THE MAIL

May 17 2004

THE MAIL

May 17 2004

THE MAIL

‘America’s major fault is believing in its own myths, in its John Waynes and Hollywood happy endings. This is why Bush is in such a mess in Iraq.’ -shirieyFowiey, Waterloo,ont.

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

Canadian imperialist

As a Canadian who has lived, worked and travelled around the world for most of my adult life, I was very pleased to see Jonathan Gatehouse acknowledge the negative aspect of Canadian patriotism that I loathe every time I come into contact with Canadians intent on showing our superiority over Americans (“The know-it-all neighbour,” Cover, May 3). Whether it is maintaining the myth that Canadian beer is stronger than its American counterpart, the idea that wearing a Canadian flag on your backpack makes the world your friend, or the stories, which are more likely Canadian urban legends, of the ignorant American, Canadians have become a cliché.

Robert Vandereyken, Monterrey, Mexico

I’m with you. Canadians have been indulging in self-importance and free-riding— and getting away with it—for too long. Like the dinner companion who disappears to the washroom when the cheque arrives, we are getting what we deserve, to be sidelined. Mark De Shaw, Toronto

Fourteen years ago, I moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Surrey, B.C., with my new Canadian husband. I couldn’t wait to live here. Soon, however, I began to think I was becoming paranoid. I frequently sensed a surprising undercurrent of anti-American sentiment from friends, neighbours, media and even my well-educated colleagues. Americans seemed to be fair game for cmel remarks and accusations that, if directed against any other nationality, would be labelled racist— and contrary to the multicultural acceptance Canadians are so proud of.

Colleen McGoff Dean, Surrey, B.C.

If we want to continue reaping the benefits of having American neighbours, we need to start putting something into the relationship. I don’t support the Americans going to war in Iraq; however, I also don’t support Canada not standing by the neighbours we rely so heavily on.

Eryn Ne'llson, Calgary Hats off to the greatest cover you have published yet, and I would love to know more about the artist.

Edward Clement, Burlington, Ont.

American Fred Edwards’s analogy of Canada’s lack of support for the Iraq war as a friend who failed “to back you up” in a bar fight is most fitting. A good friend is there to talk sense into you when your judgment is impaired, when you shoot off at the mouth, or get violent and out of control. Friends try to prevent you from doing something irresponsible and regrettable; they don’t join in the fray just for the hell of it, condoning your actions when it’s obvious you’re out of line and out for your own personal gain. When it comes to the war in Iraq, Canadians acted as exemplary friends. Bar fights are not where we want to be.

Amy Melchiorre, Picton, Ont.

Love ’em or hate ’em I

Our views of Americans stir more controversy

First it was “Hope you lose, eh,” our Feb. 9 cover revealing that just 15 per cent of Canadians favour the re-election of George W. Bush. Our latest poll, showing that we think ill of our neighbours and they hardly think of us at all, has prompted several hundred replies. As Senior Writer Jonathon Gatehouse, who wrote both cover stories, puts it: “Nothing divides us like America.”

Boo Leafs

Along with a growing number of Canadians,

I am getting thoroughly sick and tired of this, “If it’s from Toronto, it must be the best” BS that regularly permeates your magazine. Your “Leafs nation” piece (“The blue heart of Leafs nation,” Hockey, May 3) is just another example of this drivel. In that same issue, Peter Mansbridge drones on about his beloved Leafs (“The joys of puck fever,” Mansbridge on the Record). Outside of Toronto and Ontario, they are more often the “Be-hated Leafs.” Montreal and Calgary both had stirring first-round victories; their celebrations were every bit as spontaneous and raucous. Where was the equivalent coverage, oh National Magazine of Canada? My money’s on the Flames to carry the torch for Canadian hockey fans everywhere.

Ken Whitehead, Dartmouth, N.S.

Peter Mansbridge is right. Americans, although I am now among them, don’t get it. Canada is hockey country and every town is hockey town. You would think that I could break the cycle of Leaf dependence in my own kids. No way. Although born and bred in the States, they bleed Leaf blue. Mats stares at them from posters on their walls. Eddie glares at them from behind his mask. I write the score of the Leafs game on a piece of paper and tape it to their doors—like my parents did-when they have to go to bed before the game is over. They get it.

W. G. McGimpsey, Worcester, Mass.

Manning’s view

An opinion piece by Paul Wells in your April 26 edition, “To the brink and back,” (The Back Page) quoting Quebec author Pierre Duchesne, contained several errors which I would like to set straight. (1) No negotiations ever took place between myself or the Reform Party and the PQ government of Quebec or its emissaries prior to the 1995 Quebec referendum. (2) Reform’s positions that separatists should not occupy the position of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, and that Jean Chrétien should have resigned after bungling the federalists’ campaign in 1995, were our own positions, shared by hundreds of thousands of other Canadians. They were in no way, shape or form “the results” of some imaginary negotiation with the PQ. (3) Reform’s position that a simple majority should decide the Quebec secession referendum was in fact the position of the Trudeau government in the 1980 referendum. What Reform added was that trying to change the mies just before the 1995 referendum weakened the federalist position, and that “50 per cent plus one” could and should be used as a “two-edged sword.” If a 50-per-cent-plus-one vote in a secession referendum could divide Canada, then a 50-per-cent-plus-one vote in any partition referenda following secession could and would divide Quebec. I agree with Wells that there is a tendency today to reduce the discussion of history to its most trivial expressions. A good start towards reversing this trend would be to get the facts straight at the outset of the discussion by going to the source.

Preston Manning, Calgary

Seal hunt outrage

Thank you for the obscene photo of a brutal man raising his hooked cudgel to batter to death a very small and terrified animal (UpFront, April 26). As English writer Dean Inge once said, “If animals had a theology, human beings would be the devil.” The picture is another vivid reminder to humane individuals as to why I shall never visit Newfoundland nor ever knowingly purchase Newfoundland products while the seal hunt continues. Whatever economic benefits come from this barbarity, and those are highly debatable, Newfoundland each year is losing far more in good will. This mass slaughter of helpless animals is a disgrace to that province and equally a shame to all Canada.

(Rev.) Hugh R. L. MacDonald, Thunder Bay, Ont.

I am appalled and disappointed at the article depicting the seal hunt in Newfoundland. The one-sided tone of the article smacks of extremist anti-hunting sentiment. If you want to write about the plight of animals, perhaps you should focus on pollution and habitat loss, the real threats to wildlife. Philip O’Neil, St. John’s, Nfld.

The look on the face ofthat defenceless little seal, about to be bludgeoned to death, brought tears to my eyes and was so abhorrent I threw out the whole magazine in disgust. Why do you have to picture such violence? Is there not enough around with all the terrorists?

Ann McKay, Hamilton

What ever happened to accepting a person for who they are on the inside, not for what they look like?

Shiny, plastic people

Cosmetic surgery has gone way too far (“Presto chango,” Essay, April 26). In certain cases, I can understand why people undergo cosmetic surgery (bums, scars, etc.); however, the media has taken cosmetic surgery over the edge. What ever happened to accepting a person for who they are on the inside, not for what they look like? Changing your appearance is changing who you are. If people cannot accept you for the real you, they don’t deserve to be your friend.

Erin Nicolajsen, Sperling, Man.

Wage war

Thank you for your article on Air Canada’s current situation and future outlook (“The death watch,” Business, April 26). I have worked as a pilot at Air Canada for 16 years and, prior to that, for seven years for other smaller airlines. I’d like to see Maclean’s do some research into our competitors. That is, are these viable long-lasting alternatives? Jetsgo pays its starting flight attendants $20,500 a year, clerical staff are similarly paid and starting pilots are paid roughly between $45,000 and $65,000 a year. Westjet offers its employees similarly low wages and no pension benefits. My point is this; will 20to 25-year-old employees continue to work at sub-standard wages indefinitely? Will this keep good employees as they grow older? Obviously, Air Canada unions must make bigger cuts and even bigger wage concessions, but to $20,500 a year? Is the low-cost model sustainable?

Patrick Vaughan, Montreal

Boomer backlash

According to Chris Korvela of Calgary and Sherrin Fisher of Sherwood Park, Alta., baby boomers are rude, capitalistic planet destroyers who have given up their idealistic dreams from the ’60s (“Rude legacy,” Letters, May 3). I was astonished at the anger and the absolute certainty that, while this past generation may have stopped an unjust war and enhanced racial and gender relations, they have all sold out in the chase for the almighty dollar. I belong to the baby boomer generation, the one that rejected the Vietnam War, and the Iraq war for that matter. I am polite to people of all ages, races and genders because I still believe that all people have the right to expect courtesy from each other. Both of these letters were written in a rude, confrontational tone, with no thought to the possibility that the people of whom they complain do not represent an entire generation. Now, where have I heard that before?

Cherie Hill, Mississauga, Ont.