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The positives of pesticides

Re: Pesticides to be legal, restricted (April 23). Decisions about our health and environment are important, and should be based on the full weight of scientific evidence. By bending to activist pressure to condemn the urban use of pesticides, the Manitoba government is creating needless public confusion about the safety of pesticides in any context.

Before any pesticide can be sold in Canada, it must undergo a comprehensive scientific review and risk assessment by Health Canada that includes a review of any scientifically credible study available. Through this process, pesticides receive a greater degree of scrutiny than any other regulated product in Canada.

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We cannot stand by in silence while these products -- which are critical tools for so many industries -- are falsely linked to a list of health problems. Proper pest control actually contributes to public health, beautification of urban areas and local food production.


President, CropLife Canada



A history of intolerance

I am disturbed by Louise McEwan's assertion that to discriminate against people who are not heterosexuals is a "sincerely held religious belief," and as such, should be respected (Sign of tolerance in an intolerant society, April 25).

Another way of framing her argument is: "If you are truly tolerant, you will tolerate my intolerance."

History is full of examples of intolerance and bigotry being defended in the name of religious belief. Racial, religious and gender inequality have been enshrined in law throughout the world at different times, and those who speak against such injustices have been branded as intolerant.

If Trinity Western University had policies preventing people of different races (or women) from joining, or if students and staff had to sign a "covenant" stating they would not marry someone of a different race, we wouldn't likely be having this discussion.

I applaud the law societies across Canada that are supporting equal rights for all, and hope the Law Society of B.C. reconsiders its decision to approve TWU's faculty of law.




Toughen resolve on Russia

Re: Canada follows U.S. with another round of sanctions (April 28). A delusional fanatic in control of one of the most powerful militaries in the world will hardly be affected by a few insignificant sanctions -- just ask Kim Jong-un.

Intent on restoring the glory days of the U.S.S.R., Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a mission. And unless western countries toughen their resolve, it's only a matter of time before he starts annexing all former Soviet satellite states under his corrupt regime.

Rachel Maddow makes an excellent point (Big oil behind Putin, April 28): oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil continue to sign long-term contracts worth billions of dollars with Russia, even as the Russian army digs in along the Ukrainian border, ready for attack.

Tell me again how serious the world is in stopping Vladimir Putin.




Inequalities in justice funding

Re: Province boosts Crown numbers (April 26). The Manitoba Bar Association has been and continues to be concerned about the inequalities in funding for the justice system in Manitoba.

While we are always pleased to hear that more resources are being provided to the justice system, there must be a corresponding allocation of resources to the other equally important components of the justice system.

An unbalanced justice system does not ensure a fair system, nor does it promote access to justice.

More money is needed for legal aid and the courts in order to ensure Manitobans have access to their justice system.


President, Manitoba Bar Association


The benefits of science

Re: Science goes coconuts (April 28). What a treat to see your prominent coverage of a local event that should give readers cause to rejoice. Congratulations not only to the winners but to all the student participants in the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium.

Students from rural communities must have to work hard to design and complete projects in areas where access to laboratories is difficult and fewer mentors are available. Their imaginative projects are demonstrations of an important principle: that the scientific approach to problem-solving by careful observation is an approach that can be applied in our daily lives.

"Science" is not a remote or exclusive endeavour. We all benefit from innovative thinking and evidence-based results. These kids are leading the way forward.




Leaders lack accountability

Re: Home-demo scam suspected (April 26). In May of 2011 the Lake St. Martin First Nations suffered expensive flood-related damage.

It's now 2014 and "the agency overseeing the demolition of flood-damaged homes... is investigating allegations the houses have been sold and relocated."

If Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada paid nearly $2 million to ensure the homes were demolished, why were some homes "sold off by the chief and council" without the knowledge of the owners before they could be demolished?

Who is to blame for this latest fiasco? Has the public become so apathetic that we allow Aboriginal Affairs and First Nations leaders to become so arrogantly confident in their dealings that they feel invincible, with no resulting consequences?

All Canadians, and especially those who lived in Lake St. Martin, who three years later still have nowhere to call home, should be outraged with these allegations, and should demand future fairness, accountability and transparency in all dealings between Aboriginal Affairs and native leaders.




Bombers board battle

It concerns me that Sam Katz is unwilling to listen to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers board (Battle over board, April 29).

The board seems to have a good reason for not wanting Jeff Rabb, and Katz seems to have no good reason for insisting on him.

If Katz is not going to provide a reason other than "Rabb is a successful businessman," one can only guess there's another reason which he doesn't want to say.




Digital screening delay

As a breast cancer survivor and the mother of a daughter who is a survivor, I was dismayed to see Manitoba is the only province that does not have digital mammography.

This is a very disappointing position to see our women in. We need to let the government know this is not good enough -- we matter.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2014 A8


Updated on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:42 AM CDT: adds links

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