If there is one lesson to be learned from the Meech Lake fiasco, it is the significance of process (“Uncertain futures,” Cover, July 2). Just as the essence of justice in a courtroom is its trial process, so is the essence of nationhood to be found in the process by which its constitution evolves. The more a nation aspires to democratic idealism and social justice, the more complex is the task of constitution-building. We must not forget to rejoice in the democratic process, no matter how fraught with risk and peril it may be.
Pat McKitrick, Winnipeg
I commend Maclean ’s for its excellent reporting of the recent First Ministers’ conference. Brian Mulroney’s desperate, ill-conceived, last-minute gambles ignored the needs of both Manitoba and Newfoundland. Our native people used the rules of the Manitoba legislature legally and effectively to draw the attention of the nation to their nonparticipation in national decision-making. The insensitivity of past governments, both Liberal and Conservative, to their needs and aspirations evoked considerable sympathy for them and for Elijah Harper’s stand against the Meech Lake accord.
Ross Babion, Thunder Bay, Ont.
A once open and tolerant people have inexorably become obsessed by regional chauvinism, bordering on xenophobia, on both sides of the linguistic border. Even a somewhat faulty Constitution with the Meech accord would have been far better than what we have now. Those who now would lay the blame for the accord’s failure at the feet of Brian Mulroney remind me of the members of an incompetent baseball team blaming their loss on the umpire.
Michael Swangard, Vancouver
We Newfies are finally getting the picture. We are considered full-fledged citizens of Canada. However, when it comes to decisions, we must vote according to the dictates of Quebec, or else retribution will be swift, terrible and longlasting. Right? Is that David Peterson nodding?
Harold Dawe, Coley’s Point, Nfld.
Many things will be written about the failure of Meech Lake. There was political incompetence at every level, but I am most appalled at the incredible stupidity of Clyde Wells. Why would a premier gamble on the future of Canada in return for absolutely nothing?
Gerald Prud’homme, Montreal
On June 23, we witnessed two big Canadian news stories: the Liberal leadership convention (“Today’s man,” Canada, July 2) and the Meech deadline. The accord was approved by eight provinces representing almost 94 per cent of the Canadian population. But it lost, and English Canada is accused of rejecting Quebec. At the Liberal convention, Jean Chrétien re-
ceived 57 per cent of the votes, and 43 per cent voted against him. So he won. Ninety-four per cent in favor is a rejection. Fifty-seven per cent in favor is a victory. Does this make sense to anyone?
Ernie Long, Burlington, Ont.
EUTHANASIA AND SUICIDE
In what purports to be a story about my involvement in euthanasia, you twist and distort almost every single thing therein stated (“AIDS ‘mercy killings,’ ” Canada, July 16). I have never supported suicide. In my work with hundreds of people with AIDS, I consistently counsel people newly diagnosed or in midterm diagnosis to avoid suicide. I have not been speaking out or advocating suicide. Yet your article takes snippets of quotes from me, distorts the context in which they were made and compares my statements about euthanasia to those of others talking about suicide. You have done a grave disservice to this issue by clouding up what I was very clearly speaking about.
David Lewis, Vancouver
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