Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/12/2016 (1038 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Whoa, Nellie, indeed
Re: Whoa! No Nellie on banknote? (Nov. 26)
Would someone please correct me if I’m wrong, for I certainly wouldn’t want to perpetuate lies.
Nellie McClung, although she strived and had some success to promote equality for women, was an advocate for eugenics and was prejudiced against black people.
If this is true, she was an oxymoron and not worthy of having her face on a Canadian banknote.
Also, the Free Press editorial on the subject was irresponsible.
Les A. Jones
Rethink methods to teach reading
Re: Poor showing for Manitoba kids (Dec. 5)
Sadly, Manitoba students find themselves once again at the bottom of Canadian scores in science, reading and mathematics.
If this situation is the result of socioeconomic factors as Education Minister Ian Wishart suggested, then how does he explain that Manitoba’s highest socioeconomic group scored only seventh in Canada?
A deputy to the minister noted in an interview, "Why make a problem when there isn’t one?" Really?
The issue, it seems to me, is not so much about students. They arrive at the door as they are, clothed in a vast variety of cultures, customs, languages, and yes, economic and social environments. But are children in Singapore any different from children in Canada or children anywhere?
The difference lies in how they are taught.
While our best teachers choose to teach because they care and want students to succeed, they can only teach what they know. The fact that very few teachers have the knowledge and expertise to teach reading effectively, especially to students for whom learning to read is difficult, would explain Manitoba’s consistently poor performance. What we are doing is clearly not working!
In a recent university class, one young teacher lamented that in her entire five years of teacher training she had received no instruction in how to teach reading. And yet, as a third grade teacher, she is expected to help children learn to read every day.
Clearly, the very costly programs and resources in place now for more than a decade have not had the desired outcome — skilled and proficient readers and writers.
Early screening in kindergarten, along with early intervention, can go a long way to prevent most reading failures later. Our department of education must give serious consideration to more effective methods to teach reading. The future of thousands of children depends on it.
Christine van de Vijsel
Co-founder, Dyslexia Champions of Manitoba
PR critique nonsense
Re: Proportional voting system unfair (Letters, Dec. 6)
For the life of me I cannot see how Chris Kennedy thinks proportional voting is unfair. How is it tampering with your vote? If anything, the opposite is true. It makes your vote more valid. It is as if he is saying, "Vote for one of the mainstream parties or don’t bother voting because you don’t deserve to have your voice heard." I’m sure that isn’t what he feels, but it could be construed in that manner.
Unfortunately, it seems that in North American politics (especially in the United States) there is little or no effort to listen to and possibly consider a viewpoint different from your own. There are many successful countries that have coalition governments due to having multiple parties running for seats. It does require some give and take — compromise, instead of "I want it all my way." Many of my friends have political views different from mine, but there are many issues upon which we agree. Compromise is possible. Proportional representation would make more people feel a part of the political system.
That being said, although I didn’t vote for him, I was hopeful Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would move forward on this issue. A referendum is not needed. When Stephen Harper was repealing the long-gun registration law, there were calls for a referendum. The Conservative Party response was that the election was their referendum. And this was true. An elected government has to govern and not run to the population to get its OK on every issue.
People generally don’t like change. "If it ain’t broke, leave it alone." Well, it may not be broke, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.
Good parks make city healthier
Re: Parks left out in the cold (Dec. 5)
Thanks go to Aldo Santin for his timely explanation of the budget deficiencies for the city parks department, and also to those city councillors who have tried to readjust the budget towards better maintenance of our valuable parklands.
Neglect of these areas appears to come from a mindset too common in Winnipeg, that of ignoring the public health benefit of having well-managed natural areas within an urban setting.
Instead, the few unpaved acres that we do have are neglected, left for overgrowth of noxious weeds dispersing irritants to add to our wind-borne dust.
Naturalized areas with well-chosen trees and grasses need not result in asthma and other breathing problems for our children, but rather could serve as filters for airborne particles, as well as restful places to play and exercise.
According to the city website, more trees die per year in Winnipeg than are being replaced. Developers are given incentives for building high-density housing, but not rewarded for creating parks with trees. Such natural settings have an actual commercial value, as well as the health value and environmental benefits that come from urban green space.
There is no reason why the city can’t encourage planning that incorporates both multifamily dwellings and adjacent treed areas. The missing piece is a realistic budget for maintaining our parks.
Jean A. Paterson
Pallister shows true colours
Re: Premier attacks NDP rookie (Dec. 2)
In his graceless, baseless and juvenile remarks regarding MLA Nahanni Fontaine and on the provincial government’s decision to abolish the indigenous issues committee of cabinet, Premier Brian Pallister shows us how well he has studied the style of our former prime minister, and the just-concluded U.S. federal election.
The year is 2016, a time when reconciliation between indigenous peoples and the non-indigenous Canadian society is finally on the nation’s agenda and a time when all politicians have the opportunity to take the lead and do their part in moving that agenda forward. We have leadership, both indigenous and non-indigenous, to whom we can turn for inspiration.
Instead, we must hear and read Mr. Pallister make insulting remarks about a colleague’s efforts, and assume, without presented evidence, the worst of those efforts. In doing so, he is using his position to shut down dedicated and necessary work that addressed the needs of families affected by the death and/or disappearance of aboriginal girls and women, and looked to the root causes of these crimes.
Step aside from the dogmatic soliciting of his voting base and this story is reduced to: Mr. Pallister does not yet have a report, from a committee appointed by the former government. Is this unusual? Further, is it deserving of the petulant and insulting remarks issued by our new leader?