Letters, March 18


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Law system adversarial

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Law system adversarial

Re: Manitoba fails to address child poverty (March 15)

A very significant omission in the list of causes of child poverty, with all its negative impacts, is that of our adversarial family-law system.

Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler speaks of our family-law system being in a state of crisis, of the frustration with the costs that stem from the delays, of the dissipation of family assets and of the instability and emotional stress being catastrophic to children.

In June 2018, then-minister of families Heather Stefanson stated that besides legal fees having devastating impacts on families, this was only the beginning of the costs associated with the family-law system that is no longer working for our families and children, and noted higher social assistance and employment insurance costs are another consequence.

Our adversarial family-law system cannot be overlooked in its contribution to child poverty.

Dolores Belot


Opinion piece misses mark

Re: Addictions treatment part of continuum of care (March 14)

Minister of Mental Health and Community Living Janice Morley-Lecomte attempts to justify her decision not to support a supervised-consumption site (SCS). Her op-ed actually does the opposite.

The opinion piece says the government wants to ensure prevention. Ensuring prevention of what — death? If that is the intention, you have missed the mark. All harm-reduction strategies are necessary.

Yes, withdrawal/detox and treatment are needed and must be immediately accessible, regulated, evaluated and monitored. But, Minister Morley-Lecomte, no one can ask for recovery if they are dead!

Naloxone, clean needles, drug testing and supervised-consumption sites are preventive strategies. You think Sunshine House is enabling drug use? You say no to SCS because it enables the use of drugs. Then why support Naloxone/Narcan, clean needles, drug testing, needle dropoff, meth kits?

You bring up Portugal as an example of good drug policies, saying they did not initially establish SCS. Why do you think Portugal today has SCS available? Because people are dying from poisoned drug supply and they want to keep them alive.

Manitobans who use drugs have struggled to end their addiction, often dying alone from preventable deaths. Would they be alive today had immediate treatment been available? Would they be alive had a supervised-consumption site been available while waiting for treatment?

Furthermore, Minister Morley-Lecomte, why do you suggest that the federal government is funding fly-by-night operations when in fact they are adding the wraparound services so critical to your continuum-of-care philosophy?

Christine Dobbs

Member of Moms Stop the Harm


By the books

I agree with writer Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land that the library system should have hours that are more convenient for busy families, such as being open on Sundays (Brutality baked into budget, March 14).

Hours at branches vary. Hours at small branches like the Cornish Library, which is closest to me, are different daily and it is often difficult to remember when they are open. I believe the small branches are closed on the weekends from May 24 to Labour Day.

Many families with children will feel uncomfortable to attend the downtown branch. It would be better to close the small branches for two days during the week and keep them open on the weekends.

Ruth Swan


Program created in ’90s

Re: New head of Manitoba sex assault examiner program based in Alta. (March 15)

From 1991 to 1995, I worked at the Sexual Assault Crisis Program (SACP) at Klinic Community Health Centre.

At that time, the nurse-examiner program was developed, mostly initiated by two very dedicated nurse examiners who were trained and who were willing to train other nurses, and who worked in co-operation with the Winnipeg Police Service to support sexual-assault survivors in a cohesive wraparound service.

As these nurses were willing to be on-call 24-7, there was no eight-hour wait for anybody who had experienced such an assault. Klinic’s SACP volunteers provided 24-7 coverage as well, insuring that the survivors’ experiences and feelings were validated and that they had ongoing access to counselling services by phone and in person at Klinic.

For Health Minister Audrey Gordon to say, “We created the forensic nurse-examiner program,” is patently false. She did no such thing. The program was created back in the 1990s by nurse examiners in co-ordination with Klinic and the Winnipeg Police Service.

Gloria Enns


A mile in their shoes

The Free Press reports that the City of Winnipeg has overpaid a towtruck company about $2 million. The article EPC votes down Tartan Towing settlement (March 13) implies difficulty recouping the foolish loss.

The March 14 editorial City flushing away positive outcomes pours disgust on Winnipeg council’s executive policy committee’s move to reduce the Amoowigamig public washroom’s hours of operation from 10 hours to eight hours a day. As the editorial points out, this curtailment of a service catering to a universal human need is pathetic, and the reality is that Amoowigamig is needed 24-7. Every day.

It would be interesting if city councillors could only access a washroom eight hours out of every 24. It seems like overpaying a company that keeps moving troublesome parked cars, in parking-lot city, takes precedence over the basic human needs of our most vulnerable citizens.

Robert W. Page


Lawsuit folly

Re: Conservative Leader Poilievre says he would sue Big Pharma (March 16)

I read with fascination that Pierre Poilievre is suggesting that he can fix drug addiction in Canada by filing a $44-billion lawsuit against the pharmaceutical companies, and would use the $44 billion to fund treatment and take taxpayers off the hook for it. It all sounds wonderful, if you know nothing about anything, a hallmark of the current Conservative voter.

Since he’s saving taxpayers so much money, I wonder how he plans to fund the legal bills for a class-action lawsuit like this. Does he not realize the billable hours at play here? Big Pharma employs some pretty heavy-hitter legal teams; he’s proposing to use government lawyers… good luck with that. Don’t let Canadians see the bill they’ll have to pay to cover your terrible legal bets.

Billable hours aside, how long would this take? Class actions take years; perhaps someone could remind me whether the complainants in Canada’s big tobacco class action in Quebec have been paid the $17-billion judgment in that case? Oh, I remember, they haven’t. That case has been decided since 2017, which reminds me: appeals, Pierre, you do know appeals exist right? You do know judgments don’t get paid out until appeals are adjudicated, right?

I guess he’d know that if he’d been anything other than a career politician.

People, you’re being hoodwinked by a liar and a fraud. Poilievre can’t solve complex issues, or indeed even minor issues, and you want to vote for his party and make him prime minister?

Will Jones


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