The Mail

March 1 1999

The Mail

March 1 1999

The Mail

Dim future

Your cover story “Future shock” paints a dismal picture of Canada in the 21st century (Feb. 15). A stagnant economy, scarce private capital and dwindling trade mean what? According to the author, it means “most Canadians can only look enviously at the sophisticated appliances that consumers in other industrialized nations can easily afford.” Are affordable stereos and cell phones the defining characteristics of our lives? The author describes a faltering economy, yet trivializes the issue by suggesting the worst-case scenario is diminished materialism. Sadly, this philosophy pervades the Western world. We are no longer citizens of Canada, we are Canadian consumers.

Anthony Davison, Downsview, Ont.

“Future shock” contained one incredible statement—that the best way to head off intergenerational warfare is to encourage baby boomers not to retire. To suggest that baby boomers hang onto their high-paying jobs and increase their already healthy pensions while their children continue to struggle with low-paying part-time jobs is the ultimate in baby boomer greed. To suggest that the government reward this greed with higher pensions is amazing. I plan to retire at 55 and one of the prime reasons for that decision is to step aside and allow the next generation to enjoy the prosperity that I have enjoyed. The boomers just can’t have it all forever.

Martin Watts, Virden, Man.

While a strong economy is important, we shouldn’t be swept away by the mantra of low taxes and free-market rule. If all that matters was a strong economy, then the United States would be ranked number 1.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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The mark of a truly livable country is making sure that economic growth doesn’t destroy the environment or cost us social peace.

Paul Hesse, Winnipeg

As one of those highly mobile high-tech professionals that I keep reading about in Maclean’s, I was interested to see that I could cut my personal taxes by four per cent, simply by moving to the United States. There are two counterarguments to this persistent “cut taxes and stop emigration” story. The first is obvious to most. We pay taxes to get services and to maintain our society. Four per cent seems a small price to pay for health care for myself and a safety net for others who aren’t so mobile or hightech. The second argument is pay. These professionals aren’t moving south to save four per cent on their income tax at the end of the year, they’re moving south to earn 40 per cent more in their pay packet every month. They’re also moving south to get experience in large companies of world renown. When I left the United Kingdom for Canada two years ago, I was glad to pay approximately four per cent extra tax to live in a better society.

John Walmsley, Victoria

Chrétien and Hussein

Canada is ready to bid the Prime Minister farewell. Failure to attend King Hussein’s funeral is simply the latest in a long list of Jean Chrétien’s failures, mistakes and disappointments (“Asleep at the wheel,” Bruce Wallace, Feb. 22). The lacklustre results are typical of a man who prides himself on being “the boss” and the only decision-maker. We are all tired of the arrogance and the constant political spin on every single issue.

Paul Blissett, Orléans, Ont.

It may be many years before the world understands just what we have lost with the death of King Hussein (‘The world after Hussein,” World, Feb. 15). We recall the news picture of him taken in Amman during the 1967 war. He was unkempt and hollow-eyed, with the grime of battle still on his person, home briefly to do some essential state business before returning to his troops. Perhaps he learned then and ap-

CTV and the CRTC

An item in the Business Notes section of the Feb. 15 issue stated that I “predicted the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will approve” the NetStar deal. The fact is that I made no such prediction and did not speak to anyone at Maclean's on this matter. We at CTV would never presume to predict the outcome of any CRTC hearing. We believe in and respect the regulatory process.

Ivan Fecan, President and CEO, CTV Inc., Toronto

plied ever since what most of the rest of the world has yet to find out: that no one wins a war, some just lose more than others.

Frank Gue, Burlington, Ont.

Uninspiring stories

I’m surprised Peter C. Newman should present businessman Craig Dobbin’s story as being inspirational (‘Two dramatic tales of personal survival,” The Nation’s Business, Feb. 15). First, what is noteworthy about a wealthy man using his economic resources to expeditiously deal with a medical problem? Second, do you expect to inspire the ordinary Canadian, who, if faced with a similar medical crisis, hasn’t a hope of being able to pay for the charter of a jet aircraft for a twohour flight, let alone put $2 million up front?

Ken Matheson, Pointe Claire, Que.

Coughtry's place

In your Passages item on artist Graham Coughtry, you erred in saying he was a member of Painters Eleven (Jan. 25). He was not, although he did have his first show just two years after the group was formed in 1953. For the record. Painters Eleven was Jock Macdonald, William Ronald, Harold Town, Jack Bush, Oscar Cahén, Alexandra Luke, Hortense Gordon, Kazuo Nakamura, Tom Hodgson, Ray Mead and Walter Yarwood.

Bill Johnston, Hamilton

Court protection

I read Barbara Amiel’s recent article with great interest and admiration for lawyer Eddie Greenspan (“What makes Eddie Greenspan run,” Feb. 15). But Amiel has, I believe, missed the mark in her explanation

as to why people have no faith in the criminal justice system. Amiel would have us believe that this is because of a backlash to the “super-liberalism” of the courts in the period from 1950 to 1970. While this may be true in part, I would suspect it has more to with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 and the interpretation of that document—that the rights of the individual are more important than the collective rights of society in general. If the courts continue to do so, the public perception will be that the courts are unable or unwilling to protect society, which can only lead to further erosion of public confidence in the criminal justice system.

Douglas Hogg, Nanaimo, B.C.

CBC still alive in B.C.

In “Pamela Wallin could be the next CBC boss” (The Nation’s Business, Feb. 8), Peter C. Newman declared that CBC Television Vancouver “originates no other programming” apart from the local newscast. This comment appears to have arisen out of a conversation he had with one industry observer. However, it is simply not the case. In the past six months, we have produced or co-produced three national weekly series, a new national children’s series, a Newsworld series, three local weekly series, two local one-hour prime-time news specials, a twohour local variety special, a one-hour national variety special, and the list goes on.

Rae Hull, Regional director TV, CBC British Columbia, Vancouver

Fire in the kitchen

The obvious inference for Canadians from the headline “Wood stoves may cause cancer” (Health Monitor, Feb. 1) is that their wood heater could be putting their family’s health at risk. While it is noted

in the item that the McGill University researchers were studying health impacts of wood-stove use in southern Brazil, the piece failed to mention that most wood stoves in rural Central and South America are not vented through chimneys. The problem of exposure to dense indoor smoke from unvented wood fires is a well-known health hazard for women and children in impoverished rural areas all over the world. Wood stoves do not cause cancer, but high concentrations of smoke from any source is unhealthy for humans to breathe. The warning issued by your headline is not relevant to most Canadians, except those who build campfires in their kitchens.

John Gulland, Killaloe, Ont.

Anger at Mount A

I am writing to convey my disgust at the current situation of faculty-administrative relations at Mount Allison University (“Collegiality on the line at Mount A,” Education Notes, Feb. 15). I chose to attend the university largely due to the high ranking given to Mount A by your magazine, and now as a result of the strike I feel let down. The war of statistics being waged between the faculty and administration leaves me confused and unable to choose sides. If I had known three years ago about the mutual animosity and impending strike situation, I surely would have attended somewhere else.

Marissa Hare, Sackville, N.B.