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Province's numbers don't lie

Re: Allum needs lesson on facts (May 30). While I'll be the first person to express gratitude when citizens speak up for quality schools and a strong public education system, the fact is I didn't raise any objections to Education Minister James Allum's comments at the recent MTS annual general meeting because I saw no harm in them, because our AGM voiced no concerns with his comments and indeed, our AGM applauded his comments.

As to the question of the number of teachers in Manitoba in the 1990s, the rhetoric that has been published on this of late can only be described as pure bollocks.

Type "FRAME" (all caps) and "Manitoba Education" into a search engine. You will be led to a Manitoba government web page that lists audited reports dating back to the early '90s, and clearly provides the number of teachers in Manitoba.

The Conservative government's record on education in the 1990s is a matter of public record. 601 full-time teaching positions -- gone. As some full-time teaching positions are shared by more than one teacher, those 601 positions translated into almost 700 teachers gone -- a five per cent reduction in the teaching force at a time when the student population dropped by just over one per cent.

These aren't MTS numbers, they are audited statements from the Province of Manitoba, freely and publicly available.

If Deveryn Ross still isn't convinced by these numbers, if he thinks this might just be a grand conspiracy, then I suggest he call the premier.

Of course, in the 1990s the premier was Gary Filmon, and as premier he and his cabinet would be ultimately responsible for the numbers in those reports.

PAUL OLSON

President, The Manitoba Teachers' Society

 

Man-made lakes have value

Re: Remove man-made lakes (Letters, June 2). Perhaps not all citizens understand that these suburban lakes aren't in existence for cosmetic purposes -- they are stormwater retention basins.

They collect and store rainwater from streets and land, greatly reducing the chances of sewer backup problems in neighbourhood homes. They also remove sediment and chemicals from the water before draining into our rivers.

Sounds like they are a good idea.

JAMES SMITH

Winnipeg

 

Suspect not an engineer

The person cited in the story "Engineer accused of trying to lure teen" (May 31) is not a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers & Geoscientists of Manitoba, and should not have been called an engineer in the story.

Only members of the association are legally permitted to be called an engineer in Manitoba; the accused person may hold some other occupation with technical training, but is not an engineer in Manitoba.

GRANT KOROPATNICK

Executive director and registrar,

Association of Professional Engineers &

Geoscientists of Manitoba

Church criticism lacks wisdom

Patricia Gendreau's criticism of the leadership of the Catholic church lacks wisdom of the bigger picture (Parish, bishop wield power, Letters, June 2).

It is my understanding that the church represents the body of Christ down here on Earth -- it's not some boys and girls populist club, nor is it some wind-changing political party.

Input from the laity has always been welcomed, but on higher theological doctrinal changes we are not qualified. Many other religious faiths have no top leadership guidance systems, and have fragmented into thousands of splits, dominations and mega-churches.

If people would read Catholic Church history -- specifically, about how Christ foretold the structure he wanted in place for his church some 2,000 years ago -- they would have less to criticize and more to contribute.

TERRY MORRISON

Winnipeg

 

More hospices needed

The heading Nursing homes becoming outdated (June 2) doesn't reflect the point of the article.

It's not the term "nursing homes" that Verena Menec is questioning, but rather the impersonal term "beds" in common use by the government and health institutions.

Menec is absolutely correct. With the focus on numbers of beds, care of the elderly can become institutional.

Nursing homes and hospital palliative care units will always be required, but for many end-of-life care does not need to be that medically intensive and institutional.

Winnipeg has only Grace Hospice and Jocelyn House Hospice providing the residential environment option discussed in Menec's article. They provide a grand total of only 16 home-like bedrooms.

The government can do better. Jocelyn House needs new, expanded facilities. Manitoba needs more such hospices for, as Jocelyn House's motto states, "adding life to final days."

COLIN REED

Winnipeg

 

Criticizing corporate greed

Re: Larding it on the bottom line (June 3). Knowing that Mark Milke's Fraser Institute is a corporate-financed right-wing think-tank designed to advance capitalism and denounce public enterprise, I was shocked to read his condemnation and detailed report of the extent of corporate greed in Canada, and the complicity of our Conservative governments in rewarding that greed by grants, loans and subsidies.

AL MACKLING

Winnipeg

Poor pork plant conditions

John Fefchak's letter Hog warning not heeded (June 2) is quite valid and raises serious concerns.

Not only are the conditions in these pork-processing plants horrendous for the pigs that are slaughtered there, the vile and disgusting line of work that these foreign workers are subjected to is also abhorrent.

The average Canadian wouldn't dream of setting foot in such a work environment -- hence the problem of finding workers to do what is unacceptable to the rest of us.

There's an ethical dilemma here that needs to be addressed -- for the welfare of the environment, the well-being of the animals being raised and slaughtered and also the exploitation of foreign workers.

LOIS TAYLOR

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 4, 2014 A8

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