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Letters, Jan. 7

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Addiction a disease, not criminal act

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Opinion

Addiction a disease, not criminal act

Re: Two cities, one drug crisis, two different approaches (Dec. 31)

You never think your child is going to be an addict. You never think you’ll be the one pulled down into a whirlpool of helplessness by a substance that enters the body of your son or daughter and will not leave. Once you’ve experienced this, you understand drug addiction is a disease, not a criminal act. And it does not discriminate — both privileged and disadvantaged people are at risk of becoming addicted to these substances, which can, and often do, kill.

That’s why we need supervised consumption sites — to save the lives of people who happen to be addicts. While it’s true they often end up homeless — owing partly to the outrageous absence of affordable housing — you’d be surprised how many of them have grown up just like you and me: educated, living in pleasant neighbourhoods with caring parents, good friends and boundless opportunities.

Perhaps if Premier Heather Stefanson or Minister of Mental Health and Community Wellness Sarah Guillemard knew someone intimately who took drugs, it might change their minds about the need for supervised consumption sites. (Not to mention all the evidence pointing to their capacity to save lives.) The argument that these sites would encourage drug use is a dangerous misconception that feeds the public-health policies of this government. Even the polls show Manitobans are overwhelmingly in favour of supervised consumption sites.

I’m one of the lucky mothers who didn’t lose their child to drugs, thanks, in part, to a Winnipeg Free Press interview that pushed my kid to the top of a methadone program’s 100-plus wait list. But Arlene Last-Kolb, whose 24-year-old son Jessie died of a fentanyl overdose in 2014 (as mentioned in the article), was not that fortunate.

Manitoba has programs that help addicts and recovery options that work — just not enough of them. And sometimes, by the time you get there, it’s too late. Meanwhile, why not have supervised consumption sites that save lives now? If it were your son or daughter who wore the label of “addict,” what would your answer be?

Robbi Goltsman-Ferris

Winnipeg

Rural auto shops left in the dark

Gabrielle Piché’s piece about backlogs in both car and home repairs (“Hurry up… and wait,” Dec. 31) was well done.

As someone who recently needed to go through the MPI claim process, I encountered an additional backlog.

Regardless of where someone lives in the province, if an accident occurs in Winnipeg, MPI demands auto-body work be done within the confines of an imaginary circle that expands no further than 16 km outside of the city, a boundary which barely makes it to my community of Île des Chênes.

MPI’s intransigence means rural auto-body shops are left in the dark when it comes to possible work, backlogs grow unevenly, and customers are forced to use Winnipeg shops rather than have the ability to choose where their car is fixed.

I paid hundreds to get my car towed to a rural shop to try to avoid some of the backlog, but not everyone has that ability. It’s time MPI reviews this policy.

Joey Dearborn

Île des Chênes

Libertarianism and authoritarianism

Re: Lawyer charged in relation to spying on Manitoba judge (Jan. 2)

If truth be told, the libertarian mindset has little to do with individual liberty and everything to do with its diametric opposite that being authoritarianism. One would think history has proven, time and time again, that to successfully undermine the very tenets of a democratic society rests within the capacity to fundamentally deconstruct the foundations upon which democracy is predicated, after which power and authority become wielded by those most capable of instituting intimidation and fear as the very basis of their survival.

I seem to recall the convoy leaders of 2022, the so-called, self-described “libertarians,” were demanding they be designated the authority to appoint a new government — so need one say more?

John Carpay represents the worst possible extension of this ethos. Playing the system to fundamentally deconstruct it is, thankfully, something the vast majority are capable of recognizing, and I, for one, would hope his legal career is relegated to the trash.

By attempting to legitimize the convoy leaders’ rights, he demonstrates his own profound lack of both constitutional law and human decency. Our legal system can ill afford the predatory nature of his behaviour, and I might only hope Carpay will be provided a sufficient time-out to ponder his future and precisely where he stands with respect to his allegiance to the system of governance which has, thus far, provided him with his soapbox.

Dan Donahue

Winnipeg

Counting the years

I’m curious as to why the article “Bolt-on electrification” (Jan. 3) needed to report the ages of Oliver Montague’s wife Hayley and his chief technology officer Dmitro Khroma. Every other person mentioned is “ageless,” including the reporter.

Don’t understand how the age of the aforementioned has any bearing on the purchase and installation of an e-bike conversion kit by the reporter.

Ursula Delfing

Winnipeg

One word: reusable

Re: Restaurants debut new takeout ware amid phase-in of single-use plastics ban (Jan. 3)

In reading the above-named article I was reminded of our experiences of living in a number of different countries in years past. In some countries, we brought our containers to the store; the container was then weighed, filled with whatever we were buying, and then weighed again to determine the amount being purchased with the cost written on the container.

Of course, this is more labour intensive, but the savings were that the store did not need to purchase takeout containers for customers, resulting in no plastic waste. Meat was wrapped in paper; drinks were sold in your own containers as well. The point was to eliminate pre-packaging where possible.

I was always impressed with this system. It meant more work for the customers, but saved in many other ways, particularly in extra packaging.

If many of our food containers were designed to facilitate such a system, we could eliminate a significant portion of food plastic waste. Just a thought.

Ken Reddig

Pinawa

Travelling for surgery not easy

Re: Let patients travel for procedures (Letters, Jan. 3)

The province now making this a viable option for surgeries is a wonderful option, but not such an easy one.

This time last year, my husband and I were making plans to travel out of province to Calgary for my hip replacement surgery. We actually booked ourselves on two separate airlines to ensure we would get to depart as scheduled.

For two seniors, the stress of travelling in the dead of winter, during the peak of the Omicron wave, was almost too much. There were many arrangements to be made in Calgary to be ready for the surgery as well, so lots of cab trips that always involved asking the drivers to put their masks on properly.

Being away from home and staying in a hotel after surgery is not an easy or comfortable way to recover, but we survived. The easiest part of this whole process was the surgery itself, as my Calgary surgeon performed an anterior procedure which allows for a much easier recovery — a procedure not performed here, I’m told.

It’s a big decision to travel away from home for surgery, and for us, it was a very expensive one. I certainly understand why folks aren’t rushing to do this — it was one of the hardest things my husband and I have ever done!

Barbara Ade

Winnipeg

History

Updated on Saturday, January 7, 2023 9:43 AM CST: Adds featured image and hyperlinks to related stories

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