MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

October 8 2007
MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

October 8 2007

MAIL BAG

'Mulroney still bugs Newman, but he doesn’t bug millions of informed Canadians’

SADDAM VERSUS BUSH

I FOUND this week’s cover of Maclean’s featuring President Bush depicted as Saddam Hussein to be highly offensive. It is entirely appropriate to have a free and lively debate about the situation in Iraq. But equating President Bush, who is committed to democracy and freedom throughout the world, to a dictator who was tried and convicted of the mass murder of his own people is reprehensible and should be below Maclean’s standards. As an American who cares deeply about Canada and works each day to strengthen the U.S.-Canada relationship, I am sincerely disappointed and surprised Maclean’s chose to lower itself to this level. David H. Wilkms, Ambassador of the United States of America, Ottawa

BUSH AS THE NEW Saddam is an excellent article. You got it 100 per cent right.

Jim Coyle, Endwell, N.Y.

I’M IN SHOCK that you would think to compare our president to Saddam Hussein, a ruthless murderer (“How George Bush became the new Saddam,” World, Oct. l). Don’t get me wrong; I don’t agree with many of the decisions Bush has made and I do not support the War on Terror. But do you know how much good Bush has done for Iraq? Though we should have been out of Iraq long ago, you can’t deny the amount of help we’ve given them. We’ve overthrown their horrendous dictator and tried to help them build a stable government and a well-trained army. I know most of the Iraqis are grateful for that. After 9/11 our country was devastated; you cannot understand the pain it caused. How could we not do something about it? Now there’s little-to-no threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Life in America is great, and all we’ve ever tried to do is good, no matter what anyone else’s narrow-minded opinion is. Before you published such a controversial article, you should have taken into consideration that Canada has no influence or part whatsoever in this war.

Cheryl Sanelli, Scottsdale, Ariz.

TO EQUATE a freely elected leader with the monster who gassed his own citizens goes beyond the bounds of what today passes for freedom of the press. Shame.

Peter H. Stevens, Aylmer, Ont.

WHO DO YOU THINK we’re going to call when one of our cities is hit by the next terrorist attack? Thank you for adding to our already troubled relationship with our fine neighbours to the south.

Mark Fink, Toronto

I AM DISGUSTED with your depiction of Bush as the new Saddam. We all know that this is a huge misrepresentation of the reality. True, they may both have killed thousands of people, but the motives behind what has happened make a huge difference.

Vincent Eeles, Calgary

MORE ON MULRONEY

IF HISTORY FLOWS more from perception than reality, as Peter C. Newman claims in your story on Brian Mulroney’s autobiography, you’ve done your best to displace reality with a biased and glaringly false perception (“Finally, the real Brian Mulroney,” Cover, Sept. 24). To dedicate the lead to an unproven accusation by fly-by-night fugitive Karlheinz Schreiber (the “alleged Bavarian Baron of Bribes,” as Newman calls him) in his desperate attempt to avoid his courtordered extradition to Germany where he is charged with fraud, theft and other serious crimes really says it all.

Canada’s twice-elected prime minister’s achievements; his unprecedented election victories; free trade and the GST, representing probably the financially most significant parliamentary acts of our generation; the acid rain agreement; and his seminal and

personal contribution to the repeal of the apartheid regime, as attested to by the personal bond lasting to this day between him and Nelson Mandela, are mentioned only way, way down in the article, if at all. Still, ahead of it all comes the “trousering” of the $300,000 cash from Schreiber—fully disclosed by Mulroney—consequently fully taxed, investigated, and cleared by the RCMP in 2003-

Newman is arguably one of our country’s most perceptive and articulate author/journalists. He is also the publicly dismissed exbiographer of Brian Mulroney. His anger and rage against Brian were given ample proof with the sensational publication of The Secret Mulroney Tapes, which, of course, ended in a lawsuit. Newman, for whatever reason, missed out not only on one of our country’s most significant historic biographies, but also on a likely bestseller. Newman can hardly be expected to be the most objective or unconflicted reviewer. His review is a brilliantly penned and devilishly clever hatchet job.

While it’s not surprising that, as he says, Brian Mulroney still bugs Newman, Mulroney certainly doesn’t bug millions of informed and unbiased Canadians who are increasingly proud of him. As sure as God made little apples, he doesn’t bug me.

Peter Munk, Chairman,

Barrick Gold Corp., Toronto

I CANNOT EMPHASIZE enough the dismay and disgust of seeing Brian Mulroney on the cover. The copy was shredded immediately to avoid contaminating our home.

Jacob Kasperowicz, Kirkland, Que.

YOU REPORT that Mulroney states in his book that I had been “fired from cabinet” by former prime minister Jean Chrétien. As any political observer would know, and as anyone capable of doing a Google search could easily discover, I was appointed to Chrétien’s cabinet on Oct. 4,1996, and remained as one of his trusted advisers until he left public office on Dec. 12, 2003. During my last two years in cabinet, I was not only minister of state and leader of the government in the House of Commons, but I chaired the special committee of council, the then cabinet committee dealing with all regulatory affairs of government ranging from pharmaceutical approvals to the listing of terrorist organizations. In my capacity as House leader, I also

shepherded the reform of the Canada Elections Act. Obviously, it would have been difficult to do this had I previously been fired. Don Boudria, Ottawa

WHO CARES what Peter C. Newman writes about Brian Mulroney? Newman was a selfserving traitor to Mulroney. I’ll read the memoirs myself, with disregard for Newman’s point of view. It’s Newman who bugs me, not Mulroney.

Dan Burns, Manitoulin Island, Ont.

RACISM IN QUEBEC

I READ YOUR ARTICLE on the commission looking into Quebec voters’ fear of minorities with mounting disbelief (“Not particularly accommodating,” National, Sept. 24). To the woman in Gatineau, Que., who complained to the public meeting about two veiled women with five children by saying, “I don’t have any problem with these people, but what are we becoming?” I have a definitive answer: you are becoming a racist. After decades of tolerance, respect, and room asked for and given by the rest of Canada to this newly minted “nation within a nation,” you’d think the average Quebec voter should at least have an intimate knowledge of such values and bestow them freely on other minorities. This is not only unaccommodating, it’s xenophobic. Bravo, at least, to Josiane Oscar, who nailed it exactly. If Quebec is so sure of its own values, the values of others shouldn’t be so shocking. If this hearing had taken place in another province in Confederation, the headline would have read, “White supremacy lives.”

Markus Lemke, Calgary

PEACE IN PALM BEACH

IN HER COLUMN Barbara Amiel writes about the disembowelment of “those who have

wronged my husband” (“Every year it’s more difficult for me to forgive,” Opinion, Sept. 24). Was there not a trial? Was there not a jury of average tax-paying and presumably law-abiding citizens? Yet her tirade of woes continues. Accepting reality, which may be hard to spot on the horizon from an oceanfront perch in Palm Beach, may finally bring her the peace if not the rest to which Goethe alluded.

Ron Nemeth, Edmonton

HOW DARE AMIEL draw parallels between brave Nazi resisters and the criminal activities of her arrogant husband? No one sympathizes with Conrad Black and no one cares about Amiel’s “exile” in a Palm Beach mansion. In one shockingly self-indulgent fell swoop, Amiel has managed to disgrace the Jewish High Holidays, demean Haitian refugees and disenchant the Canadian public even further.

Nathan Wellman, Toronto

THAT SAME OLD SONG

EVERY TIME I HEAR that the Liberals under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin balanced the budget and eliminated the deficits, the ignorance reflected in that statement irks me to no end (“How Canada is solving France’s fiscal crisis,” Opinion, Sept. 24). Surely everyone in Canada over the age of majority must realize that the Liberals under Pierre Trudeau almost bankrupted this country. Brian Mulroney with his free trade initiative and the GST made the hard decisions that were needed to pull Canada back from the brink of financial ruin and he paid dearly for it. Chrétien and Martin merely happened be around when the benefits of Mulroney’s good work kicked in, and they took the credit for it. Your columnist Paul Wells

‘If Quebec is sure of its own values, then the values of others shouldn’t be shocking. Elsewhere, the headline would read “White supremacy lives.” ’

should be ashamed of himself for unthinkingly regurgitating that same old misinformation.

Bill Jarrett,

Cambridge, Ont.

PAUL WELLS STATES that 60,000 jobs were eliminated from the public service after the Liberals were elected in 1993. That was true then.

But guess what? The 60,000 jobs are back in Ottawa, along with thousands more that were not there a decade ago. Our politicians have had some success in controlling government spending, but they are no match for the mandarins who enjoy creating and controlling as many public service jobs as possible. In government departments in Ottawa there are as many as seven or eight levels between the most junior program officer or analyst and the deputy minister. Bureaucrats are so busy getting together at interdepartmental meetings that they rarely leave Ottawa. After all, why should they? They have nothing in common with ordinary Canadians who pay their generous salaries. It’s not for nothing we call Ottawa Disneyland on the Rideau.

George Fleischmann, Toronto

A VOTE FORUNB

I AM BEWILDERED by your methodology (“Ranking the law schools,” Universities, Sept. 24). I am a graduate of the University of New Brunswick Law School, a law school which consistently ranks in the top five across Canada in Canadian Lawyer’s annual survey (this year it finished second in that magazine compared to ninth in Maclean’s). Canadian Lawyer’s survey is completed by graduates, those who have actually tested the value of their education and can provide true measures of its worth. I have spoken with many graduates of other law schools and am consistently met with the same comments: “my law school was too big,” “I didn’t know anyone,” “I didn’t learn anything I can use in practice.” I have never uttered such criticisms of my own alma mater. Classes at UNB are small, the students all know one another and are

generous with their learning experiences, the professors know all the students and are generous with their knowledge. I was taught valuable fundamental principles and practical standards at UNB that I now take with me on every one of my files. Unfortunately, any potential student looking at your ranking will never appreciate what it means to be at a truly great law school. Your ranking system does a disservice by drawing conclusions from irrelevant factors.

Lesley K. Parsons, St. Catharines, Ont.

IN PASSING

Rex Humbard, 88, evangelist. He built the Cathedral of Tomorrow in 1958, the first church in the U.S. expressly constructed for television preaching. A favourite of Elvis Presley, he delivered a sermon at the singer’s funeral. In the 1970s, Humbard claimed his Cathedral of Tomorrow program was on more TV stations in America than any other show.

Ken Danby, 67, painter. Famed for his realist works including/fr the Crease, featuring a crouching hockey goalie, his works found their way into galleries across North America. The creator of various paintings of canoeists, including Crossing the Sun and Voyageur, died while on a canoe trip with his wife in Ontario.