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Depth and perspective

Re: Vitriol-laced pen (April 28). Frances Russell's columns seem to elicit a disproportionate number of negative responses that don't so much challenge content as attack the writer.

Some responses encourage the Free Press to censor her. But I see Russell as bringing a greater level of depth and perspective to current affairs. Her columns, as well as those from across the political spectrum, help to inform me about where to place my vote in the next election.

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    To send a letter for consideration on our Letters page: Fill out our online form at the link above, or Email, or Fax (204) 697-7412, or Mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

For me, this is not about the political right, left or centre, but about our Canadian democratic values. In the interest of freedom of expression, we must all exercise our right to challenge the "content" of an editorial without attacking the messenger.


Ste. Anne


While it is obvious certain Free Press columnists will never, ever run out of venom where all things conservative are concerned, one cannot help but wonder if they are capable of realizing how closely they have come to resemble that which they purport to despise.

Francis Russell, especially, has become almost pitiful in her determination to demonize anything and everything done, condoned or even considered by our current government.

An otherwise capable writer, Russell makes no pretence of being fair or neutral in her supposed role as a political commentator and as such should no longer be afforded that status.

Clinging determinedly to the failed Liberal doctrine that sought to equate Canadian conservatism with American republicanism, all is simple in Russell's world view. To her mind, any initiative sponsored by those on the right is driven by ruthless ideology, while actions undertaken by the left are of course guided by the principles of selfless idealism.

Russell's characterization of Stephen Harper as a bitter, close-minded hyper-partisan engaged in a divisive campaign to discredit all others reads as a mirrored reflection of her self. One hopes, for her sake, that the portrait she paints of herself with her writing is as inaccurate as the one she tries to paint of our prime minister.




Re: The birth of a banana republic (May 2). Frances Russell is right. Webster's Dictionary defines banana republic as "any of the small countries in the tropics, esp. in the Western Hemisphere, whose economies are largely dependent on fruit exports, tourism and foreign investors." And Oxford defines it as "a small country that is politically unstable because its economy is dominated by a single export controlled by foreign businesses."

To be top banana of a banana republic is exactly what Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants.




Detrimental to women

Re: Abortion should be debated continuously (April 28). Tom Oleson seems almost willing to defend to the death a business's right to open on Sunday, but when it comes to a woman's ultimate right to self-determination over her own body, he states that these rights should not be guaranteed, to the detriment of women.

He also blatantly states that a woman has no right to choose what she will do with her body once she is pregnant.

Oleson has written that he has daughters. I guess he's fine with the state restricting their rights to make informed choices.




Thanks to Tom Oleson for his terrific piece on the need for debate on the abortion issue. Canada is a great country, but it is blighted by being the only nation on Earth with no limits on abortion.

Jean Chrétien once said, "The abortion issue is settled." He was very, very wrong. There are millions of Canadians who would disagree, and I am one.




Wee bit of irony

Re: Some perspective needed on city's homicide rate (April 28). Don't you think it might be considered a wee bit ironic to name an automobile bridge, clogged twice a day with vehicles containing one person each, after the mayor whose legacy was a vision for rapid transit?




Misguided ideology

Loa Henry's May 2 letter, Right-wing ideology, on a recent Canadian Taxpayers Federation column took issue with the fact that flood expenses were not mentioned when discussing the NDP's spending track record.

However, even if one excludes flood spending in the 2011-12 fiscal year, the provincial government has still exceeded budgetary targets 11 times in the past 12 years.

Further, Henry claims the article "spouts the same old, same old -- taxes are bad, for corporations." But if she reviews the column again, she will notice it did not say a word about corporate tax rates. In fact, it focused on personal income tax rates and the fact that Manitobans pay the highest taxes in Canada at the $30,000 and $40,000 income levels.

Finally, while Henry suggests the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) would be a better source for information as it "is not beholden to any political party," I would note that the CCPA annually receives thousands of dollars from Manitoba's NDP government. Conversely, the CTF does not receive funding from any government in Canada.


Canadian Taxpayers Federation



Plan in the works

Re. Governments to blame: chiefs (May 2). The 2011 flooding in Manitoba was a historic event that had a serious impact on First Nations communities. We recognize that this is a difficult situation for the people involved and we are working with our provincial and First Nations partners on a plan that will allow evacuees to return to safe, permanent accommodations.

Our priority throughout has been, and continues to be, the health and safety of the First Nations evacuees. To that end, we look forward to the results of the province's flood-mitigation study, which will inform decisions about housing and infrastructure on the existing reserve lands affected by the flooding.

While our priority remains getting evacuees into more permanent accommodations, our government takes allegations of financial mismanagement seriously and will not turn a blind eye to allegations of mismanagement or abuse of emergency funds.

We have been clear that we will recoup any monies that were disbursed to ineligible evacuees. Should we find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing, we will forward that information to the appropriate policing authorities.


Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development



Hypocritical howling

Re: Family welcome (Letters, May 3). Why are the NDP and Liberals howling about Conrad Black being given a one-year temporary Canadian resident permit? Aren't they the same guys who are howling that we should allow Omar Khadr back into Canada?



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 5, 2012 A17

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