Letters, May 24
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Keep church, school separate
I have to admit, I was taken somewhat by surprise to learn our public schools are actively involved in the accommodation of religious studies within their respective curriculums.
The larger question at hand here is to what extent these special offerings are made available to those who chose to worship outside the Christian faith or for that matter, choose to not worship at all.
What has become abundantly clear, is the relative failure of our educational system to address the teaching of critical thought and comparative systems of belief, faith and science-based awareness and knowledge.
The notion that our public schools can be held accountable to a minority of people who quite obviously feel it to be within their entitlement to evangelize their faith, is to say the least, dispiriting.
The teaching of faith has no place within a public institution, period.
Learn from past mistakes
In response to reports of parents wanting to ban books, I would like to offer this paragraph from a document available on the provincial government’s website: “Responding to Religious Diversity in Manitoba’s Schools — A Guide for Educators (2018)”.
“The goal of public schools in an inclusive society is to create environments, structures, and programs where all educators, learners, and their families feel that they belong and are welcomed. This sense of belonging is an essential step in ensuring our schools respond appropriately to the rich diversity that is present in our schools and in our community. “
We’ve come a long way from the days when our schools reflected the culture, religion and viewpoints of the dominant elements, which in much of Canada meant white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant and heterosexual. As a member of that culture and a product of its education system more than half a century ago, I can attest that many of us believed our way of life and our beliefs were superior to everyone else’s.
It gave us licence to do and say a lot of hateful things to folks who just wanted to get on with their lives in their own way — without interfering in anyone else’s lives.
Well, guess what? We were wrong. Unconscionably wrong.
Canada is a much stronger and vastly more interesting nation now that we’ve moved on from that immoral perspective. Please, let’s not return to a time when it was OK to fear and hate our neighbours if they were in anyway different from us.
And for those who follow the Bible’s teachings, I would like to offer this quote from Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” It doesn’t say, unless they have a different religion, different language, different skin colour or different sexuality.
Bellamy on the money
Re: Need more congestion? Route 90 plan is the $500-M ticket (Think Tank, May 23)
Brent Bellamy’s article about the costs of the proposed widening of route 90 is right on. Especially his description of the project’s estimated full cost over time ($1.2 billion), his summary of what is known about the futility of the project as a way of reducing traffic congestion, how it will lead to increased vehicle use, and how the project prevents us from undertaking other improvements to transportation and quality of life in Winnipeg.
Why are we investing so much just to stay on our car-centric treadmill that only leads to more costs down the road? The proposed expansion is the opposite of what we need to address our climate and environmental issues.
People may switch to electric cars, but as long as we continue to rely primarily on private vehicles our environmental issues will increase, including the effects of increased mining mining of raw materials required to build the cars.
What we really need is a much improved public transit system and other alternatives such as an improved bike lane network, and more compact and pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods.
Route 90 plan will help those in city’s southwest
Brent Bellamy’s convoluted financial musings ignores the major benefits that the Route 90 plan can have for citizens of southwest Winnipeg.
Currently, buses and emergency vehicles are stuck in traffic on this busy corridor. By creating a diamond curb lane reserved for these vehicles on a widened Kenaston during rush hours, paramedics and firefighters would have a much better chance at saving lives.
A more efficient bus transit option could also attract additional riders, thereby avoiding future traffic congestion.
Serious problems require serious attention, investment
Re: It’s humanity, not accounting (Editorial, May 20)
This thoughtful and caring plea acknowledges the grief I feel for the tragic loss of life and the circumstances of their disposal.
I am outraged, horrified. But how to honour the memories of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman) and presumable others who have been similarly disposed?
Exhuming remains from the landfill may comfort loved ones, and it would bring focus and attention to societal issues, but only briefly. But will it also be our excuse to say we’ve done something when the underlying issues remain unaddressed?
Clearly whether excavating the landfill is warranted is a question for those closest to those lost: I know that, were it my loved one, I would want to find remains if I could. But I can also imagine a response that includes the commitment to never permitting these horrors to occur again.
To this, society must commit the hundreds millions of dollars necessary to supporting vulnerable people, searching for and prosecuting violent predators, ending child poverty that is the gateway to a lifetime of despair … so many things to commit to, so many costs, so much money … but how can we not?
The editorial suggests a $4.65 surcharge to each Canadian to support a search of the landfill for remains of these individuals. Why not make it $10 or $20 or more per person per year to truly support what is needed to affect real change and commit to ending the circumstances that permit such loss in the first place?
Is it possible to channel our grief and disgust to supporting an enduring end to such violence and despair? The value of engaging in the search for remains should be considered in the context of what more can we achieve. If it costs $184 million to put a tragedy to rest, so be it. If loved ones choose to honour those lost through other means so be it. But don’t let either choice diminish our public and our personal commitment to social justice.
I will find ways to contribute more. I trust our governments will find ways to contribute more. I trust that other individuals and corporations contribute more. I hope that the Free Press contributes more with frequent reporting or even a column devoted to social justice successes and opportunities for contributions.
We must not allow this to continue. Let’s set our sights on a future without such carnage. Let us chart our path, declare our commitment and chart our progress of achievement.
Jeffrey M Frank
Updated on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 8:42 AM CDT: Adds links, adds tile photo