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John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press files
The parking lot in the foreground of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was the proposed site of the Garden of Compassion.

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John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press files The parking lot in the foreground of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was the proposed site of the Garden of Compassion. Photo Store

Renaming award irksome

It's disappointing that the volunteer award named in honour of Thérèse Casgrain has been replaced by one named for the prime minister (Feds abandon feminist icon, July 28).

This award was "repackaged" despite public concerns about a volunteer award becoming linked to a political role.

Also puzzling are headlines calling Casgrain a "feminist icon," reflecting only a part of her contribution to Canadian democracy.

Raised in a family that valued both men's and women's rights to vote in Quebec elections, I learned about Casgrain in the pre-feminist era. Her leadership in pursuit of social justice and human rights was widely admired, and she exemplified the positive ways that women could give to the larger communities around them.

Recent thematic changes in our printed currency resulted in the replacement of the images of Casgrain and the "Famous Five" women with an icebreaker image. In the future, when both cash and icebreakers may be obsolete, we will still need the inspiring stories of people who fought for democracy and justice in Canada.

Jean Paterson

Winnipeg

 

The article Feds abandon feminist icon renewed my anger and disappointment with the governance provided by the Conservative party.

This callous behaviour clarifies the government's regard for themselves and their contempt for Canadian women -- and, indeed, all Canadian citizens.

I trust the results of the next election will reflect exactly what the Canadian electorate thinks of their attitude and actions -- I know my vote will.

Lou-Anne Buhr

Winnipeg

 

More bureaucracy won't help

Re: Recommendation refused: judge (July 29). I am not convinced that setting up an additional level of bureaucracy will result in significant improvements to the system that has already implemented substantial changes.

The Free Press repeatedly stated that the Hughes Inquiry was intended to find out how Phoenix Sinclair "fell through the cracks" in the system. The fact of the matter is that poor Phoenix was pushed through the cracks in the system by her so-called caregivers.

We continue to spend huge dollars on inquiries such as this, which seek to lay blame on everybody but the perpetrators.

Jock Rodgers

Winnipeg

 

Water diversion divisive

Re: Hypocrisy on water diversion (July 29). I would feel better about Scott Forbes' column if he were just a scientist and not a Lake Manitoba property owner. Nonetheless, he makes a number of good points, despite his personal bias clouding some statements.

The use of the Portage Diversion has to decrease, drastically. However, to suggest that basement flooding in Winnipeg (or anywhere else) is an "inconvenience," not an emergency, is short-sighted.

Let's say 50,000 basements flood in Winnipeg -- not unreasonable if sewers are forced to deal with an unmanageable amount of water. That results in money and time having to be spent by at least 50,000 Winnipeggers, which results in less disposable income for other products, lost productivity at work, and an increase in the spread of diseases.

Regardless of the feelings of rural Manitobans -- and I do feel sorry for people who have homes, property and/or crops destroyed by flood -- the approximately 700,000 people who live in Winnipeg have to be the primary consideration.

Dave Ferguson

Winnipeg

 

Scott Forbes raises the question of government hypocrisy in water-control measures.

He should research the history of preceding governments' attempts to satisfy the diverse interests of landowners affected by Lake Manitoba's water level.

The Fairford dam that restricts the free flow of water from Lake Manitoba was built to ensure adequate water levels to both sustain the Lake Manitoba fishery and protect the interests of land owners (mostly cottagers).

The Fairford dam was also to be utilized to prevent the frequent flooding of Lake St. Martin and the consequent devastation of land around it, primarily the Lake St. Martin aboriginal community.

Upstream water retention is vital if we are to realistically deal with flooding problems -- merely protecting existing wetlands is not enough.

Al Mackling

Winnipeg

 

Put public interest first

It was exciting to read about Transition Winnipeg's plan for the future of our city (Candidates focus attention on blueprint for city's growth, July 29).

Making our city better than it already is will only happen if everyone, especially our leaders, think big and creatively. We need vision for what kind of city Winnipeg will be like 20 years from now.

By that time, I hope we won't still be focusing on filling potholes and thawing water pipes. We should have bigger and brighter ideas.

Kudos to Transition Winnipeg for pushing our leaders in the right direction.

Stephanie Rempel

Winnipeg

 

Kudos to mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis for having the courage to identify the source of the "fetid mess" at Winnipeg city hall (Candidates focus attention on blueprint for city's growth, July 29).

Unlike the more timid position espoused by the Free Press editorial board in A mayor for all seasons (July 28), she recognizes that it was not just "blunders" and "mismanagement" by municipal officials that were responsible for the city's shameful and potentially indictable real-estate dealings. As she acknowledges, "the interests of a few well-connected developers have been put ahead of the public interest."

It is now in the hands of Manitoba Justice and the RCMP to determine who was responsible for putting those well-connected private interests ahead of the public ones, and the beneficial nature -- if any -- of the connection to the favoured developers.

One would hope that she, or whoever becomes Winnipeg's next mayor, insists that a full and fair investigation proceeds without delay to address those unanswered questions.

New brooms don't just sweep clean. They can also expose the rot.

Arthur Ellis

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 30, 2014 A8

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