Letters, Jan. 17


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Seeing the light I read with interest “Defective purplish street lights being replaced but aren’t a safety concern, Hydro says” (Jan. 14) by Kevin Rollason on the large number of purple street lights that I have seen on various Winnipeg streets. It is good there appears to be a commitment by Manitoba Hydro to address this problem.

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Seeing the light

I read with interest “Defective purplish street lights being replaced but aren’t a safety concern, Hydro says” (Jan. 14) by Kevin Rollason on the large number of purple street lights that I have seen on various Winnipeg streets. It is good there appears to be a commitment by Manitoba Hydro to address this problem.

As a senior citizen, I find adequate lighting while driving at night is increasingly important to me. These “purple lights” do not suit the bill. I don’t agree with the spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro’s claim that this is not a “safety issue.”

This is definitely a safety issue, especially given the poorly visible lane markings and winter driving conditions in Winnipeg. The statement that the volume of light is the same is an empty claim, and appears intended to reassure rather than recognizing and addressing the problem. The spectral distribution of the light is very important.

The switch, years ago, from mercury vapour lamps to sodium vapour lamps and their associated colour (orange tinge, closer to the peak sensitivity of the human eye) is a great example of how visibility can be improved by changing the spectrum of the light used. The human eye is most sensitive to a spectrum that peaks in the red/orange and very much less so in the blue.

I am relieved Hydro is attempting to address the problem through warranties, but am anxious the problem is not going to receive a timely fix.

Kumar Satish Sharma


Analysis needs more depth

A Free Press editorial written when Erin O’Toole was leader of the Conservative Party described the CPC as “a hot mess” (“Risky election call as pandemic persists,” Aug. 13, 2021).

I believe the Free Press analysis of the CPC at the present time also is a hot mess.

Your paper vaguely hints the party should resurrect the Progressive Conservative party, which expired in 2003. You ignore the fact this Progressive Conservative party suffered the biggest repudiation in Canadian history in 1993. You also fail to note the last two torch-bearers of Progressive Conservatism, Peter MacKay and Jean Charest, failed in their bids for party leadership.

The most significant fact is that Charest, a former premier of Quebec, was trounced by Pierre Poilievre in Charest’s home province.

If the NDP is often described as Liberals in a hurry, then the Free Press sometimes hints that Conservatives should be cautious Liberals. That term, if it ever had cogency, died when Justin Trudeau yanked the Liberals to the left, with the resulting working alliance of the Liberal and NDP parties.

As of January, 2023 the Free Press has been reduced to pointing to Poilievre and shouting, “Donald Trump.”

This totally ignores the fact the two systems of government are different, constitutional monarchy and democratic republic, and that Trump would have been exposed much earlier if he had been required to respond to intense grilling in a House of Commons.

It’s time that the Free Press gave us a detailed, mature analysis of the CPC and not comic-book caricatures.

Kurt Clyde


Who’s getting coverage?

Re: Political leaders who live in glass houses… should look in a mirror (Jan. 13)

Although I appreciate the view that the provincial Liberal party gets more attention than it should out of a sense of obligation from the media, I am too cynical to believe that is the true motivation. Most mainstream media outlets are centrist at best, but a majority tend to lean right.

Giving the Manitoba Liberals as much space as the media does contributes to the vote splitting that goes on. The provincial Green Party gets a considerable amount of ink, as well, as it is seen as a left-leaning party, even though its financial platforms regularly skew to the right.

And if you are thinking it’s not true, how much space has been set aside for the People’s Party or the Keystone Party — two groups that push further right than our provincial Progressive Conservatives and would most likely take votes from them. Why is it the Conservatives are always going up against the NDP, Liberal, and Green candidates during election debates, especially leadership ones, but other right-leaning parties are absent?

The same goes for polling. Somehow the Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and Greens are considered the major parties in our province, even when there are other parties listed on the ballot. Everyone not part of the four parties just gets stuck under “other.”

And clearly, you do not need a seat in the legislature or official party status to get a spot in the debate or on a poll. The Greens have proven this time and time again, as have the Liberals.

Don’t lock out any party that doesn’t have official party status, but do open it up so every party has an equal opportunity to be heard. And if you want a seat at the debates, I think it’s only reasonable that your party has to be running the minimum number of candidates throughout the province required to form government. If you aren’t, then your platform has little chance of contributing anything to the debate other than distraction from those who could actually end up having to implement a platform.

Brian Spencler


Different view of late pope

John Wesley Oldham suggests Archbishop Gagnon is being selective in his reading of church history (“Pontiff’s legacy,” Letters, Jan. 13).

First of all, not only Archbishop Gagnon, but a large number of other prelates, government officials and ordinary people who knew Pope Benedict have remarked that in spite of his towering intellect he remained a very humble and kind person.

Because Cardinal Ratzinger was such a renowned theologian, Pope John Paul II asked him to be the head, not of a modern day inquisition, but of the congregation responsible for the integrity of Christian doctrine, where he may have rightly opposed false teaching but certainly did not attack anyone.

As far as the accusations against Ratzinger/Benedict that when he was an archbishop, he covered up abuse by priests and merely transferred them to other parishes, these are unproven accusations that do not square with the known fact that he defrocked more than 800 priests for the crime of abuse and met often with their victims.

Yes, someone is reading church history in a selective fashion, but it is not Archbishop Gagnon.

Robert Schwenk


Canada has a stake

To Cal Paul (“Sticker shock,” Letters, Jan. 14) and others who think Canada should not be financially supporting Ukraine because we need to spend the money here — how much do you think it will cost us if Vladimir Putin keeps the chunk of Ukraine he has troops in and negotiates a cease-fire, and then turns his eye on another weak neighbour with scarcely defended land: the Canadian Arctic?

Oh, we could call on other NATO countries for support, but we would bear the brunt of the fighting in a region where most materiel must be flown in at great expense.

Ukraine is fighting for all the nations seeking stability of UN-accepted boundaries. Canada has a stake in that.

James Wingert


Best wishes from loyal reader

I couldn’t believe the emotion that welled up inside me when I read Melissa Martin’s article “Pause and reflect” (Jan. 13). Although I have never met her, it felt as though I was saying goodbye to a close personal friend.

She is a gifted writer, and I have always been touched by her turn of a phrase, her insights, her passion and her heart. I wish her a year of reflection, discovery, reinvigoration and deep satisfaction. And like all her loyal readers, I can’t wait for her to come home.

April Phillips



Updated on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 7:42 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo

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