THE MAIL

Alexander McKay July 12 2004

THE MAIL

Alexander McKay July 12 2004

THE MAIL

‘Canadians should stop piously viewing their military as glorified Boy Scouts whose peacekeeping can be accomplished by flOWer pOWer and lOVe-inS. ’ -AlexanderMcKay,Calgary

Alexander McKay

Health-care fix

I read with interest your articles on “Health care that works” (Special Report, June 21). There were some good ideas that would improve health care delivery. However, there are bigger matters we must solve before the quality of Canadian health care can improve substantially. We must first fund healthy living and disease prevention programs— too many people treat their health in a cavalier manner, knowing that when problems present themselves, the state will fix them at no cost. We must convince more Canadians that smoking, the lack of physical and mental activity, overeating and a poor diet all contribute to the current crisis. We should also have a graduated user fee system to reduce the demands we place on our health care systems. We must allow all Canadians to use public or private health care alternatives, just as long as the billing is equal to current public fee schedules and paid by governments. Finally, if the Canadian Health Care Act stands in the way of progress, then it needs to be revised or replaced.

Donald Smith, Abbotsford, B.C.

Selective memories

In Brian Mulroney’s gushing tribute to Ronald Reagan (“A friend we loved,” June 21), he lists some places where Reagan had an impact: “From Erin to Estonia, from Maryland to Madagascar, from Montreal to Monterey.” Dubious poetic skills aside, one can’t help but notice that Mulroney omitted an entire region full of countries that, yes, certainly were “transformed.” I wonder how people feel about the Reagan impact in Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Grenada. Isn’t selective memory a wonderful thing?

Peter Giaschi, Picton, Ont.

Northern reflections

I knew about the sad state of affairs on my island home years ago, but reading Jonathon Gatehouse’s account brought fresh tears to my eyes (“Goin’ down the road,” Ten Lost Years, June 14). Like many Newfoundlanders, I left my home (Savage Cove on the Great

Northern Peninsula) shortly after high school for a post-secondary education in Stephenville. Eventually, I settled in Alberta. Then, I wanted to show my husband and two-year-old daughter where I grew up, and while my feet had not set foot on the landwash for more than a decade, just the smell of the salt air put me and them firmly on the ground. I had no idea how much I missed everything, from my mudder’s clothes on the line, to my fadder’s Sunday dinners with pudding ‘n’ sauce. I was home. If Outport Newfoundland is to survive, there needs to be a mass effort to make it so. Tourism, ecotourism especially, can be the

new Newfoundland resource that will carry it to the next stage of its evolution.

Karen Petkau, Fort McMurray, Alta.

I am not a Newfoundlander, but I fell in love with the Northern Peninsula during my first visit in 1994. In the 10 years since, I’ve been back four times; I’ll be back again this summer. To be sure, the scenery is breathtaking, but it’s the people that I go back to see—I have found them to be hardworking, self-reliant, proud, caring and friendly. I’m sorry to say that quite a few of us could learn a thing or two from the NP’ers, and sorry to read that our modern world can find no place for the outports where those values took root and grew. George Sollish, Baldwinsville, N.Y.

Some years ago, my wife and I motorcycled up the nearly completed highway from Corner Brook to St. Anthony. While returning from a campground on a cold, late-August morning, we needed a coffee, so we pulled off into the little village of Green Island Brook. In Noseworthy’s small all-purpose grocery store mentioned in your article, we inquired about the brew. The young man pointed to coffee on the shelf, and we said, “No, no, hot coffee!” Realizing how cold we were, he went to the phone. “Just go to that house across the street and knock on the door.” His mother opened it and invited us in. A wood-burning stove gave some instant relief, and his father, Leander Noseworthy, offered us some screech. We declined. Mrs. Noseworthy put together a breakfast of homemade bread, eggs, jams and jellies, as well as hot tea and coffee. Just before departing, my wife took a photo of me with the Noseworthy family, which we sent with Christmas greetings. We received a letter back thanking us for the last photo taken of Leander, as he had passed away in early autumn. The breakfast and visit with that generous family remains one of our favourite memories, stan Litch, Elora, Ont.

In defence of war

Pity letter-writer Louise Whitaker, who says she feels only “regret, sorrow and sympathy” for victims of war, not inspiration (“War stories,” The Mail, June 21). It is easy to sound noble and self-righteous when others have suffered to afford such sentiments. I am very inspired by people like my father-in-law,

Pride and pique I Pleas to see the positives along with the problems

Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., residents reacted angrily to our story on the city’s economic travails. “Although we’ve gone through tough times, good things happen here too,” wrote Liisa McMillan. “I thought journalism was about both sides of a story.” Don Ferguson, meanwhile, said that he gave up “excellent money" in Toronto to return to the Soo for its “lifestyle opportunities.”

who went overseas, giving up six years of his life away from home and family; my uncle, who flew in the RCAF and gave up his young life for our freedoms; and my mother-in-law, who lived on strict rations and worked for low wages in a factory through the London bombing blitz. Neither Ms. Whitaker nor I would be allowed to write our letters, freely expressing our opinions, if not for people like them.

Carol Haley, Matheson, Ont.

I am disgusted and appalled at a letter by Dylan Zamara of Toronto that implied the troubles at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison shows how soldiers are dehumanized (“Relativity of torture,” The Mail, June 14). I, my father and my grandfather all served in the Canadian army, and I do not consider any of us any less human than other citizens. In fact, I have seen more humanity coming from Canadian Forces personnel while on UN tours than I have from people who sit in the comfort of their homes and slur people they don’t know. I have seen soldiers help the sick, give their own rations to hungry people, build schools and donate play equipment. Yes, soldiers are encouraged to follow orders, but also to use common sense and not to follow orders that are thought to be illegal. No, Mr. Zamara, not all of us lose our morality or humanity.

Paul Bennett, Brampton, Ont.

Thanks for your short June 14 item “Anniversary: remembering the tanks of Tiananmen,” which is a wake-up call to our conscience and a reminder to mourn those freedom fighters. Too often we—those who live on the soil of liberty—take freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression for granted.

Franklin Lung, Richmond Hill, Ont.

More to the story

As one of the people interviewed for your recent article on Sault Ste. Marie, I want to voice my frustration that it focused only on the negative (“A steel city’s blues,” Ten Lost Years, June 21). It did not mention the positive elements of how the Sault is facing these challenges through successful projects through the community’s Destiny Sault Ste. Marie Economic Diversification Strategy. Plus, for my family, Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to live, learn, work and play.

I left Sault Ste. Marie to study in both Montreal and Toronto. I settled in Toronto to work at a prestigious law firm for six years. Despite my success, something was missing. I missed my hometown, its beauty, its compassion, its spirit and, most of all, its people. When I was 30,1 returned.

Young people may be

If parents were truly talking to their kids about sex education, the world wouldn’t need Sue Johanson

(And please note, I have nine diamonds in my wedding band, not four, which may reflect the writer’s observation skills.) Bruce Strapp, President & CEO, Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp.

Thank you for your article about the Soo. It’s like we are in a different world than the rest of the province sometimes. I am so thankful my husband and I have decent jobs to be able to raise our kids in such a wonderful place. So many of our friends have had to go to southern Ontario or out west. It is so beautiful here. We are five minutes from swimming or fishing or skiing. It’s no wonder people have taken a pay cut to stay here. And I think despite the pessimistic tone of the article, we can’t be on anything but an upswing. Hopefully, my elementary school age children will be able to make their lives here. Dawn Secord, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

leaving to pursue higher education, but I see them choosing to return home at a record pace. Victoria Chiappetta, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Rags to riches

I agree that the Tampa Tribune, which ran the wrong editorial, saying the Lightning lost the Stanley Cup, is a hick newspaper. But calling Tampa Bay “hockey hick town” sounds like sour grapes from a sour loser. (Scorecard, Up Front, June 21). Life-long hockey fans, my buddy and I have attended hundreds of Lightning games over the years. There are thousands like us in the Tampa Bay area. Judging by the vociferous booing by Saddledome fans of obvious penalties against their Flames, perhaps the honest comment is that the supposed sophistication of Canadian fans over Tampa Bay fans is vastly overrated, to put it nicely. Get the chip off your shoulder. The Cup resides here, and the Tampa Bay area is wild about it.

Donna Horan, Tampa Bay, Fla.

Sex ed for parents

In response to those who are writing in and suggesting that sex education should be taught only at home and in private (“Too sexy,” The Mail, June 21): if parents were truly talking to their kids about such topics as sex education, the world wouldn’t need people like Sue Johanson. I would suggest, instead, that parents listen to Sue with their kids—it may open up lines of communication that just aren’t getting through.

Shana Kapustin, Richmond Hill, Ont.