Letters, May 1


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Saijan’s time running out

Re: Minister didn’t authorize fake travel docs for Afghans, says he didn’t check email (April 26)

When Canada’s former minister of defence Harjit Sajjan admits “I wasn’t reading my email” and testifies before a House of Commons committee that he still hasn’t gone back to check his emails from August and September of 2021, we as Canadians must count ourselves fortunate that hopefully he wasn’t too busy to answer his phone in the event that a matter of national security arose.

This minister has been bounced from acting minister of veterans affairs to minister of national defence to minister of international development. It must be only a matter of time before he realizes that the prime minister can no longer protect him and he resigns to take a high-end position in the business world, if there is one that doesn’t require a leader to read their emails.

Gary Pryce


Desire for real solutions for downtown

What if a city’s core was dying and only big business options were repeatedly proposed to resuscitate it?

What if none of these solutions made any changes — just died out with the business owners packing up and leaving once they realized their mistake, leaving the core to continue dying?

What if a few condos survived and lights could be seen at night from a dozen metal balconies, but the death didn’t stop?

What if malls were put up, giving the obviously poor a warm place to go during the day and later emptied out due to lack of business?

What if proposals continued to flood in to take down concrete of decades, put up sidewalks, build gardens above the streets, and pour billions of dollars into for years?

What if these gardens attract people to walk in because they are warm places in the winter, rather than tourist attractions?

What if these “new” ideas end up being what they are — “When you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results…”

And finally, what if some of these dollars were used to build housing downtown — not luxury housing, but housing with rents below $1,000 a month that are subsidized — as well as a Superstore and possibly a competing large grocery store?

What if Portage Place was replaced with a Walmart?

None of these are sexy proposals, granted, but they are different from anything corporate that’s been tried and cannot therefore be deemed failures until put into placed for a few years.

Build the housing. Put out the proposals to the appropriate people.

What if the downtown started to thrive?

What if it started to live on more than a hockey series and a few shows in a venue with seats made for people with 26-inch legs? Because this is not living. This is business for a few.

What if the downtown was about the people who lived there? What if it was about the city it was a part of?

What if we wanted true solutions rather than simply money?

Susan Peterman


Crown keeps country together

Re: Our nation meets the coronation (Editorial, April 26)

Irrespective of the country’s feeling toward Charles himself, he and his heirs will remain Canada’s head of state for one existential reason: proclaiming Canada a republic necessarily requires constitutional change, which in turn would give Quebec — and perhaps Alberta — free rei(g)n to leave Confederation.

The monarchy binds Canada together because without it the country would tear itself apart.

Mark S. Rash


Jets’ problems not hard to figure out

The problems with the Jets were obvious to Coach Bowness from the beginning of the year — Wheeler and “pretty” hockey over work. Having divested Wheeler of the captaincy, the coaches refused, or were afraid to, or were inhibited from above(?) from dealing with so-called stars by benching them or scratching them when they “led” the team away from the winning style Coach Bowness taught them.

Scheifele, (uncharacteristically), and especially Wheeler preferring to play “pretty” hockey instead of playoff hockey, led a complete breakdown of the team systems that lasted three months… from January to March!

Even the play-by-play announcers resorted to commenting on Wheeler’s play — using the words “tried” or “Wheeler tried,” so often it became a joke. But somewhere the efforts of the Lowery line, the so-called fourth line and those other hard-working players that could have formed a viable ‘second line’ were undermined by refusing to bench Scheifele and scratch Wheeler to the player’s box.

The Jets, led by “Captain Lowry” were undermined by the decisions to not deal with players who refused, or were incompetent in following the new system. I’ll bet coach Bowness retires, as his knowledge and expertise were somehow also undermined.

Shane Nestruck


Whiteouts not sign of turnaround

There exists between the population of any city and province or state an unwritten agreement. The citizens agree to pay taxes to the city and province and, in return, the government agrees to provide good roads, snow clearing, garbage removal, sewage disposal, fresh water, firefighting and police services and a wide variety of social services for those less fortunate.

It would appear to anyone who passes through downtown Winnipeg that this contract has been broken. Homeless people wander the streets, occasionally defecating wherever they please. Garbage accumulates everywhere and crime of all sorts is rampant.

In the middle of all this the Winnipeg Jets host a “whiteout” and a few hopelessly delusional people pounce on this and breathlessly proclaim that this is a sign that the future of downtown Winnipeg is turning around.

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.

We deserve better.

Robert Collings


Disappointed in Seven Oaks

Re: Seven Oaks will offer optional buyouts to social workers, no layoffs in division (April 25)

I am writing to express my concern and disappointment in the Seven Oaks School Division’s decision to downgrade school social work services, available to the students, families and staff of the division. I am a retired social worker, who had the honour of providing school social work services in three school divisions over my years of service (Seven Oaks, Winnipeg and Louis Riel school divisions).

In all of those situations, social work staff helped to maximize the academic and social success of the students, by supporting them in dealing with whatever was interfering with their possible success. We are at a critical time in the lives of many students, due to increased mental health issues, stressful family situations all stemming from the initial impact of the pandemic, and financial difficulties for families due to the current economy.

All of these issues can make the student’s ability to focus and stay grounded in their career goals. I would hope that the board and management team re-evaluate their plans, clearly acknowledging the school social workers importance to the school team, staff and especially the students and their parents. I was always struck by the parent’s willingness to work with the social worker, when they understood that we were both there to help their child be successful.

The other issue that I truly believe will be missed is how social workers work as part of the school team, supporting teachers and support staff to carry out their critical role with students.

At times, when critical incidents arose, at schools, the social workers were always there to work with the whole team to support the school community. I believe that our children are our number one resource for the future and the total school community needs to be there to support them.

Reid Hartry, B.S.W, M.S.W, R.S.W (retired)



Updated on Monday, May 1, 2023 8:59 AM CDT: Adds headline, adds links, adds tile photo

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