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Immigration transformation

Re: Immigration debate needed (April 3). R. Reis Pagtakhan falsely suggests there has been a shift toward economic immigration at the expense of family-class immigration.

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While our government is transforming economic immigration in this country to better ensure newcomers can integrate into Canadian society and contribute to Canada's economy, we also have done more for family-class immigration than any government in Canada's history.

Canada has welcomed a yearly average of 254,000 permanent residents since our government took office in 2006. We've tripled settlement funding to ensure newcomers have the support they need to achieve success when they arrive in Canada. We introduced the Super Visa so parents and grandparents living abroad can more easily visit relatives in Canada for up to two years at a time.

Under the Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification, we have admitted more than 50,000 parents and grandparents as permanent residents while slashing wait times. We have taken similar successful actions with respect to humanitarian and compassionate classes, including refugees.

While we need to attract newcomers that can help Canada economically, this isn't being done in place of, or at the expense of, families, as Mr. Pagtakhan suggests.



Parliamentary secretary to Canada's citizenship and immigration minister


Clarifying concussion stance

We feel it appropriate to clarify some of the points raised in Shamona Harnett's article MDs decry concussion 'hype' (April 7).

The concussion centre that was recently announced will certainly be an asset to our community and will help foster a better understanding of the condition. We are supportive of efforts to research this condition.

In our roles as physicians, injury prevention and health promotion are important responsibilities, and head injury awareness is part of this mandate. While we wanted to emphasize that the current concussion evidence indicates that this condition has an excellent prognosis, we regret the analogy to the common cold.

Our recently published editorial in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed some of the issues surrounding concussions. One is that the criteria suggested to make the diagnosis carry significant overlap with other conditions. Secondly, we are concerned about the potentially harmful effects that rest from regular daily activity and social isolation might have in combination with such an inclusive diagnosis.

These are important areas for discussion, particularly in the context of such a highly publicized diagnosis. We look forward to future progress in this area.





A tale of two roadways

Re: Paramedics protest potholes (April 9). Having driven extensively and repeatedly over the past three months on Highways 1, 5, 10, 23, 25 and PR 244, I encountered few, if any, potholes -- and those few were carefully signed.

A drive on any street in Winnipeg is an entirely different matter.

The province can handle potholes -- why not the city?





Positive perspective on city

Re: Manitoba is falling even further behind (April 9). Graham Lane and Barbara Linklater should lighten up. The image of Lane and his friends doomed to die in Manitoba (even though he spends six months in Palm Springs and at a lake) is sad.

While Linklater is considerably more amusing, her images of our city as a "miserable, crooked mess" with a shrinking arts scene and downtown are also sad (Winter gives proud old Winnipeg a really bad hair day, April 9). Presumably the "lobotomy" reference indicates we have to be crazy to live here.

My Winnipeg is different. I work downtown, play noontime soccer in Central Park, visit welcoming restaurants in the harshest weather, attend theatre with friends and enjoy picture-book views year-round while commuting by cycle, bypassing traffic slowdowns and potholes.

You don't have to be young to see Winnipeg this way (my grandkids will tell you I'm not), and you don't have to be crazy -- but you do have to face up to what Winnipeg is, then get out and enjoy it.





Sidewalk situation a mess

Re: City studying more sidewalk clearing around schools (April 9). Jim Berezowsky, street maintenance manager, maintains the city clears sidewalks after five centimetres of snowfall. Is this a joke?

Here in Island Lakes, sidewalks were impassable for more than two months this past winter, thus necessitating residents to negotiate ice-covered roads. Most of our parks can't be used for five months of the year because of a lack of maintenance.

Only a flood of phone calls and emails to our councillor forced sporadic action.

At least in this area, using contract workers to handle snow-clearing has been a disaster.





Problematic power grab

I'm led to believe by letters-to-the-editor types that, come next election day, the current provincial government will, en masse and summa cum laude, graduate from the School of Hard Knocks (NDP spending a power grab, Letters, March 13).

What leaves me confused and amused is the reasoning behind some of your correspondents' convictions. For example, a few weeks ago, Cheryl Nielsen of Cooks Creek wrote that the only thing the government cares about is "staying in power by whatever means it takes."

And what means are those? Well, they raised the PST by one per cent -- always a crowd-pleaser -- and did so by reneging on an election-campaign promise.

If the government used such means as these to stay in power, I wonder what tactics they'd choose if they resolved to shoot themselves in the foot.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2014 A8

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