Letters, Jan. 19

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Opinion

Powerful art

Re: ‘Shouldn’t have to be doing this’ (Jan. 16)

It’s rare that a work of art is so powerful that it becomes ubiquitous, but that is what happened with Métis Winnipeg artist Jaime Black’s REDress installation. Her powerful artistic statement has transcended the original artwork installation and become a symbol of an entire social movement.

This week, in a poignant front-page article about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Chris Kitching wrote, “Red dresses have become a symbol of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.”

The REDress Project now has many artists contributing to it, but let us please not forget to give credit to its originator, artist Jaime Black.

Michelle Hodgson

Winnipeg

BUILD has proven track record

We are writing to add our voices to those calling for the reinstatement of provincial funding for the BUILD program.

BUILD has many years of proven success in hiring people who are often seen as unemployable (many are recently incarcerated Indigenous people) and providing the training and support to help them become successful workers.

BUILD has more than 1,000 success stories of people who have gone on to employment, supporting families, paying taxes and so on. Along with those graduates, we can count their family members and friends as part of the success story.

Furthur, we can count the taxpayers, who don’t have to pay for their incarceration; the potential victims who will not experience their future crimes; the police who will be less overwhelmed by crime; and so on. Research has shown the community saves $1.60 for every dollar invested in the program. BUILD is truly tough on crime.

Along with the many benefits of investing in the people trained by BUILD, our community continues to benefit from the work the program does. Its workers upgrade low-income housing stock, reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and making much-needed low-income housing more available.

All governments ought to want to save money, address social problems in ways proven to be effective and help create a healthy community. Spending more and more on policing and prisons has not brought the security we all want. Training and employing previously incarcerated persons has clearly worked.

To the best of our knowledge, there has been no explanation by our provincial government for stopping its funding of BUILD. As far as we can see, there does not appear to be a valid explanation.

This should not become a political issue, nor should ideology stand in the way of practical solutions. Spending some money up-front will save a great deal of money in the medium and long term.

We respectfully implore the provincial government to reinstate the funding to a program that is truly “tough on crime.” We hope that Premier Heather Stefanson and other members of the government will heed the call of many people from all political groups to do so.

Gene Degen and Lawrie Cherniack

Winnipeg

The real Poilievre?

Pierre Poilievre’s recent interview with a local station is revealing, if one can get past the “I hate Trudeau”-mania and really pay attention to what he is saying. Poilievre exposes himself as being as shallow a politician as he claims Trudeau to be.

First, he blames the state of health care in Canada on Trudeau and the federal government. Having been on the government payroll for the last 20 years as an MP, and a cabinet minister in the Harper government, he must surely have read the Canada Health Act. He has to know “The provinces are responsible for the management, organization and delivery of health care in Canada,” yet he insist it’s Trudeau’s fault.

I imagine it’s hard for him to blame the provinces, since seven of them are led by conservative governments that have been gutting health care for many years. However, in a rare moment of clarity, he agrees with Trudeau and states that if he were leading the government, “We want results for the money we spend,” which is exactly what Trudeau is asking for.

As a career politician, he knows all media across the country are subsidized. Even the Frontier Centre for Public Policy takes subsidies in the form of a not-for-profit organization designation, free from taxation.

Instead, he records staged podcasts, pseudo-press-conferences or, as he said on Friday, “I select journalists to whom I will grant an interview.” That way there’s no chance of a rogue question for which he doesn’t have a polished and rehearsed answer. That, for almost everyone, is the definition of “controlling the message.”

He also keeps talking about the current bogeyman, “gatekeepers,” obviously referring to career politicians and civil servants. As a 20-year veteran politician, he must certainly be one of those gatekeepers. He just wants to be in charge of the main gate.

Even though he has modified and softened it to make it more palatable to the electorate, if you’re paying attention you can see through the new “talk” and see the real Pierre Poilievre.

Gilles Nicolas

Winnipeg

Re: Poilievre “think tank” event adds to nonsense (Jan. 13)

Just thought I would thank Niigaan Sinclair for his opinion piece with regard to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. It is that kind of information the voting public needs concerning our wanna-be leaders and their connections to extremists.

This Frontier Centre Public Policy group, which decries “anti-white male policies” warning “white males, gun owners and believers in faith, family and freedom” to beware, is clearly racist.

As a retired white male police officer in Winnipeg, a public servant to all citizens, I say their view that the “‘indigenization of universities leads to unqualified professionals” is nonsense. What they fear is the education of First Nations people, and I have seen many well-spoken educated First Nations people fighting for equality these days.

As far as claiming Canada’s response to COVID-19 was a “moral panic” — well, the only ones panicking were the small minority of extremists occupying our streets to get their own way, and thereby imperilling our hospitals and health care.

Poilievre stands with right-wing extremists and white supremacists. Well, I will never stand with Poilievre or any other nonsensical racist leaders. They are dangerous.

Bill vanderGraaf

Winnipeg

The fellowship one keeps

There is much to dislike about our current prime minister. Aloof, entitled, spendthrift, dismissive, etc.

But when the anti-vax, conspiracy-theorist, horn-honking crowd complains, common-sense people have stopped listening. These people have lost their credibility. Camps for the unvaccinated? Treated like Holocaust victims? Screaming at doctors and nurses?

Let the tinfoil hats scream all they want; they’ve long since lost the focus.

Rick Loewen

Linden

Best wishes to Rourke

Re: Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke signs with Jacksonville Jaguars (Jan. 15)

Congrats to Nathan Rourke for signing with NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. After an amazing breakout year in the CFL, I’m sure nobody is surprised.

He was exciting to watch, despite being on the wrong side of the Bombers, and he’s sure to bring a lot of Canadian fans over to the NFL with him, me included.

However, his leaving the B.C. Lions increases the chances for another Winnipeg Grey Cup win just that much. Go Bombers!

Randy Clinch

Winnipeg

History

Updated on Thursday, January 19, 2023 7:54 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo

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