Letters, Dec. 23
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Closure a loss for citizens
Re: City meeting with staff, union on safety concerns before library reopens, mayor says (Dec. 20)
Looking at the conditions the mayor has committed to, it would appear the library will never open again, as it is impossible to guarantee the safety of staff and patrons.
A loss for the citizens of Winnipeg, as another service that enhances the lives of Winnipeggers is lost. Perhaps he will relent.
Families deserve compassion
Re: Protesters demanding search for women’s remains shut down access to Brady Road landfill (Dec. 19)
As a retired parish pastor, I almost always had at least one member lose a loved one in the weeks leading up to Christmas, in several cases through violence. Helping them in such painful loss was the hardest part of my job.
But if, through no fault of their own, those families were unable to give their loved ones a dignified funeral because their bodies had been harshly disposed of in a landfill, well, I cannot imagine such pain. Yet we have brothers and sisters who are telling us that they still are in such pain.
We may not agree that blockading a city landfill is a good tactic, but, at least, can we all just pause a moment and imagine their hurt? People of faith may even offer a prayer for them. But all of us can at least understand that the spiritual meaning of Luke and Matthew’s gospels is this: “Treat every child born on earth as if they were God’s child.”
Well, a lot of God’s Indigenous sons and daughters, through no fault of their own, have broken hearts and wounded spirits, and it’s time for all of us to do what we can to help with their healing.
Re: COP15 nature negotiations head to finish line (Dec. 18)
When I read the headlines, my immediate thought was that deforestation would be dependent on the population of any given country. The greater the growth in population, the more forests are lost as a result of the need for more agriculture and living space.
I found an article that stated population growth is directly related to the increase in the demand for food. In order to meet the demand, 80 per cent of deforestation is attributed to agriculture, with 48 per cent to subsistence farming and 32 per cent to commercial farming.
The article also notes forest cover for a region can be maintained when population density is less than two people per square kilometre — but the population density of the world is 52 people per square kilometre. In How Is Deforestation Related to Population Growth? at Help Save Nature, I found out the population in Canada is 3.92 people per square kilometre, whereas the population in China is 150 per square kilometre, and in India, 451 per square kilometre.
The Canadian Press article notes “developed nations want all to agree to conserve 30 per cent of the world’s land and marine areas by 2030. Developing nations want help to pay for their conservation efforts from the wealthiest countries, whose economic growth has long been built off the backs of initiatives that destroyed nature both inside their own borders and beyond.” The question is, how is this fair, when 48 per cent of deforestration is attributed to subsistence farming in developing nations?
And the question is, how will the conservation efforts from the wealthiest countries have any effect on deforestation, as long as population growth continues to be the highest in developing countries? According to Population Growth: Causes, Effects, Solutions at Assignment Point, “The 30 by 30 target means that all the land in Russia, Canada, China and the U.S. and marine areas bigger than the Atlantic and Arctic oceans combined”! I guess, Russia, Canada, China and the U.S. should just cease to exist!
Solution for Kenaston
Kenaston Boulevard does not need to be widened; two lanes each way are adequate. If it’s good enough for the Perimeter Highway, Bishop Grandin Boulevard, Chief Peguis Trail, etc., it’s good enough for Kenaston.
What needs to happen is the removal of all the traffic lights, and replacing them with overpasses, starting at Academy Road, then Corydon Avenue, Grant Avenue, Taylor Avenue and probably Sterling Lyon Parkway (and eventually all the way past Waverley Street and beyond).
Putting three lanes in between Academy and Grant would mean the loss of so many beautiful mature trees, and the only result would be three lanes of traffic waiting for a light every 500 metres, instead of two.
Putting in overpasses would save those trees, and probably some lives, because so many hazardous intersections would be removed.
There is also some money to be saved, because those traffic lights would no longer need to be maintained. It would also be good for the environment, because there would no longer be hundreds of idling cars every kilometre.
The cost of building overpasses would probably be comparable to the cost of adding another lane in each direction.
Winnipeg has to be the traffic-light capital of the world, and Winnipeg’s traffic flow is so far behind every other city on the Prairies. It’s embarrassing.
Choice can be empowering
Re: Not the time for virtual high school (Dec. 21)
I applaud Matt Henderson’s concern for the most vulnerable learners and his desire to ensure Manitoba’s education system is strong and serves all. However, I’m deeply concerned that this concern is limiting his ability to think about the benefits of making online high school available to Manitoban learners.
Online learning supports a wide variety of non-traditional learners, including but not limited to students with complex medical needs (who may be unable to attend school for periods of time), socially anxious kids, autistic kids, gifted kids, teen parents and older learners. It can also simply allow students to take classes that would otherwise have schedule conflicts in their school, or access classes not offered in their school.
Let’s not Harrison-Bergeron-style “level the playing field” by kneecapping opportunities to excel, but rather let’s see an overall increase in the public school funding so ALL children can be uplifted — able and disabled, advantaged and disadvantaged, urban, rural and remote. Increasing choice in education can be empowering for many.
Let’s not be so afraid of something new that we never try anything at all.
Words, words, words
One of the perks of old age is being allowed to be a curmudgeon, a role I enjoy occasionally.
My current focus is the uncritical media acceptance of terminology without critical examination. Digital and print media continue to disgorge terms such as inclusivity, diversity, institutional racism, genocide, anti-vaxxers, climate catastrophe and on and on.
The constant use of these words and phrases has created fear and division in societies worldwide — including in Canada. But there are valid challenges to them all. Why not provide journalistic comment — and equal time and space? That’s something the Free Press used to be good at.
However, I still read and enjoy the Free Press daily, and wish you and your staff a very Merry Christmas.
Updated on Friday, December 23, 2022 8:49 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo