MAIL BAG

'When the Leafs are on top again, we’ll celebrate loud and proud and hope that Maclean’s joins us’

April 28 2008
MAIL BAG

'When the Leafs are on top again, we’ll celebrate loud and proud and hope that Maclean’s joins us’

April 28 2008

'When the Leafs are on top again, we’ll celebrate loud and proud and hope that Maclean’s joins us’

MAIL BAG

STINK, STANK, STUNK

STEVE MAICH’S article on the troubles of the Toronto Maple Leafs is spot on and should be read and acted upon by all Leafs fans (“Why the Leafs stink,” Business, April 14). Toronto fans do not require that their sports teams win or play hard or are well-managed. Here in Montreal, we have shown that we’ll forgive our teams if they don’t always win, but heaven help them if they don’t try or take their fans for granted. Just a few years ago, you could walk up to any Habs game and get tickets at a time when the game was all clutchand-grab and the owners, Molson Breweries, cared more about selling beer than winning hockey games. Try getting tickets today to the fan-friendly, overachieving Canadiens.

It is now too late to make up for not running Harold Ballard out of Toronto when he drove the Leafs into the ground for the sake of his ego. Leafs fans could learn from that. Fortunately, they won’t. And on behalf of the Habs, we thank them.

Ken Frankel, Montreal

AS A12-YEAR-OLD, lifelong Maple Leafs fan in a family of Senators fans, I have to listen to a lot of insults about the Leafs. Your story is wrong and Leafs fans would never think like that. Saying the Leafs are chronic losers is very demoralizing for Leafs fans. The reason the Air Canada Centre is always packed is because quality fans support the Leafs in good times and bad, no matter what. I was raised with the following hockey rule—you support your team, no matter what, and celebrate the successes and disappointments. When the Maple Leafs are on top again, we will celebrate loud and proud and hope Maclean’s will join us. Stephen Chisnall, Ottawa

FOR MANY YEARS, the prime objective of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been to maximize shareholder value, simply because they can. This is a result of the team’s never-ending supply of people willing to spend money, regardless of the quality, or lack thereof, put on the ice. Until pride of victory becomes a greater priority for the Leafs than financial return to the shareholder, Leafs nation will be forever waiting for a Stanley Cup.

Solly Patrontasch, Ottawa

YOU FORGOT TO mention the primary reason that the Toronto Maple Leafs are not

held to the same standard as other Canadian teams. Another near monopoly, the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, has done more to propagate the Maple Leafs as Canada’s socalled team and cultivate fans than any other single media entity. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been force-fed to Canadians from coast to coast for decades. Fair enough before 1981, but enough is enough. As a footnote, the best thing that could happen to the Leafs is another franchise within 25 to 100 km of Toronto. David DeClerq, Kars, Ont.

THE LEAFS DON’T stink because they are a rich monopoly that can do whatever it likes. It’s just the opposite. They’re no good because they live in a hockey hotbed that puts incredible pressure on them to perform now. The Leafs don’t take the time they need to build a contender using the draft. The result? The team never gets any better.

Rob Burr, Ottawa

A FEW YEARS AGO the Leafs had an opportunity to talk to Bob Gainey, a coach/GM with a successful track record in Minnesota and Dallas, but they passed. During the 2007 season, the Canadiens retired Gainey’s sweater. Anyone who watched that event would immediately understand why the Leafs passed on Bob. Gainey has more class than the entire Leaf organization. He would have been a bad fit for the Leafs.

Desmond White, Mississauga, Ont.

AS A SUBSCRIBER and a former NHL player, I am appalled and embarrassed that you would use such wording to describe the Leafs and/or the organization. Whether the writer is right or wrong in his assessment of the Leafs, his descriptive word “stinks” is insulting and achieves nothing. This is a tough league with strong players playing each and every night. There are no easy games.

Pete Conacher, Toronto

YOU MEAN as you sat around discussing the cover story, someone actually said, “The Leafs stink”? Why the wimp-out? As any hockey fan knows, the Leafs suck.

John Hunter, Vancouver

STOP KID PORN

I JUST FINISHED readingjulian Sher’s article about the short sentences that purveyors of child pornography get in this country and I am thoroughly disgusted (“Facing light punishment,” National, April 7). Obviously I am disgusted by their actions, but I am even more disgusted with the Canadian judicial system. Sentences of 14 days for possessing kiddie porn? Four years for sexually assaulting an infant daughter? For crying out loud. This is tantamount to the Canadian justice system holding down these children while these monsters rape them.

John Shipman, Belleville, Ont.

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY is clearly sexual addiction under any other name, and just like any addiction, there is a point of no return. The relative privacy of the Internet has created an exponential increase in sexual addiction that sooner or later cannot be satisfied by a twodimensional screen. That is why so many sex addicts eventually act out. I was not surprised at all to read in the article that 85 per cent of 100 convicted child pornographers confessed to committing a sexual offence against a child. Women who have partners involved in sexual addiction usually not only find their Internet history, but discover that they have then become involved with prostitutes.

Holly Baxter, Vernon, B.C.

THE TERM “simple possession” is disgusting. There is nothing simple about obtaining possession of child pornography. For these images to have been created, innocent children have been scarred for life. “Simple” completely

negates their suffering. The only thing that sickens me more is the lack of public outrage. People are abusing and destroying lives, and yet others seem to think that as long as it isn’t their children being harmed, it isn’t worth protesting. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, people are out on the ice floes, protesting the seal hunt. I am not arguing that

animal rights is not an important issue, but shouldn’t our children be the first fight? Sarah Pinksen, Edmonton

THE BAND THAT WON’T DIE

IN HIS REVIEW of Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones movie Shine a Light, Brian D. Johnson refers to Mick Jagger as the head, Charlie Watts as the heart, and Keith Richards as the soul of the group (“Rock ’n’ roll goodfellas,” Film, April 14). Speaking as a fan, I prefer to think of these three legends as an earthly version of the Holy Trinity. Watts is the Father, Jagger is the Son, and Richards is the Holy Spirit. In the case of Keith, the holy might not apply, but he certainly has consumed his fair share of spirits.

David Maharaj, Etobicoke, Ont.

HYPER-PARENTING

AS A STAY-AT-HOME mother of two young children, I lament the empty streets, playgrounds, alleys and neighbourhoods (“Freerange children,” Home, April 14). Where are all the children? Inside? At daycare? All I know for sure is they are not outside playing. As a result, my children have no one to play with. We are all three isolated. And I have no one to talk to either. All the moms who would have kept my mother’s generation company are likewise missing in action. Our homes are empty, too, which makes them feel unsafe. I can only conclude that as we have allowed the traditional family to come under attack,

childhood is one of the many casualties. Dayna Mazzuca, Edmonton

AS A BOOMER who grew up in the fifties, my happiest childhood memories are of carefree days spent with friends in the neighbourhood, playing games, riding bikes, or just hanging out. Some of today’s parents surely

must share these childhood memories, yet they deny them to their children. They insist on micromanaging their kids’ lives with team sports, music lessons and other adult-supervised activities. Occasionally they will schedule a “play date” for their kids—an idea that would have been laughed at when I was growing up. My friends just showed up at the door and we went out and made our own fun. It’s time we gave the joy of childhood back to our kids.

Alan Dill, Moose Jaw, Sask.

HILLARY WHACKING

LUIZA CH. SAVAGE’S article repeats the same negative coverage of Senator Hillary Clinton one finds in the U.S. media (“Is Clinton pulling a Tonya Harding?” World, April 14). It has been reported this week in an independent study of the 2008 campaign that the positive media coverage for Senator Barack Obama is at 83 per cent and for Clinton, 53 per cent. So far, your coverage is 100 per cent Obama and 0 per cent Clinton. If Savage researched this topic she would find that previous candidates have rarely, if ever, faced such pressure urging them to drop out before the rival had won the nomination. In 1988, for example, Jesse Jackson took his hopeless campaign against Michael Dukakis all the way to the convention, often to media praise. In 198O, Ted Kennedy carried his run against Jimmy Carter all the way to the convention, even though it was clear he had been routed, and

in 1976 Ronald Reagan contested the “inevitability” of Gerald Ford all the way to the convention. Few, then or since, have ever thought to criticize Reagan’s failure to step aside and let Ford assume the mantle.

‘Candidate Hillary Clinton is being held to a higher standard. But comparing her to Tonya Harding was beyond the pale.’

In one of the tightest races in modern history, Clinton is being held to a higher standard than virtually any other candidate in history. But the Tonya Harding kneecapping comparison is beyond the pale, as is the least flattering picture of Clinton I have seen in some time.

Dale Armstrong, Toronto

BATTLING HEZBOLLAH

I AM WRITING to bring to your attention a reference in John Intini’s article about Israel’s head speech writer to the UN, Torontonian Gregory Levey (“Hack to the promised land,” Profile, April 14). Intini incorrectly stated the following in his closing paragraph: “Tired of the chaos and having lost hope in the peace process, Levey left Israel with his wife, Abby, in the summer of 2006, just before Israel’s war with Lebanon.” To state that Israel went to war with Lebanon implied that a sovereign state went to war with another sovereign state, which was not the case. Israel never declared war on Lebanon, nor were there any Israeli military attacks on the Lebanese army. In fact, the 34-day war saw the Israeli Defense Forces battle Hezbollah, also known as a “state within a state,” which is a Shiite Lebanese terrorist organization based in Lebanon.

Mike Fegelman, Executive Director, Elonest Reporting Canada, Toronto

HUMAN RIGHTS CONTINUED

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION is the lifeblood of democracy. So too is freedom from the harm caused by hatred. Unrestrained hate undermines the dignity and respect to which all human beings are entitled. Restraining expression in order to avoid the harm caused by hate is a difficult issue with which democracies constantly struggle. Mark Steyn apparently believes that the Canadian Human Rights Act goes too far (“That poor woman down the street,” Steyn, April 14). But the fact is that Parliament has enacted, and the Supreme Court has confirmed, that in limited instances, it is justifiable to restrict expression to prevent exposing citizens to hatred. This is not the arbitrary view of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is the law of the land.

A principled debate on where to draw the line between freedom of expression and freedom from hate is welcome. That, after all, is what freedom of expression is about. While strong opinions are to be expected, debate should be based on facts, not speculation. Steyn makes claims about the investigative techniques of the CHRC. However, he provides no substantiation for these claims and instead cites unsubstantiated theories circulating on the Internet. The commission has denied these allegations of improper investigative techniques.

Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred.

Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ottawa

Editor’s Note: Mark Steyn based his column noton “unsubstantiated theories circulating on the Internet,” but on sworn testimony given to the tribunal of the Canadian Human Rights Commission by, among others, its own employees.

IN PASSING

Jerry Zucker, 58, businessman. The Tel Aviv-born resident of South Carolina built a global conglomerate called InterTech Group, which includes textiles, chemicals and retailing. A part owner of the South Carolina Stingrays, he was largely unknown in Canada until his purchase in 2006 of the Hudson’s Bay Co.

Biranchi Das, 37, coach. He became notorious in India for coaching a six-yearold Indian boy to run marathons. Budhia Singh began running at age three and in 2006 ran 65 km under Das’s guidance. Medical experts and childs’ rights advocates prevented Budhia from entering in a 500-km walk. Das was murdered outside his martial arts club in Orissa.