing and scrutinizing all sides of actual issues.




Ex-AG Fraser slandered

Just when you thought the Conservatives couldn't reach any lower, they slander one of Canada's most iconic bureaucrats, former auditor general Sheila Fraser, because of her honest stance on the Fair Elections Act (Former AG Fraser's integrity questioned, April 5).

It is a high hill, with a winding road, that Conservatives Stephen Harper, Pierre Poilievre, and Senator Hugh Segal must climb to aspire to the golden throne Fraser sits upon.

Regrettably, they will only fail.




Patching not permanent

I wish residents would stop sending in letters if they don't understand pavement management (Patching potholes a waste, Letters, April 5).

You can patch it, heat it and compact it, and a pothole will probably reoccur with the freeze/thaw effect at this time of year.

The only way to fix the issue is a complete rehabilitation of the surface and possibly the subgrade.




Don't negotiate with despots

In his letter, Peter Peters writes: "Let's ask our prime minister to spend money on people who can negotiate honestly and meaningfully" (New Ukraine solutions needed, April 5).

There's no "negotiating" with a despot. Peters can live in his idyllic world; I prefer to live in the real world.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 8, 2014 A6


Updated on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 8:53 AM CDT: adds links

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