Letters, June 9
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/06/2022 (352 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Ryerson unfairly maligned
Re: Ryerson renaming offers useful template (Opinion, June 7)
It is sad enough to learn of the demonization of Egerton Ryerson, but even more, it is infuriating to read that the process of misinterpreting history is regarded by some as a positive development in the process of reconciliation.
Ryerson revolutionized the school system in Ontario. He travelled extensively throughout Europe to determine what elements of a good educational system could be incorporated. His accomplishments included the introduction of standardized textbooks, organization of colleges to train teachers, insistence on no-fee education for all Ontarians, and the creation of independent boards to administer schools. He felt “the first aim of government should be the education of the people.”
Criticism has been leveled at Ryerson as having been the “architect” of the (Indigenous) residential school system. In fact, his 1847 report to the Department of Indian Affairs recapitulated many of the progressive principles which had guided the reform of schools in Ontario. His goals for “Indian” education included the belief that education should be made available to all Canadians, not just the children of the wealthy.
It was many years after his death that the Canadian government established the Indigenous residential school system, and though this system incorporated several of Ryerson’s principles. He would have been mortified to learn of the practises and abuses which befell the students in these schools. In his view, governments had the obligation to inspect schools to ensure the teachers and the classrooms were of a satisfactory nature, and that the students were well treated. It was not Ryerson, but the governments who did not monitor, and the religious institutions who did not pay heed to their own Christian values, who failed the students.
Truth and reconciliation belong together. There is enough work to be done in Canada to develop a just resolution of the ruptured relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and governments without going out of one’s way to make a pariah of an honorable man.
Alcohol, tobacco too entrenched to ban
Re: Dangers of alcohol disregarded (Letter, June 8)
Letter writer Brian MacKinnon proposes labels on alcohol products that, like tobacco products, would warn it is a carcinogenic toxin.
The various levels of government in Canada have known for decades that tobacco use kills people but they still allow tobacco products to be sold. There is zero chance governments will ban, or even slap a warning label, on alcohol products.
Tobacco and alcohol are too entrenched in society to ban, which is unfortunate. Imagine the savings in reduced health costs that would be achieved by banning these harmful products. It would far outweigh the taxes collected on these products, I think.
Plenty of shame to go around
Re: Capital projects, critical issues, clear indifference (June 4)
Great reporting from Ryan Thorpe regarding the Winnipeg Police Service building project. It seems to me that former mayor Sam Katz, his CAO at that time, Phil Sheegl, and some councillors have cost the taxpayers of Winnipeg millions of dollars simply by not looking and listening to serious concerns and taking notice of “red flags” that were raised about staff practices and municipal projects long before construction began on the new WPS building on Graham Avenue. Shame on everyone at city hall during that time.
According to Thorpe, a report from 2014 recommended the city create a new job, that of “manager of capital projects,” ideally someone with construction experience. That makes complete sense, but who did the city place in that position? An accountant! Why? Who was responsible for allowing that to happen?
An election is coming up soon for city councillors. Voters should look well at their ballot.
Valuing people with disabilities
Re: Choosing death over disabled poverty (Opinion, June 2)
Columnist Shannon Sampert says we should ask “why our disabled aren’t sufficiently valued…”
Well, disabled is not a noun. Also, I am not “your” disabled.
Using the word disabled as a noun perpetuates undervaluing. If we were referred to as people with disabilities, it might remind others of our humanity.
Gun smuggling can’t be stopped
Re: Proposed gun-law changes on the mark (Editorial, June 6)
I support Bill C-21 for the common-sense proposals outlined in your editorial, which include a “hard nation-wide freeze on the import, sale and transfer of handguns.” In the following paragraph, you acknowledge that criminal use of handguns won’t be halted completely due to cross border smuggling and domestic theft.
Your editorial understates the magnitude of the gun problem facing Canada. I recently read a report dated 2012 which noted as follows: “By 2009 the estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the United States had increased to approximately 310 million: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns. Per capita, the civilian gun stock has roughly doubled since 1968, from one gun per every two persons to one gun per person.”
It is safe to assume that this number has gone up significantly since 2012.
It is virtually impossible to stop the flow of illegal guns from the U.S. to Canada. We have a long undefended border and an understaffed border security service. As long as we have a criminal element, there will be a ready market for smuggled guns.
I fully agree that doing something is better than doing nothing, but we should not be deluded into thinking that Bill C-21 will make a significant dent in gun crime. Just as illegal drugs continue to flow across the border, so will guns.
Hydro’s debt drags down economy
Re: Let PUB do its duty (Letters, June 7)
Letter writer Vince Warden argues Manitoba Hydro rates include the cost of debt repayment over the lives of the assets used to supply service. He says to impose accelerated debt repayment through arbitrary financial targets would violate basic cost-of-service principles, would result in intergenerational inequities and would unduly burden current ratepayers.
Warden neglected to mention that Hydro’s debt has grown to such a level the credit rating agencies took the previously unheard step of downgrading the province’s credit rating due to concerns about the size of Hydro’s debt, and that downgrade has serious financial implications on the province as a whole.
Bylaw prohibits early a.m. noise
Re: Values gas-powered leaf blower (Letters, June 8)
It’s time to remind our neighbours about Winnipeg noise regulations. The Winnipeg Livability Law dictates as follows: “A person must not do any of the following before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m. on weekdays or before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays: That is to say: (a) operate or permit the operation of any mechanical powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, lawnmower or garden tool, snowblower, or similar device out of doors within 150 metres of a residential property.”
Just a reminder, as we have the weekenders who get up early to get their yard chores done without consideration of their neighbours.
Updated on Thursday, June 9, 2022 7:29 AM CDT: Adds links