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Drones indefensible

Re: CIA boss Brennan on the hot seat (Feb. 7). John Brennan defends the use of drones as a more 'humane' form of war. Precisely what does he mean by humane?

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These pilotless weapons do reduce the casualties to American soldiers but Brennan is ignoring the civilian casualties associated with these strikes.

Further, the targeted killing by these drones applies to American citizens who are suspected of links to al-Qaida and have taken part in a plot against America. The operative word here is suspected. Since America prides itself as the epitome of democracy, shouldn't any suspect be given a day in court instead of being targeted for a drone strike?

I find it hard to believe Americans would willingly accept such manifest erosion of basic rights. The Obama administration needs to clarify its position. In any democracy, it does not matter what is the crime, one deserves a day in court.





Squandered skills

Re: Aveos still idle despite ruling (Feb. 5). It should come as no surprise to anyone that Aveos is still idle despite the recent Quebec Superior Court ruling. Of course, this company is idle. It is poised on the edge of the cliff of total bankruptcy and with a slight push will go where all other failed businesses in Canada go: into obscurity, never to return.

Of course, that does not prohibit the Big Red Leaf from resuming the job of performing maintenance (read overhaul) on their fleet of aircraft in-house. After all, they had over 70 years of experience in this field, were world-renowned for technical ability and expertise, and at one time considered the employer of choice in the aviation sector in Canada.

This current ruling will, of course, be appealed. If Air Canada is not successful in this approach, it likely will appeal to the current Conservative government to intervene and re-write the Air Canada Public Participation Act to reflect the desire to divorce themselves of ever having to do heavy overhaul maintenance again.

This will be seen as good news for the off-shore and American aircraft maintenance facilities already involved in maintenance for Air Canada, not so much for those laid-off Aveos employees here in Winnipeg and other cities in Canada.

Yes, the hangars at the end of Saskatchewan Avenue here in Winnipeg are empty, silenced by corporate greed, likely not to be receiving aircraft any time soon. And that is a shame.





Yeah for Hudson

Hudson the polar bear, the first at the Winnipeg Zoo's new International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, is a great addition to Winnipeg. The zoo has needed a pick-me-up, and opening the polar bear exhibit with Hudson will help out a lot. Not only will this bear be a new attraction, but the zoo is also helping to save the polar bears and keep them from harm in the wild.

Many Manitobans forget we are unique in that Churchill has many polar bear sightings. They are native to our province, and I think we need to celebrate that.





Political hypocrisy

Our government is allowing the construction of a logging road in the Grass River Provincial Park. Why? To do some logging, of course. But, then, we cannot send a hydro line down the east side of Lake Winnipeg, because it is a world heritage park.

But this same government has started road construction up the east side of the lake to the reserves. Why? To save money and provide the reserves with an affordable way to get in and out.

So what is the difference between sending a hydro line down the east side versus a regular road? We would save millions of dollars, which can then be used for more roads and better access for the reserves and maybe discounted hydro costs for Manitoba taxpayers.

We need politicians who watch taxpayers' money, provide roads and opportunity for the reserves, provide Manitobans with discounted hydro rates and preserve and protect our environment.





Communal feast

Gone is Riediger Foods, the family grocery store that served its community for decades.

The menu at Tim Hortons doesn't feed a family of five, anybody knows that. Now is the time to eat communally; communal kitchens are the answer. That ought to show them, the big grocery chains. Communities will take care of their own by cooking nutritious meals and extending the already thriving community food-growing efforts.

Communities should be protected by bylaws to guarantee basic services, grocers, doctors' offices and banks, just like community recreation and green parks.



Winnipeg Beach


In whose interest?

Re: Teachers' union willing to pay to name class (Feb. 6). Paul Olson, president of the Manitoba Teachers' Society, puts forth a very passionate plea for all Manitoba public school teachers to approve a plan to name the new classroom at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights after the MTS in perpetuity. The cost for this naming right would be $1.5 million.

I find Olson's plea both bewildering and disconcerting. How would making a contribution of $1.5 million to the museum actually promote the goals of the Manitoba Teachers' Society?

I think it is quite clear that the purpose of the MTS is to protect and enhance the welfare of teachers. The society should not be in the business of contributing large sums of money to various organizations, no matter what their cause or importance might be.

The task for Olson is to prove that $1.5-million contribution to the museum is not only of value, but truly furthers the goals of the society. On the surface, it appears that the efforts of Olson are not only misguided but self-serving.





Mourning Bambi's kind

It is heartening that most public reaction to the Manitoba Conservation officers' shooting of the pet deer "Bambi" at Windy Bay Hutterite Colony was motivated by compassion for the deer. I wonder if this reaction will lead to solutions for the untimely and often painful problem of the deaths of more wildlife that occur each year because of human activities.

Vehicles and agriculture kill and maim disturbing numbers of creatures annually. What about the caribou living in critical habitat in the Grass River Provincial Park? They are now faced with the constant danger of collisions with Tolko logging truck traffic and negative impacts of fragmentation of their habitat from construction and operation of a Manitoba Conservation-approved road through the park.





Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 12, 2013 0

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