MAIL BAG

August 6 2007

MAIL BAG

August 6 2007

MAIL BAG

‘Thanks to Bettman’s wholesale slaughter, I am growing more ‘ and more fond of junior hockey’

THE WAR AT HOME

HOW REFRESHING and reassuring to finally read mainstream press extolling the virtue of remaining in Afghanistan because we are making “remarkable progress” (“Winning in Afghanistan,” National, July 23). I applaud Maclean’s for providing balanced coverage of Canada’s successful efforts to rebuild this country and eliminate the very real threat to not only Afghanistan, but also our security here at home.

Hilary Amolins, Consecon, Ont.

YOUR WRITER Sean M. Maloney’s portrayal of Canadian successes in Afghanistan was moving. This is not something I hear about often. That there are Afghan-Canadian forces working together is great news. Thank you for throwing some balance into the mix. Sarah Flowers, Sioux Lookout, Ont.

THE COVER LINE “Reason for hope” prompts me, on the basis of some acquaintance with the history of Afghanistan and the previous attempts by the British and the Russians to conquer and/or pacify that collection of warring tribes, to offer the following definition: optimistitis—a mental aberration that causes people to perceive a silver lining in a thick cloud of unmitigated disaster.

Andrzej Derkowski, Oakville, Ont.

MALONEY’S STORY should have been described as an essay from the front, not a dispatch. I started reading the piece, believing it was a balanced report from a seasoned journalist. Instead, I read in your editorial (“Marking our victories in Afghanistan,” From the Editors, July 23) that your writer is a professor from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., albeit one who has been to Afghanistan five times since 2003. in his story, Maloney gives a highly personal account. What I would like to see is a fully objective disclosure of Canada’s precise objectives for this military action and our Armed Forces success thus far in meeting those objectives.

Cynthia Dow, Cascapédia-St-Jules, Que.

IT IS HIGH TIME that the people of Afghanistan took control of their own destiny. Yes, the entire world must offer help. This is a moral obligation on the part of all responsible nations. But the help has to be in the form of health care, education, and infra-

structure to guarantee a clean water supply, police security and fundamental human rights. When the citizenry is empowered by knowledge and professional techniques, then our job will be done and we can get out.

Chris Banarasi, Winnipeg

SOLDIERING ON

I CANNOT FAULT your columnist Andrew Potter’s logic in his article about the mission in Afghanistan (“Support the troops, but not the war? Sheer hypocrisy.” Opinion, July 23). If you want to win, you must go all in. Soldiers do not have a veto right in their employ-

ment. They will do their utmost despite the vagaries of the government or the nation. The last thing they need, in light of their sacrifices, is ungratefulness.

Alain Gravel, Ottawa

IS POTTER SAYING that a citizen is not free to challenge government decisions? The “Support our Troops” slogan (borrowed from the U.S.) implies we must support the war or be complicit in the deaths of our soldiers. This is both dishonest and insulting. If Potter wants to find a better example of hypocrisy he might look south of the border where a majority of Congress and the people support their troops, but want them out of Iraq.

Bruce H. Prentice, St. Catharines, Ont.

I RESENT the theme of this article. I respect our troops and the work they are sent to do. I am concerned about their safety and wish

them a healthy return to Canada. As a taxpayer, I am willing to spend whatever it takes to make their efforts safer and successful. I do not support the war in Afghanistan. Going there was a political decision made to appease our American neighbours. It had little to do with the well-being of the people of Afghanistan. Since it reminds me of the futility of the war in Vietnam, I am deeply saddened by our Prime Minister’s determination to carry on. Am I a hypocrite? I don’t think so. Eva Nichols, Gore’s Landing, Ont.

RUMBLINGS ON FESCHUK

SCOTT FESCHUK’S commentaries on a variety of subjects never fail to bring a smile to my face, and occasionally a guffaw of laughter. However, his take on the new diet drug Alii had me rolling with laughter and brought tears to the eyes of everyone I showed it to (“How to lose weight and friends with one pill,” Comment, July 9). Earthy subjects always amuse people. This article was a gem. Richard Wilford, Nanoose Bay, B.C.

I NORMALLY ENJOY Scott Feschuk’s witty, if sometimes uncouth, columns. I was highly offended, however, to find that Feschuk had included transsexuality on a mock list of the drug Alli’s potential side effects. Transsexuality is not an unpleasant bodily affliction, it is a gender identity. Would this statement be acceptable (or printable) if it had referred, instead, to homosexuality?

Elyse Maltin, London, Ont.

HOCKEY PEEVES

THANK YOU for your article about the NHL and the attempt to bring a pro-hockey team from the United States to Canada (“Shut out of the NHL,” Newsmaker, July 23). It seems to me that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is more interested in the sales of jerseys and track suits than the rich history of the game. I’ll hold on to my love of NHL, but I’m growing more and more fond of junior hockey thanks to Bettman’s wholesale slaughter of a great sport.

Ke?iMoffatt, Calgary

THE NHL has been taken over lock, stock and barrel by Americans, and until Gary Bettman is shown the door, a Canadian will never be allowed to buy a team and bring it home. Rickie Boothman, Victoria

‘Your writer uses a stale image of Canada’s licensing bodies and perpetuates the erroneous perception that foreign-trained engineers are left driving taxicabs’

BUZZ ABOUT THE VOLT

LIKE MOST environmentally conscious Canadians, I am encouraged by any pro-green media converge. However, I was alarmed by Barbara Righton’s optimistic portrayal of General Motors’ electric concept car, the Volt (“Putting a charge into GM’s image,” Business, July 9). In the late ’90s, GM produced its first electric model vehicle, the EVl, in California. It was a result of the zero emission vehicle mandate that was passed in 1990 by the California Air Resources Board and repealed following lawsuits by carmakers. GM claimed that a market did not exist and recalled all the models. How can we trust a company that admits, “The response in people interested in the [Volt] technology has been overwhelming,” after previously denying the public the same product?

Cameron Foster, Florenceville, N.B.

CLAIMING HAWK-EYE

WRITER PETER SHAWN TAYLOR’S contention that the Hawk-eye character from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans was a British Loyalist who was stolen from us by Americans is perhaps not taking into account the true ethnic makeup of the North American frontier at that time (“Losing The Last of the Mohicans,” Books, July 23). On the European side, the frontier was not settled by genteel English folk, but rather by transplanted Scots-Irish. A bumptious and (when provoked) remarkably violent people, their placement between the costal settlements and the native Indians had at first been a

matter of policy and later a matter of regret on the part of the British colonial administration. Hawk-eye, who is perforce a portrayal of such a person (with the added Cooperian romanticism of having been adopted by Indians) can, throughout the book, be seen to be in a relationship of independent military alliance with the local British military forces and certainly not one of dogged loyalty that Canadians love to admire.

Robert Forster, Ottawa

WHO’S DRIVING TAXIS?

IN HER STORY about immigration reform, Luiza Ch. Savage uses a stale image of Canada’s licensing bodies (“Send us your skilled!” World, July 9). She perpetuates the erroneous perception that the regulators are barriers to immigrants’ full participation in the labour force and that foreign-trained engineers are left driving taxicabs. The engineering profession has licensed international engineering graduates for decades and has made their integration into the profession and the workforce a priority for at least the past five years. The issues are complex and require leadership, partnership and the will to make changes. Canada’s engineering licensing system is rigorous because it is designed to ensure public safety. At the same time, we want to ensure that everyone with the education and experience to be working as an engineer in Canada is working to their full capacity.

Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer, Engineers Canada, Ottawa

THE WEST’S SIDE

I WOULD LIKE to correct some facts in Nicholas Kohler’s story about the slowing boom in Alberta (“All quieter on the western front,” National, July 9). Köhler states, “Once the pioneer of Senate reform, Alberta was the only province that didn’t send a submission to Ottawa on the Tory’s proposed law for Senate term limits.” In fact, Alberta was one of the first provinces to respond to Ottawa’s proposals for Senate reform. In September 2006, the government of Alberta made a televised appearance before the select senate committee on Senate reform in Ottawa. We outlined Alberta’s position on Senate reform, term limits for senators, and the proposed increase in the number of Senate seats. Köhler also implies that Alberta has not supported the most recent federal budget. Premier Ed Stelmach, in widely reported comments, has acknowledged the budget for treating Canadians fairly and equally, especially in per capita funding for social transfers.

Guy Boutilier, Minister of International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations, Edmonton

CORRECTION

In its story about BCE (“How to squander a $52-billion empire: the Michael Sabia story,” Business, July 23), Maclean’s inadverteiitly referred to Mr. Sabia as chairman and CEO of the company. He is the CEO.

IN PASSING

Bluma Appel, 86, philanthropist. As a high-profile arts patron she threw support behind the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Royal Ontario Museum and others. In addition she was active in social issues, including helping to found the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.

John Ferguson, Sr., 68, hockey player. A hard-hitting right winger for Montreal who participated in five Stanley Cup victories in eight seasons during the 1960s, he scored 145 goals and spent 1,214 minutes in the penalty box. He later served as general manager of the New York Rangers and the Winnipeg Jets, and was the father of the current Maple Leafs GM.