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Greer a tough talker

Re: Greer stomps on my fragile freedoms (May 3). Since the University of Manitoba's ethics centre helped organized the Fragile Freedoms lecture series at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, I wish to respond briefly to Athena Thiessen's concerns.

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In celebrating Greer's 75th birthday recently, Helen Lewis stated in the Guardian "the point of Greer is not to be cautiously correct or to make you feel better -- it is to be thought-provoking, and occasionally enraging. She is stimulant, not a painkiller."

The feminist movement sometimes demands its pioneers also be saints, but Greer succeeded because, as Lewis says, she is "abrasive, tough and often unsisterly. And it is only thanks to her success that we can now afford to be cowardly, to be funny, to be nice."

Greer's work as a public intellectual has made an enormous contribution to our culture. She has also on occasion expressed views some people find troubling.

Members of the audience can use the question period to challenge arguments they see as mistaken.



Director, centre for professional and applied ethics, University of Manitoba


Finish city's bus rapid transit

It's a rare day I find myself agreeing with something connected to the Frontier Institute, but Steve Lafleur is spot on in his piece Light-rail option a silly fiction for Winnipeg (May 6).

To once again open the light-rail transit/bus rapid transit debate seems a transparent attempt by Couns. Russ Wyatt and Paula Havixbeck to disrupt the completion of the second leg of BRT (Wyatt, Havixbeck make light-rail move, May 2).

We are witness to more bad-faith obstructionism by councillors who have previously preened themselves as guardians of the public purse.

Please, can we just get on with it and finish what we've started?

Adaptation to LRT can follow in the future, if warranted.




Tough choice at polls

In a recent letter, Camille Légaré says voting in the next election won't be a hard decision (Judging the Justice, Letters, May 6).

I think it will be one of the hardest voting decisions in a long time.

I had hopes for Stephen Harper, but they have been dashed; too many mistakes, too many scandals, too much arrogance.

One columnist said all that needed to be said about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau -- as many have said, he is his mother's son, not his father's.

And need anything be said about Mulcair?



Cooks Creek


Psalms can help caregivers

Re: Sometimes, kind words just aren't enough (May 3). John Longhurst refers to the widespread misperception Psalms are "all about comfort and security and praise," and points to some that express "pain, anger and deep disappointment with God."

Longhurst notes the remarkable emotional palette found in Psalms: more than two dozen express powerful doubt, while others marshal resistance to and rejection of suffering and death in favour of life.

At least a dozen Psalms offer support to caregivers, and another 19 receive special attention within Jewish tradition as a programme of healing and repair for those suffering physical illness and spiritual distress.

I had the privilege of teaching young MDs about these materials from Psalms as part of the St. Boniface Hospital department of family medicine's academic half-day on spirituality.

To the credit of the physicians guiding that program, they believed it valuable that new doctors be aware of the positive role religious and spiritual practitioners can play in meeting the needs of hospital patients.

Appreciation should also be extended to the network of spiritual-care providers in Winnipeg hospitals -- their presence has been invaluable to patients needing comfort and guidance.



Baltimore, MD


Tory MPs should break free

Re: Mr. Harper judges everything as a political problem (May 6). Dougald Lamont describes Stephen Harper as "not a lawyer," but an "economist by training, a libertarian by inclination, but a propagandist and a politician by profession."

Let's not forget Harper's propagandist, hyper-partisan government is propped up by ongoing support of the entire Conservative caucus. Each Conservative MP bears personal and moral responsibility for the anti-democratic, bully-like ethos characterizing Canada's current government.

It's time for MPs to stand up in defence of an ethical and democratic vision for Canada. In Canada's parliamentary system, leaders remain in place only as long as they have the support of the majority of Parliament's MPs.

It would only take six or seven courageous, democracy-defending Conservative MPs to abandon their "Nixon-like, flawed and paranoid leader" (Harper plays for keeps, Editorial, May 3) for Harper to lose his majority, resulting in an election before 2015.





Terrorists invoking Islam

The brutal kidnapping of 295 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Boko Haram is a crime against humanity (Extremist threatens to sell kidnapped girls, May 6).

These are our daughters, and we need to respond with a vigorous campaign to apply all means necessary for a safe return of these girls to their families.

The trauma these girls are going through along with their families is heart-wrenching, and our help will have to extend beyond their release.

I have no words to express my utter disgust at these terrorists and how they have tried to justify their crimes by invoking my faith -- Islam. Their inhumanity and brutality will be their doom, for to create such mischief on Earth is to defy God's mercy.



Executive director,

Islamic Social Services Association



Time to tear down PSB

Re: $39M could add 70 years to PSB's life, official says (May 6). With all the controversy about what to do with the old Public Safety Building, here's a suggestion: Tear it down and rebuild the old Winnipeg Public Market building that was unfortunately demolished to make way for it.

There could be civic offices on the second floor and farmers market stalls on the main. It was, and could be, a beautiful building that would be the perfect complement to the Exchange District.





MTS cloud out of reach

Re: Cloud, data centre on skyline (May 6). So MTS is spending $53 million on a data centre and cloud-computing facility in Winnipeg.

That's great. It's just unfortunate many of us in rural Manitoba don't have the necessary upload speed to efficiently transfer our business information there.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 7, 2014 A8

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