MAIL BAG

'What’s happened to the Liberals? Canadians have outgrown them. Canada has changed.'

October 20 2008
MAIL BAG

'What’s happened to the Liberals? Canadians have outgrown them. Canada has changed.'

October 20 2008

'What’s happened to the Liberals? Canadians have outgrown them. Canada has changed.'

MAIL BAG

LIKE YOUR WRITER Jason Kirby in his article about the storm brewing in Canada’s real estate market (“It could happen here too,” Business, Oct. 6), many economists look across the border, see a hurricane, and declare, “It could happen here too!” Well no, it won’t happen here-a windstorm maybe, but no hurricane. Why? For one thing, there’s no big price balloon to prick. Also, Canadians are more conservative in their willingness to take on debt, which reduces the probability of homebuyers who are overloaded with debt dumping their houses on the market. We do not have low, “teaser” rates on mortgages that reset at a higher level after one or two years, causing missed mortgage payments and ultimately foreclosures. What’s more, the Canadian banks are more disciplined in extending credit. This is probably because our banks keep a lot of mortgage debt on their books and hence have to live with any problems they create. Our housing markets will always rise and fall, but more due to macro fundamentals in our economy, not because of almost criminally lax behaviours such as those seen in the U.S.

HOME SWEET HOME

Brian K. Johnson, President,

Monarch Corporation, Toronto

YOUR ARTICLE about Canada’s real estate market is another example of fear mongering and media sensationalism that offers little relevance to current real estate market conditions here in Canada. The fact is, tighter lending practices exist for Canadians than in the U.S., and that has resulted in a much more stable banking and financial environment in Canada overall. A high inventory of homes available in recent years, our strong economic performance, and attractive yet prudently managed lending practices have helped to fuel housing sales activity in recent years. Unless our economy shrinks drastically and/or interest rates spike significantly, there is no reason to think that real estate market conditions in general will not remain stable for the foreseeable future.

Rick Crouch, President, Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board, Collingwood, Ont.

WHY MEN CHEAT

I DIDN’T KNOW whether to laugh or rip my hair out when I read Julia McKinnell’s article about straying husbands (“How to prevent

him from cheating,” Help, Sept. 29). Not only is she giving husbands an excuse to cheat, but she is also telling them who to blame. God forbid a man doesn’t hear how wonderful he is when he manages to pick up his own underwear. Usually when a man complains that his wife doesn’t appreciate him, it’s because she is too busy trying to juggle being a wife, mother, full-time career women, maid, and now his personal cheerleader. The real reason a husband cheats is because he is so self-absorbed that he isn’t able to think about anyone but himself. He isn’t able to look around and appreciate the things he already has in his

life. This article doesn’t tell us how to stop a man from cheating, it tells us, once again, that women are to blame.

Jane McGrath, Fredericton

“UNDERAPPRECIATED” husbands who don’t properly communicate their needs before feeding them with something so toxic as cheating are perhaps the ones who need the advice, not we women.

Jennifer Menheere, Brights Grove, Ont.

I FOUND your article on men cheating very interesting and, I must say, quite persuasive. I have something to add based on my experience as a clinical psychologist who works with couples and infidelity. When the men mentioned in your article were asked why they had begun an affair, they answered, “Because I felt unappreciated by my wife.” There’s no surprise in this. The bigger issue

is why these men have such an overpowering need to be appreciated and cared about— so big, in fact, that it led to them contravening their marriage vows to get that need met. There are huge numbers of men in Canada and the U.S. who are “father-wounded,” which means that they have not received unconditional validation from their fathers and go about trying to compensate for this by seeking the love and appreciation of a good woman, or by competing with others for power and achievement. For the fatherwounded man, a time-limited, Band-Aid strategy woefully lacks any healing capacity. What they need is an awareness of the wound, its origins and an understanding of how to heal it in a meaningful way.

John P. Theis, Guelph, Ont.

TOO MATURE TO BE GRIT

YOU SAY THAT the Liberals are being outclassed by the Tories (“What happened to the Liberals?” National, Oct. 5). What has happened to the Liberals is that Canada has changed since the dynasty days of the Liberal party. Some Liberal policies have been extreme and have taken Canada too far to the left. As the old axiom goes, “If you’re not a socialist in your 20s then you don’t have a heart, but if you’re still a socialist in your 40s, you don’t have a brain.” Canadians have matured and become wary of the Liberals, and have shifted in middle age to a more conservative, middle-of-the-road approach. It’s not really what has happened to the Liberals; it’s what has happened to Canadians. They’ve grown a little. The irony is that it has been Liberal policies that have created the Canada in which we find ourselves today. Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

THE GIFT OF IMMIGRANTS

YOUR EDITORIAL “Open to the world” (From the Editors, Oct. 6) is overly optimistic about the benefits of immigration. The data showing the high proportion of immigrants’ offspring who finish university do not indicate the period during which their parents arrived in Canada. Don Drummond, chief economist of the Toronto Dominion Bank, has pointed out that since the early 1980s, immigrants have done less well than either those who came earlier or their Canadian-born peers. As new arrivals fall further behind, Drummond foresees the possibility of an

intergenerational cycle of poverty developing. It should be noted also that even the highly successful immigrants and their children are the principal beneficiaries of their success and, while they increase the size of the economy, the income of the rest of the population remains unchanged. Moreover, because of the large numbers of less successful newcomers, our analyses indicate that in recent decades, immigration overall has become very costly to Canadians.

Martin Collacott and Herbert Grubel, Senior Fellows, The Fraser Institute, Vancouver

IN YOUR EDITORIAL, you say immigrants are a gift the rest of the world gives us, and that we should have more of it. The gift immigrants give us is to adopt our consumptive

habits and quadruple their greenhouse gas emissions upon arriving in our country, thereby hastening the timetable of our collective demise. It’s time that politicians, developers and cheap labour employers woke up and realized that Canada is a lifeboat and not an aircraft carrier. Despite appearances, we have a limited carrying capacity and we should inventory it before making uneducated guesses about our needs.

Tim Murray, Quathiaski Cove, B.C.

I BELIEVE your editorial missed the point. You say that “earlier this week Statistics Canada reported on the university graduation rates of second-generation immigrants. The results are stunning. Among children of immigrants from China, 70 per cent hold a university degree.” You go on to say that this compares to a mere 28 per cent for children of Canadian-born parents. This says more about the lack of education or culture in our own country, and also shows how poorly we deal with our native communities. The solution is not to replace our Canadian-born people with immigrants, but to improve the lives and communities of the people who are already here.

Hans Bosman, Brockville, Ont.

HBO. YIPPEE!

I WAS SO HAPPY to read that HBO is coming to Canada on Oct. 30 (From the Editors, Oct. 6). Yippee! I’ve already contacted my cable provider in anticipation of the big event. Thanks Maclean’sl Wilma Ferguson, Stratford, Ont.

YOU TAKE SOME CREDIT for and express much happiness over the arrival of HBO Canada. In your campaign to have the channel brought to Canada, you gave examples of the fine television viewing that will soon be ours, and mention two recent award-winning films, one about former U.S. president John Adams and the other about the 2000 U.S. presidential election. We all know that

U.S. cultural imperialism is alive and well, so why do you champion it further?

David O’Leary, Margaretsville, N.S.

SAUL ON SOUL

JOHN RALSTON SAUL talked about his new book, A Fair Country, in his interview with Maclean’s writer Kate Fillion (Interview, Oct. 6). Saul’s look into the Canadian soul misses the mark in his assessment of our health care system. Yes, we control costs by rationing services, but the alternative is skyrocketing tax levels—unless we restructure the delivery model. More doctors, nurses, beds and operating rooms will do nothing to improve the efficiency of a fundamentally flawed system. Any M.B.A. knows you can’t decentralize a public service. If we delivered education the way we deliver health care we couldn’t afford to educate our kids. So why are we surprised that we can’t afford timely health care? If the government had the courage to restructure the delivery model we could do quite well with the doctors we have, serve more patients faster and save enormous amounts of money.

O. Robert Lawrence, North Bay, Ont.

BLEATING AND TAXES

IT WAS AMUSING to read the item on the goats that were imprisoned by police in the Congo after they came upon a man who was selling them illegally (“Congo: Justice for imprisoned goats,” World, Sept. 29). It was refreshing to note that the Congo did not start a national registry of goats or even ban ownership of certain species of goats, like we do in Canada in similar situations. If it had happened here in Quebec, our leaders would probably “fix” the problem by taxing the goats for all the trouble they were causing. Michael Blair, Drummondville, Que.