Letters, Jan. 2


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Browsing the bookstores

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Browsing the bookstores

Re: If you rebuild it… (Dec. 27)

It was great to see Winnipeg’s premier used bookstore, Bison Books, on the front page. This year, hard times have befallen the used-book trade in this city, with two stores closed — Zed Books and Dog Eared Books — and two more posting their impending closures on facebook — Family Book Exchange and Nerman’s, the latter a real loss to the Osborne Village area.

Another neighbouring used bookstore, Burton Lysecki Books, has been online-only since the pandemic shuttered its street-level business.

It’s easy to find the books you want online these days, for those with the comfortable income to pay shipping costs. But nothing beats browsing a well-curated bookshop such as Bison Books, or exploring a seemingly infinite number of shelves such as Red River Books boasts. You’ll be sure to find a treasure or two that you didn’t even know you needed!

And please, rather than dumping that expensive online-purchased book at a thrift store once you’ve read it, bring it down to one of our surviving used bookstores, where it’ll find its way to readers who want it.

Vince Tinguely


Addictions, homelessness linked

Re: Crisis response requires paradigm shift (Dec. 27)

Marion Willis, co-ordinator of St. Boniface Street Links, has written a very important article decision-makers need to read. She itemizes the links of so many of our social problems to illicit drug use. People I meet continually ask me where our increase in homelessness has come from.

This article clearly states much, if not most, comes from addictions. While in the short term, we need to increase our shelter and low-cost housing to keep people with addictions safe, to properly deal with homelessness we need a much more effective system of helping those who are addicted.

As a member of the Joint Task Force on Illicit Drugs mentioned in the article, I am shocked at the lack of action on its recommendations. Hopefully our new mayor will take the time to read the report, read Marion Willis’s article and think of the paradigm shift in thinking required before making decisions that will not reduce homelessness and addiction in the years to come.

Sel Burrows

Co-ordinator, Point Powerline


Convoy protesters unwelcome

Thank you, Tom Brodbeck, for your opinion piece on the convoy “reunion” planned for February (“Convoy brats desperate to regain celebrity status,” Dec. 27). I agree with you. I value our right to protest, but that does not include occupying a city and tormenting residents with constant noise.

Leanne Hanuschuk


Re: Convoy reunion set for Winnipeg raises concern (Dec. 27)

So there is a “convoy” going to be occupying downtown Winnipeg, probably near or at the legislature, from Feb. 17 to 20, four days of honking horns and just being ridiculous.

The mistake the powers that be made when the “freedom convoy” occupied downtown Ottawa was that they did nothing, until it was too late. The people in power in Ottawa should have acted immediately and prohibited any form of overnight parking and kept that whole area of downtown Ottawa clear; instead, they waited until the “freedom convoy” firmly planted itself, which eventually required the police and others to start removing the encampment.

The world was watching this take place, which is what these occupiers wanted.

It would be comforting to think that Premier Heather Stefanson, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen and the Winnipeg chief of police would be meeting to prepare for this event and “nip it in the bud,” and not have the rest of Canada watching how our province handles this.

Ken Butchart


Privileged mindset

Re: Manitoba Opposition leader rejects accusation he would defund police (Dec. 27)

Premier Heather Stefanson’s chastising of Opposition Leader Wab Kinew, for what she sees as the likelihood he will “defund” police, is politicking on autopilot at a time when we could use a more humble leader. The premier’s words regarding violent crime and repeat offenders last November, “Enough is enough,” were empty words that came directly from her life of privilege.

They reveal no discernible cerebral input from her or the Progressive Conservative party. This is not a file where Conservatives feel they need to have their thinking caps on. The premier’s views show neither ability nor motivation to achieve a broader understanding of our profound social ills. To turn to aggressive enforcement in responding to festering cultural wounds to which our police, judiciary and prisons consistently contribute is badly out of step.

“Enough worrying about the safety of your children as they head to school, out to parks, out with their friends. Enough of worrying about your safety when you go downtown to work or to a sporting event…” There’s worry about people from Tuxedo going to a high-end sporting event downtown, but Indigenous women are only considered when they fight for it tooth and nail.

There’s no worry about Winnipeg’s urban renewal plan, which simply waits for tragic fires to create space for aggressive gentrification. There’s only one solution: lock them up and throw away the key. That is a purely political solution, and that’s all the premier and the party have to offer.

The prisons the premier would throw people into are ugly, colonial places that increase violence as much as protect people from it. Our police, judiciary and prisons do significant harm, and calls to defund them are a legitimate demand that is well thought through and should be heard and understood. All systems — prisons, health care, education and more — affect different people differently, and those who preside over all these systems and government ministries need to be able to explain how they will be accountable for their privileged thinking.

The premier wields patriarchal enforcement as the first and last choice, more violence and less accountability to people already suffering enormously. Using overworked police, overworked judicial systems and horrible over-filled prisons to throw people into for a cheap political point disrespects the process, or even the notion of reconciliation, completely. On the justice front, the premier has no clue and doesn’t seem to feel the need to have one. That is the essence of privilege.

Herb Neufeld


Holiday info

Being a longtime daily subscriber to the Free Press, I was very disappointed that certain vital information was missing from both the Dec. 24 and Dec. 26 editions.

In past years, before the Christmas holidays, the Free Press always printed such vital public information as to what hours venues are open — i.e. shopping centres, etc. — what services are available, such as garbage pickup, and also what public venues are open on the holidays — The Forks, parks, etc.

This year, none of this information was made available to Free Press readers. Printing this would serve a very useful purpose; much more than reprints from the Washington Post!

Please consider this for future editions.

Ruth Humberg


Happy 150th

Congratulations to the Free Press on turning 150.

The Nor’wester precedes you; a few months after it began, my great-great-grandmother’s brother, James Ross, became a co-owner and editor. Eventually the press moved to the Ross farm; Winnipeg city hall is on part of that land, sold cheap or donated to Winnipeg.

William Coldwell, also an owner, married Jemima Ross, a sister, so he’s part of the family. Not to be confused with the second Jemima Ross, previously married to William Ross. Red River was a tight community.

Michael Black

Westmount, Que.

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