THEMAIL

July 19 2004

THEMAIL

July 19 2004

THEMAIL

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

‘The Liberals have been given a reprieve, not a pardon. Prime Minister Paul Martin now has a second chance tO get it right. * -Brian Newman, Ottawa

Voter reaction

I just picked up your June 21 edition and could not believe the cover, which had a photo of Paul Martin and a caption that said “Going, going . . . gone.” You guys look pretty stupid now. I thought the news was just to give people the facts. Now that the Liberals won, your credibility as a national magazine is out the window.

Sue Foster, Bancroft, Ont.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Liberals win so many seats. I voted by mail-in ballot as did many expats here in Australia where there is a government that has stripped the social safety net in the name of tax cuts. Prime Minister John Howard recently outlawed same-sex marriages and has prohibited same-sex couples from adopting children from overseas (they would have outlawed same-sex adoption altogether, except internal adoption is a state, not a federal, responsibility). As a Canadian who values equal rights, I find the views shared by Howard and Stephen Harper very disturbing. Well done Canada for keeping intact our reputation as a progressive, socially responsible nation.

Andrew Marshall, Melbourne, Australia

I live in Ontario and, yes, I voted Liberal— this time. Much work must be done by the Conservatives in order to win my vote. Their biggest challenge is to represent all of Canada. Placing a regional agenda front and centre will continue to scare the folks in the East, and the Liberals will just keep winning. The West wants in? I would like that to happen, too, but don’t expect Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces to give up their place at the table.

Geri Collins, Toronto

We have a flawed electorate when only 60.5 per cent of eligible voters vote. Voting is a privilege that many in other countries would die for. And we have a flawed electoral system, when 36.8 per cent of the popular vote results in 135 seats for the Liberals rather than a proportional 113. It

should be possible to design a system wherein seats are allocated in accordance with the percentage of the popular vote. Otherwise, we will continue to have non-representative governments.

Thomas Massiah, Toronto

I really have only one comment about the Liberal victory: what in the world do these people have to do to get themselves thrown out of power?

Andrew Daglish, Chula Vista, Calif.

Language debates

I could not agree more with Francis Chalifour’s essay “The Road to Tolerance” (July 1). As someone with a moderate ability in

French, I feel very proud about Canada’s distinct bilingual heritage and identity and want the cultures expressed by our two official languages to flower. I was gravely concerned in the recent election campaign by comments about bilingualism that lacked such a vision, but instead would see the two solitudes hermetically sealed. I hope that our politicians and educators will heed Chalifour’s call for more exchanges and courses to help us to learn and to deeply value each other’s culture. It would be a simple but powerful way to bridge the unfortunate divide.

Flenry VanderSpek, Toronto

A bilingual Canada isn’t something we should aspire to tolerate. It should be something to celebrate.

David Cadogan, Miramlchi, N.B.

True bilingualism comes from a regional, mixing of two cultures, such as has happened in New Brunswick and Quebec. Northern Ontario is well on its way, but west of Ontario we simply do not have the numbers to make it fair play for both. The provinces west of Ontario have an average French-Canadian population of under 2.5 per cent.

S.T. Tugwell, Riondel, B.C.

Babes with bellies

The reason why beer companies have problems attracting female customers is simple. It’s the inevitable beer belly (“Babes in brewland,” Marketing, July l). What woman would wish to appear permanently pregnant?

Roger Webber-Taylor, Ottawa

“Babes in brewland” underlines the highly male-oriented positioning of most major Canadian beer brands. However, the article contains an inaccuracy. Michael Palmer, a Toronto-based beer analyst, is quoted as saying that marketing to women “began to happen to Coors Light a few years back when the company tried woman-friendly commercials... it just never went anywhere.” As a former manager of Coors Light in Canada, I can confirm Palmer’s observation that Coors Light had a positioning that was gender-neutral compared to a prototypical Canadian beer brand. But to say that it never “went anywhere” is incorrect. With genderneutral positioning, Coors Light grew from

A true hero I Terry Fox died 23 years ago, but his influence lives on

Douglas Coupland’s tribute to the brave one-legged runner elicited an emotional response. Toronto’s Shana Kapustin wrote how her mother’s cancer has returned after she beat it 7 V2 years ago. “My mom is not famous,” says Kapustin, “she doesn’t run across Canada, but I know in my heart that the wishes of thousands of Canadians are with her. To us, she’s another true hero.”

being a minor licensed brand to being Canada’s leading light beer and one of Canada’s largest beer brands in the early ’90s.

David Soberman, Fontainebleau, France

Brothers in arms

Peter Mansbridge reminds us of how Canadians were encouraged to keep going forward during the D-Day invasion, regardless of who was falling on either side (“What is a Canadian,” Mansbridge on the Record, July 1). Let us never forget that British Columbians fell alongside Atlantic Canadians. Quebecers died alongside men from the Prairies. Now, we live in a time when regions complain about the country: Newfoundland feels it’s being cheated of resources, the West feels alienated and some in Quebec want to leave Canada altogether. It’s time for Canadians to wake up and see how good we’ve really got it. We need to stop fighting each other and work together to ensure that the Canada our forefathers fought and died for continues to exist for our children and grandchildren. Dave Collins, Triton, Nfld.

More lost years ahead

Unfortunately, except in times of real emergencies, our governments of all political stripes look first to the military budget when they need to save money (“After the army left,” Ten Lost Years, July 1). Although I never served in Chilliwack, my late brother-in-law did, and he always maintained it was one of the best training facilities we had in Canada. When it comes to national defence, our politicians must stop looking to our military as their first source of funds when they have financial problems.

William Stewart, Whitby, Ont.

Honouring Terry

I’m now serving with the United Nations forces in Haiti as part of the Canadian contingent and have just read “Canada’s True Hero” by Douglas Coupland (Tribute, July l). When I travel in this impoverished country and see the pain and suffering that goes on, I think of how well we, as a nation, are. I also think about how proud I am to be part of a Canada that cares about others, like Terry did. I see people every day do heroic things, but the real hero, the one who beats them all, the one who led by example, is Terry Fox. Your article made me

appreciate who I am and where I come from. Capt. Shawn Courty, Port au Prince, Haiti

Douglas Coupland’s article on Terry Fox was perhaps the best description of what it means to be proud of this great country of ours. The Marathon of Hope still represents everything that is great about Canada and Canadians. Brian Cant, Victoria

I agree with Douglas Coupland when he stated, “There’s not a soul in the land who could feel anything but pride and goodwill towards the man’s memory.” However, I was a bit puzzled at the end of the article to see illustrations of a goose, a screwdriver, some hockey sticks and labels of cooking spices under the heading “Icons of Canada.” Terry Fox is indeed a hero and an icon of courage, determination and all that is good in Canadian values. Including those other so-called icons detracted from Coupland’s well-written tribute.

David MacCallum,

Charlottetown

Our politicians must stop looking to our military as a source of funds when they have financial problems

Kudos

Thank you for your tremendous July 1 Canada Day publication. It was the magazine’s best issue in a while because it hit home in so many

places. Douglas Coupland’s “Canada’s true hero” made me cry, “Honour Roll 2004” was inspiring, and your various writers summing up of our federal election campaign concurred with how I felt about it—pathetic and pitiful.

Jo-Anne Carter, Prince George, B.C.

This year’s Honour Roll (July 1) started with Irshad Manji, whom I had a chance to meet at a conference in Washington earlier this year. As you mentioned in the article, she is a woman, a Muslim and a lesbian. I would suggest that you can throw away all the stereotypes that flow from any of those things. She is first and foremost a phenomenal ambassador for Canada. She espouses tolerance of religion, lifestyle and beliefs. She is self-effacing, charismatic, dynamic and humble. I saw her deliver a speech as a Canadian/Muslim/lesbian to a group of conservative Jewish Americans, and the standing ovation she received went on for many minutes. Surely, if one person can have such an impact, we as a nation, if committed, should be able to achieve great things. James Brown, Whitby, Ont.

OUR MISTAKES

In a July 12 story about minority governments, we regret referring to former Ontario cabinet minister Ian Scott as having died. In the same issue, we also incorrectly said Abbotsford MP Randy White represented North Vancouver.