Letters, March 13


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Where the streets have new names I really enjoyed Shannon Sampert’s op-ed Debate over name change mired in inflexibility (March 9). Yes, there is a need to move forward on true reconciliation by removing the honours given to historical offenders like Bishop Grandin.

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Where the streets have new names

I really enjoyed Shannon Sampert’s op-ed Debate over name change mired in inflexibility (March 9). Yes, there is a need to move forward on true reconciliation by removing the honours given to historical offenders like Bishop Grandin.

We’re unlikely to change the hearts and minds of the truly ignorant who put forward racist objections to these street name changes. However, I do have a suggestion to help this renaming process — one that would perhaps remove some of the objections to change put forward by people having difficulty with pronunciations.

The Free Press and its journalistic contributors should consider providing phonetic spellings in concert with the Indigenous names that are printed. Editors must make sure that members of those particular communities are consulted to provide the proper pronunciation beforehand, of course.

For example, there has been significant coverage of the blockades of pipeline and clearcut logging projects put in place by several West Coast Indigenous communities over the last four or five years. Good luck to the unfamiliar reader trying to properly pronounce the names of those communities and their leaders that were printed in the news reports!

The Winnipeg Art Gallery showed us all a better way by being proactive in the naming of Qaumajuq. In all of its initial communication with us gallery members and the general public, the WAG reinforced the proper pronunciation of the name, including the dialect differences from several Inuit communities. I’m sure that effort paid off in reducing the number of complaints it might have received over the naming issue.

Even though I am familiar with some Inuit pronunciation, I thoroughly appreciated the guidance in properly saying the name, thereby honouring the efforts of both the WAG and the elders who provided the name!

I think the attention paid in this respect would reap dividends, and the up-front effort needed from the “ink-stained wretches” would be greatly appreciated — especially by me!

Stewart Fay


Pre-existing condition

Re: Manitoba signs more surgery deals with U.S. providers amid backlog (March 9)

I find it ironic that the Manitoba government is proclaiming that 52 per cent of the “pandemic backlog” for surgeries has been eliminated — as if this is a big accomplishment. That is only half of the backlog from the extra that piled up during the pandemic.

There was already a large backlog of cases prior to that, with many patients waiting months to even see a specialist before they could get added to the list.

Eliminating the “pandemic backlog” doesn’t mean the original backlog has gone.

Donna Gamache


Revamping liquor sales

Ulysse Poirier writes that he wonders “whether private retailers have considered the potential exposure to robberies and possible violence against their staff,” (“Concerned for staff,” Letters, March 8). I’m sure they have and will; it all depends on the area in which your business is located.

The security system the government is using in its liquor stores is absolutely ridiculous — akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a fly! An intelligent organization would have implemented these measures where they are required, not in every liquor mart. For example, I sometimes stop in at the Lockport Grocery Store to pick up a bottle. You do not have to wait in the freezing cold while a staff member checks your ID. Were it a stand-alone liquor mart, they would needlessly inconvenience their customers.

As for Adrien Sala’s concerns about the “huge amount of money that currently goes towards helping to pay for the costs of health… education… infrastructure,” etc. I would suggest that governments that depend on liquor sales to fund programs are unable to properly manage their traditional sources of revenues. According to Sala, liquor marts “make approximately an 11 per cent margin” on their sales. My God! Only 11 per cent on products that are marked up 50 per cent (beer and wine) and 80 per cent (spirits)! Well, it’s definitely time to privatize the whole system.

I was in Spain recently. We went to a private grocery store to buy various items, including liquor. There was a very good selection of various wine, beer and liquor products in well-stocked aisles in the middle of the store at much, much lower prices than here. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, “On average, the cost of living in Spain is 59 per cent cheaper than in Canada. Although gym memberships and utility bills can be slightly more expensive in Spain, you’ll find the biggest differences in cost in rent, groceries, alcoholic drinks and daycare.” (Dec. 26, 2022)

There are no issues with health or education funding in Spain; both the Spanish health-care and education systems are very well-funded and considered high quality. So, the old red herring of health and education funding that opponents of privatization keep bringing up are not valid arguments. Indeed, the profits from liquor sales here go to general revenue, not to specific areas.

It’s unfortunate that in most, if not all of Canada, the sale of alcoholic products is still being done in a very outdated manner.

Gilles Roch


Re: Provincial government pitches retail alcohol sales pilot project (March 9)

How soon we forget. Sounds like a great idea and it certainly seems convenient. Whenever I have had to wait in line at a liquor mart, I think about how nice it would be to just pick up that bottle of wine with my groceries. And then I remember what happened before all the security measures at the government liquor marts.

Product regularly walked out of stores without being paid for. People got hurt. Extra security had to be paid for and they were not allowed to really do anything. These extra costs had to be passed on to the consumer. Now I feel very safe going to buy that wine.

Am I going to feel the same way in a grocery store? What extra security measures will have to be taken or will product simply walk out the door like before?

Lots more things to think about beyond our convenience.

Heather Adams


Time to downsize?

Margaret Young has observed that certain vehicles do not fit in normal parking spaces (“Big vehicles need space,” Letters, March 10). Many of these drivers seem to be out of their comfort zone behind the wheel of these oversized vehicles and, as a result, often don’t fit on the road, either.

Who knew that every other fella needs a pickup truck? The rest seem to need an SUV. How else are you going to drive your kids to school?

Rather than increase the size of parking spaces, as suggested by Young, perhaps advertisers could help North Americans get over the half-ton/SUV fetish they created.

Gordon Kidder


Show some respect

To the hecklers yelling during the national anthems at the Jets game: in this free and democratic country, you have the right to not respect the national anthem of this country or any other country. You also have the right to remain seated and not participate in the singing of it.

What you lack, though, when you yell during the ceremony, is respect for the people on the ice who are performing for everyone else.

They are hard-working individuals who take their jobs and the service they provide very seriously and you should respect that, even if you don’t respect the symbolism it represents.

Chuck Halikas



Updated on Monday, March 13, 2023 9:27 AM CDT: Adds links, adds tile photo

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