Letters, April 25
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/04/2020 (836 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Thanks to teachers
I am so grateful to all the front-line workers who work so hard to keep us safe and healthy. I am also so grateful to the teachers who are bending over backwards to help students, parents and caregivers in their efforts to home school. The teachers, many of whom have hundreds of students and many different teaching levels, have been tasked with finding new ways to educate, and they should be applauded. Many of them are also parenting and home-schooling young ones in their own homes who can no longer go to daycare or school.
Not only are they adjusting to new technology and new methods of teaching, depending on what resources are available to students, they also post daily lesson plans, answer emails, accept pictures of completed assignments when the computer program doesn’t work, photocopy texts that cannot be opened online, grade assignments and quizzes, take phone calls to answer individual questions and still make time to send encouraging messages to their students.
The Grade 9 teachers at River East Collegiate have been particularly stellar in their support and patience with adapting new technologies for home learning. I am so grateful to them and thousands more like them. They are thanked and appreciated.
East St. Paul
Premier Brian Pallister is demanding that Manitoba universities come up with plans for deep cuts to their budgets at a time when the research they produce (and the resources to support that research) is needed most. An example is the faculty of agricultural and food sciences at the University of Manitoba.
As the epicentre of food, nutrition and agricultural research in the province, the faculty is essential for navigating and responding to the food-related crises that continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent weeks have seen unimaginable changes to the way we procure, distribute, access and prepare our food. Along this route are critical questions that must be answered immediately and into the near future, that will inform policies to ensure regional and national food security.
Our researchers are conducting, and have potential to conduct, COVID-19-relevant research in the areas of: food safety (food-related transmission dynamics and evidence-based communication to the public), food security (how vulnerable populations are affected by increased emergency food needs that have skyrocketed with school closures and job losses), agricultural economics (seismic changes in the grocery industry; vulnerabilities in food supply chains), plant and soil science (ensuring Manitoba produces robust crops to support healthy food processing), animal science (healthy livestock and dairy industries) and nutrition (obesity and chronic diseases increase risk of COVID co-morbidities; need for food skills).
Cutting support for this vital work is extremely short-sighted. Agriculture is a cornerstone of the Manitoba economy, and ensuring a healthy, sustainable and reliable food supply is as important as finding a vaccine.
Joyce Slater, RD, PhD
Professor of Community Nutrition
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
University of Manitoba
Public space for all generations
Re: Time to park cars outside parks (April 20)
How do us retirees get to these parks to enjoy the fresh air and peace of mind? It’s great to be young and able to walk long distances. It’s great to be able to walk, period. How about the ones who can’t?
Banning cars from parks that my generation and those long before me supported would be a crime, not a “good thing.” As your article says, there are many small neighbourhood parks which don’t have or need cars. But Kildonan Park and “City” Park are for everyone. Please rethink your article and think about your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, who also enjoy the freedom of these parks.
As for Kildonan Park, people paths seriously need to be addressed, and have been for years. Getting rid of cars is not the answer. Noisy show cars and motorcycles should be given a special day and time to strut their wares. Not banned. We all have a right to our public parks.
Also, regarding motor vehicles being limited on Wellington Crescent: that is one of the most peaceful, calming drives in the city. There is a pathway down the centre of the boulevard. Will that not be enough during the week when most people will someday be back at work? Being closed to cars on the weekends is more than an acceptable compromise.
When I was young, I walked everywhere but to downtown from the north side of the city. I rode a bike through the parks.
So now I’m older, and you say “time to stay home” if I can’t walk or ride a bike. That’s not a compromise, nor fair, nor should it even be considered legal.
The premier’s idea of Manitoba being the first to open back up for business is ridiculous. Firstly, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan are ahead of us in terms of eventually being COVID-19-free. We, as a province are, doing well, but we’re not ready and our citizens should not act as guinea pigs.
Secondly, what preparation has been made in establishing safe zones, and safe corridors? Right now, we are entirely dependent on wishful thinking, and arbitrary measures of questionable effectiveness. Simply put, we must assume that COVID-19 could be anywhere. Manitobans have to depend on physical distancing and safe surfaces. While doable, it is severely anxiety-provoking, and bad for business. Weekly shopping is already an exercise in panic, as it is.
Thirdly, until we have a vaccine that is accessible to all, new outbreaks are inevitable. Playing dice with people’s lives, in pursuit of money, is morally reprehensible. Personal services are the most vulnerable realm of contagion.
We do need to rethink the economy, given the new reality. I would encourage the premier to seek public input on functionality of our brave new world, and prevent it from being a place of constant terror, but of conscientious service to each other’s well-being. The world is still in it for the long haul, and we want to be around to enjoy its many benefits. We need to be a good example.
Unions must do part against debt
Re: Pandemic layoff threat ‘menacing’ (April 23)
It seems to me that in the case of our provincial public service unions, the union motto of “all for one and one for all” only applies until they are actually asked to participate in helping to get government deficits under control.
Wouldn’t you think union members would be willing to cut their hours and share work rather than have some of their comrades laid off? Our civic politicians would be well advised to start looking at similar ways to cut costs.
The whole country is going to be in debt up to our ears (not that we weren’t before the pandemic). It is time public unions started doing their share toward controlling our spiralling government debt.
Updated on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 6:37 AM CDT: Adds links