Letters, May 16


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Ignorance should not be fostered Re: Move afoot to ban LGBTTQ+ books from Brandon schools (May 11)

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Ignorance should not be fostered

Re: Move afoot to ban LGBTTQ+ books from Brandon schools (May 11)

It is with great concern that I read reporting on the Brandon School Division meeting, which allowed a presentation towards removal of LGBTTQ+ books in school libraries in the area. Reporting would suggest that at least two members are actively supporting the presentation by one individual and this will come to further discussion on May 23 at yet another meeting.

Unfortunately, these attitudes mirror activity in the United States, which seem to believe that any discussion regarding inclusivity equality or diversity is the type of “woke” agenda which is out to undermine “heteronormative behaviour.”

While I respect the school board’s right to design a curriculum agenda for its students, these actions put another generation at risk.

It may be a surprise, but Manitoba, including the Westman region, and the rest of the world have always had gay and trans and bisexual people.

They’ve always been here, and they will always be here.

Attempting to remove books that represent these groups is bigoted and insulting as well as infuriating, and goes against the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada.

Well, I understand. There are individuals who want to remove such books. It is dangerous to give them a voice in a boardroom setting under the guise of protecting free speech, and/or respecting family or educational values.

I grew up in an area where there was no discussion of sexual education, gender diversity or gender identity.

Imagine my surprise when I grew up and found that the world was filled with different people with different opinions, attitudes and interests.

Diverse people were always there. I was just ignorant of their existence, their needs and their pain.

Ignorance is not a philosophy to be fostered at any level. It leads to fear, misunderstanding, hatred and suffering. It certainly should not be fostered at a school board level.

One last thought: people who are inclined to burn — sorry, ban — books rarely stop at just books.

They eventually move on to people.

Lesley Garber


Taxpayers on hook for overruns

In his hard-hitting column, Outdated thinking fuels proposed Route 90 expansion (May 11), Dan Lett describes the current Route 90 expansion plan as a “hustle” based on obsolete ideas and fallacious reasoning.

The delays on this segment occur only during certain times of the day; similar delays occur on Route 90 north of Ness and south of Taylor avenues, respectively. Widening a small segment of Route 90 will not address the time-specific traffic gridlock on the rest of Route 90. Meanwhile, most residential streets and curbs are dilapidated.

Additionally, beware! The final price tag for several recent projects undertaken by the City of Winnipeg has been 37 per cent to 154 per cent higher than initially estimated (Troubling patterns”: traffic infrastructure contracts keep city transportation division in spotlight, Sept. 13, 2022). The police headquarters’ financial fiasco is in a class of its own. Taxpayers deserve better.

Lett’s opinion piece is a must-read for the mayor and every councillor.

Shashi S. Seshia


Fellow travellers?

What Colin Craig neglects to mention in his pro-privatization of Canadian health care op-ed Supreme Court decision will hurt patients (May 12) is that is a Canadian member of the Atlas Network, a U.S.-based organization, described as the “Johnny Appleseed of anti-regulation groups,” funded by the Koch-related foundations.

Norman Rosenbaum


Driving discussion

We are pleased to be part of the so-called “trial period” for 30 km/h speed zones in residential areas, in Bourkevale. However, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through to drivers.

In spite of notification of the changes in March and signage along the main access road, which connects two schools, a day care centre, a community club, an off-leash dog run and a bike route — in other words, a lot of traffic — many drivers aren’t getting the message or are choosing to ignore it.

Unfortunately, unless the city enforces the law with fines or demerits, it will be speeding as usual for the rest of the year. Who will be the jury for this trial?

Lorraine Helgason


Portage-and-Main attraction

It is encouraging that many Winnipeggers are actively interested in the intersection. It has given vehicles prime attention these many years, while pedestrians just made do with the inconvenience on the surface or the forgettable mall underground. Interesting, too, that the “promises” to the city of new high-rise buildings to be built, and pay high taxes, fell by the wayside.

Many years ago, I had a business a few blocks from Portage and Main, but in 20-plus years I went underground fewer than 10 times, finding it awkward to access and decidedly uncomfortable. Our necessary business services were all elsewhere and we found interesting eateries in all directions. It became, over time, a pretty dead zone, with enough pedestrian traffic from the existing connected buildings.

The intersection should definitely be open to foot traffic and it could become famous for an all-direction scramble in all our seasons.

The city should, in my opinion, stick to basics: streets and sidewalks in good condition, lights and signage in place to direct vehicular traffic to all stop and for pedestrians to walk. A clear intersection would, of course, have fast and efficient maintenance.

When citizens and visitors arrive to witness the transformation and walk the scramble, and when new developments close by, as on Portage Avenue East, are populated, there will a much-increased amount of foot traffic. The existing property owners will want to capture their attention. They could be encouraged and/or allowed by the city to add to the street culture at their cost. How about a time and temperature sign? A “what’s on” sign? A sculpture competition? Seating? Speciality food trucks?

While the pie-in-the-sky ideas are interesting, Portage and Main is a city intersection, a special one to its citizens, and should be treated like other big city intersections — one that works for all.

Mary Dixon


Greed feeds other evils

I fully agree with the headline, Envy is a cancer — feeding it is wrong (May 13). However, Charles Adler’s development of this theme seems to ignore one of the prime “feeders” of the cancer of envy, i.e., greed.

As a fellow son of an immigrant tailor who ultimately established a country store in the 30s, I am duly proud of my father’s entrepreneurial spirit, yet I know Dad was not a greedy man. By way of example, when the store finally closed in the ’60s, all of the remaining “charged” bills were simply ripped up. Nonetheless, some people were envious of him, including schoolmates who believed we obtained the store’s stock “for free”!

Though few of us like to admit it, both envy and greed lurk deep within us humans. Yet, we also carry the antidote for both: a yearning for justice. Even a very young age, children sense injustice with the oft-repeated cry of “That’s not fair!”

Rather than get mired down in political debate (which triggers some other “cancers”), perhaps we all could do with a review of the rules found in Robert Fulghum’s book, Everything I Know I Learned in Kindergarten, particularly “Don’t take things that aren’t yours without asking, and if you have extra, share.”

Edwin Buettner



Updated on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 8:30 AM CDT: Adds links, adds tile photo

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