The Mail

The Mail

October 20 1997
The Mail

The Mail

October 20 1997

The Mail

Legal education

When I was selecting which law school to attend, Osgoode Hall stood out from the rest based on its long-standing prestigious reputation and its ability to attract top faculty and students (“Judging Canadian law schools,” Cover, Oct. 6). It did not take very long for me to realize that the myth of Osgoode Hall was far from reality. Too many of Osgoode’s faculty were far removed from the ever-evolving legal arena and were more concerned with furthering their own leftwing agenda. Osgoode befits the bottom ranking in your survey.

C. Bryce Code, Calgary Ml

Your assessment of the quality of the legal education at the University of Ottawa is totally wrong. I am a 1993 graduate and I know that I received one of the best legal educations one can receive. I cannot speak for the

quality of other law schools, but I know that based on my performance during articles, the bar admission course and my subsequent legal practice that I was given a legal education second to none.

Charles Borras, Ottawa Ml

Most of us know that, whatever the other faculties are like, the one we graduated from was excellent. After all, it produced us. And most of us who lecture know that our faculty is excellent. It’s us. So what was the relationship between the background or present position of the peers and their judgments? And if your statistician didn’t uncover that, why not?

R. J. Baker, Surrey, B.C.

When Maclean’s devotes most of an issue to law schools, your readers are entitled to presume that the article will address all of the schools in the country, not only those that teach common law. Given our national preoccupation with unity and the oversensitivity of many in Quebec to slights by anglophones, as a lawyer, I find it incomprehensible that Quebec law schools (other than McGill’s National Program) have been excluded. Indeed, many of your readers may not immediately appreciate the differences in the programs of study between common law and civil law, which is in itself a topic of considerable interest.

Igor Ellyn, Toronto Ml

Taxing benefits

Contrary to your report on the proposed new Seniors Benefit, it is wrong on two counts to suggest that “even the portion that is clawed back is subject to income taxes” (“Getting ready for retirement,” Cover, Sept. 29). First, the proposed Seniors Benefit is tax-free. In fact, the Seniors Benefit will be simpler for taxpayers because it will be delinked from the tax system. It will not be subject to clawbacks. The level of benefits will automatically be recalculated each year, based on the previous year’s tax return. Benefits will not be recovered at tax time, and will not be taken into account when calculating refundable tax credits. Second, it is wrong to give the impression that people will pay tax on benefits that they do not receive. If a single senior’s benefit were reduced to $8,420 from the maximum $11,420, based on their income from other sources, no tax would be paid on the $8,420 (because

APOLOGY

On Sept. 15, Maclean's published an article, “The charity industry.” Maclean's wishes to make it clear that the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada spends in excess of 80 per cent of its revenues on charitable programs and in 1996 spent 81 per cent.

Maclean's provided incorrect information in a chart and apologizes to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

it is tax-free), and certainly no tax would be paid on the $3,000 by which the benefit had been reduced—this would be ridiculous. It is true that private income will be subject to regular tax and will also serve to reduce Seniors Benefits payments. However, this is fully consistent with Canada’s tax and social benefits systems. What’s more, it is consistent with what Canadians have told the government is the right thing to do.

Hon. Paul Martin, Minister of finance, Ottawa

I write as someone who is under 40 and wants out of the Canada Pension Plan. Allegedly, the Canadian public overwhelmingly wants to retain the plan, but anyone under 40 who sifts through the mathematics of your article could not want to remain part of the CPP ripoff. Would the federal government mind if I politely asked to bow out? I promise I will not spend the money or lend it to anyone (read the provinces) at ridiculously low rates. And I’m willing to bet that I will do a lot better than the two-per-cent return the CPP now receives.

John Stodalka, Medicine Hat, Alta. Ml

Promises to keep

I laughed at the picture you chose to show of the Promise Keepers gathering (“Christian men on the march,” World, Oct. 6). I believe what the men are doing is the “wave” that you see at all large gatherings. But it’s OK, they also raise their hands in praise to God as well. For the feminists out there, I would encourage you to buy the tapes and I isten to the message they are giving before you pass judgment. Yes, the Promise Keepers are encouraging men to be the head of the house, but only as Christ was head of the church and as Christ loves the church. I urge you to read and ask lots of questions about what this means before you so quickly criticize.

Janet Hildebrand, Delta, B.C. Ml

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7

Fax: (416) 596-7730

Ml E-mail: letters@macleans.ca

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.

Forced sterilization

It is frightening how some journalists continue to treat the most vulnerable people of our society as second-class citizens. In reference to forced sterilization of people with intellectual disabilities, Barbari Amiel says: “Still, bad as it is, it pales next to compulsory sterilization on racial or ethnic grounds” (“Sweden’s shameful eugenics policies,” Column, Sept. 8). This attitude feeds the warped logic that a parent who murders his or her child who has intellectual disabilities is indulging in mercy killing or assisted suicide, as though the child asked to die. If people like Amiel place a lesser value on certain lives compared with others, then murdering them takes on a lesser condemnation.

Carla Baudot, Toronto HI

The policy of forced sterilization is certainly indefensible in any country, but to explain Sweden’s experience with a jumble of claims that the country is the world’s centre of moral relativism and that its government failed to see the moral difference between the Third Reich and the Allies during the Second World War is simply preposterous. Amiel bases her argument on a 25-year-old

book on “totalitarian Sweden,” which shows a surprising insensitivity to the rapid changes most European societies have gone through since then. The purpose of the article is ideological and has nothing to do with Sweden’s eugenics policies.

Elisabeth Corell, Linköping, Sweden HI

Kudos to Barbara Amiel for her sensitive and insightful analysis of Sweden’s forcedsterilization scandal. The rationale behind Sweden’s eugenics program, even more than that behind similar scourges in other countries (including Canada), is frighteningly similar to the eugenics planning of Hitler’s Nazis, to which Amiel alludes in her column. Of course, this kind of warped thinking does not seem all that surprising in statist, libertine Sweden. I would add that Sweden’s ethos has proven equally devastating to the traditional family and the values associated with it, including religious values. As examples, some researchers have found Sweden’s “couple dissolution” rate is among the world’s highest; state policy routinely denigrates marriage; most child-rearing takes place in state-run daycare centres; and Swedish church attendance is among the lowest in Europe. Clear-

ly, this eugenics scandal is one sign of a basic spiritual sickness in Swedish society. It should serve as a warning to those who see socialist Sweden as a utopia to be emulated in other countries.

Christopher Van-Lane, Newmarket, Ont. HI

The 'real' Diana

n icon for all seasons,” your article on lx Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sept. 15 issue (Cover) was incredibly inspiring. It embodied Diana better than any writer has in my opinion. I have been a Diana fan for years, met her on her trip to Kingston, Ont., in 1991, and have read anything I can get my hands on about her since her tragic death. Your article has helped my grieving process and I only wish that more people could have access to it. I believe that whether she is canonized officially does not matter. We good people of the world, in our hearts, know who she was and where she is now, and she will never be forgotten. I also know that I have now become a regular Maclean ’s subscriber.

Kim Bury-Ferguson, Napanee, Ont. HI

As Canadians living in Houston, we always look forward to receiving our weekly Maclean’s. We want to congratulate you on writing the only balanced articles we have read regarding Diana’s untimely death: you can hold your heads high knowing you were able to keep yours when all those around you seemed to have lost theirs. I hope others were encouraged to take a reality check about Diana’s life and what role she played in their lives, as I was after reading your articles, without diminishing our memories of her.

Allison Groten, Houston HI

'Caveat donator'

As a consultant in philanthropy, I advise charities every day on how to do cost-effective and ethical fund-raising. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to the percentage spent on seeking donations (“The charity industry,” Special Report, Sept. 15). I agree with Patrick Johnston of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy that the vast majority of charities are thrifty with their hard-earned dollars. But I also recognize that some abuses do occur. People ask me how they can be sure they are not giving to a poorly managed organization or a scam artist. I tell them that, just as consumers must remember the phrase “caveat emptor,” or buyer beware, we must scrutinize the charities we are considering supporting and think “caveat donator”—donor beware.

John Bouza, President, Bouza & Associates Inc.

Ottawa HI

Gender equality

While I usually make it a practice to avoid Barbara Amiel’s right-wing drivel, I found myself reading her column “How gender politics threatens freedom” (Oct. 6) just to see how offensive it could possibly be. I was blown away. In a world where women are regularly beaten and raped in their homes and where women in the workforce still earn little more than 70 cents to every dollar earned by men, the suggestion that we have gained equality is ridiculous. The statement that we are now the “preferred gender” is not only preposterous, but dangerous. Amiel poses the question about what the fate of John Bobbitt would have been if he had mutilated his wife’s body, and the answer is really very simple—he had been beating and controlling his wife for years, and what had happened to him? Nothing. This is the typical fate of the abuser. It is painfully obvious that women do not control the system that continues to cause their suffering and exploitation.

Julie Singleton, Kingston, Ont. SI

Alternative doctoring

In case some readers are left with the impression that we have solved the problem of access to alternative therapies in Ontario, that is far from the truth (“Freedom of choice,” Health, Oct. 6). The Ontario College of Physicians has thumbed its nose at the democratic process by calling the alternative medicine bill that I helped design a “threat to health.” Not only is it continuing to prosecute Dr. Jozef Krop for practising alternative methods, but it is also targeting some additional alternative doctors. If college council members continue to refuse to negotiate with our citizen groups, we will be forced to, at the very least, lobby for further legislation that could replace the college with an up-to-date body.

Dr Jerry Green, Toronto JH