As I read your coverage of the NDP convention, I could not contain my excitement (“The new face of the NDP,” Cover, Dec. 11). The election of Audrey McLaughlin as the first woman to lead a national political party in Canada is something to be proud of. The NDP has shown again that it is at the forefront of social change. Congratulations to all the delegates who had the wisdom and the insight to put the principle of gender equality into practice. Congratulations must also go out to the media for their impressive coverage of one of the most exciting leadership conventions this country has seen in a long time.
Lisa Zigler, Toronto
I am sympathetic to the plight of those striving to achieve a more prosperous and secure future (“Destroying the middle class,” Special Report, Nov. 6), but I fear that their frustration is due in considerable measure to inflated and unrealistic expectations and a distorted perception of what earlier generations experienced. The “level of affluence that was relatively easy to achieve for [their] parents” was «of achieved all that easily, even for those of us who were well-educated professionals and had what were generally considered good jobs. The “moderate vacations and regular entertainment [which] have become a luxury for many members of the middle class” were not just a luxury for many of us—they were nonexistent when we were raising young families. The answer is not in screaming “Tax the rich.” Even confiscatory tax levels will not have any noticeable effect on our tax bill; there just aren’t enough rich people around. The middle class must inevitably pay most of the bill, and the only real solution is to demand greater accountability in spending from all levels of government.
Robert W. Archibald, Thunder Bay, Ont.
In “Escaping the money squeeze” (Nov. 6), you state that “Mary can afford to stay home instead of working.” Do you think perhaps that she spends her days playing bridge and watching soap operas? As a full-time homemaker, I am deeply insulted by the intimation, intended or not, that what Mary, I and many other women and men do is not work. What we do is an important contribution to the productivity and well-being of our families and society. If it were not for the subtle yet definite maligning that exists towards us, maybe more people would choose this challenging and rewarding career.
Beth Fulton, Belgrave, Ont.
CHILDREN STILL VICTIMS
Congratulations on “The abuse of children” (Cover, Nov. 27). However, the article left the reader with the false impression that children are protected by the courts. This, unfortunately, is not true. The majority of abusers are male family-members. But the judicial system still puts the rights of men to access ahead of the rights of children for protec-
McLaughlin: 'gender equality in practice’
tion. Until the courts rectify this injustice, children will continue to be victimized and women will be unable to protect their offspring.
Lee Gold, Vancouver
Regarding your cover on sex crimes against children, is it any wonder these crimes occur when a judge out West (“Judicial comments,” National Notes, Dec. 11) attributes the instigation of such crimes to a three-yearold child? He said the three-year-old was sexually aggressive and gave the man a suspended sentence.
Helen Joseph, North Sydney, N.S.
At last. A balanced account of events in El Salvador (“Wave of terror,” World, Nov. 27). Both sides must share the blame.
Norman Stewart, Rydalbank, Ont.
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