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Ontario's mess

Re: Ontarians forgive Grits (June 13). Well done, Ontario. Well done, public-sector unions. We have become a nation of debt, debt and more debt. A province bankrupting future generations and they simply don't care. This is how greedy public-sector people are in Ontario.

Now the province will go further into debt, destroying future generations. What a mess.

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Anthony Silvestro



Iraq and ISIS must talk

The grave political situation in Iraq due to the taking over of Mosul, Tikrit and other cities by Sunni Islamist insurgents (ISIS), is of concern to all partners in the conflict as well as neighbouring Iran, Syria and western interest groups, as it may instigate all-out fighting between the two factions of the Iraqi population, promoting sectarian violence.

The Shia majority government of Nouri Maliki may not have addressed the genuine concerns of its 19 per cent Sunni population. Consequently, that may be the cause of creating ISIS with the help of Taliban or al-Qaida supporters.

Iran and the U.S. intend to join the Iraqi regime to fight ISIS and the extremist influence in the region, but their involvement will further enhance the tension, breaking up the area on sectarian lines and promoting conflict between Shias and Sunnis.

It would be of utmost importance for both ISIS and the Iraqi government to come to their senses and resolve the dispute through meaningful dialogue to avoid foreign intervention, creating a situation of divide and rule.

Mohammad Ashraf



License bicycles

Daily, I watch adult bicyclists in this city ride totally ignoring the same traffic laws that we as motorists must obey. And they are constantly demanding more and more special treatment. Why?

They don't have to have licences for their machines and are not required to have MPI insurance. Why?

I grew up in a city much larger than Winnipeg, and as a child my bike was required to display a licence I bought at the start of my school year. If bicyclists want special bike lanes and other rights, then let them pay for them. Not all accidents involving bikes are the fault of the motorist.

William Ewing



Support for safe care

I wish the same energy the media and activists are using on the closure of the Manitoba Developmental Centre could be spent on advocating for all of those already living in or transitioning to the community. Conditions are not always as wonderful as they would have us believe and surely society is not naive enough to believe they are.

We need to remember: the Hydra House fiasco; the residents with the St. Amant Community Residential Program left in the car in winter while staff attended a movie; the Dawson Trail Opportunities Unlimited Agency, closed for abuse of vulnerable persons in their care as well as financial mismanagement; and most recently, the young child inappropriately touched by an individual at a public pool. This individual had one-to-one direct supervision provided by DASCH to prevent these incidents.

Moving vulnerable people into a community group-home setting is one thing. Whether it is my son from our home or a resident from the MDC, ensuring they have safe, quality care is another.

Most agencies in the community do their utmost, with very limited resources, to provide the type of care we expect from them and our sons and daughters deserve.

I feel it is time we put our focus on advocating for these agencies. That would help improve the community care that currently exists and make it a better place for all.

Wendy Arbuckle



Target social strife

Deveryn Ross is mistaken if he thinks the law protects anybody from anything (Sex-trade law protects young girls, June 13). The law can only punish after the fact.

Punishing adults to protect children never made any sense in prosecuting the war on drugs and makes no sense in prosecuting the war on prostitution either. Parents are the proper authorities in protecting children.

The person who forcibly injected the youth in Deveryn's article should have been charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement and injecting a person with a noxious substance rather than living off the avails.

If it is true that young girls are entering the trade at age 14 after their hopes and dreams have been dashed, then that is a symptom of a lot worse social strife than prostitution itself ever was.

Bill C-36 is doomed to fail in achieving any of its well-intended purposes. Perhaps those who govern us should be working on making Canada a better place where the hopes and dreams of our youths are likely to come true rather than taxing parents to death so that both parents must work and there is no one home for the 14-year-olds making bad choices?

Chris Buors



A use for empty shops

The letter from Richard Walls of Red Road Lodge (Beyond Band-Aids, June 12) prompts me to ask: What about homeless and down-and-out folks on Portage Avenue?

There are empty shop premises that could be converted to refuges for these people, e.g. one at the bus stop right opposite Portage Place. It's been empty for years.

Why could not some of these places be converted to drop-in centres where our street people could go for coffee, snacks, a couch to have a sleep on, etc.? As Portage Place has taken away practically all of its benches, and put notices on the planters telling us not to sit on them, we find these folks flopped down in nooks and crannies everywhere. There need to be better places they can go.

Hilda Wagstaffe


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 16, 2014 A8

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