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Finding the best scientist

Re: Lab needs superior leader (Editorial, May 2). The Public Health Agency of Canada is unwavering in its commitment to find the best scientist or medical professional to lead its National Microbiology Laboratory.

The recruitment process put in place by the agency is designed to find the best candidates with exceptionally strong science or medical credentials.

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The agency has advertised the position nationally, and senior members are personally reaching out to highly qualified individuals across Canada.

A committee will review all of the applicants to ensure they meet the very high standards required to guide the researchers at the National Microbiology Laboratory.

The Government of Canada invests over $1 billion in research every single year, and earlier this year opened the J.C. Wilt laboratory in Winnipeg, a state-of-the-art lab that will advance important research and diagnostics in Canada.


Deputy chief public health officer

Ottawa, Ont.


Missing-women inquiry needed

Re: Tories still won't call missing-women inquiry (May 2). If there was an RCMP report that 1,000 white women -- or even half that number -- were missing or feared murdered, an inquiry would likely be instigated right away.

An inquiry into the missing and murdered aboriginal women is needed and should be launched right away.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney's short and simple answer in response to a such an important question in the House should have been "yes."

The public deserves a clear-cut, detailed explanation as to why he said "no."




Public shaming unprofessional

Re: Baird calls for new Via Rail boss (May 3). Regardless of Steve Del Bosco's ability (or lack thereof) to run Via Rail, John Baird's act of publicly shaming Del Bosco on Twitter amounts to unprofessional and boorish behaviour, unbecoming of a minister.

Performance issues relating to any employee should be undertaken in a professional and constructive manner, preferably face to face -- not in the court of public opinion.




Judging the Justice

Re: Harper plays for keeps (Editorial, May 3). Incensed by a series of government defeats by the Supreme Court of Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Justice Minister Peter MacKay didn't hesitate to deform the truth and insinuate that Justice Beverley McLachlin had attempted to interfere directly in the government's nomination of Justice Nadon.

The Free Press editorial didn't mince words in describing the prime minister's arrogance, capping their comments by stating that Harper's way of governing is comparable to that of Richard Nixon, "a capable but flawed and paranoid leader."

Voting in the next election won't be a hard decision.




Stephen Harper's nasty and false implication regarding the chief justice is nothing more than hyper-partisanship from a prime minister bent on control at all costs.

He has denigrated our highest court, our chief electoral officer, our former auditor general, the parliamentary budget officer and anyone of any stature that does not lie down before his authoritarian bulldozer.

Harper has gone beyond all reason with his enemies list.




Re: A crisis in judicial independence (May 3). If only Stephen Harper could slap a gag order on the Supreme Court of Canada like he has with Canadian Wheat Board executives, the scientific community and more.

Now he must resort to that other option, character assassination, as in the case of chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand and Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.


Ste. Anne


Solving the Senate problem

Re: Senate decision no surprise (Letters, April 29). Recent events between Stephen Harper and the Supreme Court of Canada would seem to suggest the Canadian government lacks the power to abolish the Senate.

I beg to differ. The Senate could easily be abolished by simply altering the wage structure of the Senate, which is within the power of the federal government.

According to Section 15.1 of the rules of the Senate, senators only have to attend one out of two sittings of the Senate, making this essentially a part-time job. Statistics Canada says the average part-time worker in Canada earned about $16.87 per hour in 2013, which works out to about $17,544.80 per year for a 20-hour work week.

If the government were to offer this salary, with no lavish expense account, to all potential appointees, there would likely be no takers.

Under these conditions, the Senate would eventually dwindle to zero members. Problem solved.




Teasers unfairly targeted

Why is Teasers singled out in the article New case of measles and site of exposure (May 3)?

Where was the 30-year-old male diagnosed with measles -- a highly contagious airborne virus -- for the other 22 hours of the day on the Friday?

Does he work? Did he go shopping? Did he hold his breath and not cough or sneeze all day? What did he do on Thursday and Saturday?

Why single out Teasers? Measles are spread through droplets in the air formed when coughing or sneezing. If you want to warn of the dangers of spreading the disease, add more details to the story.


West St. Paul

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2014 A8


Updated on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 7:00 AM CDT: adds links

1:12 PM: Clarifies suggested annual wage for Senators.

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