Letters, August 15

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Via must cite colonization I am a non-Indigenous ally committed to truth and reconciliation, to re-centring Indigenous peoples, their lands, stories, languages, traditions and roles in both the history and present of this country.

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Opinion

Via must cite colonization

I am a non-Indigenous ally committed to truth and reconciliation, to re-centring Indigenous peoples, their lands, stories, languages, traditions and roles in both the history and present of this country.

I recently took the train from Winnipeg to Vancouver with my 10-year-old son, who has learned a lot about residential schools and wears his “Every Child Matters” T-shirt with sombre pride.

Canada seems to be making progress in integrating First Nations land acknowledgments into public ceremonies and Indigenous perspectives more broadly into our government institutions, media and communities. But one would not know anything of this from taking Via Rail through western Canada.

After Jasper, Alta., heading west, Via staff began sharing more and more about the places we were passing with announcements over the train’s speaker system. Not once was there an acknowledgment about whose lands we were passing through.

When stories were shared around Kamloops and throughout B.C., they were, without fail, settler stories. The erasure of the Indigenous peoples’ presence was reminiscent of Canada’s first 150 years.

There were many Canadians and international tourists aboard the train. Travellers coming to Canada, and those from Canada, need to know Canada is decolonizing, if indeed it is.

The railroad in Canada played a major role in colonialism, and Via needs to pull its weight in decolonizing how we view the land and our history. Riding the rails in 2022, one doesn’t get the impression that Canada is, in fact, undergoing a transformation.

Alon Weinberg

Winnipeg

Where’s data on COVID-19?

Re: No new COVID wave ‘at this point’: Roussin (Aug. 11)

I’m not sure how Dr. Brent Roussin can say there’s not a new COVID-19 wave when testing is minimal to the public and there’s nowhere to report people who test positive, unless they’re admitted to hospital for whatever reason.

I know of three people who recently tested positive but that was with home-test kits and they only informed close contacts, not medical officials. There was no government website where they could report. Looking at wastewater does not give you an accurate number of people with COVID-19.

More than 30,000 people attended Thursday’s Blue Bomber game, how many are expected to test positive from that event? Or Folklorama? Or concerts?

And here’s the biggest one yet. School is going to start soon.

So, Dr. Roussin, how can you tell? Can you share your secret because I would sure like to know how you can say there’s no new COVID-19 waves when the public has no way of reporting their positive tests.

Leah Durham

Winnipeg

Cut tax on diesel fuel

Re: The inconvenient truth about food inflation (Opinion, Aug. 10)

I am in agreement with Robert Parsons on the matter of the tax on transportation diesel fuel and its involvement in the rate of inflation. Manitoba’s current fuel tax on diesel is 14 cents per litre. By contrast Alberta has since April entirely eliminated its fuel tax on diesel and gas, with the zero rate to be confirmed or reset this October.

The comparison with Alberta is important. Manitoba has for years had a large and innovative trucking industry with upwards of 300 companies and 28,000 trucking-industry employees. If we are to maintain this industry and not lose it by attrition to Alberta, the Manitoba tax regime should match that province’s tax rate, at least temporarily and in tandem.

Parsons points to Ottawa as “the one group most able to do something about it.” Perhaps the one group able to do something is much closer to home, but sadly, once again, it seems the Manitoba government is asleep at the switch.

Sig Laser

Winnipeg

Poilievre among privileged

Re: Poilievre concludes three-day Manitoba tour in Winnipeg (Aug. 6)

Pierre Poilievre can’t seem to get through a speech without complaining about the “elites” and “woke society.”

This is a career politician who has been feasting on the taxpayer gravy train with a salary and benefits worth close to $200,00 a year since his days as Stephen Harper’s attack puppy. He has privileges as a member of parliament that regular Canadians will never have.

He says he’s for law and order, but he openly supported the illegal occupation of Ottawa and blockades of borders that terrorized residents and cost the economy millions for weeks, yet when Indigenous protesters blocked railways, he wanted them cleared out immediately.

As for woke society, the dictionary definition of “woke” is awareness of injustice and racial inequality. This is what he is against?

Jason Sudyn

Winnipeg

Hockey players must own up

Re: It’s time for change at top of Hockey Canada (Opinion, July 29)

The reality is that the acts alleged to have been perpetrated by teenaged hockey players signify a slip in societal norms.

This group of young men were feeling a high level of testosterone, adrenalin that comes from extreme competition and possibly the consumption of alcohol. Also, as elite athletes, they were used to being treated as special and accorded uncommon privileges.

It was a small step to a crowd mentality that they felt said: “It’s OK, do what you want.”

None of this excuses them. It’s an attempt to understand how they got to the point where terrible decisions were made.

No parent, coach or hockey organization could have anticipated this behaviour. The public needs to stop blaming the wrong people. The only possible error on the part of the Hockey Canada group may have been the attempt to cover this up.

The players must own what they did. It’s on all of them, even those who did not participate but failed to step up and stop it. The shame should haunt them forever.

Lifetime suspension from their sport is not too harsh. Maybe it would make others think twice.

John Zaplitny

Carman

Overhauling transit is priority

Re: LRT has considerable appeal (Letters, Aug. 8)

I’m looking for the mayoral candidate who is the most likely to completely overhaul Winnipeg Transit. Let’s face it, many people don’t use the present public transportation system because it is unsafe and inefficient.

I agreed with everything Will Jones said, and his letter made me certain that I will vote for Glen Murray. Like Jones, I also remember that way back in 2001, then-mayor Murray had a plan for LRT in Winnipeg involving those all-important federal funds.

Then came Sam Katz’s double term as mayor. Katz had no vision for public transportation for Winnipeg. And really, neither did Brian Bowman, judging by what’s been achieved in the years that have passed.

Winnipeg needs a mayor bold enough to proceed, bold enough to partner with our federal government.

Winnipeg needs Murray.

Marilyn Bird

Winnipeg

Explain meaning of ribbons

Re: Photograph of Premier Heather Stefanson (Aug. 12)

The Free Press often publishes pictures of people such as politicians who have a coloured ribbon pinned on their coat, hat or dress. The ribbons are significant, representing a message or support for a cause.

For example, Aug. 31 is International Overdose (toxic drug poisoning) Awareness Day, and I will wear a purple ribbon to bring awareness of the 27,000 Canadians who have died since 2016 from drug harms.

In a photograph on Page A3 of Friday’s paper accompanying an article about carbon taxes, Premier Heather Stefanson wears a blue ribbon. What is the meaning of her ribbon?

Free Press staff should in some way include information about what causes such ribbons represent.

Christine Dobbs

Winnipeg

History

Updated on Monday, August 15, 2022 9:16 AM CDT: Formats text

Updated on Monday, August 15, 2022 9:37 AM CDT: Adds links, adds tile photo

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