Letters for April 29, 2023


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Consider the past when considering Haiti

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Consider the past when considering Haiti

Re: Haiti harmed by the absence of political will (Think Tank, April 27)

Professor Peter McKenna seems outraged because the optics of Canadian soldiers shooting Haitians or having Canadian soldiers come home in body bags make some politicians nervous.

Britain’s King Charles III (The Canadian Press files / AP-Alberto Pezzali)

He objects to having such minor qualms outweighing, “the humanitarian considerations when it comes to Haiti.” Of course, he isn’t putting his life on the line like our soldiers or taking responsibility for the outcome of such decisions like our politicians.

Like many Canadians who viewed the oppression of women and certain minorities as justification for armed intervention in places like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, the end result leads one to the conclusion that those efforts often fail — miserably.

Perhaps Professor McKenna should read a little history with his political science. Perhaps he could explain why the millions of people killed in those humanitarian endeavours don’t matter. Surely, the decision to act militarily should include its likelihood of success. And, perhaps those politicians are asking, what exactly did we achieve the last few times we engaged militarily?

Jerry Storie


Don’t dismiss Charles so quickly

Re: First months on the throne show Charles wants to engage (April 24)

Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians appear to be indifferent to King Charles and the monarchy in general, according to a recent poll.

Before we dismiss the monarchy, take a look at the King’s track record so far. In his mid-20s he understood climate change and advocated for a better world, while others scorned.

He put this into practice with organic farming, gardening and looking after forests. He restored dilapidated mansions, giving young people the opportunity to learn and appreciate history.

An artist himself, he has encouraged others to create and appreciate their world. In 1937, John Masefield wrote the following piece as King George Vl was crowned:

To make the life of man a fairer thing,

God grant this living glory to the King.

Grant to our Queen the strength that lifts and shares

The daily burden that a monarch bears.

Jane Burpee

Cooks Creek

Manitoba lags in e-learning

Re: Parents upset about end of e-learning (April 26)

The article by Maggie Macintosh states that the “absence of a public e-learning option for elementary students…will make Manitoba an outlier in Western Canada”. The future tense was not necessary.

According to data from the report, State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada — 2021-22, even the pandemic did not bolster e-learning in Manitoba — it actually declined from about 13, 750 students in 2020-21 to roughly 8,000 students in 2021-2022. Manitoba’s participation rate in remote learning as a proportion of all learners is 3.9 per cent, while the national average is 7.6 per cent. Alberta stands at 12.5 per cent. No other province reported a decline in remote learning in the heart of the COVID-19 period. It seems inconceivable that it happened here.

The term “outlier” has much deeper connotations when it comes to the necessity of remote and online learning options among Manitobans. As a teacher who joined the Remote Learning Support Centre (RLSC) experience in January, 2021, retiring in June, 2022, I can speak directly to a broader appreciation of the “outlier student”.

Imagine a geographically diverse group of students who, in a traditional school setting, would not have known each other or developed new friendships or mutual understanding. Imagine remarkably brilliant, gifted, insightful students who had found no place in their community school setting due to marginalization, ostracism, and rampant bullying.

Imagine a young person who had not spoken a word in school for months or years, and then one day lights up the entire class by talking about the robot he had built; with mother and grandmother sharing the joy of that moment. This was life in the RLSC. It was real, it was raw, and it was a privilege to work with these kids who had been set free.

The RLSC was conceived as a hybrid model, relying upon provincial support and administration through a school division. It was (and is) an achievement in e-learning that could not have been conceived of under ordinary circumstances. There was nothing ordinary about it.

Our minister of education, Wayne Ewasko, has an opportunity here. To enshrine e-learning in Manitoba as a fully independent school which can serve not just an urgent need, but a continuing need going forward. No need for a strategy, no need for an action plan, but a recognition that the educational world is rapidly changing and we had best change accordingly. Virtual learning is necessary, and it’s here.

Manitoba should be an educational outlier for the right reasons. The virtual classroom is a living place, and therefore must grow.

John Murray


Time to pay attention on Lake Winnipeg

Re: Let’s use a pollution solution that works (Think Tank, April 24)

Kudos to Alexis Kanu and The Lake Winnipeg Foundation for advocacy on behalf of one of Manitoba’s great natural resources — Lake Winnipeg — and recognizing and advocating for the value of science-based, proven solutions to reduce nutrient load, specifically phosphorous, on our precious lake.

The evidence-based method saves us, the taxpayer, money. It’s a win-win, if and only if our elected officials and public employees at the decision making level pay attention. So do it please. Pay attention, save our lake and save our tax dollars.

Meg Gray


Jeers for the home team

The Jets, yet again, out with a whimper. Other teams focus on getting better and trying to win.

True North is focused on buying Portage Place.

True North can not in good conscience say they are committed to winning or even getting better. That much has been obvious for years now.

Gordon Macfarlane


Belafonte a man of good taste

I grew up hearing stories about how Harry Belafonte specially ordered and adored the Jewish food delicacies of my great-aunt Dora Zaslavsky’s catering company whenever he performed in Winnipeg over the decades.

In 2007, I attended an event in Toronto that presented a human rights award to Belafonte. I mentioned my great-aunt to him fully expecting Belafonte to say he had no memory of her.

We spoke for about 15 minutes and not only did he recount specific dishes he found delicious and regale me with charming stories of how he loved my gregarious great-aunt, he also discussed the things he liked about Winnipeg with the warmth of Winnipeggers at the top of the list.

His great talent and compassion will be sorely missed.

Jeffrey Morry


Plenty cool about Winnipeg

Re: “Winnipeg deserves cool things” (Letters, April 28)

Dear Editor,

I agree with Marco Almeida’s sentiments, but note we already have “cool things.”

I recently took three American visitors to the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the new Inuit exhibit. Two out of the three are Metis in background, which is not recognized in the U.S. They were welcomed as “Indigenous” and got free admission. I was a member, so paid for the third non-Indigenous visitor. That created a good impression.

This woman friend has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. She is an accomplished clothes designer and craftperson. I knew she would appreciate the great artistic skill of Inuit from Siberia to Greenland, mostly focused on Inuit in the Canadian Arctic.

They were very impressed with this wonderful exhibit. I would urge all Winnipeg art lovers to visit this exhibit and enjoy this fine collection which is the “largest Inuit collection in the world.”

Excellence at our doorstep! Very cool indeed.

Ruth Swan


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