Letters, May 18


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Everybody’s somebody I once met an old man who made his own jewelry. He was incredibly proud of his work and had several pieces to show me. He explained to me what the colours and patterns of the beads signified. He had been making jewelry since he was a child. It was a skill that had been passed on to him from his father.

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Everybody’s somebody

I once met an old man who made his own jewelry. He was incredibly proud of his work and had several pieces to show me. He explained to me what the colours and patterns of the beads signified. He had been making jewelry since he was a child. It was a skill that had been passed on to him from his father.

I once met a young man who was a gifted musician and poet. He did not play a musical instrument, but rather, he used spoken word to create dynamic, emotionally charged verses about the challenges of street life in our city.

I once met a woman who awed me with her fierce determination and strength . She was proud and beautiful. She was not above asking for help when she needed to, but would not compromise her principles for personal gain.

I once met a father who had a strong face, but a broken heart. He was in search of his daughter whom he had not heard from in far too long. He was hopeful, but acutely aware that the odds were not in her favor. He knew he would most likely never see her again.

I once met a clown who could make you laugh at the drop of a hat. He joked about himself, he joked about friends in a way that made them laugh. He joked about the authority figures that hounded him. He did not let his own misfortune make him a bitter person.

I once met a teacher who was kind and patient. She was proud of her heritage and culture, including her language. She taught me phrases in her language and helped me with the proper pronunciations.

I once met a traveller who was bursting with stories to tell about his adventures. He enthusiastically told me about the places he had been and what he had seen.

I met these people on the streets of Winnipeg. These are forgotten souls that we walk right by, or cross the street to avoid. We are concerned that they are ruining our city landscape so we make every effort to push them out of sight. We have no interest in the circumstances that led to them being there and see them, not society, as the problem. We certainly do not stop and chat.

But if we did stop and chat, we may begin to see them as people. People like you and I, who have been dealt a bad hand. Factors such as generational trauma, mental illness, and physical illness have led to poverty, addiction and homelessness. Understanding this can be frightening, because it the follows that the man or woman on the corner could quite easily be you or me.

Cheryl Peterson


Correcting the record on treaty relations

Re: A new king, so what now? (May 16)

The above-noted editorial contains the following misinformation:

“Any amendment leads to another major barrier: the Crown’s treaties with Aboriginal nations in Canada, such as Treaty 1, which was signed in 1871 between the British monarchy and the Anishinaabe and Swampy Cree nations, and relates to a large portion of southern Manitoba in Winnipeg.”

The treaties signed after 1867, including Treaty No 1, were signed with Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada. Canada is the sole legal party with whom First Nations (FNs) have treaty relations.

Ottawa wrongly acquiesces in the idea that FNs still have some kind of entailed, direct legal relationship with the British Crown.

FNs have sued for alleged treaty violations dozens of times, and continue to do so. In every lawsuit the defendant is named as Her/His Majesty the Queen/King in right of Canada (or a province, as the case may be).

FNs have never sued the British Crown, or joined the British Crown in their legal actions, because they know that their entire legal relationship is with either Canada or a province.

Getting rid of the monarchy would not change FNs’ legal position in any negative way, except they would lose this flawed argument that somehow the monarchy retains a real, legal, residual say in the particulars of Canada’s ongoing relations with its FN citizens.

If through their lawsuits First Nations themselves acknowledge that their treaty relationship is with Canada — not the monarchy — why must we continue to be told otherwise?

James C. McCrae

Former attorney general of Manitoba and minister responsible for constitutional affairs


Revealing words

Re: An option for voters who aren’t extreme (Think Tank, May 16)

Deveryn Ross argues that the extremes have taken over Canadian politics; thus he can’t support the Conservative party because it opposes gay rights and is now dominated by “gun nuts, anti-abortion zealots and anti-vaccine loons.”

On the other hand, he feels it was the Liberals who left him by becoming too much like the NDP (he offers no specifics) and… not worrying enough about deficits.

Global conditions, economic theories, and political fashions come and go, and it’s not necessarily extreme or irrational for a voter (or a party) to worry more or less about deficits than they did five years ago. But if Ross and his family and friends really feel that an adjustment to monetary policy is just as alarming as a willingness to trade human rights and science-based public health for votes, then I think I know who left whom.

Duncan Thornton


Take an accurate measure

The recent discussion of how to redo the intersection of Portage and Main, Canada’s windiest corner, has blown hot and cold air on the project.

In the blustery conversations, I have yet to catch even a breeze of installing a wind meter to give a true indicator of just how windy it is.

Steve McMahon


Be a good neighbour, don’t spray for weeds

The Manitoba provincial cosmetic pesticide law was recently changed and now anyone can use formerly banned pesticides on their lawns, municipalities are free to use them on most public spaces, and many lawn care companies are thrilled at being able to once again use the cheaper and more powerful pesticides for their client’s lawns. Advertisements show children and pets rolling around on lush lawns, claiming the treatments are child and pet safe.

It is beyond my understanding why anyone would want to drench their lawns with poisons unless they are unaware of the dangers. The chemical cocktail used by most companies is a combination 2-4 D, Dicamba, and Mecoprop-P. This combo comes with risks of hormone disruption, and likely is carcinogenic, all to kill some lawn weeds. Dicamba has a special quality of vaporizing and drifting into neighbour’s yards, damaging broadleaf plants including desirable flowers and trees.

Last week, my daughter saw that her neighbour’s yard had just been sprayed for weeds. The lawn care company confirmed it was Par 3 containing the mix of chemicals listed above. She is very upset, with a small child that plays outside, plus a pollinator garden, all now at risk.

In the new law, the government says “Out of an abundance of caution, pesticide use is now restricted at municipal playgrounds, picnic areas, and dog parks. These areas are defined in pesticide use permits. The application of specific cosmetic pesticides in low-risk areas such as municipal boulevards, sidewalks, rights-of-ways, and fairgrounds is now allowed.”

This is bizarre, as people and animals are on sidewalks, boulevards, fairgrounds regularly. In fact children often use boulevards as part of their play area in residential areas.

I urge Manitobans to learn about the pesticides they may be using on their lawns, and ask the Manitoba government to put restrictions back into the bylaw.

Be a good neighbour and don’t spray toxic pesticides on your lawn.

Wendy Buelow



Updated on Thursday, May 18, 2023 9:24 AM CDT: Adds links, adds tile photo

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