MAIL BAG

‘What Chief John Thunder is doing is selling off the people’s land for the benefit of a few’

December 3 2007
MAIL BAG

‘What Chief John Thunder is doing is selling off the people’s land for the benefit of a few’

December 3 2007

‘What Chief John Thunder is doing is selling off the people’s land for the benefit of a few’

MAIL BAG

SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT

AS A RETIRED University of Toronto professor who served a tenure on the engineering faculty’s admissions committee for several years, I continue to be upset by the dominance of high marks in candidate selection procedures for university admission (“You got in with what grade?” University rankings ’07, Nov. 19). Although wearing the hallmark of slow learner throughout public and high schools, I managed to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry at U of T. I then earned a full professorship, with cross appointments in three departments, and wrote 120 peer-reviewed research papers and five books. I smile to myself when reading in your issue of schools recruiting 90-per-centers with guarantees of campus residence placements. Obviously, I would never have seen the inside of such a residence. I worry about those who have much to add to academic, professional and private life and are denied the route of formal higher education by shallow university admission policies.

Jon Van Loon, Markham, Ont.

THANKS FOR SHOWING some of the worstdressed people in Canada (“The ’80s are back”). Why not just say “jeans or no jeans”?

James Menzies, Etobicoke, Ont.

AFTER HAVING spent about a third of their lives in a school system that trained them to regurgitate and memorize, university students are finding themselves in an environment where they actually have to think and understand (“State of unreadiness”). In spite of their impressive high school GPAs and wonderful letters of recommendation, young people are entering college with no skills. This situation is truly a sad commentary about accountability: college teachers blame high school teachers, high school teachers blame elementary teachers, elementary teachers blame parents, parents blame, who, the stork? The buck has to stop someplace; somebody has to say, “This kid can’t read!” or “This kid can’t write!” or “This kid can’t count!” And then somebody actually has to do something. Learning is not a race. And teaching is not telling.

Heather Enros, Eery, Que.

I AM WRITING to express my frustration that you still don’t include any art schools. Can-

ada has four established art schools, each of which has different reputations and specialties. At my art school, there is a student body of4,000. That may not be much in the eyes of a mega-institution, but these 4,000 students are going to be Canada’s next providers of critical thinking, making visual and conceptual contributions. Choosing which art school to attend is a big deal. Can we at least have a minor bit of research on the topic? Lanie Chalmers, Toronto

YET AGAIN, Maclean’s has chosen to ignore the Université du Québec. Why? Are there no public sources of data about this university? Garry Lindberg, Ottawa

CALL ME BIASED, but Maclean’s seems to have an issue with UBC. The biggest article in your cover package even remotely concerning UBC is about our engineers’ prowess at pranks (“I prank, therefore I am”), yet the university has so much to offer—a few hundred clubs, student societies with large responsibilities and budgets, a beautiful campus on a beach, and over 40,000 dedicated students. Yes, UBC has a good residence cafeteria (“Are you being served?”), but let’s be honest: as a parent would you want your children to be basing their future on the quality of residence food? Your issue, which I dislike, needs information on ways students can be involved on campus—clubs, faculty societies, volunteer opportunities, jobs. These are the things that are important to students looking for a launch-

ing point for careers and postgraduate school. You also need information on application requirements. Faculties like mine employ a broad-based entry program that requires not only high school grades, but a comprehensive breakdown of the amount of time a student has put into extracurricular activities, and two short essays. This will only be perpetuated in other faculties and schools as entry grades get higher and higher and schools look to differentiate between students. Adrienne Clarotto, Elections Officer 20062008, Commerce Undergraduate Society, Sauder School of Business, UBC, Vancouver

THE PARENT TRAP

AS A YOUNG WOMAN who chooses not to have children, I would like to thank you for the article on tubal ligation (“Tying the knot,” Health, Nov. 12). I have always felt that I had control over my own body, but in the past year I discovered that doctors will usually not perform a tubal ligation unless the woman is over 30 or has had a few children. I was also appalled to read that doctors are telling women that they “just haven’t met the right man yet.” Romantic notions are value judgments that have no place in the health sector. Not every woman feels that her identity is centred around bearing children. For now, I will continue to pump myself full of synthesized hormones that may or may not be reliable or healthy.

Adrienne Levay, Camrose, Alta.

UNREST AT BUFFALO POINT

THE GIST OF the story about Chiefjohn Thunder at Buffalo Point First Nation is that Indians are dumb and the white man is superior and smarter (“Hail Chief Paleface,” National, Nov. 19). What Thunder is doing is selling off the people’s land for the benefit of a few. The Treaty Three agreement, which Buffalo Point is part of, sets aside 150 acres for each family of five. The land Thunder leases to the white cottage owners is not his, but the government funds him every year, and if the Indians should revolt, the government would simply send in armed forces to put them down.

Canada is allowing soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan to protect democracy for other people, but successive Liberal and Conservative governments have refused to honour the right of Buffalo Point people to have an election for their chief and council. In Can-

‘Benazir Bhutto made a deal with Pervez Musharraf to return to Pakistan, but once she was there she denounced him. If she regains power, we can expect a return to corruption.’

ada, if you are an indigenous person, the message is clear—the government does not listen to peaceful protests. Small wonder then that Ipperwash, Oka, Caledonia and Grassy Narrows are the only real options for indigenous peoples. I know one thing, if I declared myself “chief for life” in Roseau River, my people would shorten my life real quick. Chief Terrance Nelson, Ginew, Man.

WOMEN IN COMBAT

INSTEAD OF ASKING an academic like Kingsley Browne about women in combat roles, why not ask soldiers (Interview, Nov. 19)? During my time with the Royal Canadian Regiment, I saw first-hand, in Canada and overseas, that women can perform in combat roles just as well as men. Any loss of unit cohesion was more often due to resentment over rapid promotion and lower standards for female soldiers, real or perceived, than any lack in the women themselves. Browne forgets that we in Canada have had women in the infantry as combat engineers, and flying fighter jets, for years. As the number of women in combat roles increases, I look forward to Browne trying to explain away Canadian victories.

Retired Cpl. Michael W. Mahoney,

Guelph, Ont.

POWER IN PAKISTAN

BENAZIR BHUTTO, the former two-time prime minister of Pakistan, pretends to have shed her old skin of corruption and is now fighting President Pervez Musharraf to bring democracy to the country (“Law and disorder,” Good News, Nov. 19). She is reported to have stashed away hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign banks, and has avoided jail by selfexile to Dubai. Finding Musharraf in trouble, she opportunistically made a deal with him to return to Pakistan. But once there, she began denouncing him. If Bhutto regains power, we can expect the return of corruption. Her goal is power, not democracy. Lochan Bakshi, Edmonton

IN A RAE DAZE

ANYONE WHO WOULD dare to call Bob Rae a “saviour” knows nothing about his lousy legacy after his one term as Ontario’s premier (“Here comes the saviour,” National, Nov. 19). This province and the country are still struggling to survive his dumb donkey deci-

sions. His arbitrary cutting back on support for medical schools has resulted in a low supply of medical practitioners, growing numbers of people with no family doctor and premature business for undertakers. His decision to buy commercial fishing licences on the Great Lakes and hand these closely regulated businesses over to First Nations has resulted in them fishing all they want and thumbing their noses at the regulations everyone else has to abide by. If Stéphane Dion looks to Rae for help, the Liberals need to have an emergency leadership convention. Mel Lyons, Kincardine, Ont.

THE ROYAL ANNIVERSARY

WHENEVER THERE is some royal event, like the Queen’s and Prince Phillip’s wedding anniversary, you hire Rosalind Miles to dig up the dirt (“Living happily never after,” Fame, Nov. 26). If your policy is anti-monarchist, why do you keep printing articles about the royal family? Just leave them alone. Elizabeth Funnekotter, Alexandria, Ont.

MY WIFE AND I remember that November morning in 1947 when we rose before dawn to hear the overseas broadcast of the royal wedding from Westminster Abbey. We admire and love our Queen, and it is right that Maclean’s should recognize the diamond anniversary of her wedding. We are sorry it was with an article so disrespectul of her person and high office.

Rev. Dr. A. Leonard Griffith, Toronto

I stayed up late reading the latest issue because there were so many good stories. This morning I kept thinking about one annoying article written by Barbara Amiel, in which she complained about her U.K. passport and new security measures (“Why I’m practising changing the way that I walk,” Opinion, Nov. 19). Your other contributors seem to make an effort to write about the world, but Amiel’s column has a quality of distraction that taints the rest of the articles.

Philip Yates, Markham, Ont.

IN PASSING

Ying Hope, 84, politician. Born in Victoria to a tailor’s family, he studied engineering and worked on both the Avro Arrow fighter jet program and construction of the DEW Line in the 1950s. In 1969, he became the first Chinese Canadian ever elected to Toronto city council. He later campaigned for redress for the notorious Chinese head tax.

Ian Smith, 88, politician. Unilaterally declaring independence from Britain in 1965, he led an apartheid government in Rhodesia for 14 years, and fought against a guerrilla war waged by black nationalists. In 1979, talks resulted in an election that made Robert Mugabe leader of the renamed nation of Zimbabwe.