MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

'Your new format is just great! Crisp new type. Clean lines. Appealing layout. Keep it up. Oh, and the maple leaf is definitely a keeper.'

December 5 2005
MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

'Your new format is just great! Crisp new type. Clean lines. Appealing layout. Keep it up. Oh, and the maple leaf is definitely a keeper.'

December 5 2005

MAIL BAG

'Your new format is just great! Crisp new type. Clean lines. Appealing layout. Keep it up. Oh, and the maple leaf is definitely a keeper.'

The new Maclean's

I was considering cancelling my subscription when a new and much more exciting Maclean’s arrived (Nov. 2l). Congratulations! I found the magazine much easier to read without all those crazy sidebars, and I will not miss anyone who completes John Intini’s sentences. I am really looking forward to the continuing improvement of the magazine.

Heinz Puersten, Bracebridge, Ont.

The main thing that jumps out at me about the new format is the two-page Interview (“Maureen Dowd talks to Linda Frum,” Nov. 2l). Tremendous! Please give the same amount of space to an interview each week, preferably to someone with the same intelligence as the New York Times columnist and author. JeffWiseman, Toronto

I don’t mind the smaller print and I might get to like the tabloidstyle articles, but having headlines such as “They don’t stop for nobody” (National, Border Crossings) sets my teeth on edge. At first, I thought it might be a quotation from someone mentioned in the article, but that wasn’t the case. Then why use it? I also shudder at your creation of the word “winecologist” (“Designed by a female winecologist,” Taste). Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the Canadian reader by using such sloppy writing.

Marlene Hessing, Saskatoon

Wow! What a start! My only concern is, how can you keep it up?

Herb Storm, West Vancouver

When the new Maclean’s arrived, it made me ffj^ think of the question Jay Leno asked Hugh Grant after Grant was caught with that hooker: “What were you thinking?” Your redesign reminds me of a hybrid of trashy British tabloid and a cheap North American pulp magazine. Andrew Hume, Saanichton, B.C.

I like the new format, the new columns and all the niceties added to an already well-respected magazine. I would like to say how

much I enjoyed, among other things, Seven Days; your story on the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (“Bridging the bitter divide in Saskatoon,” Justice), Newsmakers, and the stories on the The Back Pages, as well as the columns. There is a lot more depth to your articles and I also enjoy the Basements. Keep up the excellent presentation and you will become the best Canadian magazine by far.

Pierre R. Cormier, Dieppe, N.B.

I am only on page 18 and I didn’t want to wait any longer to compliment you on the new format. It is just great! Crisp new type, clean lines, appealing layout. Keep it up! Oh, and the maple leaf is definitely a keeper.

Susan Beauchamp, Kamloops, B.C.

Oh, brother. Who approved this one? Each article looks like one of those full-page mockarticles with the word “advertisement” in mouse-type at the top. It’s ugly, annoying to read and actually made me feel claustrophobic. Sometimes change is good. Not this time. Audrey Morgan, Ajax, Ont.

I haven’t had a chance to read the articles yet, but I did flip through the latest version of Maclean’s while making supper the other night and I have this to say about your new look: brutal! With all due respect for the time and effort that has gone into redesigning the magazine, it now has the look of a supermarket tabloid. I can only hope that the articles do not reflect the same approach.

John Bissonnette, Stittsville, Ont.

I love my new Maclean’s. The font is great and the new layout makes for an appealing read. Please keep the new design; you have done a great job.

Werner Patels, Calgary

It is laughable the nation’s privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is only propelled into action when Maclean’s stunt of procuring her phone records brought her “near tears.” Since the article alleges she admitted knowledge of such information traders in the U.S., she now wishes to make war on telephone companies in Canada? Perhaps she should reassess her motives. After all, until it affected her, she didn’t care too much about it. While I have no qualms with tighter regulation on everyone’s personal data, I am sick and tired of these government types sitting on their behinds, and then lashing out with my tax dollars. This should make it plain to the Prime Minister that Stoddart’s department is beyond ineffectual. After all, part of her mandate is to see these things coming and head them off at the pass. Since she admittedly knew of the data traders and did nothing about it, perhaps part of the fix for the data trade issue is replacing her.

Tt is laughable that privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is only propelled into action when Maclean's procured her phone records and brought her "near tears." Part of the fix is replacing her.'

David Huntley, Regina

Mail about The Mail

Further to the letter from Brenda Tombs talking about the importance of skin colour (“Stirring the melting pot,” Mail Bag, Nov. 2l). As a white person, now retired, I am surprised at the opinion that I was somehow “privileged.” My father’s ancestors, Nova Scotia coal miners, would have been astounded. The argument seems to be analogous to: all elephants are mammals; therefore all mammals are elephants. One can analyze the people

(surely a small percentage of the population) who really are privileged and consider their characteristics such as race, religion, and ethnic group, whatever rings your chimes. But it is fallacious reasoning to assume that possessing any of these characteristics is enough to make one privileged. Furthermore, lacking any of these characteristics does not prevent a poor person from making enough money to enter the privileged minority, as Peter C.Newman’s series on the New-Canadian Establishment shows. Sometimes privilege is earned.

George Fraser, Ottawa

When I saw the cover of your Oct. 31 issue (“The Age of the Wuss”), I thought to myself, “This is news?” I admit that I just skimmed the article. Today I opened up the university rankings issue and, as usual, I scanned The Mail section first. I was soon laughing out loud. The letters about Canadian Tire Guy—from

the references to his marital and child status to the fact that he represents the ultimate Canadian woman’s dream—were funnier than the original article. As I laughed I was reminded that, as Canadians, we are truly unique: we can laugh at ourselves, our ideals, and Canadian Tire Guy. And by the way, wuss or not, would he come and give my husband a few lessons?

Melanie Ihmels, Kelowna, B.C.

Business blockhead

Steve Maich, that great ffee-enterpriser, asserts that the West has become fat and lazy, blaming low productivity as the culprit (“A billion minds unleashed,” All Business, Nov. 14). Typical of his ilk, he states what’s needed are lower taxes and more spending on infrastructure, the standard whine of blinkered business blockheads who refuse to accept paramount responsibility for their role in lost production. It is business that has stiffed the worker, not the reverse. Business demands loyalty from its workers, but what do its managers give in return? Jobs shipped overseas. Hours cut, full-time employees turned into temps, part-time, permanent part-time. Cuts in benefits. Cuts in wages and more demands for more cuts. Then, with governments acting as accomplices, if not leading the way with legislation designed to weaken workers rights, government contracts are ripped up, government jobs are sold to private companies, and Big Business, emboldened by this, ships in scabs to steal the jobs of striking workers with the assistance of thug bosses employing thug enforcers. Working men and women are under siege as never before and, sadly, not only by their bosses but by fellow workers who, envious of union workers who have fought for and earned the right to job security, high wages, and good health benefits, call them greedy. For such as these, it’s always easier to pull someone down than to fight to pull oneself up. If Maich wants more productivity, all he needs to do is recognize that loyalty works both ways.

'Also worrisome is that many of these imports may be dog or cat fur. Fur in Canada doesn't even require an identifying label. Are you wearing dog fur? How can you tell?'

Frank A. Pelaschuk, Richmond, B.C.

Steve Maich is sure that adman Neil French is right when he argues that the lack of gender equality in the workplace is because women have chosen to balance their commitment to the workplace with family responsibilities (“Why women aren’t CEOs,” All Business, Oct. 3l)But I have to ask why women who are fully committed to the workplace and who are not trying to balance work and home are not represented in the top jobs in this country. There is much more to this argument than French’s assertion that women don’t make it because they don’t deserve to. It’s a complicated topic. Simplistic assertions and the rush to justify them simply underline the great challenges that working women in this country face.

Anna Rankin, Quesnel, B.C.

Thinking mink?

Barbara Righton apparently didn’t contact any animal groups or she would have learned that Canada’s wild fur industry has declined by 80 per cent or more (“Fur the love of being seen,” Bazaar, Nov. 2l). In 198O, Canadian trappers sold over five million pelts. Lately, that number is less than one million. Trappers everywhere have hung up their traps because of poor pelt prices. Now about 60 per cent of fur entering Canada is from China. It

is primarily poor quality trim, such as rabbit. Also worrisome is that much of these fur imports may well be cat and dog fur, as Canada does not restrict such imports. Fur in Canada doesn’t even require an identifying label. Are you wearing cat or dog fur? How can you tell?

George V. Clements,

Director, Fur-Bearer Defenders, Vancouver

The modern fur trade is an excellent example of the sustainable use of wildlife, a principle promoted by the World Wildlife Fund and other conservation organizations to provide an economic incentive for protecting vital natural habitat. Trapping is regulated by provincial wildlife departments to ensure that we use only part of the surplus produced by nature each year. Endangered species are never used. Buying fur also supports Aboriginal and other Canadians living close to the land, people who sound the alarm about pollution, excessive logging or other threats to wildlife. Synthetics favoured by animal activists, by contrast, usually come from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource that can damage nature. So if you want to help nature, think mink, or beaver, or muskrat. Environmental responsibility has never looked this good.

Alan Herscovici, Executive Vice-President,

Fur Council of Canada, Montreal

Tony Blair’s despotism

I read with interest Michael Petrou’s comments on the current woes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reeling from his first defeat

in the commons (“Blair on the brink,” World, Nov. 2l). According to Petrou, Blair has grossly misjudged the attitude of the British electorate toward terrorism. He neglects to mention, however, that the proposal to allow police to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days did not come from Tony Blair, nor did he ever claim that it was the wishes of the public. It was a proposal made by Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, which was echoed by police departments around the country. Petrou also neglected to mention the less sensationalist aspects of this piece of proposed legislation. The police would not have the power to simply throw people into a jail cell for 90 days. They would need to petition a court on a weekly basis to provide evidence that further detention without bringing a case is necessary. Perhaps such details detract from the journalistic impact of Tony Blair’s apparent despotism.

Anthony Moss, Scarborough, Ont.

Tony Blair has been in power so long that he has lost touch with his party. Rather than learn from his shrunken majority in spite of a weak opposition, he carried on in the same way as before and now he has a bloody nose. He is a living example of the old adage: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Corruption in his case was the feeling of omnipotence which will be his downfall unless this faux pas has brought him back to earth. Sudhir Jain, Calgary