Demand better and vote
Running as a candidate gives one a unique insight and a view into how people are thinking and how the electoral wizardry works or how it does not. In the recent provincial election, I was refused entry into buildings, voters were locked out of polling stations and direct mail was "lost" by Canada Post. I was kicked, punched and slapped, and it was implied that a body bag would be the next mode of transportation for myself and volunteers.
However, out of all these experiences, there are only two concerns I cannot stop thinking about: civility and freedom. As parents, we teach our children behaviours we trust are necessary in creating a social contract with others in society, with the main tenet being, "Treat others as we would like to be treated." We don’t hit. We don’t take things that don’t belong to us. We share.
So why then do these teachings fail when it comes to electing our political leadership?
When a child behaves poorly, we tend to hear about it from a teacher, neighbour, relative or friend. We feel a responsibility not only to encourage good behaviour for the child’s development, but also because we don’t want to be seen as not being a good parent.
So why then do we tolerate behaviours we know to be counterproductive to our social contract in politics? Is it because individual responsibility cannot be identified, and we perceive it as "not my problem"?
I believe the loss of individual accountability is one of the main reasons people forgive themselves for not being active. However, in people’s defence, there are also systems in place that encourage voters to disengage. When leaders don’t have to be present at public forums and debates, why should a voter make the effort to vote?
During the last election, Brian Pallister admitted that many Manitobans are only $200 a month away from insolvency. So by raising the political donation limit to $5,000 per year, he cannot deny he has tipped the scales in his favour; however, I am unsure if he truly comprehends the magnitude of his actions, given his short-mindedness on other decisions.
Pallister’s agenda of ensuring the affluent are more worthy of voter consideration should have the masses incensed. The freedom to vote is the absolute assurance of equality. It is not affected by race, gender, religion or economic privilege and it is a right fought and paid for in lives. Therefore, Pallister’s attack on electoral fairness is something Manitobans need to pay attention to, and to be silent on this is a disgrace to all who gave everything for us.
There will always be pundits who argue for less government involvement and spending. However, this province gave away $200 million under a PC and an NDP government to subsidize a stadium. We need to give pause. People did not go to war to build a stadium; however, they did die on the battlefield to ensure we had the freedom to choose our political representatives.
We as a country did not fight against fascism and tyranny only to have it replaced by a different type of repression based on economics. However, given the devaluation of our freedoms by those not willing to vote, maybe Pallister is right.
In the 16th century, it was said that "a fool and his money are soon parted." In today’s society maybe it should be, "A fool and their vote are soon parted."
Ignorance breeds hatred
Recent reports concerning the alleged hate-mongering by a former Canadian Army Reserve master corporal have reminded me, a gentile, published historian, and former teacher of university courses in history, that according to B’Nai Brith, there have been many anti-Jewish incidents in Canada in recent years. It is hard to believe that this is the same Canada whose government has gone out of its way to welcome mostly Muslim refugees. I am personally in favour of helping refugees and other immigrants to Canada, but only if they follow proper entry procedures.
A few years ago, my wife and I tried to bring a niece, a talented young lady, from Ukraine to Canada, but we were confronted with a bureaucratic nightmare. The young lady gave up trying to come to Canada and went to Italy instead.
My father, a Ukrainian immigrant, was unjustly detained in a Canadian concentration camp during the First World War, along with about 6,000 other Ukrainians.
We should keep in mind that Canada in 1939 rejected a boatload of Jewish refugees, many of whom ended up in Nazi death camps. How many Albert Einsteins did the world lose? In my opinion, hate-mongering is partly caused by an ignorance of history. Some people are anti-Semitic even though Jews have made many magnificent contributions to science, literature, music, the arts, business and medicine.
Most hate-mongers are of a low rank; Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was a military corporal. Some people with doctorates can also be ignorant of history.
Make officers’ safety a priority
Re: Prison guards put work issues in federal spotlight (Sept. 16)
First and foremost, a structured intervention unit is not a political issue.
James Bloomfield, Prairies regional president for the federal correctional officers union, is incorrect in stating "structured intervention units" will not help correctional officers manage behavioural issues with prisoners.
I have been a Correctional Officer 1 and Supervisor in such a unit and it works.
Change can be difficult, which is why it is extremely important to ensure all staff are informed and trained prior to working in a structured intervention unit.
It is essential that staff feel their safety is a priority at all times.
If implemented correctly, you do not have to give up one thing (safety) for the other (meaningful human contact). In fact, it is quite the opposite.
If it ain’t broke...
Re: Time to end first-past-the-post (Letters, Sept. 17)
Sheri Oberman’s letter decries the current system, and while it may not be perfect, it has served us pretty well for some time. As for provincial parties supporting a change, she touts the Manitoba Greens and the Communist Party of Manitoba. Now there’s a ringing endorsement!
If you are having trouble sleeping at night, I suggest you record an NFL game and play it back on your bedroom TV at bedtime. You will be asleep in very short order.
The CFL players may not be as athletic or talented, but the wider field and Canadian rules make CFL football a far more entertaining game to watch.