September 30 1991


September 30 1991



I am sick and tired of the Public Service Alliance of Canada complaining about how hard-done-by its members are (“Mulroney vs. the unions,” Cover, Sept. 23). Canada is $400 billion in debt, the economy is in a shambles, and they insist on holding the populace to ransom. I work for a small business, and this year I will not get a raise. Indeed, I am grateful to have a job when so many people are out of work. It is time for PSAC’s members to look at how easy they really have life.

Jerry Lemon, Ingersoll, Ont.

The PSAC strike concerns about 155,000 public servants who were effectively denied their legal right to collective bargaining. During its term in office, the Conservative government has drastically decreased the number of public-service employees and has provided wage increases less than inflation. These measures, the government contends, are imperative to reducing the burgeoning deficit. But the reality is that the government continues to shy away from giving an honest and satisfactory explanation for mounting government expenditures. Instead, it has sought to implant in the public mind a poor image of public servants in an effort to place some of the fault for our soaring deficit.

Charles P. Mooney, Vancouver

I am fed up with both management and unionized workers of Canada Post Corp. (“Palpable hatred,” Canada, Sept. 16). They must collectively accept responsibility for the present state of affairs. Even if Quebec’s Chief Justice Alan Gold, the mediator, should be able to pull off the impossible, what happens when that agreement expires? It is time to face up to the fact that the post office is an anachronism that has outlived its usefulness. It should be allowed to strike itself into oblivion.

Bert Puls, Winnipeg


Allan Fotheringham accuses me of attacking Mila Mulroney “because she acts as something other than a housewife” (“The vicious cycle of Canadian meanness,” Column, Sept. 16). He writes that I would bar her “from having someone answer the phone and mail envelopes.” Poor Foth. He needs either a vacation or remedial reading lessons. Perhaps both. I certainly did criticize his dear friend Mila, but not for having a staff and leaving her kitchen. My “familiar rant,” as Foth calls it, is that the Mulroneys will not tell the public how much it all costs. Perhaps too many years of cocktail journalism have inured Foth to con-

cems about who is picking up the tab. Without his cocktail gossip to recycle, what would Foth write about? My God, he might be forced to act like a real journalist and cover real events.

Claire Hoy, Parliamentary Press Gallery, Ottawa


I very much enjoyed your article about Eric Lindros (“Lucky Lindros,” Cover, Sept. 9). However, as to his reasons for not going to Quebec City to play for the Nordiques, I feel that you missed the point completely. You spend so much time talking about the political climate, the salaries and the business decisions that you fail to portray the true picture. Lindros is simply a very young 18-year-old who does not want to leave his Toronto home, where he can continue to have the security and comfort of his family. He is not yet mature enough to go out on his own, so he hides behind rationalizations.

Fiona G. McLean, Edmonton

What a courageous young man is Eric Lindros. He says, “You won’t see me calling for an end to fighting.” I guess not. At six feet, five inches tall, and weighing between 224 and 229 lb., it must be pretty easy to think that “there is a place in the game for fighting.” Frankly, I am far more impressed with those hockey players who get by on courage and talent alone. They realize that adults, by definition, do not get into fights.

Kenneth L. Roy, Edmonton


Diane Francis’s Sept. 2 column, “Expensive and dangerous myths,” is a misguided view of Canada’s health-care system. She entirely neglects to address the increasing use of high-cost technology, excessive use of laboratory analyses and other expensive diagnostic and treatment techniques that are rarely evaluated for cost. Also, she ignores continued evidence that the majority of older people— between 80 per cent and 90 per cent—are relatively healthy and manage quite independently. Yes, we are demographically aging. Yes, this will result in an increasing health-care cost burden. But Francis ought to present the full explanation as a composite picture of youth and older age-groups. Demographics can be managed reasonably and without undue preoccupation with gloom and doom.

Donna Hinde and Jean Miller, Calgary

I agree with Diane Francis that the problems of our health-care system must be more widely understood and discussed. But before we take up secondhand solutions, we should examine the difficulties that these solutions themselves have engendered. If, for example, the problems of the elderly are viewed solely from a medical

perspective, the costs are daunting. But Canada, like many other countries in the world, contains isolated pockets where creative solutions are being successfully implemented. In east-end Toronto, highly individualized services, specialized housing and the like have enabled seniors to stay in the community for significantly longer than they could elsewhere.

Judith Leon, Executive director, Senior Link, Toronto


We read your July 15 cover article, “The fight for life,” with personal interest, as our family lost a child to Tay-Sachs disease three years ago. Our comments are directed at two subsequent letters condemning prenatal testing (“A medical revolution,” Aug. 19). In one, Dr. Philip Homer suggests that termination of fetuses with genetic disorders is done to avoid our own discomfort. In another, Heather

Chisolm-Pace wonders how Carol-Ann Szwarz’s “two healthy children will feel when they are old enough to comprehend that had screening shown them to have Tay-Sachs, [she] would not have permitted them to be bom.” It is obvious that these people have had no personal experience with children with TaySachs. Having watched our own child suffer, we have no doubts that it would be wrong to knowingly bring into this world a child doomed to a short life of suffering. We do not wonder, but know, that when Szwarz’s sons are old enough to comprehend what their mother went through, they will admire her courage and be thankful that she never gave up hope.

Carolyn and Harold Reiter, Marion and Jack Mole, Anne and Wolfgang Reiter, Richmond Hill, Ont.


I would like to ask Daphne Naegele, whose letter appears in your Sept. 2 issue, if she does not find it odd that while one parent can look after three or four children, those same three or four children are unable to look after one parent (“Who is responsible?”). Communicable diseases and teenage angst, for example, do not become “unendurable burdens” for parents. They go with the territory.

Audrey W. Phillips, Ottawa


I read with absolute disgust Barbara Amiel’s Aug. 26 column, “Death, politics and protected species.” Shame on her for pursuing a hungry leopard for two hours. Double shame for calling the death of a Masai boy “irony.” Had she left the leopard alone, it might not have been hungry enough to attack a human. Next time, you might try the Metro Toronto Zoo.

Susan Mitruk, Port Colborne, Ont.

Not so long ago, I was “roughing” it in the Kenyan wilds, “mucking up” the hunt of a desperately hungry pride of lions. And while “Death, politics and protected species” did nothing to assuage my guilt pangs, it succinctly described the life-and-death struggle of proud nomadic tribes in a country inundated with graft and corruption, tourists and rich expatriates, ineffectual foreign aid and healthy black markets. Prospective safari hunters, read and be educated.

Joan Commerford, Ottawa

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