Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 18 2015, Page 13

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 18, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE A14 OUR VIEW œ YOUR SAY WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2015 Freedom of Trade Liberty of Religion Equality of Civil Rights A 14 PERSPECTIVES AND POLITICS EDITOR: Shannon Sampert 204- 697- 7269 shannon. sampert@ freepress. mb. ca winnipegfreepress. com EDITORIAL LETTERS FP COMMENTS TWITTER VOL 143 NO 245 Winnipeg Free Press est 1872 / Winnipeg Tribune est 1890 2015 Winnipeg Free Press, a division of FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership. Published seven days a week at 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2X 3B6, PH: 204- 697- 7000 Publisher / BOB COX Editor / PAUL SAMYN Associate Editor Enterprise / SCOTT GIBBONS Associate Editor Digital News / WENDY SAWATZKY Night Editor / STACEY THIDRICKSON Director Photo and Multimedia / MICHAEL APORIUS W What’s your take? The Free Press wants to hear from you. Email: letters@ freepress. mb. ca Post: Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6 Please include your name, address and daytime phone number. Follow us on Twitter @ WFPEditorials For a how- to video on writing letters, visit winnipegfreepress. com Fight fog with facts Re: Winnipeg marijuana dispensary closed due to complaint from Vancouver ( July 15). Fifteen per cent THC is the average strength of marijuana. Australians are growing the strongest strain at 40 per cent, hardly four times stronger, as Pamela McColl of Smart Approaches to Marijuana would have us believe. She leaves the impression that all marijuana is four times stronger than in her smoking days, when, in fact, it is a small percentage. If you zero in on the very few negatives of marijuana, the 40 per cent strain in particular, and dismiss the myriad of positives, you are doing a major disservice to the public, unlike the service that Glenn Price provides. The independent researchers, not the brain- washing Big Pharma people, have proven the benefits of marijuana use. Marijuana, being nature’s own, cannot be patented. Therefore, Big Pharma successfully lobbies against it. Making lobbying illegal in this country is long past due. Should the day come when I need medical marijuana, I would hope to be able to obtain it over the counter. EL HANCOCK Langley, B. C. ¥ It is truly remarkable how Pamela McColl and her group show how naive they are. They continue to claim how legalization of cannabis will place our youth at risk and demand a medical- marijuana dispensary be closed in Winnipeg. As a retired police officer, I would tell her that it is the criminalizing of our youth that places them most at risk. I have personally attended dispensaries in Vancouver and now Winnipeg. These people do not want anything to do with providing pot to anyone not of legal age or without a prescription. Like our legal liquor industry it will never be perfect, but regulation and control will go a long way to taking drugs off our streets away from the children she so sanctimoniously claims to protect. Medical marijuana helps many people, both young and old. It is a safer alternative to the problem- plagued alcohol for many adults, yet McColl prefers to have young people arrested, turned into criminals and waste the valuable time of police. This is a social health issue, not a true crime, and the police will never resolve these issues with criminal arrests. BILL VANDERGRAAF Winnipeg A better ballot Re: Strategic voting or vote- splitting? ( July 15). Mary Agnes Welch’s article clearly demonstrates the case for doing away with the first- past- the- post system of voting in Canada. Under this system, strategic voting is often contemplated in order to avoid vote splitting. Nobody should be expected to “ hold their nose” when casting a ballot in an election. Instead, when going to the polls, the question should be, “ Which candidate/ party and its policies can best represent my constituency in Ottawa?” One way to achieve this is with a ranked- ballot system. Each voter ranks every candidate in order of choice, and a candidate has to win over 50 per cent of the votes to be elected. If this is not achieved by counting the No. 1 choices, then the No. 2 choices are counted and so on, until a successful candidate is declared. A ranked- ballot voting system lets voters cast a ballot for, rather than against, a candidate/ party. To make informed choices in ranking candidates, voters would need to pay more attention to all party platforms. More citizens would become actively involved in the political process. It is time that voters took back the power in politics and that politicians began to truly reflect the needs and wishes of the people who elect them. The adoption of a rankedballot system is one way to accomplish this goal. EVELYN FLETCHER Winnipeg Mary Agnes Welch’s column about Winnipeg South Centre misses the mark because it assumes there is a progressive vote to split in the riding. A look at Liberal candidate Jim Carr’s statements from his role as president of the Business Council of Manitoba show his support for privatizing health care, supporting higher tuition for Manitoba families and lobbying for increases in regressive sales taxes like the PST, which hurt lower- income earners the most. Add in his leader Justin Trudeau’s support for Bill C- 51, and voters wanting to elect a progressive voice have an easy choice to make on election day without worrying about vote splits. CAROL NEILL Winnipeg No peace in our time Gwynne Dyer’s article, Iran deal necessary in IS fight ( July 15), sounds much like Neville Chamberlin’s “ Peace in our time.” Dyer is his old cynical self when he says that our remaining option to this bad deal is massive airstrikes on Iran. No deal is better than this deal, which enables Iran to resume selling its oil and enriching itself at our expense. The ayatollahs must be gloating at this weakness displayed by the free world. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? The negotiators should have got up and walked away. Alternatively, the bargaining screws should have been turned up on Iran and its Islamic dictators told that the production of nuclear yellow cake must be terminated or the free world would terminate it for them. BRIAN NORRIS Winnipeg Fair Elections? Judge refused to grant injunction against part of Fair Elections Act voting rules. Speechless. @ sandra_ harris The proposed Fair Elections Act is the furthest thing from fair that I have ever seen. Democracy is becoming oligarchy. @ dispatcher880 Harper fears voter turnout will influence the election outcome not in his favour. @ politicalcog The Fair Elections Act is going ahead but I’m OK. Shredded paper from the bottom of my cage is one of the 37 forms of acceptable ID. @ 24sussexCharlie Harper does not want real Canadians to vote. He is not interest in helping real Canadians. @ sledfast1597 Fair Elections Act holds up in court. Democracy suffers yet another blow. @ MikeJWasTaken The Fair Elections Act is not fair. @ TaleFinn Harper’s economic woes Re: Harper’s words a gift for opponents ( July 17). I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere anticipated oil prices tanking as they have. With oil playing such a huge role in the economy it shouldn’t be unexpected the impact it’s having. What could Harper, Trudeau or Mulcair have done to mitigate the damage? — groot ¥ Relying primarily on export of raw resources does not bode well for anybody in the long run. After nearly 150 years of existence, we still remain very much “ hewers of wood and drawers of water.” Why do successive governments of all stripes continue to favour selling raw materials, oil, lumber, livestock, etc. and do not promote value- added processes through manufacturing? One guess? We are still a colony of the mighty corporations. — Deliese ¥ @ Deliese Am I supposed to believe that somehow if Canada didn’t sell natural resources we’d be better off? The fact that the oil industry singlehandedly was responsible for most of Canada’s economic growth over the last decade should be completely ignored? We’d be better off investing in manufacturing and trying to compete with low- wage manufacturing countries like China, while importing oil from Saudi Arabia? This is the problem with leftists. You’re really good at criticizing things, but you’re incapable of providing credible alternatives. — 23439022 ¥ It is Harper’s incompetence that brought us here and now he has the nerve to say we shouldn’t trust anyone else? It isn’t just the drop in the oil price, although our government’s reluctance to acknowledge the problem didn’t help. Our manufacturing industry has been ailing for a long time, investment in new equipment and innovation is down; but Harper just doubled down on energy. Which isn’t working either. How many of his pipelines has he gotten started/ built? Instead, we aren’t hearing much about that anymore. Instead, it is in a closet with Harper’s other failed plans and promises. — JustWondering Update on Krull case Re: Homicide investigators now leading Thelma Krull case ( July 17). Run in that area all the time. It’s baffling and concerning. Not knowing has to be one of the worst feelings. — knucklehead1964 ¥ This is not the news people were hoping to hear. — Nana2 A N Ontario Superior Court justice’s refusal on Friday to suspend new voting rules for the October election means almost certainly some Canadians will be turned away at the polls. Voters will have to abide by stricter rules to prove their identification, and some will find the bar set too high. That’s a problem. The decision by Superior Court Justice David Stinson not to suspend the new ID rules for the coming election means the federal government has a lot of work to do to make voters aware it’ll be harder to exercise their franchise, so they carry the right documents to the polls with them. That’s if the government wants to. The new act has stripped Canadians of the ability to use as ID the voter- identification card Elections Canada sends out. And voters who have a tougher time proving their address — for example, First Nations people or students who tend to move around a lot — will not be able to ask another voter to simply vouch for them. About 400,000 voters in the 2011 election used vouching. That particular amendment brought a lot of heat down on the Harper government, pushing it to relent a little. Now potential voters can attest to their address by signing an oath, and if they can get a valid voter to do the same, they’ll be given a ballot. It’s all getting a little complicated, to address a “ problem” a lot of people, including chief electoral officers across the country, say never existed before this act. Perversely, it has the real potential to suppress turnout at a time fewer and fewer Canadians, especially young people, see the point in voting. That’s why the Council of Canadians and others are challenging the constitutionality of many elements of the Fair Elections Act. That case is wending its way through the justice system, but in the meantime, they asked the Ontario court to suspend the ID rules for the October election. Justice Stinson refused, saying the matter required a fuller hearing on all evidence about the effects of the amendments. So there will be another day in court, an unnecessary, and costly, exercise when the fix for the few problems with Canadian election law was relatively simple. There have been cases of voter fraud, but most of the issues unearthed in post- election analyses point to troubles with the voter registry, or other technicalities. Indeed, the biggest voting scandal was the use of robocalls — automated calling services political parties use to contact voters. A Tory operative was recently convicted for using such a service to prevent Canadians sympathetic to other parties from registering their votes. The robocall affair triggered some necessary changes to the Elections Act — the rules around automated calling of voters mean parties will have to keep better records when they use such services — but the Harper government went too far. Further, it has been shown repeatedly that investigations into complaints and allegations of tampering were hampered because the commissioner of elections cannot compel people to answer questions in those investigations. The robocall matter was a sterling example of this, as it dragged on, unnecessarily, because many in the federal Conservative party refused to co- operate. Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to give the commissioner these powers, despite the fact the provincial counterparts have them at their disposal. Instead, the government tightened Elections Canada’s ability to speak directly to Canadians: the office is forbidden to encourage voters to exercise their franchise, for example. It is one heck of a way to run a democracy, a point made repeatedly by opposition parties. Those parties, too, now have an duty to ensure Canadians know what kind of ID they need to get a ballot. And they can remind voters that if in power, they would correct the error of the Harper government’s amendments. Fair Elections Act still unfair Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre A_ 14_ Jul- 18- 15_ FP_ 01. indd A14 7/ 17/ 15 8: 30: 46 PM

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