Letters, Jan. 25


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Choosing MAiD proves complex In regards to the latest article on medical assistance in dying (“Ethical questions burden MAiD expansion,” Jan. 23), I would like to express my own concerns with the program. While I don’t totally disagree with the humane practice of medically assisted death when warranted, I do agree with Alex Passey, who writes, “we have entered into especially messy territory.”

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Choosing MAiD proves complex

In regards to the latest article on medical assistance in dying (“Ethical questions burden MAiD expansion,” Jan. 23), I would like to express my own concerns with the program. While I don’t totally disagree with the humane practice of medically assisted death when warranted, I do agree with Alex Passey, who writes, “we have entered into especially messy territory.”

We have heard of people who have ended their lives early through this program only because they weren’t getting the help they required to meet their daily needs. That is surely a blemish on our society. Especially for the people who would prefer dying over facing the prospect of spending their last days in a care home facility. Something all of us dread, I imagine.

Not too long ago, while in hospital, someone in my family requested the services of MAiD. They were turned down. Then they were labelled as “palliative care” and the family was pressured into taking them home, with the promise of home-care services, which never materialized. We attempted to take care of our family member with the best of intentions.

When that didn’t work and they ended up back in hospital, they had the good fortune to be transferred to Riverview. Quite likely the loveliest place in Winnipeg in which to spend one’s last days. But no doubt a very expensive one. So I am not sure how just a few weeks after getting labelled as “not a MAiD candidate” they were given a second interview. It was certainly a huge shock to me when this family member got their wish to end their misery less than 48 hours after that second interview.

Shouldn’t there be more counselling provided for prospective clients and their families for the final act that is, after all, leading up to the premeditated death of a loved one?

My question is this: has the MAiD program morphed from one that was intended to alleviate the suffering of people, into one that is alleviating extra costs to our government?

Jennifer Richardson


Eyes north

Re: Changing tides? (Jan. 21)

Do not dismiss shipping oil through Churchill as folly. It is still the shortest sea route to Europe and Asia, and yes, the port can be kept open for a longer season. I ask that you tilt your thinking cap a bit and think outside of the box; oil by rail is not the answer. For 20 years, I watched oil car trains rumble by my house in Gilbert Plains, close enough to my home to cause me shudders.

Using the rail path as a “service” road to facilitate and maintain the building of an above-ground pipeline makes more sense. An above-ground pipeline from the oil sands to the port is doable these days, using the materials and engineering now available to dismiss melting-permafrost issues.

How about a triple-layer line of a flexible yet tough polymer that can withstand the temperature, and that catches its own spills? The material is not relevant; just a product that will work.

I worked on all of the Manitoba northern lines, including to Lynn Lake and Churchill, in the 1960s and know the line can be maintained. We kept it open and running daily trains; you just plan for the weather and understand your route will not be in a straight line.

This line would run oil to the port 24/7 and get the dangerous commodity out of trucks and rail cars, increasing safety and saving our highways.

My challenge then is to the engineers and scientists: put your minds to this and make it a reality.

A small aside to those who have not seen the tundra or bog land: a little spill, should one occur, will have no affect on land that is of no use now.

John Zaplitny


Keep compost and carry on

The city has completed its two-year pilot program of 2000 households using green bins to collect compostable matter which otherwise would go to the landfills. The bins have been picked up and the users are now faced with having to pay for a service to pick up the product or put the stuff into the garbage.

An analysis of the project should be simple, given what is happening in Manitoba and the rest of Canada. If collection began in 2024, Winnipeg would still be late to the compost party; Winkler, Morden, Altona and Brandon all have city-run organic waste pickup services.

Brandon began its program more than a decade ago, and now services about 10,000 households. Winnipeg is the largest city in Canada to not have municipal green bins, according to a recent Global News report. Just do it, and pass the net cost on to our property taxes. My ears hurt just hearing the protests from readers who instantly say no to more taxes.

Just pause and hear the facts about the pilot project, the whys and wherefores, and keep in mind that major cities across Canada have been operating this type of service for many years. The benefits are enormous in relation to climate change and in the beneficial use of mass compost use in agriculture, both commercial and residential.

Thousands of Winnipeg households currently pay for a non-municipal service to collect their material — material that, at this time, is not being used properly in terms of isolating it from the refuse landfills and providing commercial and residential byproduct use.

We have blue bins and grey bins, and we need green bins.

Jim Baker


Value for money

Re: McKinsey contracts could cost Trudeau (Jan. 20)

It is imperative that Canadians learn the details of the $100-million federal contracts given to consultants McKinsey & Co., to determine taxpayer value for this government spending. But let’s apply some perspective.

McKinsey was contracted to repair the Phoenix payroll system. But why didn’t the Stephen Harper Conservative government, which implemented the system to “save money,” get a guarantee from the program provider that the system would work? Taxpayers are still paying the price for this abject failure.

Also, in nine years, the Harper government spent $750 million on advertising, mostly on self-aggrandizing promotion of its Economic Action Plan. EAP advertising cost $26 million in three months of 2011 alone. And how much did Conservative-friendly advertisers earn from this campaign? And how much of this money found its way into the Conservative Party election war chest?

But more importantly, what value did this three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar spending give to the Canadian taxpayer? I would argue: none.

Dan Cecchini


Show me the money

Re: Majority of Manitobans would support redirect of school tax rebates: poll (Jan. 20)

The poll is very misleading. In which geographical areas did the callers poll the population? What were the percentages of PC, NDP and Liberal residents polled? What was the yearly income of the people polled?

I do not believe 58 per cent of the population would support giving the property tax rebates back to the PC government. Who would give up $775 when inflation is high? As a property owner, I, for one, want my property tax rebate cheque!

David Pelland


Racist overtones

For the most part I enjoy the satire offered in the political cartoons on the editorial page of the Free Press.

However, this particular cartoon, “Don’t make me pull this rug out from under you” (Jan. 21), with the rug bearing the text “Liberal-NDP confidence agreement,” I feel has strong racist overtones.

Too strong for today’s moral climate.

I feel it most certainly portrays Jagmeet Singh’s religion and ethnicity in bad taste.

Karen Zurba



Updated on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 8:20 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo

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