Letters, June 15

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Think big to address homelessness Re. Don’t dismantle bus shelters (Letters, June 6)

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Opinion

Think big to address homelessness

Re. Don’t dismantle bus shelters (Letters, June 6)

In her letter, Bonnie Thiessen argues it would be inhumane to dismantle bus shelters as this would leave homeless people without a place to go. Although this is indeed a compassionate response, we can all acknowledge that leaving the homeless in bus shelters, even temporarily, is inappropriate at best.

And we all know that moving the homeless out of a particular bus shelter only displaces the problem. City council fails to understand that, and treats a gaping wound by applying nothing more than a bandage.

It is worth noting that Medicine Hat, Alta., took a different and proactive approach to solving the homeless problem.

In 2009, Medicine Hat embarked on a 10-year plan to end homelessness, and since that time more than 1,200 people have been given a place to live. In the same time span, shelter time was reduced by half. This would indicate there are indeed viable solutions to ending homelessness, but success begins with the political will to do so.

I don’t see any of that political will in Winnipeg, and I have not seen any plans put forth to seriously address these issues. We don’t even have to reinvent the wheel here. Maybe a phone call to Medicine Hat would be a beginning.

Mary-Jane Robinson

Winnipeg

Re: Councillors vote to alter bus shacks used as hangouts (June 9)

Now that the homeless have breached the boundaries of downtown and migrated to further reaches, the NIMBYs have raised a demand for action. Not action to address housing and programs for those facing homelessness and substance addictions; they want action to restore their pristine neighbourhoods and to quell their fears.

Well, treating the homeless like a swarm of invaders and dismantling two of the few places they can congregate will not fix the problem or ease their fears. As a matter of fact, it will probably make things worse. When Transit crews arrive to dismantle the shelters, expect hundreds to gather in protest. After all, wouldn’t you defend your home? But then, Transit is likely to do it in the middle of night, and with police supports.

But I say, rather than tearing down their shelter because they use the surrounding area to relieve themselves, why not drop a port-a-potty there instead? They aren’t asking for a multimillion-dollar facility, just a place to use with privacy and dignity.

We need to remember the homeless are a product of our society, our sons and daughters, who once held the same dreams that we do, but may have lost them to mental illness or substance addictions as programs were dismantled to help fight our provincial deficit.

Rather than treating the homeless like a blight on our society, we should be helping them in a meaningful way, even if that entails erecting groups of mini-shelters with common-use washroom facilities. It takes a village to raise a child, and it’ll take a village to bring that child back into its folds. Think Rooster Town.

Randy Clinch

Winnipeg

Garbage a terrible thing to waste

Re: From rotting “trash” to rich treasure (June 11)

Julia-Simone Rutgers writes a compelling article in favour of rethinking our handling of compost. Although we are homeowners and do backyard composting, many others do not have that ability. To hear the Brady Road landfill is Manitoba’s second-largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions in the form of methane, with one billion kilograms of waste sent there, is truly appalling!

It is especially sad when, as the writer points out, between 40 to 60 per cent of that is organic waste, which can be turned into humus, a useful supplement for soil health.

It is embarrassing that Winnipeg is the largest city in Canada without municipal compost collection. Other cities such as Edmonton and Vancouver have found success once a curbside compost collection system was launched. As a city, we are slow in getting this going, but I for one would be in favour of starting curbside collection as soon as possible, hopefully including commercial businesses.

Thank you to Prairie Green Landfill and Compost Winnipeg for their great examples. Perhaps they could somehow be involved to assist the city in planning this.

Marlene Beaty

Winnipeg

Freedom of expression

A recent CTV story on June 8, “Quebec to lift mask mandate on public transit as of June 18,” quoted Health Minister Christian Dubé: “The decision to wear a mask, both in public places and on public transit, will remain a personal choice.” It as well indicated “the health department noted that everyone should respect those who wish to continue to wear a mask to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.”

Where, in Quebec, is the personal choice and respect afforded a Muslim who chooses to wear a head-scarf, a Jew who chooses to wear a kippah, a Christian who chooses to wear a crucifix? What is the public risk?

I recall NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s encounter, when, according to Global news in October 2019, a man accosted him with a comment to take off his turban, buttressing his point with: “In Rome, you do as the Romans do,” to which Singh responded: “This is Canada; you can do whatever you like.” Touché!

Dr. Yale Erenberg

St. Marys, Ont.

Canada changing for the better

Re: Judge history with context (Letters, June 11)

Robert Foster’s letter asserts Egerton Ryseron was unfairly maligned and demonized because Ryerson’s role in the creation of the residential school system is not being considered within the morality of that time period.

If I understand this “defence,” it would mean that Ryerson was only a symbol of a very bad and immoral time in Canada’s history and that Ryerson should continue to be remembered and honoured by having his name attached to institutions across the country.

In reality, the naming of institutions after people such as Ryerson reflected the biased view of the white men who held the levers of power in government and other institutions in that “amoral” time period. Thankfully, Canada is slowly changing.

Irwin Corobow

Winnipeg

Still one great city

Re: New civic slogan can’t capture city’s complications (June 11)

Can Jen Zoratti be correct that the recently unveiled logo and vacuous slogan for Winnipeg, “Made from what’s real,” was the result of “over two years of research and consultation?” With whom did they consult? How many Winnipeggers gave their suggestions?

In the past few days, I have heard and read many excellent suggestions for new slogans from ordinary Winnipeggers who were reacting to the banal “Made from what’s real.” They came without charge.

Two years of any consultant’s time will have come at considerable cost, so maybe a more appropriate slogan would be: “Winnipeg — ripe for the picking.”

John Lehr

Winnipeg

Much controversy has centred around the new slogan for Winnipeg.

In my knowledge of the city, we are community. We have parks, interesting locales, unique neighbourhoods. Great restaurants, shopping and leisure activities.

Not to mention the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Manitoba Opera, as well as all the community arts groups.

Want sports? The Blue Bombers (football), the Winnipeg Jets (hockey), the Winnipeg Goldeyes (baseball).

Then there is the iconic Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

So, after a 30-second thought process, I came up with: “Winnipeg … we have it all.”

Hannon Bell

Winnipeg

History

Updated on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 7:34 AM CDT: Adds links

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