MAIL BAG

We don’t choose to be in nursing homes with our children paying forus, overstaying our welcome’

June 30 2008
MAIL BAG

We don’t choose to be in nursing homes with our children paying forus, overstaying our welcome’

June 30 2008

We don’t choose to be in nursing homes with our children paying forus, overstaying our welcome’

MAIL BAG

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

ABOUT YOUR STORY on the Couillard-Bernier affair (“Inside the Bernier affair,” National, June 16): in 1964, when I joined the Canadian army, I had to fill out an extensive questionnaire about my immediate family members and where I had lived and worked in the 20 years prior to my enlistment. All this, even though I was merely enlisting as a private with no security clearance above confidential. With this clearance, I could not even enter highsecurity areas without an escort, let alone look at classified documents, or, heaven forbid, take them home! Furthermore, when I did get a higher security clearance, it was made clear to me that any misuse or abuse of my clearance could result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Imagine my surprise and consternation on finding out that a cabinet minister can remove highly classified documents that not only pertain to the security of Canada, but to the security of NATO members as well, and leave them at his girlfriend’s house, or at home where members of his family can peruse them at will. None of these people are vetted, because it would be an invasion of their privacy. What about my privacy, and the privacy of my family? It is time the standards that are applied to the rank and file of the armed forces and the civil service were applied to the top ranks as well. Sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander!

Frank Strylecki, Ottawa

ONE CONSIDERATION that people have not brought forward is: Couillard was a biker girlfriend when the Liberals were in power for many years. Maxime Bernier, and obviously the Conservative government, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs, is sorely embarrassed over the NATO documents left in Couillard’s residence “for about a month.” Question: were Maxime Bernier, Foreign Affairs in particular, the Conservative government, and Stephen Harper set up by the Hells Angels, and/or the Liberals, the Bloc, the NDP directly and/or indirectly? Not asking that question is disingenuous. So, what other skeletons in the closet may be left over from the Liberals in particular? This may be a greater and further-reaching security risk and security breach than the public knows.

Susan Pierce-Jensen, Surrey, B.C.

I MUST PROTEST that your latest cover is exploiting men who are hormonally conditioned to look at half-clad females. I also protest that poor placement of the mailing label covered up one of Ms. Couillard’s best features.

John Cocker, Stouffville, Ont.

TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE

I ENJOY Andrew Coyne’s acerbic wit and erudition, but this time, when he writes on the deranged nature of Mark Steyn’s human rights tribunal in British Columbia, he exceeds my expectations (“Maybe it would be best

ifwe lost this battle,” Opinion, June 16). How brilliant: lose the case and take ’em to the wall! Perhaps you can force our “politically correct” politicians to take this travesty of justice seriously. I hope Maclean’s has the finances and fortitude to make this a home run. While I would expect all media to support Maclean’s in this struggle, I notice that the National Post is the only paper that has had enough guts to speak up in your defence. This is not an issue of discrimination of ethnic minorities or their religious practices. It’s about freedom of speech.

There is a famous poem, attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller, that says it all: They came first for the Communists, and 1 didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist/Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew/Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist / Then they came for

the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant/Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. Sigmund Roseth, Mississauga, Ont.

UNGRATEFUL KIDS

IT IS HEART-WRENCHING to think that my three children are waiting for me to disappear in order to reach their full potential (“Finally, it is all about you,” Society, June 16). And I thought they were just waiting to inherit our three Joe Norris paintings and other pieces of Nova Scotian art. I had always thought that I would reach my full potential once the children had gone and I had less laundry, cooking and mothering to do. But in some ways they clung on, not physically always, but a phone call away. So the responsibility went on: caring and advising, through university, relationships, breakups, marriages and finally into a new generation.

But there was always the awareness that as our children and their children grew older, there would be less need for us. We gradually had to learn to let go. But are we to welcome this “letting go”? As the little bits of our lives drift away, what useful things are there to replace them? We do not choose to be in nursing homes with our children paying for us, overstaying our welcome.

Good luck to the author of Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult’s Life for the Better, may your children learn from you only the generosity you show, not the resentfulness you feel.

Joan Morris, Barrie, Ont.

I WAS RATHER astonished at the space you devoted to this recent self-help book. As an 84-year-old parent, I am unlikely to read or purchase it. Would it be legitimate to infer that somewhere within its covers there is a list, an appendix, a subsection describing 10 easy ways to send elderly parents to kingdom come to enhance one’s self-esteem, to expand one’s ego and add financial benefits? My four now middle-aged children seem content with their lot and not in need of my demise to feel self-sufficient.

Alfred Ronald, Orangeville, Ont.

ENVIRONMENTAL MADNESS

STEVE MAICH says that developing the tar sands is a trade-off and that on balance Canada comes out ahead (“It’s too bad that we

need the oil sands,” Business, June 16). This kind of jobs-versus-environment analysis is worn out. We won’t have to accept the worst damage from the tar sands once Ottawa steps in to force the industry to implement technologies to clean up. Companies will not do this voluntarily and the government of Alberta meanwhile calls the staggering environmental impacts a “myth.” Environment is shared jurisdiction and the federal government has a responsibility to end the current madness. With oil at US$135 a barrel and rising, it’s not like the industry can’t afford to do better. Matt Price, Project Manager, Environmental Defence, Victoria

OVERRULED

I HAVE JUST finished reading the article on the demise of paralegals (“Thrown out of court,” Justice, June 16). Is there any wonder

that people in this world have a distrust of lawyers? Why, in the name of all that is just, does the Law Society of Upper Canada deem it necessary to close down paralegals? Are the lawyers not making enough money already? No wonder Shakespeare’s Dick from Henry VI, Part 2, has the line, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It would seem to me that paralegals are providing a necessary service for those who cannot afford a lawyer, but, no, the lawyers want their “pound of flesh,” to paraphrase Will once again. David Price, Arborg, Man.

WE WISH TO clarify the B.C. Paralegal Association’s position with respect to paralegals in our province. Your article stated: “Tired of waiting, the B.C. Paralegal Association is looking at licensing on its own.” That is not exactly the case. Firstly, paralegals in B.C. practise under very different circumstances than independent paralegals in Ontario. B.C. paralegals work under the supervision of lawyers. However, the problem, as BCPA and its members view it, is that currently in British Columbia anyone can call themselves a paralegal. There is no certification or regulatory mechanism with respect to the profession, nor any assurances as to that person’s level of training and education. And despite the fact that various subcommittees of the law society have on a number of occasions recommended certification of paralegals, the “benchers” have not been able to find an adequate means to implement such a plan. Therefore, in the absence of any implementation by our law society, BCPA is taking steps to look toward implementing a certification program. BCPA believes it is in the interest of the public, our profession and the cost-effective delivery of legal services in B.C. to do so.

John Kim, President, B.C. Paralegal Association, Vancouver

COPS ON STEROIDS

YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT the use of steroids among Canadian police officers (“When the police are on the juice,” Crime, June 16) discusses several cases, including recent allegations made by a Peel Regional Police officer during his Police Services Act hearing on an unrelated matter. Although these allegations are serious, employer reaction to such behaviour is equally important, and speaks to a commitment to maintain public confidence.

Upon hearing of the steroid allegations, I immediately referred the matter to our professional standards bureau for investigation. Since this occurred during an ongoing police act hearing against the officer, we could not comment on the matter in order to maintain the integrity of both the investigation and the hearing. The officer has since been

‘Zimbabweans are enduring hardships beyond the imagination of Canadian citizens’

found guilty of the Police Act offence, and our internal investigation into allegations of steroid use is proceeding. As chief, my position on this issue is clear. Our officers are encouraged to maintain natural physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle; however, there is no room for steroid use in our organization. As an employer, our responsibility to employee health and welfare is paramount.

To that end, our “organizational wellness” unit will ensure that our employees continue to receive the support and resources they need. The allegation, albeit serious, should not overshadow the hard work of the men and women of Peel Regional Police, who are trained to always interact with citizens with professionalism and integrity.

Chief H. Mike Metcalf, Peel Regional Police Service, Brampton, Ont.

A HORRIFIC EXISTENCE

IT’S QUITE TRAGIC that the Jewish community in Zimbabwe “has all but disappeared” (“Goodbye, Zimbabwe,” World, June 16). Not surprising, though, when one considers that the Fascist in command of the country has openly professed admiration for some of the policies of Adolf Hitler.

David Maharaj, Etobicoke, Ont.

ZIMBABWEANS are currently enduring hardships beyond the imagination, let alone the experience, of Canadian citizens. With inflation running at over two million per cent, prices doubling twice every week, the fact that people cannot afford to buy food and other basic necessities is irrelevant since there

is very little available to buy. Infrastructure and health care have more or less disintegrated beyond repair. What Canadians consider to be basic human rights such as running water and personal safety are non-existent. Millions of people are living this miserable life today as you read this magazine, and yet in his piece about the chaos engulfing Zimbabwean society, Michael Ross has chosen

to highlight the “plight” of the Jewish community, a very small sector of the historical population who are the fortunate ones—they had the resources to leave the chaos for First World countries. Leaving one’s home and beginning over is very hard, but not half as bad as living under the present dysfunctional conditions of the Zimbabwe dictatorship. Margaret Strobel, Cambridge, Ont.

WHAT’S YOUR BEEF?

I JUST READ the article about the less-thanfriendly service at the restaurant Joe Beef (“You know what? Take it or leave it,” Taste, June 16). You hit the nail on the head! Such disregard for a customer is unbelievable. We had the same experience a few Saturday nights ago and will certainly not return to a restaurant that laughs at its customers and has no respect for either them or its services. Hopefully the gentleman in the $80,000 SUV didn’t read your article. If he did and keeps going back, then I would have to agree that he is indeed a moron.

Susan Kolodny, Montreal

THE ORIGINAL Joe Beef Tavern was on Common Street across from the Port of Montreal

sheds. My grandmother, who was born in 1867, told me many stories of happenings in her era. When Joe Beef’s wife passed away, he hired a brass band to lead the funeral procession to Ste. Anne’s Church. My grandmother, who was teaching at Ste. Anne’s School, told me the nuns allowed the girls to go out to watch the parade. According to grandma, who passed away in 1961, the funeral was one of a kind.

Gerri Leduc, Airdrie, Alta.

THE SECRET TO SURVIVING

IN RESPONSE to Brian Bethune’s piece about survival (“The secret of the last man standing,” Books, June 16), six years ago I was separated from my party on a remote, densely forested ridge in British Columbia. For three days I struggled in the heavy rain with slippery underbrush littered with huge trunks of dead trees. I slept for two nights on wet ground under dripping trees. I had no sleeping bag, nothing to eat, and drank from the streams, which made me sick later. The area is known for grizzlies and mountain lions. Yet I came out unscathed after 64 hours, though drenched to the skin, starving and exhausted. The reason: I was certain that I would make my way out and therefore did not panic. In most cases, it is feeling helpless that kills you, not the hopelessness of the situation.

Sudhir Jain, Calgary

IN PASSING

James Reaney, 81, playwright. Best known for his Donnellys trilogy, concerning the massacre of a southern Ontario family in the 19th century, Reaney became English Canada’s pre-eminent playwright of the 1970s. Colours in the Dark was produced at Stratford in 1967. He was also accomplished at poetry and music.

Cyd Charisse, 86, dancer. Although only five foot six, she seemed to tower on long legs that graced MGM musicals such as Silk Stockings, Brigadoon, The Band Wagon and Singin’ in the Rain. A classically trained dancer, she began appearing in films from the mid-’40s and made many nightclub appearances with singerhusband Tony Martin.