Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/4/2009 (4657 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Destroying by intention
There is much to say in response to Tom Oleson's column When apologies aren't right (April 18), but I'll be brief and comment on the point that maybe upset me the most. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could argue that the residential schools in Canada were "well-intentioned."
With the aim of destroying land-based cultures, the forceful separation of children from their parents (considered an act of genocide, not "cultural genocide" in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide") was made a law with the intention of "killing the Indian in the child." I can hardly call that well-intentioned.
Regarding education and health care for native children, which supposedly motivated the "good intentions" of the churches and the government, the real objective was assimilation not education.
Further, the students did not only sit in classrooms but for a large part of their day were used as cheap labour to do housekeeping jobs like cooking and cleaning, and because money was always an issue, the children lived in overcrowded schools and were often fed a sub-standard diet. Due to the unhealthy conditions in these institutions many children died there or were not very healthy, physically or emotionally, when leaving the school.
Meant to "aid Canada's native people"? I think the lives of native populations would be less "dismal" (to use Oleson's term) today without that aid.
Re: When apologies aren't right (April 18)
Tom Oleson either belongs to the institution known as the Roman Catholic Church or he doesn't. You cannot pick and choose parts of the organization.
Sure it was individual priests and nuns who committed horrible acts on young aboriginal children in residential schools, but the bigger crime was committed by those in charge who knew what was going on and failed to take action.
School principals (priests) who looked the other way when priests, nuns and brothers "visited" the dorms in the middle of the night were employees of the Roman Catholic Church and failed to manage their staff and protect their charges. Or, in some cases, they were too busy with young boys themselves.
This failure to accept responsibility by those who manage the institution is not only found in residential school history but throughout the last century in Canada and the United States. Cover-ups by senior church officials are rampant and well-documented.
Oleson is free to belong to the Roman Catholic Church but in so doing he is part of the institution and all of the good and bad.
East St. Paul
Academy needs colour
Re: Not everybody's eating it up (April 20). As one of the few residents of River Heights under the age of 40, I would be delighted to see Academy Road develop a little character. As it stands, the entire stretch has enormous potential, most of which is taken up with gas stations and convenience stores.
Why would people who don't want to be near a thriving commercial area choose to live smack in the middle of the city?
Perhaps if Academy were given a chance to develop a little, then Corydon Avenue wouldn't be so crowded.
Make room for cyclists
I work downtown and commute by bicycle along Pembina Highway. I do my best to be respectful of motor vehicle drivers and allow enough room for small vehicles to share the lane with me most of the time. However, due to potholes, gravel/sand build-up, and certain areas where lanes are narrow, I need to take the full lane along small stretches of my commute. For safe riding, this is recommended by the Canadian Cycling Association, and permissible under the Highway Traffic Act.
I applaud most drivers, because they are respectful of my safety, and change lanes, or give me ample room within my lane as they pass by me. Unfortunately, I also face daily assaults on my safety by an angry few. Drivers speed by within inches of me, cut me off, honk, and even yell profanities. In fact, the other day I was flipped the bird twice on my way home.
This message is aimed at those angry few.
If I am taking the full lane, I am doing it for safety reasons. It is not intended to upset you, so please don't show your frustration by putting my life at risk.
If you are a large truck or SUV driver, we almost certainly can never share a lane, even if I am far to the right. The width of your vehicle does not allow for a reasonably safety cushion of space between us. You need to change lanes to pass me.
Again, I'm not trying to upset you by riding my bike, so please do not show your frustration by putting my life at risk. If you still feel frustrated and angry over having to share the road with me, rest assured, we are on the same side! I don't want to be on the road with you either, but I do not have any other options along Pembina Highway.
So instead of aiming your anger at me, and thereby putting my life at risk, I suggest you funnel your anger into a letter to your city councillor demanding the city fast track cycling infrastructure. Then, I can be out of your hair and your lane once and for all.
Torture only kills
Re: Torture a painful debate (April 12)
The message was subtle, but make no mistake, the writer is making a case for the use of torture in Canada as an approved and protected policy. How extraordinary is that? In Canada? In the 21st century?
I do not think, as Canadians, we feel any safer today than we did before the Maher Arar case. How extraordinary is that?
The most heinous crime of human history, the Holocaust, was also committed under the guise of national interest and security, when Hitler declared all people foreign and different a threat to national security. The Jews bore the brunt of this policy and the world is still coming to grips with the tragedy.
We should resist all efforts to sell the idea that torture is just a tool, that it is no different than surveillance or interrogation. I read somewhere that torture was never designed in the first place to get at the actual truth of anything: It was designed in the darkest days of human history to produce false confessions in order to annihilate political and religious dissidents. That is how it always works, it gets confessions regardless of their accuracy.
Torture costs human lives. It does not save them.
Unfair to ban pit bulls
Re: Pit bull ban long overdue (April 15).
Marilyn Baker states that "pit bull type dogs" should be banned, or severely restricted (in B.C.). What does qualify as a pit bull type? Classification would be complex -- what percentage of pit bull would be allowed in a mix? Breed identification based solely on looks is impossible.
Her story of a pit bull attack on a child at home is problematic. These types of attacks are preventable. That the dog was "usually chained up outside" and it "somehow got into the house" indicates it was primarily kept outside (chained, no fence or muzzle) and escaped from its state of "confinement".
Instead of limiting the number of "vicious" dogs allowed, get help from a professional trainer or find a more capable owner for the dog. Baker seems to think that pit bulls cannot be trained in the first place, or be rehabilitated after being taught aggressive behavior by their owner. Not all pit bulls are aggressive, and once taught it doesn't have to permanent.
Pit bulls may have more potential to develop aggression just like border collies and huskies are more likely to be hyperactive or destructive and chihuahuas are more prone to becoming fearful or nervous.
Owners need to be knowledgeable about their dogs instincts and be prepared to handle them. Rules about proper fencing and leashes are important and should apply to all dog breeds. Special considerations should be made for more dangerous dogs, but that shouldn't mean only pit bulls.
We want an arts street
This is in response to the idea of creating a "bar street" here in Winnipeg (A bar street - cool, April 13; We want a bar street, April 18).
The last thing this city needs is another "bar street." We are not short of bars. The easy route to revenue increases is not always the best road to travel.
Hey, I was not born yesterday. Not everyone suffers from substance issues. The facts state 10 to 12 per cent of individuals living in any North American city suffer from this disease. I am sure each and every one of the readers of this column is familiar with at least one person with substance issues.
Let us create an ambience which enriches our minds as well as our bodies. How about a street directed solely towards the creative side of our community: Let's do an "Arts Street."
Included in this concept is: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Foto Fresh, digital magic including SLR presentations; Role Playing, a venue offering acting classes, dance instruction and all forms of theatre information. How about a number of spaces targeted at all the new technology coming our way? And last but not least -- Ballet Alley and Symphony Sensations.
You get the idea. This is the tip of the iceberg. Let your mind wander. Oh, there is no intention to ban alcohol on this street.