Right in the Centre - Words are important


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

I believe the column title above was also the title of a junior high English workbook. Words are important and words are used to articulate opinions. Opinions are important and everyone has some. Opinions are like noses, everyone has one.

It’s very important that all opinions be heard and not suppressed. There are opinions we won’t like and that’s fine. There are opinions that I hold that some people don’t like and that’s fine, too. I will defend their right to their opinion, all I ask is that they do the same in return.

Following are some defined opinions, some I agree with, some I don’t. 

Populism is a much touted definition of “popular” politicians. It seems that it’s almost always used negatively. Should it be? In order for a politician to get elected, they need to be popular, do they not? John Diefenbaker, Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Preston Manning were all populists. Is that a negative thing?

Political parties, by definition, must have an agenda. Otherwise, how would a voter know what the party stands for? Yet, the word agenda is often used with scorn. Why is that?

Some people believe in capital punishment, some don’t. The topic has been debated for centuries. Capital punishment is common in the United States, non-existent in Canada. Does it deter criminals or not?

When the committing of a violent crime ends in the death of the criminal, is that OK or not?

Political views are wide ranging. A study of western Canada, or even Manitoba, will show a huge array of political views. We have had everything from ultra-conservatives to liberals, socialists, communists and a few fascists thrown into our historical mix. Which one is correct? Or is a single one correct?

Climate change! That’s the “hottest” topic on earth right now (pardon the pun). There are those who figure the world will end in a decade and others who feel climate change is nonsense. Where is the truth?

On the topic of electric cars, my thoughts come to the surface pretty quickly. In rural North America, especially in the winter months, electric cars will not work for the foreseeable future. They are not yet feasible.

We have heard a lot lately about water shortages. We have seen many images of lakes, especially in western United States, going dry. It may be in part to lower rainfall, but it can also be attached to increased usage of water for homes, manufacturing and irrigation. You can only dip out of the pail for so long and it will become empty. Any doomsayers about lake levels need to look at excess usage as well as possible climate change and differences in rainfall.

Western Manitobans are very familiar with wetlands and drainage. If there is flooding downstream, how often has it been due to excessive wetlands drainage? Just ask the farmers who live at the lower end of the Whitemud Watershed.

Intensive and large scale farming has come under severe criticism. Fair enough, but I am old enough to remember that in the 1960s, we were assured the world would run out of food. While there are pockets of famine, most are related to the disruptions of civil wars. For the most part, while there may be some malnutrition, the majority of people have enough food. In Canada, we throw out more food than we eat.

Related to the food topic, many people will argue the world has too many people. Not sure who they plan to kill off, but the reality is you can still fit every person in the world into a couple of large US states like Texas with plenty of room to spare.

Then we have religion versus relationship. I think religion can be described as mankind reaching out to God and relationship is God reaching out to mankind. In very practical terms, mankind will never span the gulf to God, but God has no problem reaching man. That is, if mankind is willing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.