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City cop poorly treated

It would be inappropriate for Const. Tim Diack or the Winnipeg Police Service to respond to the OPP officer's personal attack on his character (OPP officer unimpressed with city cop, Aug. 13) while testifying at the Bandido murder trial, however, I can.

I originally had a long letter composed in my head but then decided that citizens of Manitoba are as good at reading between the lines as I am. This testimony is an injustice to Diack who handed the OPP their case on a platter. The information provided solved one of the most horrendous murder cases in Canadian history.

When a citizen signs up as an informant for a police officer they put their life in that officer's hands. The officer has to closely guard their identity, even from other police officers and justice officials. When the informant offers information for reward or favour it is the officer who has to negotiate on his behalf and then ensure that the promised reward is delivered. The boys from down east rolled into town and thought they would take over; Diack said "slow down, let's talk this over."

Had they confronted the suspect directly, as they suggested, they probably would have gotten the same results that they got when they confronted the other suspects directly and from what I can see that wasn't very much. There has been no testimony that Diack broke any laws in his pursuit of justice. Let's not let the testimony of this fellow police officer taint the big picture, that Diack solved this high-profile crime and should received the recognition due him.

Stan Tataryn

Winnipeg police inspector (retired)

Ternette opens eyes

It is interesting to note the groundswell of support the community has shown for Nick Ternette, someone whom Danny Schur referred to as "one whose politics you may not agree with, but whose advocacy everyone respected." Our true, but few, local advocates, whatever their stripe, are like gold. Now perhaps we are admitting what we have known, perhaps reluctantly, all along: that maybe, just maybe, one day when our own chips are down, we might have someone like Nick Ternette to advocate on our own behalf.

Shirley Kowalchuk

Winnipeg

It's Selo, not Salo

There was an error in the Aug. 13 review of the Kyiv-Ukrainian pavilion at Folkorama. The name of the dance group was spelled Salo, but the proper spelling is Selo.

KAITLYN McEACHRAN

Anola

Wash your hands

While the Canadian government anxiously waits for H1N1 flu to arrive this fall, there is a much simpler and cheaper solution than stockpiling Tamiflu or an untested vaccine: wash your hands!

Although not as sexy as antivirals, research has found that hand washing with soap curbs the incidence of pneumonia and diarrheal diseases by up to 30 per cent. It can decrease child deaths by 44 per cent. Seems like a pretty simple way to bring big health-care dividends, and much cheaper than drugs!

The Global Sanitation Fund was started last year to help spread this simple, disease-mitigating technique throughout the world, but Canada is not yet a financial supporter. Disease knows no borders and the hygiene over there can affect who dies over here. There's a pandemic coming and Canada needs to grab this inexpensive, low-hanging fruit before spending billions on high-tech laboratory solutions.

NATHANIEL POOLE

Victoria, B.C.

Air cadets raising the funds

The Winnipeg Free Press and other local media are to be commended for their involvement and support of the Mynarski Statue Project (Hometown-hero tribute closer, Aug. 6). This worthwhile community-based project will ultimately see a statue erected to commemorate the memory of a brave Winnipegger, an airman whose selfless deed resulted in the last Victoria Cross bestowed in the Second World War. This statue will also honour all the men and women of Bomber Command who set off into war-torn skies.

A correction and amplification is necessary, however. The Mynarski Statue Project is a fundraising project that is administered by the Air Cadet League of Canada (Manitoba Inc.) and all donations marked: "To the Mynarski Statue Project" should be addressed to the Air Cadet League of Canada (Manitoba Inc.), Box 1011, Winnipeg, MB R3C 2W2.

Bill Zuk

Mynarski Statue Project

Winnipeg

Settlers weren't dopey

Writer Bruce Codere's letter states that Louis Hébert grew cannabis hemp in 1609 while in Acadia. There is no denying numerous websites devoted to the aficionados of the plant's "medicinal" properties support this account. However, it is a misrepresentation to suggest any other use for the plant but to seal the cracks between boards on sailing ships, in clothing, rope and sail making.

Because of short supplies in Europe, a demand was created for hemp and did not imply growth for medicinal purposes. Naval rules as interpreted and practised by the master and captain of the ship would have resulted in serious consequences for anyone caught under the influence of a narcotic or unable to perform the rigorous demands of seamanship -- keelhauling, flogging or hanging come to mind.

It is doubtful that if not for the assistance of the aboriginals and their knowledge of herbal medicine, scurvy would have killed the settlers and sailors. I doubt cannabis sativa would be of much help in correcting the problem. Furthermore, pre-dating both Samuel de Champlain and Louis Hébert, Jacques Cartier recorded what he believed to be hemp growing in the new world. By tying Hébert to the growth of cannabis hemp, Codere and others imply it was for a greater cause: the alleged "medicinal" aspect of the herb! Only a stoner or toker could come up with such a hypothesis.

SERGE MASSICOTTE

Winnipeg

Double standards?

So another aboriginal blockade takes the headlines, and these are not "regular" blockaders, these are "sovereigntists."

They demand more jobs for the local people at the new hydro dam. Finally I get it, if I want a well-paying job with the big guys, MTS, Manitoba Hydro or MPI, all I have to do is cut a few phones lines, blockade a road or two, or run across the road and cause a few accidents.

I've often thought that basing hiring on someone's ability, education, experience and suitability was a crazy idea anyway. Anyone wanting a great paying job with wonderful benefits and a pension, meet me next week at the blockade! No experience necessary.

PETE GROSS

Winnipeg

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Dan Lett calls the recent blockade at the Wuskwatim dam site "as democratic as voting." Does he realize workers were forcibly confined to the worksite by these natives? A blockade not letting workers into their workplace might arguably be democratic expression. Not letting them leave is simply kidnapping.

CLIFFORD WIEBE

Winnipeg

Israel not a sacred cow

Thank you for printing the letters by Leigh Halprin and Beverly McCaffrey (Jews and Israel, Aug. 15). On Aug. 11, John Gushuliak wrote a letter pointing out that criticisms of Israel's actions are often met with accusations of anti-Semitism. By specifically stating that Gushuliak's arguments are indeed anti-Semitic, Halprin and McCaffrey prove his point. Their accusations, like their beliefs about Israel, are not based on fact. For example, Halprin states that Gushuliak's suggestion that all Jews speak with one voice and reject any and all criticism of Israel is absurd, unfair and unjust.

Looking back at Gushuliak's letter, however, he clearly states: "I know that not all Jewish people feel this way; those who do not agree with that view should have the courage to speak up publicly, because the vocal ones who seek to silence all criticism by making people feel afraid of being called anti-Semitic are not contributing to better understanding of tolerance and acceptance." His final statements are clearly directed only at the vocal few. Thank you, Halprin and McCaffrey, for giving a wonderful illustration of Gushuliak's point.

CURT PANKRATZ

Winnipeg

Palestinian rights

I am so tired of religion and politics getting in the way of human rights for Palestinians. Why are people immediately labelled anti-Semitic when they call for equal rights for Palestinians? I don't care what your religion is, all people deserve to be treated fairly and humanely regardless of religion or politics. Using religion or politics as an excuse to treat people badly should not be tolerated by anyone. Israel has every right to exist, but the rights of its citizens should not cancel out the rights of the Palestinians. When people try to stand up for those rights they should not immediately be called anti-Semitic. We all need to work together to find a peaceful solution to this conflict, and name calling does not help the situation.

LAELA JANZEN

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 18, 2009 A1

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