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Showing posts with the label Letter To The Editor

Compassion needed for farm animals. (Letter)

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The following letter appeared in the Saturday, Oct. 10th edition of the Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo added by PinP.) Sows like this spend much of their lives in tiny steel cages. Re: Changes needed to protect farms, animals (Opinion, Oct. 5)  As a former executive director at the Winnipeg Humane Society, I feel compelled to respond to Bill Campbell’s op-ed on the need to protect farms and animals. After starting at the Humane Society in 1994, I quickly came to learn that some of the most egregious suffering imposed on animals by humans occurs in the industrial barns of today’s animal agriculture. I am not speaking of the few remaining family farms, but rather the large industrial-style buildings that house thousands of animals in small confined spaces with no access to the outdoors. These operations treat the animals more like cars on an assembly line, as they do not allow the animals to fulfill natural instincts and limit their movement severely. In short, t

What can a large, but routine highway project teach us about our climate crisis?

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Larry Powell explores that question in this picture story - "Thinking Globally. Acting Locally. " Earlier this summer, in a letter in my community newspaper, the Crossroads, I complained about a huge multi-million dollar roadbuilding project south of Shoal Lake, in southwestern Manitoba.   Here’s why. A convoy of dump trucks streams past my window. Despite a standing warning from the United Nations that the  construction sector needs to cut back on its huge carbon footprint “yesterday” if we are to meet our obligations under the Paris Climate Accord, a steady stream of diesel trucks rumbled through town for weeks, from dawn to dusk, right past my living and bedroom windows.  (Above.) And, scant weeks after the Parks and Wilderness Society informed us that biodiversity (the variety of plant and animal life on Earth) is declining faster than at any other time in human history, the trucks were making hundreds of round trips a day, hauling copious loads of grave

Is relentless industrial development threatening the beautiful Birdtail River? Lucrative highway contracts have brought an explosion of noise and congestion to a picturesque valley in western Manitoba. (Letter)

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Dear Editor, If ever there was an example of just how numb we've become to the planetary crisis we all face, it’s surely playing out in plain sight right here, right now, in Shoal Lake. As many of my neighbours will already know, big dump trucks have been lumbering by in front of our homes for about a week now. Beginning before dawn, they sometimes become a steady stream that lasts much of each day, coming and going, until about dusk.   These heavy diesel "twenty-two-wheelers" with long, steel boxes, have been moving gravel (or some similar material), from a big mine along the Yellowhead to the west, to a big maintenance project along Highway 21 to the south. One of the many trucks working on the project in question, ready to be loaded at the mine. Since the trucks pass right by our front window, I’ve been able to do a rough count. At about 150 round trips per day, they must be set to move hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of material before the ope

Fungicides move into the headlines. And not in a good way. Letter.

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Dear Editor, These are dark days for science.  A chlorothalonil molecule. Image by Jynto. A month ago, the European Union announced it would ban the widely-used fungicide,  chlorothalonil.   Why?  Because experts in its own Food Safety Agency  suspected it was carcinogenic - or cancer-causing. It just so happens, that very same product is also used right here in Canada, and apparently in no small amounts, either! Yet our own Canadian "regulator," the PMRA, re-assessed the chemical less than a year ago.  While it imposed some restrictions, it will still allow its main use as a treatment for mold, mildew and blight in food crops, to continue. Fast forward to today. The New York Times is now reporting that a new and deadly  fungal infection ,  Candida aurus,  is moving across the globe, with "numerous cases" reported in many countries, including Canada. The fungus is claiming many lives and proving to be well-nigh indestructible. Why? Accordin

Dark days for science. My latest letter.

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Dear Editor, These are dark days for science. A Gov't. of New Brunswick photo. 2019. Even as violent weather continues to lap at our doorstep, the good people of Alberta have elected yet another climate-denier as their Premier. Soon, Jason Kenney, too will join that merry band of Tory luminaries already conducting a crusade to cripple the most effective way of countering our climate crisis. Knowing that the science is now too compelling to deny it outright, these rebels-without-a-clue, are trying a different tack. They’re taking Ottawa to court, challenging its right to impose a carbon tax. Despite the federal provision for rebates, they seem to think, by dint of saying it often enough, they can reduce this sensible attempt to save our planet, down to some kind of tawdry “tax grab.”

Strathclair hog barn operator not in compliance with laws - Hogwatch Manitoba

Dear Editor, Politics, not law, are driving Yellowhead Council’s response to  Hog  Watch Manitoba’s revelations about a hog barn expansion  near  Strathclair.     (See B.G. story, here.) Claims that its “investigation” reveals the operator was “found to  be in compliance with laws and regulations” as reported in the  October 24   Brandon Sun   are false. Council’s informal plan to have taxpayers pay someone to count  the Maple Leaf-owned pigs at this so-called family farm is a  diversion designed to give the offender time to fix problems  documented by Hog Watch. Counting pigs helps them evade their  responsibility to regulate on the maximum number and type of pigs  a barn can hold.   Governments’ honour system has led to the approval of a new barn  without making sure there is sufficient capacity to stor e  manure.    Only after the barn was built, over a thousand pigs put in  it this spring, Hog Watch sounded an alarm and municipal 

Are some Manitoba media stifling dissent on the hog barn issue? One activist speaks out.

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John Fefchak of Virden (L.) has been a critic of the hog industry for years. An Air Force veteran now in his eighties, he writes many letters to the editor. They're often in a losing cause, and often at odds with the "pro-hog" editorial stance of many mainstream media. But neither circumstance nor time have deterred him. His letters drive home the wrong-headedness of politicians who "cheerlead" for an industry with so many downsides, including a propensity to pollute our precious waterways. Below is John's latest letter, telling of his experiences with the Sun, a daily newspaper in Brandon, Manitoba.   (PinP) ======= Is The Brandon Sun Newspaper Applying a Double Standard? On Nov. 14th, 2017, the Sun published yet another story about yet another hog producer complaining of being "hard done by." This after the Pallister government had already passed legislation recklessly slashing health and environmental protections, in order to pave t

Does God Love Storm Victims? (Letter)

Below is a letter I submitted to the weekly newspaper, the Neepawa Banner today. =============== Dear Editor, I am puzzled by a recent column in the weekly newspaper, the Neepawa Banner by Rev. Neil Strohschein, entitled “A Christian response to natural disasters.” I find your conclusion that God loves the victims of such storms, cries out for further explanation.  Who or what is making these storms in the first place, then? Is it not God? Because the faithful believe God is all-powerful, do they not?   If it is not Him, who/what is it, then? Does He not have the power to prevent such calamities? If He does not, does that not make Him less than all-powerful?   And if it is Him, please explain to me how raining down such massive misery and destruction on his flock can possibly be an act of love?   While you do not address this following point in your column, it is one which, IMHO, also cries out for a response from the religious. It is customary in the fa

Changes for Manitoba's hog industry would lower standards (LETTER)

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(Brandon Sun,13 June) It's a funny thing how industries that are in trouble invariably take out full-page ads in the newspapers to proclaim their virtue in search of public approval. Such is the case with Saturday's ad by the Manitoba Pork Council featuring chairman George Mathison. Chairman Mathison, referring to the "red tape reductions" proposed by the province, emphatically proclaims that "None of the proposed changes will lower environmental standards." Come now, George - that really is a bit of a stretch.

Manitoba's River Decision "All Wet!"

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Stephen Harper Transforms Canada (and not in a good way). (Editorial)

(I wrote the following at least two years ago, while Stephen Harper was still Prime Minister of Canada. Due to technical limitations, I can't seem to keep it in its chronological place on the blog. So I'm leaving it where it is. Just know Harper is (mercifully) long gone from his post.) by Larry Powell Sad, isn’t it?  Canada’s days as an honest broker and a respected, neutral middle power, are over. Prime Minister Harper has transformed my country from a kinder, gentler peacekeeping nation, which strives to mediate disputes and stay out of despicably unjust wars like Iraq, into a would-be petrostate that takes sides, “smites” our enemies, intimidates those whose views differ from his own and sows seeds of hatred based on culture, religion or gender. He actually declared jihadi terrorists (as brutal and evil as they clearly are) as “the most dangerous enemy our world has ever seen.” Has he already forgotten the millions of allied troops who died fighting far bigger ene

The Great God of Growth - Is He Always Right? (Letter)

Dear Editor, I still find political attitudes towards growth puzzling, to say the least. What kind of growth, you ask? Economic growth? Population growth? Well, it doesn’t really matter. Our politicians want it, in great dollops, as if it was the key to the Kingdom.

The Great Wildfire Debate Lights Up Editorial Pages in Manitoba.

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by Larry Powell For simplicity, I'm putting the series of events discussed below, in chronological order. First, I wrote the letter, immediately below,   published in the Brandon Sun, Neepawa Press and Roblin Review in recent weeks. ===== Forest fire smoke (from as far away as BC) over southern Manitoba.  PinP  photo. Dear Editor,  It's time to wake up and smell the smoke! As wildfires rage around us on the Canadian prairies, forcing thousands of poor souls from their homes, we click our tongues and complain about sore eyes and reduced visibility on the roads. (Trust me, reduced visibility is the least of our worries.)   We apparently lack the brain power to listen to and actually  hear  what the world's scientific community has been warning us about for over a generation. If we do nothing to curb our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels, we can expect more and worse heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and a host of other extreme weather events whic