Success in spite of cutbacks
I find it hypocritical that MP Shelly Glover is now trumpeting the amazing work by scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for their major role in the development of a potential breakthrough vaccine for the treatment of the Ebola virus (Vaccine bound for West Africa, Aug. 14).
Yes, the researchers deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. However, their success has come in spite of the Harper government's decision to slash research funding, shut down programs, close world-class facilities and lay off many of our best and brightest scientists, many of whom ultimately end up in the U.S., where scientific research isn't considered a black art.
Here's hoping Glover can use this experience as an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits that can be drawn from high-end research, top-notch facilities and dedicated staff. Perhaps she could use her considerable influence in seeking a reinstatement of appropriate research funding.
Poor are easy targets
Re: Solving the bogeyman problem (Aug. 12). Dan Lett has called it like it is -- election campaigns need something or someone to blame and attack, and people living in poverty are easy targets.
Any candidate will find it difficult to squeeze serious prescriptions for action into sound bites or press-quotable snippets. The means of helping people trapped in poverty, and of closing that divide between "affluence and abject poverty," are multi-dimensional. Providing the housing, incomes and social supports can be done but takes a broad community collaboration to be successful.
The city has left leadership in addressing poverty and homelessness to the province, Downtown BIZ and police. And while the province has a poverty-reduction strategy, and the past mayor set up a poverty-reduction council, neither has had serious support from the city, or has made a significant impact on Winnipeg's social divide.
Mayoral candidates who prescribe simple, single solutions are angling for votes, but those who appreciate and support the people who are now seriously fighting poverty and its complex layers could get results.
Executive director, Social Planning Council
Ukraine leaders must do more
Re: UN increases death toll in Ukraine conflict (Aug. 14). It is remarkable and an embarrassment that Russia is providing humanitarian relief to eastern Ukraine. That aid should be coming from the government in Kyiv.
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov calls the Russian aid mission "a cynical provocation." I'm sure the tens of thousands of refugees and displaced Ukrainians who have fled the region, and the hundreds of thousands remaining without power or water, would welcome this humanitarian gesture.
Another embarrassment for Ukraine is the fact many refugees have fled to Russia for safety. The Ukrainian government, and indeed western governments, carry on vilifying Vladimir Putin for aggressive tactics, but he skilfully uses the honey pot to further strengthen separatist sentiments.
The West and the government in Kyiv have to address the concerns and problems of eastern Ukraine. Peaceful negotiation is required; otherwise, the needless violence, killing and displacement of people will continue and for certain the region will be lost.
Salary benchmark promising
In Trimming salaries tough task (Aug. 14), mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette states he wants to trim upper- and middle-management salaries that are more than $80,000 -- an honourable election promise.
He picked that amount, as that apparently is what he makes as an administrator from the University of Manitoba, and he's "happy" with that. There are a lot of people in Winnipeg who make far less then this and would be more than happy to receive an annual salary of $80,000.
But because he's happy with his salary, does that make him qualified to set $80,000 as a benchmark for others?
According to the City of Winnipeg website, Mayor Sam Katz earned a salary of $171,400 last year.
If Ouellette were to be elected mayor, would he accept a salary of $80,000? If so, I'd certainly have to consider giving him my vote.
Editorial cartoon in bad taste
I wonder how many people, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, were offended by the Aug. 14 Winnipeg Free Press editorial cartoon (in colour, no less).
We all know there is an ongoing problem with disclosure of remuneration to band leaders. That said, I have never seen chiefs portrayed as gilded high rollers.
There is freedom of the press, but a cartoon in such bad taste just pushes the envelope.
Stanley Mitchell Blady