Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
letters Feb. 1
Hooray for Hughes
Finally after four years of gruelling emotional rollercoaster my friend Lesley Hughes has received justice (Settlement clears journalist of anti-Semitic accusation, Jan. 31).
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This lawsuit revealed the dirty side of politics. For some, the destruction of a person is a weapon of choice. I have known Lesley for 20 years. There isn't a trace of racism in her blood. Her only intolerance is intolerance of injustice and violation of personal dignity.
No one in Canada should have to pay such a high price for standing up for justice. Her courage to stand up to political and special interest bullying has inspired many and for that we should thank her. Unfortunately, many Canadians shrivel away under such pressures and never receive justice.
I know healing will take time, but knowing Lesley she will go on to champion yet another injustice and her friends will stand with her and by her.
Cynical scare tactics
Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, is in full damage control, afraid of an audit by an American firm that he feels will certainly mean a reduction in the number of police officers in the city before it has even been commissioned.
It appears Sutherland believes that since his union endorsed Sam Katz in the last mayoral election with a promise of 50 new officers his union deserves special treatment at city hall even though 26 per cent of the city budget is already earmarked for policing. Then his favourite time-honoured trump card is played that "layoffs would leave the public vulnerable to dangerous and violent criminals" even though Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has said over the last decade, the volume and severity of reported crime have both declined.
I for one have the greatest respect for the city police and the job they do, but I also do not believe that Sutherland should be using scare tactics to elicit support from the citizens of Winnipeg. The crime rate in Winnipeg has not gone down despite possessing one of the largest per capita police forces in Canada and millions of dollars spent on more officers each year. Perhaps he should try to work more with management to help produce a more efficient use of current resources.
Many readers may have been shocked to see the picture of the tilted bicycle locked up on the snowbank (Angle parking now in Winnipeg, Jan. 28), but others know better than to be surprised by such a picture.
My early morning workout consists of an outdoor run around 6 a.m. If wearing hiking boots, a balaclava, two jackets, track pants, and thick winter mitts is not enough of a turnoff, the constant threat of injuries from poorly cleaned sidewalks and roadways is.
It is time for the cleaners to step up their game. I have been toughing it out through various sidewalk injuries sustained over these winter months. After a snowfall it takes a minimum of three days for all of the North Kildonan sidewalks to be cleared.
The street graders are of no help to the joggers or dog-walkers either. Their method of snow clearing is counterintuitive, as they push and drop the large chunks of ice and snow onto the snowbanks. These snowbanks then collapse right onto the sidewalk.
Honouring your body should not be looked upon as a chore, but with the lack of care that the snow clearers are giving, running has become quite the daunting task even to a regular like myself.
I became aware through the news coverage of the way justice officials have been instructed to review proposed legislation that might contravene the Charter of Rights. That process concerns me deeply. It is obvious to anyone that the review so lacking in rigour that it puts citizen's rights at risk.
We need politicians to know that making laws that infringe our Charter rights ought to require open public debate, not be hidden behind legal opinion.
We need to improve our protection for public servants and others who uphold the rule of law and the public interest even when their supervisors would have them ignore these. It is time to get much better whistleblower protection into our laws. Readers can learn more about this at the FAIR website (http://fairwhistleblower.ca/).
Hurting the cause
Recent remarks courtesy of Idle No More supporter Terry Nelson demonstrate an appalling level of bigotry and ignorance. During Monday evening's CKY newscast Nelson asserted that "until you stand between the white man and his money, nothing is going to happen."
Hopefully the same voices who rightfully criticized the recent racist commentary in the Morris Mirror will now offer similar condemnation of Nelson's remarks and with equal fervour.
During future negotiations with the federal government, aboriginal leadership would be well served to exclude and distance themselves from individuals such as Nelson, whose perspectives are counterproductive at a time when constructive dialogue is crucial.
Doesn't anyone care?
Do we as human beings care for one another? I would say no, based upon the recent city budget. The politicians cut funding to organizations that help the poor, and increased funding to their own communication budgets so they could sell us a bill of goods.
I contacted my city councillor through the City of Winnipeg website. Of course, I didn't receive a response. I'll probably see her when she knocks on my door at the next election.
The human species will not survive when we have people who care more about themselves than those who have nothing. It's quite clear. The city politicians gave themselves more money to spend on communication so they could get re-elected and cut funding to organizations to help the poor. Is anyone concerned? Is anyone outraged? It doesn't seem like it.
Five up the fight
It was sad to read the article Tories appeal Kapyong ruling a second time (Jan. 22) regarding the federal government's decision on the barracks land dispute. This action is especially significant in light of the Idle No More movement. Isn't history repeating itself -- again?
Perhaps the party in power has forgotten that a federal election isn't that far off. The bills on this issue are mounting, and the taxpayers are paying attention.
Bad parks policy
Re: Loss of cross-country ski trails sends message -- be sedentary (Jan. 30). It appears the government is not aware we are not all beer-bellied, lard-arse, Tim Hortons hockey dads.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2013 A9
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