Letters, Nov. 2


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Unnecessary demonization

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Unnecessary demonization

Re: Yeah, we know; some of your best friends are… (Nov. 1)

An important quality in a diverse country such as Canada is how to live in relative harmony despite our different beliefs. Dan Lett demonstrates nicely how not to do that. Although not religious myself, I recognize many Canadians are, and have a right to share their beliefs, ideally without being unnecessarily demonized in the media.

The target of Lett’s diatribe is a woman who asserts same-sex relationships are inconsistent with her beliefs and should not be taught to children as acceptable. She has the right in a free society to express this view, and others can express alternative views, as long as they both obey the law of the land with respect to such issues.

But Lett wants to silence her, although he would undoubtedly deny that. His strategy is to not just disagree with her but to propose an escalating series of attacks on her character.

He asserts that she is a homophobe. The over-used suffix “phobe” has taken on meaning beyond “dislike or fear.”

But even its moderate meaning as an irrational fear seems misplaced here. The woman disputes the acceptability of same-sex relationships given her personal beliefs. That does not mean that she “fears” people who enjoy such relationships.

Lest there be any doubt about the extra meaning of “phobe” these days, Lett explicitly states that the woman doesn’t just “fear” people in same-sex relationships, she holds them in “contempt” and “hates” them. Such words add elements of active hostility toward some groups.

And the notion of hostility evokes images of violence, imagined or real, which Lett again wants to make sure we don’t miss. Now, her sign has morphed into “menacing” as though her words are equivalent to threats of violence.

If Lett wants to reduce hatred, he should avoid writing columns that unnecessarily denigrate people who have different beliefs. It sets a bad example for other Canadians and invites responses in kind.

Jim Clark


Dan Lett’s column is on point about the issue of people not accepting LGBTTQ+ rights but it does not bring up the core of their resistance.

People protesting have not accepted the reality that non-binary people are born the way they are and cannot be changed. Conversion therapies try to suppress their gender orientation but don’t really change who they are.

But there is no danger of cis-gender people being seduced to the so-called dark side. They are born the way they are, too.

James Wingert


My compliments to Dan Lett for his wonderfully articulate and humane column, a model in discussion of human rights and a credit to the Free Press.

Norman Rosenbaum


Re: Teens ‘just running like crazy’ (Nov. 1)

Is it safer to walk after dark in downtown Winnipeg or in East St. Paul?

How many DUIs escaped the scene described in this story? How many under-age drinkers were present?

Do parents of these teenagers monitor them? Will their future be jeopardized if they are associated with this out-of-control house party? Where was the City of Winnipeg police helicopter at the time?

Will our new mayor solve these problems?

Allan Jakilazek


Divisive candy politics

Re: Sweet, sweet verdicts (Oct. 31)

Let me express my outrage at yet more divisive politics creeping into the Winnipeg Free Press. AV Kitching’s unprovoked and unwarranted attack on Coffee Crisp candy bars makes me question the journalistic integrity of your publication.

Before so-called climate change turned Halloween into a summer holiday, we true Winnipeggers went trick or treating in -40 C with our entire costumes hidden under parkas. Uphill both directions.

At the end of the night we would be grateful for the opportunity to bite into that pale brown rectangle, somehow too hard and too soft at the same time, only to enjoy a mouthful of coffee-tinged dust released without warning.

Kitching proposes a full-on ban against Coffee Crisp, while in the same story Ben Sigurdson suggests a “vegan pig-shaped” candy instead. This is not my Halloween.

Aaron Trachtenberg


Voting must be informed

Re: Voter turnout (Letters, Oct. 31)

I share your correspondent Joan Stephens’s admiration for those who put their name forward for public office. But I cannot agree with the concept of “compulsory voting.”

To vote just for the sake of voting does not solve the problem of voter apathy. It can also lead to uninformed citizens voting against their own best interests.

Please, if you are going to vote, let it be an informed decision.

As for same-day letter writer Bob Laventure, I’m sorry he became ill and was unable to vote. I thank him for being responsible and staying home.

But his solution of implementing online voting can only be fulfilled once all corners of Manitoba have reliable and affordable internet. I am afraid his solution would only satisfy those inside the Perimeter Highway.

Wendy Sol


Minority of a minority

The City of Winnipeg has stated 37.5 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the recent civic election. The winning mayoral candidate Scott Gillingham received 27.5 per cent of the votes of this 37.5 per cent.

This means Gillingham received the support of 10.31 per cent of Winnipeg’s eligible voters. He received the support of a minority of a minority.

The good news for Gillingham is that with such a low bar of expectation, it should be easy to keep citizens mollified, if not enthusiastic.

Kurt Clyde


Funds for homeless welcomed

Re: Province increases funding for homeless shelters, rent assistance (Oct. 31)

It is rare that I find a decision by our provincial government something to celebrate. But credit must be given to Premier Heather Stefanson and her Progressive Conservative government for the recent increase in funding to address homelessness in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba.

Rather than blaming the homeless for the situation in which they find themselves, the government is making a positive move to correct a longstanding injustice.

The $9-million investment will do more than just address homelessness. As the poor and homeless are supported, the incidents of crime are sure to drop, benefiting all Manitobans.

Hopefully, this decision marks a change in attitude and policy by our government. To truly make a difference, more money must continue to flow to help fight mental-health and addiction issues.

Brent Corrigan


Cartoon contradiction

Re: editorial cartoon, Nov. 1

Does anyone else see any irony with the Canadian government investigating our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, because he DID SOMETHING to shut down the truck convoy in Ottawa last year, while our neighbours in the United States of America are investigating the previous president, Donald Trump, for NOT DOING ANYTHING to stop the insurrection of January 2021?

Janice Jackson


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