The Liberal deception
I wonder if Canadians understand the magnitude and implication of the Liberal deception (“Promises, promises,” Canada Cover, May 6). They premeditated an election strategy based on the removal of the GST, understanding in their hearts they could never keep this promise. They abused their unrestricted access to the public media to spread this theme. When they could not deliver, they attempted to rewrite history and rationalize their original lie. This issue is not about the GST. It is fundamentally about democracy and accountability. The Liberal duplicity diminishes the democratic process and this endangers us all.
Wayne Rennett, Toronto HI
The expulsion of Liberal MP John Nunziata from the caucus demonstrates the
fundamental flaw in the parliamentary system. To whom does the MP owe his loyalty? Unfortunately, many voters feel their MP represents them—what fools!
Wayne Lehman, Bowen Island, B. C. The Liberals enjoy a left-leaning media in Canada. They won the election largely because they pushed the right buttons with their promise to scrap the GST. They are now bribing their Liberal provincial cousins in Atlantic Canada with the rest of Canada’s money. What a crock. They lied, and now the liberal media are helping them weasel out. We are governed by cynical liars and a backbench of lemmings, except perhaps for John Nunziata and his fellow new Independent Dennis Mills.
Joseph Molnar, Woodstock, Ont. HI
Gordie Trudell, Hamilton
Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps, by resigning, has shown that her government has no intention of ridding the country of this dreaded GST. With the bribing of three Atlantic provinces in a harmonization plan, how can she honestly declare her candidacy in the byelection? Will she still not be opposed to this tax being implemented if she
is returned to the House of Commons? In my view, she becomes a muted voice.
Words like “harmonizing” the GST—presented by politicians not having the courage to tell it like it is and then pretending it was an honest mistake—rub people the wrong way. Denouncing an MP as not being a “team player” for wanting to deliver on the GST promise is shallow, Kicking the MP out of the party demeans human
dignity. Teamwork is the foundation of democracy when it means collaborating to serve our constituency honestly. Threats, intimidation and force are the power tools of petty tyrants in a totalitarian state. Some might consider these acts to be a sophisticated form of politics. Others might see a shrunken soul.
Don Brandon, Sherwood Park, Alta.
It doesn’t require a master’s degree in political science to realize our electoral system needs revision. A runoff vote in cases where a candidate fails to win a clear majority would be more democratic, but also more expensive. A weighted ballot, allowing voters to number candidates in the order of their choice, would accomplish the same thing at no extra cost. Voting directly for the premier or prime minister would probably necessitate redrafting the Constitution: a pretty daunting idea. But it needs doing. Why haven’t our leaders legislated changes so election results more closely reflect the popular will? I suspect that as long as a party believes it can stay in office longer by letting opposition parties split the vote, it will make no move. Pity. It’s time voters demanded something better.
Betty Eckgren, Victoria
When a Prime Minister with Jean Chretien’s record uses the term “team player,” he means a good getaway driver. When Chrétien orders “party unity,” he means nobody in the mob rats to the cops.
Lawrence Mitoff Mississauga, Ont. HI
Baby, not The Babe
You write in your article about Arnold Palmer that “Babe Ruth had lent his name to a candy bar” (“Return of the king,” Sports/Special Report, May 6). The candy bar called Baby Ruth had nothing to do with the baseball star. It was named after U.S. president Grover Cleveland’s daughter.
Bill Minter, Ottawa
Get them young
Are Canadian financial institutions so starved for revenues that they must now tap into the savings of our children as well (“Kids, cash and capitalism," Personal Finance, May 6)? The growth of “young investor” seminars, GICs and mutual funds suggests as much. Certainly there is a need to teach financial responsibility to the younger generation, if only to help them avoid as adults some of the mistakes their profligate parents and governments have made. But is teaching children how to play the stock market really the best way to achieve this, or is it simply a way of grooming future customers for banks, brokers, and— even worse—lottery-ticket vendors? And is the experience of childhood not severely diminished by such adult concerns? When kids start giving up bubblegum for bonds, it's time to ask ourselves where we went wrong. We might also ask ourselves if, by teaching kids to maximize their returns, we are not also neglecting to teach them the age-old adage that it is always better to give than to receive.
Dan Azoulay, Newmarket, Ont.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
should be addressed to:
Maclean’s Magazine Letters
777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7
Fax: (416) 596-7730
HI E-mail: email@example.com
or: firstname.lastname@example.org Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites.
I was pleased to see a photo depicting my detachment departing for patrol (“Closing ranks,” Cover, April 15), and was looking forward to reading an article outlining the deeds of my fellow soldiers in Bosnia. Instead, I got more drivel from Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps magazine. I take exception to the implication that we are demoralized, as suggested by the photo’s caption. I am not, nor are any of the soldiers here suffering the effects of a dip in morale m brought on by events that are so distant | they appear to us to be part of another orgao nization. Our morale here is the highest I § have seen in my 10 years in the infantry (and this is my second tour in Bosnia). In the photo, the expression on our faces is one of grim seriousness. Daily, we deal with the carnage of war, but we do so knowing that our efforts are having the desired effect. The war is over and the healing process has begun. That is what Canadian soldiers are achieving, and they don’t appreciate being confused with officers involved in cynical betting pools on the termination dates of senior defence officials that Taylor wrote about.
Sgt. Brad Amirault, The Royal Canadian Regiment, Kljuc, Bosnia
In a photo in the April 22 issue (“Rattling sabre for sabre in a mini-war,” World), the “Israeli tanks” firing shells into Lebanon are in fact self-propelled howitzers.
Peter Toiviainen, Toronto
Food for thought
I read it (“Is God a woman?” Cover, April 8) and thought about it and reread it and thought about it and argued its points over dinners with friends and, after rereading it
and thinking about it again, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this sort of thinking had surfaced during my endless years at church schools maybe, just maybe, I’d have some respect for Christianity and even be able to forgive some of the harm it and the other male religions have done to humankind over the centuries.
Tim Knight, Toronto
That so many obviously intelligent people would even pose such a question deeply bothers me, although it does not shock
me. The cultural wasteland in which we live has left us searching for more fundamental and more plausible answers than those previously offered. As a male, I initially balked at the goddess idea for predictably male reasons: I’m a male, so God must be a sort of male entity—how could I relate to a feminine God? This very statement showed me how these women must have felt. It also showed me the absurdity of both concepts. God is a being, a spirit, in and around all of us. God has no gender.
Daniel K. McGaha, Morristown, Tenn.
When Tom Harpur, the former Anglican priest, said: “The awakening of spirituality in women is the biggest single thing that is happening in contemporary religion,” I am sure he meant well. Better he would say the churches’ awakening to the fact of women’s spirituality is the biggest single thing that is happening in religion. That is the biggest potential for change, not only in liturgy, but in understanding the nature of God.
Ruth H. Grace, Ottawa
Regarding your cover story in the April 22 issue on Queen Elizabeth II and the British monarchy, “The last Queen?”: the late King Farouk of Egypt, who by the way
was no great friend of Britain, made the following comment regarding the monarchy: “When we arrive at the final Day of Judgment and the world crumples into dust, there will be five kings remaining: the king of clubs, the king of spades, the king of hearts, the king of diamonds—and the king of England.”
Dennis J. Taylor, Campbellville, Ont.
Peter C. Newman’s confused comparison of extremist Reformers with balanced Conservatives is pretty light stuff (“Hell no, Charest won’t go. No way, Presto.” The Nation’s Business, April 22). Reform has perhaps “some of the looniest fruitcakes” in its lowest ranks, but does it have Conservative traitors the likes of Lucien Bouchard and Marcel Masse in its upper ranks? Does it have an eight-year reign of disastrous overspending as its claim to economic wisdom? Whose party leader opted out of the Cadillac MP pension scheme? Whose party leader couldn’t even win his own riding against the separatists in the Quebec referendum? And, getting back to those interesting fruitcakes, what’s Newman’s source on the numbers of fruitcakes per party anyway?
John van der Veen, Port Stanley, Ont.
I totally resent the statement that the Reform party consists of some of the “looniest fruitcakes to ever come out of the political swamps.” I am just an ordinary member of the Reform party and at any meeting I have attended I am impressed by the sincerity of the members and their commitment to their ideals, while at the same time being friendly and normal human beings. Most politicians in the Reform party had never run for office prior to 1993 and are from many walks of life. So how could they have ascended from the so-called “political swamp”? The swamp of patronage, nepotism and deceit belong to the Liberal party and the defunct federal Conservatives, not the Reform party.
Carol Coulson, Oshawa, Ont.
In your report on the March 1 general elections in Spain, you locate the autonomous region of Catalonia in northwestern Spain (“Dickering in Spain,” World Notes, March 18). This may have been just an attempt to eradicate those pesky Galician fisherman who are stealing all our turbot, but please do put Catalonia back where it belongs: in northeastern Spain, along the border with France.
Donna M. Rogers, State College, Penn. HI
How unfortunate that you chose to acknowledge the birthday of Hugh Hefner (“A Playboy turns 70,” People, April 22). Here is a man whose main accomplishment has been to damage the right to dignity of all women and girls. Now, we have a pornography industry worth billions of dollars. How can young women trust men who are trained in lechery and shallowness and who accept the degradation of women as normal?
L. W Dowker, St. Justine, Que.
Dealing with refugees
I am disappointed that your magazine has joined the bandwagon in ridiculing the Tamil community (“The people smugglers,” Cover, April 29). Even while I write, the entire northern peninsula of Sri Lanka is being bombarded by the most undisciplined military in the world. One could imagine the atrocities being unleashed on the innocent Tamil population, more than 500,000 of whom are homeless by the ongoing racial war. In desperation, some opportunists are cashing in on smuggling people, but that is not a criterion to condemn a whole community. One day, the truth will come out, and those of you who are throwing accusations at the Tamil community will be ashamed of your irresponsible comments.
Thiru Satkunendran, North York, Ont.
The time has come for Canada to cease accepting refugees. Coming to Canada is not a right, it is a privilege, and we should accept only those who apply outside the country and have employment waiting. My hard-earned taxes are being used as welfare when the money would be better used for plane fare back to where they came from.
Helen MacFee, Niagara Falls, Ont.
The Canadian refugee determination process has become so chaotic that one in six refugee claimants, according to RCMP figures, is charged with a crime after entering Canada, and the UN definition of a refugee has become so warped that we include people who aren’t persecuted but who disagree with the laws of their own land. The world and the refugee problem
have greatly changed since the end of the Second World War, when the current UN convention on refugees—now widely ignored for its impracticality—was signed. Canada should renounce this outdated convention, and direct the billion dollars now spent on domestic lawyers and political appointees to the United Nations, where it could be used much more effectively in di-
reet refugee work. In addition, Canada should agree to accept a variable number of refugees who would be determined out of the country by the United Nations on the basis of need, their future inability to return to their homeland, and their ability to integrate into Canadian society.
D. C. McCaffrey, Nepean, Ont.
Hindsight is 20/20
It never ceases to amaze me the way in which people use hindsight to defend the circumstances of the present. After reading the review of Kim Campbell’s book, Time and Chance (“The flush of success, the agony of defeat,” Books, April 29), I was somewhat confused as to how a national party leader, not to mention prime minister of Canada at the time, cannot accept responsibility for her party’s downfall in October, 1993. It is so easy to blame predecessors and senior members of a campaign team; however, the candidate is ultimately responsible for his or her campaign regardless of whether or not he or she has absolute knowledge of every aspect of it.
Jennifer Morrison, Windham Centre, Ont.
'No hope or laughter'
In my 90th year, revisiting Maclean’s world after a long absence brought one more grim observation of the limitations of human intelligence. Maclean’s reports a world of ferocity of hate, enormity of greed, stupidity of pride, vanity of bigotry, and denial of honor and decency. The old poets would see it “dark, dark, dark, beyond all hope of noon,” without even a “rage at the dying of the light,” only the “eternal note of sadness” and despair on the “darkling plain” soon to end “not with a
bang but a whimper.” There was not a glimmer of hope or laughter except in the advertisements. I looked in vain for the “pasture spring” or “splendor in the grass.” Dare I repeat this depressing visit for 40 more weeks?
Joyce Gould, Camrose, Alta.
A small world
I wonder if you realized that the Royal Canadian Hussars that Pierre Trudeau’s son, Alexandre (better known as Sacha), was joining as an officer cadet (“In the army now,” Opening Notes, April 15) are
the immediate descendants of the regiment commanded by your founder? Lt.Col. John Bayne Maclean was commanding officer of the 17th Duke of York’s Royal Canadian Hussars from 1898 to 1903. In 1958, this unit was amalgamated with the 6th Duke of Connaught’s Royal Canadian Hussars to form the present regiment.
Retired lieutenant-colonel Kenneth C. Booth, Surrey, England
I don’t disagree with retired vice-admiral Charles (Chuck) Thomas’s opinion that a new chief of the defence staff should be someone from within the military’s current ranks to restore morale (“Heated accusations in the Somalia affair,” Canada, April 29). But the statement warning that “reservists don’t have the experience to function in that tough Ottawa environment” bothered me. Reservists who are employed by the private sector (some are vice-presidents, controllers, etc.) go to work each day. Then, they show up weeknights and weekends for military duty, and use their vacation time for summer military exercises. And all the while, the reservist has been experiencing the cutbacks and downsizing that the Ottawa environment is just beginning to feel. Sorry, but the reservists have been experiencing “tough” for quite some time now.
Kim Mathieson, Etobicoke, Ont. Ml
In the turmoil and political dysfunction following Canada’s reaction to the Somalia incidents, something has been lost. The American government reacted in a similar fashion over parallel incidents involving the United States army in Vietnam. There is a serious difference, however, in the handling of serious incidents. The U.S. army punished the individuals, not the units, and the army learned from the experience. The First Special Service Force, a joint Canadian-American regiment-sized unit, was one of the most highly decorated combat units in the Second World War. The Canadian Parachute Regiment is the direct descendant of the special service force. Many good traditions, good paratroopers and a fine unit are being unjustly treated. Punish the guilty, but retain the unit.
Lt.-Col. Ridge Marriott, 1st Special Forces (Airborne), United States Army, Roswell, N.M.