Letters, March 15

Re: Planet doesn’t need more kids (Letters, March 11)

Surprisingly, one of the gravest problems humanity faces in the 21st century is underpopulation. The birthrates in the developed sector have plummeted and are below the replacement rate average of 2.1 children per woman, and the developing sector is rapidly following suit.

This fact imperils the economy, and especially the aged and most vulnerable, as it undercuts the tax base and shrinks the science and engineering sectors. Fewer people means fewer geniuses, meaning critical problems become harder to solve. It also reduces the diversity of our society, for how can you have diversity without the people to be diverse?

Immigration can alleviate this problem to some degree, but, eventually, as anti-nationalist sentiment and economic conditions spread, the needed immigration pool will dry up, igniting a fierce competition between countries to court the needed immigrants.

Beware those who promote the overpopulation myth. When one views humans as a problem, one naturally looks around to see which humans are expendable, whether through war, disease, famine, poor-quality health care, contraceptive culture, encouragement of MAID, or more active measures. The 20th century teaches that anti-humanist ideas can easily tempt people and governments to designate "surplus people" as a problem in need of a solution.

Gregory Unger

Cooks Creek

To those who have suggested it’s right and proper that couples stop having children to save the planet, do you get nosebleeds from sitting atop the moral high ground? Do you hold your parents in contempt for being so brash as to produce you, knowing that you’re contributing to the death of Mother Earth?

Chairman Mao’s spirit is resting a hand on your shoulder, nodding his approval.

David Pavlich


Re: Seeking a more compassionate alternative (Opinion, March 12)

Seeking a more compassionate alternative to the use of bus shelters as homes for those who have no home is a wonderful idea. Thank you to Carl DeGurse for raising it. Without a compassionate alternative, we are in danger of giving in to frustration and opting for faster and possibly more violent solutions.

I would like to say that there are a couple of concerns that mandating treatment, as California’s Gov. Newsom recommends, doesn’t address.

First, Winnipeg doesn’t have the capacity at present to offer mental health or addictions treatment to those who are actively seeking it. Where are we going to mandate the possibly unwilling bus-shelter residents to go for treatment?

Second, having had the privilege of being the recipient of many Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5 confessions, I have come to the conclusion that addiction treatment doesn’t work unless the treatee is committed to healing. Elders in the AA community have expressed frustration with mandated treatment, saying "You have to hit bottom before you will get clean." Everyone has a different bottom. And some people die before they hit theirs.

Sadly, I don’t have any alternatives to suggest that would be as fast as the California governor’s proposal of compulsory treatment. The best idea I personally have come up with is to support a universal guaranteed basic income. It would likely be cheaper than all the Band Aid solutions we have tried in the past.

Mary Lysecki


Carl DeGurse makes a token acknowledgement of the trauma of colonialism, and then proposes re-traumatizing people by forcing them to undergo involuntary psychiatric treatment. Prison inmates have more rights than involuntary psychiatric patients and, unlike in Ontario, there are no independent psychiatric patient rights advisors in Manitoba.

The chilling words "helping people who can’t help themselves" evokes eugenics and forced sterilization, which Indigenous women are still being subjected to today.

Has DeGurse asked himself if living in a bus shelter is truly a choice, when homeless shelters can’t provide what the rest of us take for granted: safety, community and the right to self-determination?

Lisa Walter

Letters, March 15


I liked Carl DeGurse’s article, even though the frustrations with the bus shelters persist for all concerned and it will take a long time to pass any legislation or provide budgets for any new approaches, such as mandated treatment or special courts.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful if The Bay was totally funded by some billionaire to convert the space into an Indigenous centre responding to total needs, including overnight shelter, detox units, psychiatric treatment units, post-treatment mini-apartments, recreational/vocational offices and workshops, GED classrooms and low-rental units?

Maureen Hughes


Columnist Carl DeGurse and Coun. Scott Gillingham seek a more compassionate alternative to avoid physically removing squatters living in bus shelters.

As the city plans a $50,000 ad campaign to promote Winnipeg Transit use, perhaps some funds can be allocated to install timers to shut off the heat in shelters after midnight when buses stop running. This would encourage individuals who are suffering homelessness to utilize safer available shelter housing, thereby reducing further assaults, fires and litter for morning commuters.

Carol Abramson


Re: Public works rejects mismanagement allegations (March 11)

We have a public works department that has dragged its feet on items such as eye-level flashing lights at crosswalks, longer amber lights at higher-speed intersections, and the school-zone flashing lights the city appears to be doing everything in its power to sink, to mention a few.

The best that the public works director can do is claim "it’s not what it looks like" when answering accusations about needless work done by his department.

I am usually sympathetic to the work of public servants. However, there is something very wrong here, leading me to suggest the public works department needs a shakeup, including removing individuals from their positions.

Brian Huzel


After reports of signs missing at school zones, funny business with the traffic lights and abuse of photo radar, we’re told there is no need for any review. Coun. Sherri Rollins praises public works staff for speaking "truth to power."

Taxpayers, rest assured. Public works is delivering as much value for money as, say, the building inspectors.

Barry Prentice

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Re: William Hurt, star of Broadcast News, Body Heat,’ dies (March 14)

In 2003, while I was eating lunch alone on the patio of a restaurant in the Exchange District, William Hurt sat beside my table. I welcomed him to Winnipeg and asked how rehearsals were going for his run as Richard III at the then-Manitoba Theatre Centre. I was struck by his genuine warmth.

We spoke for more than an hour, and I walked away incredibly impressed with his deep knowledge of Canada’s Indigenous community and curiosity about the history of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Canada.

Jeffrey Morry