My family and I have been through a similar and equally heartrending situation as the Latimers (“What would you do?” Cover, Nov. 28). Our mother suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was institutionalized for six years, fed by a tube and her body in the fetal position. We watched her deteriorate to a point where there was no further quality of life. Fortunately, her life ended peacefully, without any extraneous intervention. I do, however, feel Robert and Laura Latimer’s pain. Perhaps together we can build a national group of people willing to accept and deal with the problems of the many terminally and chronically ill.
Janice Frampton, Pickering, Ont.
When our 21-year-old daughter, Christina, was diagnosed at five weeks with hydranencephaly, the doctors gave her six months to live and recommended that she remain in hospital. Christina would die in two weeks due to lack of liquids and food. This is called infanticide and is quite acceptable to some, as is aborting the unborn. So, why should we be surprised when a parent decides to take the life of his own child who is unhealthy? Robert Latimer acted out of confusion, believing that it was the proper and decent thing to do, but what he did was morally wrong. Life, no matter how battered or disabled, deserves to be respected and held with the utmost dignity and protection.
John Perkovich, Burlington, Ont.
A father agonized over a decision and had the strength to finally give his daughter peace. Now, he is faced with a life sentence in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Karla Homolka, an accomplice in two of the most heinous, cold-blooded murders in Canada’s history, got a mere 12 years and will probably be free in half that time. No one has the right to judge Robert Latimer unless they have walked in his shoes for the past 12 years.
James W. Nelson, Oshavoa, Ont.
Pass the flakes
Your movie review has its flakes mixed up.
The John Harvey Kellogg pictured in the movie The Road to Wellville (“Ye Olde New Age,” Films, Nov. 7) did run the sanitarium
for “flakes” in Battle Creek, Mich., but he was not the flake who invented the cornflake. Flaked breakfast cereals were developed by his brother, Will K. Kellogg, which is why early cereal boxes were always signed W. K. Kellogg and not J. H. Kellogg.
Karl H. Wahl, Waterloo, Ont.
Your amazing story on the Dionne Quintuplets brought back pleasant memories for me (“A family tragedy,” Cover, Nov. 21). In June, 1938, we motored to Callander, Ont., on our honeymoon and saw the Dionne quints playing outside their nursery. They were such adorable girls. It is sad to read that they have endured such unhappy lives.
Elsie Hopkins, Burlington, Ont.
Hat in hand
Allan Fotheringham’s attempt at satire in “The search for intelligent life” (Column, Nov. 21), with regard to The Royal Canadian Legion, is clouded with myth and can only be described as ill-informed. Legion buildings are not “suds parlors,” as he so eloquently surmises, but centres for community-related charitable projects, and they stand to the
memory of those Canadians who have died in the defence of the rights and freedoms of people like himself. There is no Legion ban on headdress. Some branches have yet to change a policy that was, at one time, a traditional way of showing respect. Time will change that, not sniping at those trying to make the change.
Hugh M. Greene, Dominion president, Royal Canadian Legion, Ottawa
Being a product of the Canadian university system, I look forward with interest to your annual university ranking issue (“Universities 94,” Special Report, Nov. 14). I find it particularly interesting that you devoted an entire page to those institutions that elected not to participate in your ranking. Terms like “Who’s out” and “No-shows” strongly suggest that these halls of higher
learning are dodging public scrutiny and should be avoided. Then, to add insult to injury, a chart compiled from speculation by a statistician is presented that gives a ranking based on “where they would likely have ranked this year.” Very bold on your part. If these universities choose not to participate, it is their right to do so. Let them be conspicuous by their absence, not by the misused power of your pen.
James B. Argue, Edmonton
Canada’s grovelling for increased trade with China while treating human rights as almost a non-issue is a national disgrace (“The China deal,” Canada, Nov. 21). We obviously can’t turf the Chinese out of occupied Tibet, but we don’t have to condone their disregard for international law and human rights by being their business buddies. When there is buckets of money to be made, Canada is quick to take off its defender-of-human-rights costume and throw on a three-piece suit.
John Hamer, Red Deer, Alta.
Could someone in Canada please explain the apparent discrepancy reflected in the two equations below? South Africa minus human rights equals economic sanctions. China minus human rights equals trade deals.
Johann Hahn, Yorkton, Sask.
Like many people who believe that multiculturalism only creates ghettos, writer Neil Bissoondath suggests that immigrants have brought their hostilities and prejudices to Canada (“Pride and prejudice,” Focus on Immigration Special Report, Nov. 7). But history cannot be erased overnight, and it is better to express it in a multicultural way than to bring about alienation by suppressing it. Most immigrants, and more so their children, accept Canada as their home. Bissoondath is foolhardy to describe multiculturalism as an illusion and a cult. For an ethnic writer to do this amounts to nothing more than attempting to wear a white mask.
MunsifBhimani, Don Mills, Ont.
Neil Bissoondath is selling the illusion that he has engaged in any significant research in his book Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada. Had he plumbed deeper he might have found the Multiculturalism Act is concerned with the promotion of equality for all Canadians and the intercultural understanding necessary to create and preserve good race relations.
Ben Viccari, Toronto
Instead of talking about changes in Canada’s immigration policy, specifically abuses of the sponsorship program, why doesn’t the government go after the>sponsors of immigrants for the $700 million in welfare costs currently paid out to immigrants each year (“Debating the numbers”)?
Derrick Fry, Vancouver
I was really disappointed after reading one letter writer’s complaint (“Censor censure,” Nov. 7) about your Oct. 24 censorship cover with a scantily clad Rosie O’Donnell. What is wrong with the picture? Rosie isn’t nude or making crude gestures. These are the 1990s. Kids learn more about life and sex on TV and on the school playground than they do from most parents. It’s OK to try to protect your children, but they will grow up one day.
Beth Timmins, Kingston, Ont.
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