THE MAIL

April 12 2004

THE MAIL

April 12 2004

THE MAIL

‘I understand that same-sex couples want the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples, but to change the definition of marriage is plain silly’ -N¡COieciassen,Petmna.ont

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

Something old, something new

Your cover photograph showing the Niagara Falls wedding of Michael Orr and Thomas Pate made me proud to be a Canadian (“Got a problem with this?” Cover, March 29). As a partner in a long-term heterosexual marriage, I agree entirely that marriage should be an option available for all partners who wish both the legal rights of marriage, and the dignity and joy of an official ceremony. Eleonore Schönmaier, Halifax

Your cover asks, “Got a problem with this?” And the answer is, “I certainly do.” Even though it is constantly rejected as a red herring, the fact remains that if the institution of marriage is redefined as anything less than or more than one man and one woman, the doors are open to polygamy, incest and child abuse.

Paul W. Martin, Toronto

Your cover shows two men, obviously in love, standing in front of Niagara Falls. In bold letters, the confrontational headline “Got a problem with this?” followed by the proclamation that “most Americans do” screams out for attention. As an American, I have got a problem with this. Down here in the States, nobody—but nobody— wears white before Memorial Day at the end of May. Steven Murphy, Geneva, III.

Thank you for your very balanced article on same-sex marriage. We were particularly touched by Ken MacQueen’s piece on Jane Eaton Hamilton and Joy Masuhara (“Mr. and Mrs. in a gay mecca,” Cover, March 29). As co-litigants with Jane and Joy in the B.C. case, we have gotten to know them both very well and are so happy that they are now married. We attended their reception last summer in Vancouver and truly felt as if we had finally reached the summit of a very steep mountain. We would ask the people who speak out so strongly against us, “How can you deny us the right to love the person we so desperately want to share our lives with?” We will marry on July 17, two days after our 36th anniversary. Jane and Joy, we thank you and all the couples from B.C., Ontario and Quebec who have helped make Canada a nation of full acceptance. Lloyd Thornhill and Bob Peacock, Vancouver

I found your cover picture totally, absolutely, disgusting.

V.R. Beswick, Madoc, Ont.

I’m a Grade 12 student and I couldn’t help but laugh when I read that gay people are being accused of attempting to recruit people to their lifestyle (“Across the great divide,” Cover, March 29). I highly doubt that gay people are trying to make other people gay. If you’re straight, you’re straight—that’s the end of it. Also, the idea that “our way of life will come to an end as we know it” is so farfetched. It’s not like being gay is a bandwagon concept, or a fad that everyone is going to test out. Come on, people.

Gillian E. Cagnin, Mount Hope, Ont.

We are average, middle-class, reasoned Canadians and we are tired of your antiAmerican and pro-gay bias.

Mr. and Mrs. Brian Cameron, Dundas, Ont.

Thank you for your Editor’s Letter, “What makes marriage,” calling for understanding of same-sex marriages. Your final sentence is a truth and challenge to all of us: “But everyone deserves a chance.”

Katherine Punch, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Obsessed I Canadians should resist American cultural pressures

Readers liked Mary Janigan’s column warning that our love for U.S. books, movies and TV shows is hazardous to our health (“We’re U.S.-obsessed,” March 29). “I used to hang on CNN’s every word,” wrote Tom Rutherdale of Woodstock, Ont., “but now I read Canadian news almost exclusively.” Added Bill Warren of Portage la Prairie, Man.: “Yes, what’s wrong with us?”

Inconvenience of terrorism

I always enjoy Peter Mansbridge’s columns and his sense of humour. However, having just read his column about security at Sydney airport in Nova Scotia, I am surprised that he makes light of heavy security at a small airport (“Mansbridge on the record,” March 29). Let’s not forget that on 9/11, terrorists made use of lax security at small airports as an easy way into the secured zones of much larger airports. As for screening toddlers and grandmothers, we are seeing younger and younger kids on a daily basis being used as suicide bombers in the Middle East, so I don’t see why anyone should be exempt. Glenn Malr, Vancouver

It was with a sympathetic ear and a large grin that I read Peter Mansbridge’s column on airport security. Finally, someone has managed to apply some common sense to a silly situation. I, and I’m sure a large majority of other Canadians, share his sense of frustration with the inconsistent application of airport security in Canada. As a flight crew employee for a Canadian airline, I am forced to submit to these intrusive searches up to five times per day! I mean, really, let’s apply a little common sense here. André Pepin, Cochrane, Alta.

I find Peter Mansbridge’s comments quite irresponsible for a journalist of his experience. While I agree that some airport security procedures may be a mite extreme, his complaint about preschoolers and grandmothers being thoroughly examined shows little respect for the thought process of today’s terrorist. I would paraphrase the admonition made by a former U.S. presidential campaign: it’s the suicide factor, stupid. Don Atkinson, Alliston, Ont.

Recently, I went through the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida where security took 45 minutes. It was not as intensive as Sydney, yet after removing shoes, belts and jackets, a frustrated man behind me in line said, “Good thing I have on clean underwear,” at which point one of the many police standing around approached the man. Hand on the gun in his holster, he said, “Watch it with your remarks.” No fooling around in that area, and a good thing I stifled my laughter. We all want our airports safe, so we will have to keep a straight face, keep mum and put up with searched luggage, removal of clothing and long lineups. Ann Rudd, London, Ont.

In defence of the game

Canada is all about hockey and teamwork, but lately all you are seeing is a lot of senseless fighting and injuries that make me wonder whatever happened to the hockey that used to be played (“No end in sight,” Cover, March 22). Please Canada and all you players: let’s clean up this senseless violence and get back to hockey.

Kim Flewelling, Ingersoll, Ont.

I am amazed that we live in a country where it is a matter of debate whether a man who assaults another man from behind should be held criminally accountable or not. Being lenient on Todd Bertuzzi because the league sanctions violence is a bit like pardoning concentration camp guards because they were acting under orders.

Sam Campbell, Halifax

Very early in my 27-year teaching career, I identified what I call the “hockey attitude.” It is evident even in Grade 3; by Grade 8 it often manifests itself as serious arrogance. A couple of years ago, we had one Grade 8 class with six boys who were so certain that they were destined for multi-million dollar careers in the NHL that they didn’t feel they would ever have any use for math and English—naturally, they were very difficult to teach. When another teacher and I suggested they might want to keep their options open, we were taken to task by their parents for damaging their children’s self-esteem. I hate to generalize, but these are often the same boys responsible for bullying other students. Hockey should be cleaned up—the long-term improvement on the social fabric would be far greater than most people realize.

Mark Simkin, Keewatin, Ont.

Stress-oil salesman

As an aromatherapist, I was appalled at Patricia Pearson’s essay (“Stressed? Try lavender,” March 29). Like the candle company she accuses of finding a “fix” for stress, she too is corrupting and commercializing the word “aromatherapy.” What she is actually talking about is the use of fragrance to create an ambience. Aromatherapy is actually the use of pure essential oils in a variety of methods, including inhalation, applied topically through compresses and massage. Treatment of certain discomforts requires going to a properly trained aromatherapist who will know what oils to mix to create a synergistic effect. To call all this “bunk” is as irresponsible as the candle company calling its product “aromatherapy.”

Santina Kerslake, Ottawa

Patricia Pearson’s essay on stress and the industry that exploits it was a bit too simplistic and smug to land in your magazine. Most women don’t buy into all of the junk that we are bombarded with in advertising day after day. Otherwise, we’d mostly be miserable because we hadn’t found the perfect man yet. Many women’s magazines give us a great deal of information about female health problems and political issues. Sure, their advertisers want us to also buy their stuff, but guess what, I am sure many of us do understand how big businesses worksome of us even run them. Karen Devolin, Tillsonburg, Ont.

Regulating fat

While the government’s action to force transfat labelling is commendable, it is a largely insignificant step towards combating the food industry’s most insidious by-product (“Fat chance,” Marketing, March 29). Why not take it a step further and post prominent warnings like they do on cigarette packages? Michael Howard, Vancouver

I appreciated your March 29 article regarding the growing trend to stop using trans fat in processed food. Everyone agrees this stuff is poison and the health experts are right in calling it the “secret killer.” Your readers may be interested to know that a legislative campaign to ban the use of trans fats altogether is underway. My private member’s bill would require that no more than two per cent of the total fats in any food product can be trans fat. This would effectively eliminate trans fat from our foods, which is exactly what Denmark has done successfully. We should take steps now to stop people from getting sick rather than spend a fortune trying to fix them after they are broken.

Pat Martin, MP (NDP-Winnipeg Centre), Winnipeg

Perdita power

It’s great to see a Canadian athlete like hurdler Perdita Felicien having success at the world level (Voiceover, March 22). It is definitely motivating to see that it can be done, and I think that Felicien is a great role model. Her attitude proves that with hard work and perseverance, the results are rewarding. Monique Martin, Carman, Man.