Helping others the Canadian way
In reading the articles about "Wexit" and the discontent of Alberta and Saskatchewan voters, I wondered if everyone should take a longer-term look at the history of the West.
I remember my mother telling me that when she was a kid in the ’30s, families in Ontario packed up boxes of food, clothing, books and toys to share with families in Alberta who were struggling. This was before the many social safety nets that have been created with our tax dollars.
Sometimes people need to take a broader view. Families helping families has always been the Canadian way.
Include First Nations in health-care planning
Re: Boy given Tylenol for acid burns (Oct. 23)
Thanks to Maggie MacIntosh for the article about 11-year-old Willy-Jack and his mom, Charlotte Linklater. The article exposes the need for more effective services in every sphere of life in First Nations.
This story also demonstrates the continuing issue of the lack of involvement of First Nations leadership in health and health-care planning, despite our treaty and Aboriginal rights being "recognized and affirmed" in the 1982 Constitution Act of Canada.
A little over a month ago, our First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba, in partnership with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, launched a report called the Health Status of and Access to Healthcare by Registered First Nation Peoples in Manitoba. We noted that health-care usage does not match the need in Manitoba, emphasizing that our First Nations people are more likely to die young, and our expected lifespan is 11 years shorter than all other Manitobans.
In this report, we also noted that these extremely worrisome statistics are under-counting the reality of First Nations. We could not count those who do not have Indian status under the Indian Act, nor could we access federal government data.
Now that the province is turning its attention to rural areas with a five-year plan to be announced that First Nations have had no input into, we wish the public to know we are ready to be involved, our report notes that our involvement is essential and many First Nations have initiated major positive changes. So, when will the federal and provincial governments involve First Nations?
Chief Sheldon Kent
Chairman, First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba
Missing the point of democracy
Re: Greed, not capitalism, the problem (Letters, Oct. 29)
John Froese points out that capitalism is not about greed. When I have more money than I know what to do with, I put it in the bank on the perhaps misplaced faith that the bankers will lend it to someone who has a use for it. The destructive effects of compound interest can be ameliorated by an adequate system of taxation. Voting for tax cuts for millionaires is greed.
Froese is also correct in pointing out that capitalism is a significant factor in building our modern consumer society. He neglects to point out that it is our consumer society that is destroying our environment. When he argues that we should not encourage ignorant and irresponsible people to vote, he misses the point of democracy.
Democracy does not guarantee good government, only that people get the government they deserve. An ignorant and irresponsible people will elect an ignorant and irresponsible government. It’s tough, but fair.
Improve downtown security
As a longtime subscriber to MTC, Warehouse, PTE, WSO, the Fringe Festival and, occasionally, opera and ballet, I have enjoyed many arts events in Winnipeg. Even before my vehicle was recently broken into in the well-lit parking lot north of the Planetarium entrance, however, I had reservations about going to the theatre district at night (lately, during the day as well).
While I am aware that the police and the city are dealing constantly with serious, deep-rooted problems which they have publicly stated go far beyond policing issues, I feel that security can and must be improved downtown. Patrolling security vehicles must be regularly employed in and around the theatre district at night, as is the norm in many other major cities. The arts, restaurants, transportation and parking services, as well as the community at large, will very quickly lose a supportive presence and a relatively secure economic health if the present situation does not change. The biggest loss might be the absence of people, other than those working during the day in the area.
Surely the many arts groups invested in the area, with the help of the police, the City of Winnipeg and organizations like the Downtown BIZ, can implement effective security measures for their patrons.
The city has made a concerted, strategic effort to sell Winnipeggers on the idea that it has much to offer in the arts, sports and culture, yet many people I know avoid the Main Street and Portage Avenue area because of safety concerns. This problem will not go away.
I, for one, do not intend to attend any events in the area in the future unless reasonable measures are taken to ensure the safety of not just seniors, but all Winnipeggers who wish to have our faith in our city restored and to contribute to its robust health.
That’s the spirit
Re: Nationals top Astros in Game 7 to win 1st World Series title (Oct. 31)
Congratulations to the 2019 World Series champions Washington Nationals and their fans! They were a great group that always showed up when it counted and was never afraid to show a little joy: dancing in the dugout, laughing, believing and always sticking together.
They were a true team with a spirit that would do us all well.
Hallandale Beach, Fla.
End-of-life plans worth sharing
Re: To die well, let’s discuss death before life ends (Nov. 1)
One afternoon, when I was a 10-year-old in Grade 5, someone ran up to me and told me that she had heard that my grandmother had died. I was in tears all the rest of the school day.
When I arrived home, I ran to my mother and asked her if it was true. Mom explained that my grandmother wanted us all to know that she was happy, that life had been good and that she didn’t want us to be sad.
Because of her kind words, and discussions that I have had with my family, I have made the decision to share with my children — and grandchild — where my important papers are located and my preferences for end-of-life care. Although I am currently very well, it is a fact that a life can end at any time.
For certain, communicating advance care plans reduces the trauma for family and friends left behind.