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Water is diverted north from the Assiniboine River to Lake Manitoba at the Portage Diversion.

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Water is diverted north from the Assiniboine River to Lake Manitoba at the Portage Diversion. Photo Store

Declawing cruel to cats

Re: The myths of declawing cats, Letters, Aug. 6). Having worked in veterinary clinics for 35 years, I witnessed hundreds of animals recovering from surgery. Spays and neuters were largely unremarkable, with the patients going home the same day, many requiring no pain medication in addition to the 24-hour injection given while still under anesthesia.

Cat declaws were quite another story. Even with heavy-duty drugs such as a Fentanyl patch, it seemed that pain relief was often inadequate. They had extra padding in their kennels to reduce the chance of hurting themselves flailing about as they awoke. They could become very aggressive during their two-day stay, either from the discomfort they were experiencing or anticipating more to come.

Scratching is a natural cat behaviour, and it is up to responsible owners to enhance their environment with a suitable post and teach their pet to use it. Declawing is a surgical mutilation that should be used as a last resort, if it otherwise means having to surrender the cat. It is no part of normal husbandry.

 

Debbie Wall

Winnipeg

 

Clunis right to take time

Kudos to Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis (Where is the transparency?, Aug. 7).

In fast-paced, intense situations, witnesses and the people involved see the situation unfold in slightly different ways, especially when there are tragic outcomes. Emotions run high, and people rush to judgment.

Anyone can steer a ship in calm seas, but an experienced leader must calm people down, keeping the news hounds at bay while sifting through a mountain of sometimes-conflicting information, separating fact from fiction. It takes time.

We have all seen public figures give in to the pressures of the moment by making unverified statements to satisfy the news hounds' insatiable appetites. If inaccurate, the statement takes on a life of its own, tarnishing reputations and sometimes taking down careers.

Gordon Sinclair Jr. tries to make the case the Winnipeg Police Service has not been forthcoming with information -- that somehow the public's right to know has been violated.

Yes, it's a week later, but I believe my right to know has been served.

 

Jack Lawless

East St. Paul

ñº

The Baryluk tragedy, and the family's criticism of police conduct, is an example of why people in law enforcement sometimes rightly feel they are an embattled institution.

I very much respect Gordon Sinclair Jr.'s ability and sincerity, but I question his criticism of police for tardiness in releasing information of this event.

The forensics in this case are complex, as were the command decisions at the scene, and therefore conclusions as to what happened must be tempered with caution, and caution eats time.

The public forgets while this is going on, police are continuing to respond to hundreds of other events and situations every day.

I believe in this case, Chief Clunis should be thanked for his competence.

 

Barry Craig

Winnipeg

 

Race for mayor heats up

These are exciting times for Winnipeg, what with our upcoming mayoral election in October (Council gadfly Sanders in race, Aug. 7).

What makes this year even better is the number of serious candidates actually putting out substantive policy issues for consideration -- a far cry from the 2010 debacle.

Indeed there are a few "planks" that have one seriously shaking one's head in disbelief (the tax-freeze gambit, again), but this is what politics should be about -- candidates committing themselves to a position, and then letting the ensuing debates help us decide.

I hope this trend continues, as it will make for a scrumptious mayoral race.

 

Gary Hook

Winnipeg

ñº

David Sanders is, in my mind, the most solidly grounded candidate running for mayor. Happily, though, he's not running off to stage a photo-op surrounded by pre-selected faces donned in matching T-shirts -- he's simply making himself available to reporters at a convenient time and place to speak for "Joe and Joanne Public."

His extensive public-policy experience and pragmatism will serve him well in overhauling city hall. Also reassuring is his proven track record in helping a vision for waterfront redevelopment become the reality of The Forks.

 

Garth Bradley

Winnipeg

ñº

Gord Steeves just doesn't get it (Steeves promises tax freeze, Aug. 7).

We cannot expect significant, long-term improvements to our city by selling off assets for one-time gains and not increasing revenues (property taxes) for the next four years.

He was part of the council that for over 10 years did not increase property taxes, and look where that approach has gotten us: the potholes are deeper, the amount of the infrastructure deficit is skyrocketing, and Band-Aid solutions are being applied to serious deficiencies all over our city.

Let's hope some other candidates come up with a more rational, enlightened and long-term vision for all aspects of our city for us to consider on election day.

 

Marcel Normandeau

Winnipeg

ñº

In Steeves promises tax freeze (Aug. 7), there seems to be acceptance of an almighty role of the mayor.

The mayor has one vote; council makes the decisions on the basis of a majority vote of council.

Any mayoral candidate claiming he or she will decide the important issues a democratically elected government must deal with reveals a contemptuous attitude to the fundamentals of democratic government, or an oversized ego, or both.

 

Al Mackling

Winnipeg

 

Writer wrong on right-turn

The article Israel turns right (Aug. 7) presents a grossly distorted picture of today's Israel.

Yes, the nation is almost entirely supportive of the war effort against Hamas, but that in no way implies Israelis as a group hate the people of Gaza.

In checking writer Gregg Carlstrom's background, I note he is on the staff of Al Jazeera English. I am astounded that the Free Press published him without this attribution.

 

Donald James

National development director, Bridges for Peace

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 8, 2014 A10

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