Criticism off-base, eh?
Re: Americans fuel Canada’s anti-Americanism (May 27)
J.J. McCullough of the Washington Post would be more convincing in his criticism of Canadian bias against the U.S. if he didn’t commit the same errors of thought he complains of.
First of all, quoting Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as if he were in any way a reasonable representative of Canadian thought or intelligence is just unfair. Describing Canadians variously as "crass," "tendentious," "hostile," "making little effort to distinguish Americans as individuals," "boastful," "unthinking bigotry," "not entirely rational," "Canadians have little identity," "irrationally anti-American," he group-shames Canadians repeatedly in almost every paragraph.
Admitting only that some American sources are "self-loathing," he showers America with the kind of blinkered self-praise that characterizes a certain kind of American narcissism. America is great, but it is also flawed. If Americans cannot see themselves, warts and all, they will continue a career in the world as stumbling and embarrassing as their chosen leader.
J.J. McCullough, when even your best friends are embarrassed for you, it might be time for a little honest self-reflection instead of complaining how nasty we are.
J.J. McCullough’s op-ed manages to slam two large groups in one fell swoop. On one hand, McCullough blames America’s current self-loathing on the "American left." On the other hand, he dismisses a growing dislike by Canadians to what is happening in the U.S. as undue bias and finds the need to further add "Canadians have little identity beyond what can be defined through contrast with American flaws, yet their understanding of these flaws tends to be heavily cribbed from U.S. sources."
I spend six months a year in the U.S., and what I have come to understand is that there are many decent folks who do not subscribe to McCullough’s perspective, and some of them are Republicans. However, there are many right-wing zealots such as McCullough and those currently in power who benefit from the very behaviour that most Canadians find abhorrent.
Despite the perspectives developed in McCullough’s right-wing fantasy world, my sense of Canadian values is just fine, and it is not "cribbed from U.S. sources" — it is contrasted by the behaviour of some in the U.S.
Health-care workers go above and beyond
Re: Challenging time for palliative-care providers (May 25)
I am grateful for the Free Press recently covering the topic of palliative care and bereavement. As difficult as COVID-19 is on all of us, my heart goes out to anyone who has had to endure end of life alone or been separated from a loved one dying from a myriad of non-COVID-19-related reasons.
More than 200 people die each day from cancer alone in Canada. Last year, on March 25, 2019, my wife died from the effects of lung cancer, and the WRHA palliative care home support team was there with us. End-of-life support is not what we may usually think of when we think of health services, but this program is truly amazing and worth every penny of health-care dollars. The professionalism, compassion, knowledge, caring and involved action-oriented care is amazing.
In caring for Joanne to her death we were supported by a team of true angels who stood beside us, informed our care, provided comfort to Joanne and my family in such a timely, personal way as to be unbelievable. We had access to 24-hour support from nurses, doctors and all the necessary physical resources which eased the fear and allowed us to provide a comfortable, safe, meaningful and dignified death for my wife. And support continued afterwards, with follow-up phone calls and bereavement counselling.
While only about 20 per cent of people actually get to die at home, we are extremely fortunate to have this resource in Manitoba.
Give Pallister credit
Re: Special delivery: an erosion of trust (May 20) and Virtual classes leaving some behind (May 25)
How about giving Premier Brian Pallister some credit for the way he has handled the coronavirus pandemic?
In a province of more than a million people, you will never please everyone. Keeping our heads down and following the COVID-19 plan, we are seeing steady improvements. For that, I am truly appreciative.
Giving our children love and care is the most important influence in their lives. Time is their friend and will eventually iron out any problems that occur in their scholastic life.
I would like to know what your figures for the poverty line are for one or two seniors. Many seniors hovering above this so-called line cannot afford new eyeglasses, trips to the dentist, decent walkers, foot care, etc. Many of us are fortunate, but there are just as many that are struggling to live a decent, comfortable life. The 14 per cent figure just does not represent many of our hard-pressed seniors. The $200 is for them.
The affluent can donate their money to a worthy cause. That is not a waste.
Churchill idea has merit
Re: Railway access could speed oil exports (May 26)
I am always intrigued by Barry Prentice’s articles, most often regarding his proposed use of airships for freight hauling to the North and other hard to get to areas.
His recent piece regarding the shipment of oil by rail to Churchill and beyond by sea is something that needs to be explored further.
Why not ship oil by rail on infrastructure that is already there? This seems a viable option to spending billions on more pipelines that may never get approval. I know the rail bed needs repair and updating; however, new technology and materials make this possible, and quickly. Just turn the engineers loose — they will have a plan ready in weeks. The cost to build and maintain the line is the same whether you use it or not. This would be a valuable investment.
As a teen, I worked for CN Rail and rode every mile of the Northern line, spending a summer in Churchill, and always wondered why the rail line was so underused. Why not have multiple trains daily, taking all kinds of commodities to the world by a shorter and less expensive method?
This is something that the governments of Manitoba and Canada need to jump on, with funding, as one of the ways out of the pandemic’s economic downturn.
Taxes may need to be raised
Re: Canadians get value for money (Letters, May 26)
I certainly appreciated Rudy Peters’ comments regarding Tax Freedom Day and his giving us some pertinent facts about Canada’s rate of taxation.
I’m a firm believer that all three levels of government should periodically raise tax rates, and especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, including a surtax, if applicable.
We seem constantly over the decades to expect more federal, provincial and municipal services and a better safety net without any consideration of how, when governments promote tax cuts, these eventually lower our standard of living.