Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/10/2017 (748 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Warding off trouble
Re: City voting districts get shaken up (Oct. 19)
With regard to the redistribution of wards in the city of Winnipeg, Canadians can be grateful for our system of free and fair elections. With so much focus on the U.S. system now, it is worth remembering just how blatant the gerrymandering is in the U.S. House of Representatives. There is very little movement in their Congress between elections, with Congressmen routinely hanging on to their seats for many terms because of that gerrymandering.
One more good reason to be grateful for our country and our system of government.
Sounding the alarm
Re: PM’s fire hall visit sounds alarm bells (Oct. 21)
Your editorial on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s "impromptu" visit to the Osborne Street fire hall in July raises a number of serious questions that demand answers, particularly from city hall. Although the Prime Minister’s Office is refusing any explanation as to how this visit was organized, it is far more important, in my opinion, to get answers from city hall as to how this visit was organized and by whom.
Based on your editorial and from stories published in the Free Press earlier in the week, it appears the visit was organized by Alex Forrest who, I understand, is employed as a firefighter with the city’s fire/paramedic service and who sidelines as the firefighters union president and leader of its political action committee (PAC).
Just how is it even remotely possible that a mere employee of the city’s fire/paramedic service could arrange for and plan this visit to an active fire hall by the prime minister without the advance knowledge of and the consent of that employee’s boss, namely the chief? This visit was not, as Forrest glibly states, "an informal drop by the fire hall." In this day and age of security concerns, prime ministers don’t get to make "informal drop-bys" any more.
I’ve written to Mayor Brian Bowman and CAO Doug McNeil about this outrage and have asked that an investigation be undertaken immediately to determine how it is that the prime minister of Canada made a visit to one of the busiest fire halls in the city without proper authorization being given by the chief. If the chief did not authorize this visit, then who in the city did — and under what authority?
The citizens of Winnipeg need to know who is running the fire/paramedic service. Is it the chief? Or, is it the PAC leader? Only city hall can provide the answer and that answer needs to come soon.
Eliminate harm, don’t just reduce it
Re: Family law reforms will ‘reduce harm,’ Tories say (Oct. 19)
After years of the family law system described as being in a "state of crisis," the proposed family law reforms will "reduce harm"? Why would the family law system be inflicting harm in the first place? Why just reduce harm? Why not eliminate it?
I have great concern that the advisory team consists of eight lawyers and three individuals who do not appear to have experience in this area. Why is there no representation from those whose lives have been "harmed?"
Each year billions of dollars are poured into the divorce industry. It is one of the fastest-growing and most profitable areas of law. It has been described as a system that takes advantage of people at their most vulnerable and destroys men, women and children with little or no regard for doing what is right. Very justifiable reasons for my concern.
There needs to be equal representation from those who have first-hand experience of the devastating effects of our family law system and/or organizations such as Canadian Equal Parenting Council, Lawyers for Shared Parenting and Leading Women for Shared Parenting, not mainly from those who have only benefited from it.
Negotiated in bad faith
Re: Balfour Declaration still felt 100 years later (Oct. 21)
In his attempt to place the Balfour Declaration in a historical context, Allan Levine appears to place the blame for "every military conflict and act of violence" on the fact that the Arabs never accepted the 1947 partition plan and the Jews did.
While this may be factual, it is hardly the most salient of facts. And why won’t the Arabs accept the plan? It gave the Jewish residents of Palestine 55 per cent of the territory even though they owned only six per cent and made up less than one-third of the population.
This was such a sweetheart deal that even David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder, said he wouldn’t accept such a deal. "I would not make terms with Israel. That is natural; we have taken their country. They see only one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?"
It may also be true that the Arabs wanted sovereignty over all of Palestine and if the British wanted out they should have granted them sovereignty; it was their land, after all.
Furthermore, all Israeli actions from 1948 onward, the continued illegal occupation of Palestinian lands following the 1967 Six-Day War, the ongoing building of illegal settlements in the West Bank contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the construction of the "separation wall" on Palestinian land, confirm what Manachem Begin, in a show of brutal honesty, proclaimed at Camp David in 1978 that, "under no condition can a Palestinian state be created."
The salient fact that needs to be learned from the Balfour Declaration is that when foreign powers attempt to give away land that doesn’t belong to them, without the "free prior and informed consent" of those who live on that land, they’d better be prepared for a fight.
Criticism of U.S. misses mark
Re: Questionable victory (Letters, Oct. 21)
Herb Bjarnason’s ill-concealed anti-American rant leads one to believe he’s genuinely perturbed that IS has been routed from its positions in Syria and Iraq and that his understanding of the tactics and consequences of modern warfare is somewhat limited.
When IS was murdering and brutalizing the defenceless civilians of the areas it occupied several years ago, I wonder whether he was exhorting the Canadian government and the UN to send in peacekeepers to stop the carnage.
Did he expect the Iraqi liberating forces to carry out their operations in Raaqa by forgoing U.S. air support and restricting its weaponry to broadswords and crossbows?
No doubt IS would have reciprocated by laying down its AK-47s and machine guns and allowing all non-combatants to evacuate and avoid being caught in the crossfire.
If Bjarnason would examine photos of much larger areas like Stalingrad, Berlin and Tokyo after the Second World War, he’d realize that such widespread devastation has, unfortunately, been typical of current conflicts for the past 75 years or longer.
As for cleaning up the mess left by the battle, why doesn’t he call upon the UN to lend a hand? This would give it a chance to atone for its inane proposal to name a thug like Robert Mugabe as its "goodwill ambassador" for the World Health Organization.