Fixing flood woes
Re: Race against flood disaster, (July 7). The current state of affairs is a result of provincial government drainage policy, and the idea that farmers and businesses have a right to run the show.
A future for our children and grandchildren free of disaster and hardship is required. Whatever happened to the public good as the guiding principle for public policy?
What Canada desperately needs is a water commissioner -- someone with the courage, resourcefulness and clout to enforce the pertaining regulations (yet to be put in place) to protect all the waters of our nation.
The present mishmash of every province doing their own thing, with an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude is not acceptable. Working with our southern neighbours to help achieve similar water protection via a diplomatic Canadian envoy would help achieve those results.
It's difficult enough to prepare for flooding when there are unpredictable heavy rainfalls.
What is predictable is the water flow coming from Saskatchewan, where there has been an unusually heavy rainfall.
Water management must be a joint enterprise between our two provinces, with assistance from the federal government in Ottawa.
The damage to homes and the flooding of farmers' fields should be a matter of concern for all Canadians.
To serve and protect
Re: Shared responsibility only solution to social problems (July 5). "A policeman's lot is not a happy one," to quote Gilbert and Sullivan, and that's because today it is an overly busy one.
Our police are trained to protect the citizens of their city or town. If their time is taken up with social work and not detecting and catching criminals, you can bet they are not happy in their honourable and chosen profession.
There should be a clear division of labour: The police should detect and catch the offenders and hand them over to the courts and social workers, who are trained and able to deal with offenders in an entirely different capacity, and let police get back to what they're good at.
Re: Judge blasts officers, 'arbitrary' detention (July 4). If police officers aren't allowed to stop, question and, if needed, detain, we the public will have less protection.
On the same page as this article appeared another story, Rash of stabbings throughout city, which detailed six separate incidents in one week.
Police are trying to do their jobs; we don't need a judge who won't back them up.
Donors crucial to peace
Thank you to the Winnipeg Free Press and Dennis Ross for highlighting the need for continued international efforts to seek peaceful solutions to the historical conflicts between Israel and Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza (Slayings widen rifts in Israel, but peace process must continue, July 5). The global community cannot ease up on negotiations, which will create a more positive climate for lasting peace.
While the political-level discussions are important, greater attention needs to be provided to the basic needs of Palestinians. Services such as health care are eroding and many hospitals in East Jerusalem are facing the prospect of cuts to critical care due to lack of funding from international donors. Even in times of crisis, meeting health-care demands is essential and a precondition to political stability and a positive climate for a peace process.
Canadian humanitarian assistance to Palestinians is absolutely critical at this moment and every effort should be made to scale up and demonstrate the kind of leadership Canada has been known for over the past 50 years.
Executive director Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Refugee plight not 'bogus'
Re: Appeal of ruling on benefits slammed (July 7). Federal Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander seems to have been infected with the same speech defect as his predecessor, Jason Kenney -- neither one seems to be able to say the word "refugee" without prefixing it with the word "bogus."
The implication is just about all refugees are illegitimate and are here only to take advantage of the Canadian social safety net.
Yet most refugees I have known fled here desperate to save their lives and the lives of their families.
A typical example is a man I have met who comes from a country plagued with violence. He and his brother, after receiving threats from political opponents, fled their country. His brother crossed the border into a neighbouring land, where his opponents tracked him down and murdered him.
My friend found his way to Canada, where he claimed asylum. Today he works in low-skilled job, unable to practise his profession. Back home he had everything: a prestigious and well-paid job, highly placed connections, a fine house, his extended family and a promising future.
Today he has almost nothing -- but he has his life.
I think every time now that I read the word "bogus," I will translate it as "terrified and desperate."
Brother Thomas Novak OMI
Justice and Peace Committee,