The Mail

The Mail

Revenge or justice?

February 3 1997
The Mail

The Mail

Revenge or justice?

February 3 1997

The Mail

Revenge or justice?

While your cover title “Brian Mulroney’s revenge” (Jan. 20) may attract readers, I feel “Brian Mulroney’s justice” would have been far more appropriate. Whether Canadians like Mulroney or not, no citizen should be subjected to unfounded and politically motivated accusations.

Bruce Lamb, Smithville, Ont. HI

Canadians rejected the Conservative party during the last federal election because we were sick and tired of the politics of Brian Mulroney. I don’t hate him. I just want to forget him and I certainly don’t want 10 pages of Maclean’s dedicated to him.

Virgil Hammock, Sackville, N.B.

Now that Brian Mulroney has beaten the Liberal government, it is time for taxpayers to do the same.Unfortunately for the taxpayer, it’s much more difficult. In many ways, this Liberal government has proven to be as bad, if not worse, than the Mulroney government. As the saying goes: “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.”

Bill Bolstad, Regina

You quote Brian Mulroney as saying that the Liberals “have no grace. From [Prime Minister Jean] Chrétien on down, they are a malicious bunch of bastards.” Lack of grace? I would say Chrétien was most graceful in plucking Kim Campbell from the ranks of the unemployed and ensconcing her in a mansion in Los Angeles as Canada’s consul general. In addition to demonstrating grace, Chrétien was fulfilling his promise of jobs, jobs, jobs. Mind you, as Chrétien explained at the CBC town hall meeting, you may have to move to get one.

Donald W. Cofell, Stirling, Ont.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Efficient government

Diane Francis’s column ignores several important facts about “downsizing” of governments through amalgamation (“A time to reduce the official head count,” Column, Jan. 20). First, the cost savings that consultants predicted have not materialized in two Nova Scotia amalgamations—Halifax and Sydney. Second, downsizing government means downsizing representation. Third, eliminating bureaucratic jobs indicates that she must know of some place in the private sector where redundant bureaucrats will find other jobs. Finally, her cavalier conception of merging the Atlantic provinces and the Prairie provinces ignores completely the cultural and historical differences within those regions.

Allister MacDonald, Louisbourg, N.S.

I am both a high-school principal and a town councillor, and here in Alberta, where the number of school boards was reduced, we have seen little difference in the bottom line. Although communities no longer have as many representatives at the board table, school principals are travelling much greater distances to meet more often at amalgamated regional offices, attempting to work through the confusion that amalgamation has spawned. In the area of social services, there are actually more people working for programs through government

Russians in Israel

It saddens one to see that for many Russian Jews, the promised land has proved an empty promise (“Fleeing the promised land,” Immigration, Jan. 13). Undoubtedly, streaks of discrimination in Israel against Russian immigrants surface in many forms. It is worth remembering, however, that Israel has embarked on a herculean task in pledging to absorb all Jews from the former Soviet Union. Friction in carrying out such a project is inevitable. One can only sympathize with those now seeking asylum in Canada. Yet the fact remains that many native Israelis have also had their share of hardship and sorrow: the first Jewish pioneers in Palestine, many of them from Russia, had to build a country from scratch in circumstances plenty more severe than those the new immigrants have had to put up with now.

Tibor Krausz, Ottawa

grants and fewer on the payroll where they might receive benefits. All of the new programs are self-regulating and managed by volunteers because there is no money for the administration. The result is that no one seems to know exactly what to do. These efforts may be cost-effective. They do not appear to be service-effective.

Nancy Love Crawford, Grande Cache, Alta. HI

Long live Diane Francis. We can assume, however, that U.S. legislators at the federal and state level work harder, not only because they represent more constituents per legislator, but principally because in the United States every piece of legislation is decided by a free vote. They have to think about issues, not just rubber-stamp decisions arrived at by elite party committees or caucuses.

John Gross, Varennes, Que.

If Diane Francis wants efficient government, why not scrap elections, councils, legislative assemblies and Parliament. Democracy is less efficient than tyranny, but I know which system I prefer.

Allan Dawson, Miami, Man. HI

Food from the lab

The most distasteful thing about the scientific tinkerers determined to foist genetically engineered foods on an uninformed public (“Unnatural selection,” Science, Jan. 20) is that these radical products

THE MAIL

The Road Ahead

Basic steps towards understanding

are not labelled in stores. If anything constitutes unfair and dishonest marketing, this does. Until politicians get off their buns and legislate, we have no alternative but to shop at more expensive health-food stores. There, we know what we’re buying.

Etienne Poirier Jr., Toronto

Arrow's significance

The cancellation of the Arrow showed Canadians for the first time that their government would actively thwart their efforts and blatantly lie to them even when they had achieved immeasurable success (“Raising the Arrow,” Cover, Jan. 13). It destroyed not only a groundbreaking aerospace program, with its subsequent brain drain, but saw the beginning of a fixed mistrust in our government. Even given the government efforts to destroy the evidence, the Arrow program exemplified much of what was so very good about our country, and more dismally, showed what an absence of vision in political leadership is capable of causing.

Doug McLeod, Victoria JH

When my dad, John Davidson Darling, was working as an anthropologist at the department of Indian affairs in the late 1950s, he received a memo from Avro on the advisability of naming their new engine the Oneida, after a native tribe of that name. Dad pointed out that the Oneida were a people whose traditional territory was not known to have ever extended outside the borders of the present-day United States. He mentioned, however, that others of the Iroquois confederation of nations, of which the Oneida were members, had lived within Canada in prehistoric and (as the Mohawk in Oka today) historic times. Avro named their engine the Iroquois.

Graham D. Darling, Ottawa Jll

When the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples released its findings in November after five years of study, its bleak evaluation of aboriginal society did not surprise many Canadians, though there was widespread concern over the $30-billion price tag it put on improving the quality of life for the majority of the nation’s people of aboriginal ancestry. Whose responsibility is it to change things? Government? First Nation bands? The education system? Corporate Canada? Churches? As a Métis/Cree writer who has closely followed this national issue, I think that before improvement can take place in aboriginal society, change must begin within each Canadian. Perhaps the following steps might help make this country as livable for our original citizens as it is for the majority of our newer citizens.

Recommendations for aboriginal Canadians:

1. Stop blaming all non-aboriginal people for your personal problems and those of your community. We need to redirect our energy towards solutions, not accusations.

2. Begin today to improve your own community and home by showing pride in your environment.

3. Volunteer to help out at your local school, community centre or other program.

4. Get involved in projects that promote co-operation and partnerships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. Invite non-aboriginal people to special events in your village, or reach out and join an organization that has no aboriginal members.

5. Let your voice be heard on issues that affect your home, family, community,

Barbara Hager,

Victoria

schools, roads, health care, etc.

Recommendations for non-aboriginal people:

1. Make an effort to meet an aboriginal person or family and to encourage your children to play with their children. Ask about their culture, tell them about yours.

2. Discover what it is to be aboriginal in Canada. Read a book by a First Nations author, attend a play by an aboriginal playwright, or visit a local First Nations cultural centre or gallery.

3. Learn about efforts by local First Nations people who are working towards self-government. Find out about their treaty goals or economic development plans, or how they are creating their own tribal school.

4. Make an effort to dispel stereotypes of aboriginal people. Seek out and meet aboriginal people in your field of work.

5. Imagine, for one moment, how your ancestors would have reacted if their land had been taken away and they had been forced to live on inferior, remote reservations, their language and culture restricted, their children sent to faraway schools for several years, and all rights to self-determination and decision-making restricted. Imagine that after hundreds of years of these conditions, they are suddenly told that they can handle their own affairs now. What support would they need to achieve their goals?

All Canadians will reach a new level of compassion and respectability if we can work together to build a country where all citizens, regardless of cultural heritage, live in healthy, clean, independent and economically viable communities.

The Road Ahead invites readers to advance specific solutions to Canada's political, social and economic problems. Unpublished submissions may run condensed as regular letters or appear on an electronic bulletin board.