Gas pump ripoff
In the article Pump jump (June 14) the Free Press writes, "the price increase (at the gas pumps) has nothing to do with supply and demand in North America. The culprits are traders on Wall Street who are nervously eyeing how sectarian tensions could affect global supplies."
I would change the word "nervously" to "greedily" for those "culprits" who speculate on the slightest tremor in the world markets. Why not wait until global supplies are actually affected? Our refineries in Canada are working today as they were before the outbreak in Iraq, gasoline is being delivered and pumped in Canada without any problems the last I read and heard. Why should troubles 10,000 kilometres away affect us now when our supplies are secure?
This increase is nothing but false inflation based solely on greed! These traders often call themselves "risk takers." Where is their risk when they inflate the price to hedge their bets? It is called "high finance" and we common people just simply do not understand the markets. As one of the common people I have enough common sense to understand a rip-off when I see it!
A vote for leadership
Thank you for your editorial A mayor with power, purpose (June 16) supporting the "strong mayor" model which the Winnipeg Charter upholds. I can attest to the importance of this practise to effective governance. All that is needed is leadership, and considerate scholarship from all elected members of council.
Cats elusive, but there
Re: Chance encounter with cougar in Manitoba (June 12). I would like to comment on the contention that the animal must be from the Dakotas and that "if the Manitoba cougar is a young male searching for a female, he won't have much luck." There have been many sightings in western Manitoba in the past 30 years and while there are only a few that have been killed or photographed, there is definitely an indigenous population that ranges from the Duck Mountains and Riding Mountains through the Shell, Assiniboine and Qu'Appelle valleys.
In about 1984 I was travelling through the Duck Mountains to the Benito area with Alex Goodman from Roblin. About two miles south of the Madge Lake corner we spotted what we thought was a deer laying on a hillside along the highway. We were approximately a half kilometre from it when it got up and the long tail and long, low-slung body were unmistakably those of a cat.
There have been many sightings in our immediate area including quite a close encounter of a lone animal by my sister and sister-in-law, and a sighting of a mother with two kits in the Shell Valley by Eric Nernberg and two other deer hunters.
These are a few of the sightings to which I had a close connection. Now, like Joanne Hutlet, I too feel that "they are very elusive, very hard to find. But they are here."
Value of media
Re: No place for 'idiot culture' in news (June 14). The "best obtainable version of the truth," as Carl Bernstein said, is the goal of professional journalists. It is also critical to maintaining democracy or slowing its erosion.
The general public needs to support the efforts of those in the media to inform and enlighten us about issues and activities that those in power may prefer to keep citizens in the dark about. We also owe them a huge debt of gratitude for stories like that of CBC Radio's Enquete team, for example, which first exposed the widespread web of crime and corruption in Quebec that now forms the basis of the Charbonneau inquiry.
Investigative journalists are all the more necessary in these days of spin, repeated talking points and slick advertising campaigns by secretive governments, corporations and others with the financial means to muzzle and obfuscate.
Ignorance and complacency are not bliss. Power needs to be held to account. Kudos to the organizers of the international conference on investigative journalism, democracy and human rights held at University of Winnipeg, June 13-15.
Unsound online survey
Two words from Canada's "greatest hero" best describe the Heritage Department's statistically unsound online survey used to generate its skewed, flash-mob results (Trudeau tops list of nation's most admired figures, June 16): "Fuddle Duddle!"
Add a maze
Let me add this to the suggestions by letter writers Wilma Sotas and Paul Forest for the planned development of the remaining property at The Forks. How about a labyrinth or maze, of the sort highlighted in the books of Carol Shields? These are restful, peaceful, contemplative, and entirely suited to the surroundings. It would also be a nice adjunct to the human-rights museum.
A way to rid rodents
Re: No excuse for using poison that threatens kids, pets (June 12). Gordon Sinclair's timely column raises good questions about poisoning Richardson ground squirrels in public parks. Not only does this poison directly threaten our domestic pets and children, but there is evidence that it stays in the food chain. The rodent poison takes several days to cause the victim's death, and the weakened animal becomes easy prey for carnivorous birds, snakes and mammals.
As a result of eating poisoned prey, the predators became vulnerable to mange and other infections, as well as suffering from internal bleeding.
One harmless method to get gophers and ground squirrels to move away, with no cost but the labour, is to fill all den openings with a mixture of soil and canine solid waste. Dog-walkers would empty their plastic waste bags into labeled barrels of sand to provide the mixture. Placed into burrows this mixture repels ground-dwellers, and helps reduce the number of hazardous holes in the turf.
Jean A. Paterson