Innocent victims

May 2 1994

Innocent victims

May 2 1994

Innocent victims

It’s time for Canadians to stand up to the gun lobby. The National Firearms Association advocates arming for self-protection (“Murder next door,” Cover, April 18). If that is the answer, then the United States would be the safest country in the world.

Mary Margaret MacLennan, St. Catharines, Ont.

The weapons used in these horrendous crimes were sawed-off firearms. Do you realize that these have been prohibited weapons for decades? Do you think criminals will be persuaded that it is not worth their while to break present laws by suggesting more controls?

Dale Blue, Amisk, Alta.

Your cover package on the horrible murders of three young innocent victims is another example of how Canada apparently ends at the Ontario-Manitoba border. Reports of the memorial service of drive-by shooting victim Nicholas Battersby in Ottawa appeared nationally with sound bites and quotes from cabinet ministers, the mayor of Ottawa and others. Where were the outraged dignitaries at the funerals of numerous other victims of violent young offenders from Winnipeg to Victoria over the past few years? I do not wish to diminish the tragedy of his death—I know what it is to lose a son to such a vile act— but what I question is why is it now such a big deal to the Ottawa establishment? Is it because youth violence landed on the doorstep of Parliament? Wake up, Ottawa. You are not immune.

Chuck Cadman, Surrey, B.C.

Joan Heimbecker’s death was a terrible tragedy, but why would Maclean’s include her murder in an article on “a new kind of random violence.” Far from being either new or random, Heimbecker’s murder in her McMaster University dormitory fits an alltoo-frequent pattern that has claimed dozens of lives over the past decade. The victim is a woman, the alleged killer is her estranged boyfriend. All three murders were despicable acts of violence, but it does Canadian society no service to mask the dynamics involved in Heimbecker’s murder by equating it with a drive-by shooting.

Glenys M. Huws, Mississauga, Ont.

‘Pedagogy of joy’

It is unfortunate that on the April 4 letters page you chose to use the caption “obedience matters more than learning” under the picture from our school, which strives and is succeeding in promoting the “pedagogy of joy.” To extract a negative comment from a letter written by a university professor in Manitoba and associate it with a classroom in Nova Scotia is in our view unprofessional journalism.

Robert Angel,

Principal, St. Charles Elementary School, Amherst, N.S.

It was wonderful to see New Brunswick’s Premier Frank McKenna receive national recognition in Maclean’s. In March, on a Saturday morning, Premier McKenna

phoned me to thank me for a letter I had sent to his office. This simple act exemplifies the type of politician he is—one that ordinary people can believe in.

Deanne Stewart-Gaston, Moncton, N.B.

Paying the freight

Your special report “Shifting tracks” (April 18) was a timely and excellent revelation of just what is going on in the Canadian freight world. Dealing with branch lines, profitable short lines and regular U.S. bound traffic is one thing, but diversion of substantial amounts of east-west traffic through Chicago with the resultant elimination of Canadian rails throughout Northern Ontario will ultimately prove to be a major disaster for rail transport—and for Canada.

R. H. Tivy, Surrey, B. C.

In your articles on the railway crisis, you refer to the previous Conservative government, which said it cut Via service in 1990 because no one used the trains. If no one rides trains, why is Amtrak in the United States receiving 140 new cars to reduce overcrowding? And why is Amtrak opening up a new rail line to Vancouver? Vancouverites will soon be able to take a daily train to the States, but only one train every second day to other parts of Canada.

David W. Glastonbury, President, Transport 2000 Canada, Ottawa

Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.