The Mail

The Mail

May 6 1996
The Mail

The Mail

May 6 1996

The Mail

Monarchy debates

I am a proud 17-year-old Canadian. It would sadden me to lose the monarchy in Canada (“The last Queen?” Cover, April 22). Queen Elizabeth II gives us a certain dignity and makes us different from our southern neighbor. Even so, the media make it harder and harder to be proud of the Queen and her family. In a world of change and confusion, it’s nice to have someone that represents values, morals and stability, and promotes celebrations of affection, loyalty and pride in one’s country and history.

Nathan Tidridge-MacPherson, Waterdown, Ont.

I was interested to read Andrew Phillips’ essay, “Canada’s Queen.” The contention is made that, as a symbol of the class system in the United Kingdom, the monarchy is not offensive to Canada since “our privileged class” is “strictly homegrown.” That is exactly why the monarchy is no longer relevant to Canada. Then, the statement is made that the monarchy somehow makes us different. If by “different,” Phillips means “strange” to the extent that our


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head of state is not one of our own, he is, alas, correct. The Queen is not herself a Canadian and her likely successors are no less foreign. If the monarchy is to embody the values of our nationhood, it would be incongruous for the title to be passed to one of those currently in line for the throne. One would have hoped that Maclean’s had opened a long overdue dialogue on the relevance of the monarchy to today’s and tomorrow’s Canada.

Gary Deason, Mississauga, Ont.

You cite the date of Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales as July, 1958. That is incorrect. It took place on July 1, 1969, when he was 21 years old and not 9, as your date would imply.

Donald W. P Oberwarth, Kingston, Ont.

Changing times

I spent 30 years in the Canadian Forces, having served at a number of rank levels, first as a noncommissioned and later as a commissioned officer. I find it hard to believe that the chief of the defence staff could issue an order so bizarre—for the entire department to drop all but the most essential duties on one day to search for missing papers (“What did he know?” Cover, April 15). The idea that documents of this nature could somehow miraculously appear in a filing cabinet at CFS Alert on Ellesmere Island or on the few still operational HMCS ships is grotesque and leads one to wonder if the Keystone Kops are now in charge of Defence. I am sure there are officers who must be shaking their heads over this absurd order; unfortunately, policy and regulations prevent them from publicly airing their concern. It is, therefore, up to the retired members of the military to speak out against and condemn the attitude of looking after “me first” and “protect my own butt at any cost,” which has become an acceptable practice by many of the shouldbe-leaders turned bureaucrats-in-uniform.

Maj.J. J. Kasanda (Ret.), Egbert, Ont.

Regardless of the controversy that Gen. Jean Boyle now faces, he has been a standout soldier and commander, and was given the chief of the defence job on those mer-

Loss of imagination

I was appalled to read about the installation of video screens at Calgary public pools (“Movies make a big splash in Calgary,” Opening Notes, April 1). Have we sacrificed our imaginative faculties for spoon-fed entertainment to such an extent that we are no longer capable of enjoying leisure time without Hollywood’s presence? Please do not publish the news of the first public park to have televisions installed at its picnic tables—it would wash away my last shred of hope for Canadian society.

Chris Rainey,; Chetwynd, B.C

its. That he had a plan to become chief is consistent with his training as a soldier and a professional. That it should be held up as a fault is insulting to the man and to anyone who strives to be the best in his/her chosen field. It is all too Canadian a perspective. Apologize for your own success, and criticize another’s.

Joe Rouse, Ottawa 111

Whew! We made it. No foreign power seized the opportunity and invaded when Canada’s armed forces took the day off to rifle through drawers and cupboards looking for missing Somalia files. We can sleep easy again.

Richard Long, Burnaby, B. C. ill

A lofty perch'

Before presenting her report (“The prison system: ‘Cruel and degrading,’ ” Canada/Special Report, April 15), Justice Louise Arbour should have stepped down from her lofty perch and donned the uniform of a female correctional officer. If she had spent just one day working in the Prison for Women, subjected to the cruel and degrading treatment female guards suffer every day, every shift, at the hands of violent inmates, just perhaps her report would have been less slanted.

Ali Weisenberg, Kingston, Ont.

The people who were disciplined in prison are not Salvation Army workers as your slanted article would lead one to believe. They are hardened criminals who brought the actions of the riot squad upon themselves. Shame on you for publishing the prattle of Justice Louise Arbour and her politically correct bunch.

Paul R. Hovey, London, Ont.

THE MAIL A skewed picture

In your April 1 issue, Freda Colbourne clarifies Molson Breweries’ profit picture (‘True profit picture,” The Mail). The 250 employees weren’t laid off because Molson was losing money, as implied in an earlier issue. No, in fact, Molson made a profit of $154.9 million in its third quarter, reported on Feb. 7. What a relief to those laid off!

Fritz Schulze, Priceville, Ont.

'Irrevocable decision'

Partition has been discussed of late as a means of protecting those Canadians who wish to remain Canadians (“The Canada-Quebec partnership,” The Road Ahead, April 1). A better option might be to require a super-majority vote—say, twothirds or 60 per cent—in favor of secession before it could take place. In a democracy, simple majorities are reasonable for the election of officials who can later be voted out of office, or the passage of laws that can be repealed. But for irrevocable decisions such as the division of a nation, the vote ought to be so commanding as to transcend temporary passions.

David Weller, Orlando, Fla. HI

Hey, hey, goodbye

Correct me if I’m wrong: the rallying cry of unions is Solidarity Forever. According to your article of April 8 (“A bitter civil service strike ends in a draw,” Canada), the Ontario Public Service Employees Union won extended rights for laid-off workers to “bump” their colleagues instead. And what do we sing to the “bumpees”? I suggest: So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You.

Frederick Spooner, Nepean, Ont.

Good news?

What wonderful news. Your cover story “The sperm scare” (April 1) filled me with hope for our beleaguered planet. If, by this chemo-Malthusian process, the population should fall, it is possible that all the trees in Africa won’t be chopped up for firewood, that the rain forests won’t disappear, that the city I live in won’t continue to gobble up beautiful countryside at a frightening rate. Maybe my great-grandchildren, of whom I hope there won’t be quite so many, will even get to eat cod.

Dr. C. K. Davies, Calgary


Protesting too much?

Methinks Peter C. Newman protests excessively at the thought of the scumsucking Reformers luring innocent Conservatives into the vortex of fascism (“Hell no, Charest won’t go. No way, Presto.” The Nation’s Business, April 22). I don’t like what the Liberals, PCs and NDPers have done to my province and country. I don’t like what the Bloc Québécois and the Parti Québécois propose to do to Canada and Quebec. Why must we blindly carry on with the normal Liberal-PC-Liberal-PC rotation?

Harvey Bickell, Gabriola, B. C.

Peter C. Newman says that Preston Manning’s Reform party has “attracted some of the looniest fruitcakes ever to emerge from the political swamps.” I should like to bring to his attention that fruitcakes are much more apt to emerge from bakeries than from swamps.

John Robson, Nepean, Ont. Ill

Congratulations, Peter C. Newman. You’ve come out of the closet and admitted you are a Reformer. You are, without a doubt, the looniest fruitcake I ever read, and your opinions certainly emerge from the deepest political swamps. By your own words, that qualifies you as a Reformer par excellence. I do hope, however, that some day you will find out what Reform is about and what fine citizens Reformers are.

Peter Langer, Thorold, Ont.

Smoking Mom

In response to the letter congratulating Vancouver for banning smoking in restaurants (“Smoking ban,” April 22): I have three happy, healthy, community-minded children, all nearly 30. I chain-smoked through my pregnancies and while my children were being raised. So glad that letter-

The Road Ahead

Canada whispers to us air

The prairies have been my home for 67 years. Prairie people hear the whisper of Canada in the wind, the everchanging big sky speaks to them of weather changes that directly affect their livelihood, and the reds and golds of a prairie sunset are painted into their very souls.

Prairie children run free in green pastures and sometimes tumble on a lady slipper. Rarely will they pick this delicate, orchid-like flower because they know it would shrivel in their hands and die. Instead, they carry the image of its beauty in their heads. When they are old like me, they conjure up memories of this dainty flower and the green pastures, and it somehow gets all tied up with love of Canada.

Canada whispers to us all. You can hear “Canada, Canada” when you sit in a grove of cedars on Vancouver Island and watch the whales playing offshore. You can sense Canada in the foothills of Alberta, with the purple mountains hovering in the distance. You can smell Canada in the colored fields of Saskatchewan and Manitoba; the lonesome call of a loon on Lake Winnipeg inspires a feeling of solitude and a kind of arching Canadian melancholy. When the leaves are changing color in Ontario, the glassy lakes reflect such vivid beauty one has to pause and meditate. Canada whispers to us of a land much greater than any of us. Can one walk along the banks of the mighty St.

Laura Williamson


writer’s ilk wasn’t around when I was busy having and raising my three “contributions to society.” Put all our charges to the B.C. medical plan together for the past decade and you’ll have a problem meeting the $25 annual deductible. Science only has data

Lawrence and not feel awed by its power? One sees the sea reflected in the eyes of Maritimers. The mysterious North—can anyone watch the Northern Lights and not hear the whispers?

Last October, during a trip to Vienna, I met a young couple from Quebec. Those were pre-referendum days and the conversation at dinner turned to Canadian politics. There were other Canadians there as well and, of course, the anger and frustration came spilling out. Very soon the couple from Quebec quietly left. When we met again a few days later, I put my arms around them and expressed regret at the rather effusive rhetoric at the table. “Don’t worry,” said the young man, “I’m angry myself—I don’t blame Canadians for being mad. Tomorrow I’m going home to vote No in the referendum.” Suddenly, it was very important for me to ask if we were friends. “We will always be friends,” said he, smiling and shaking my hand. I cannot describe the rush of warmth I felt at the whisper of Canada between us— this invisible bond.

While politicians harangue about cultural differences and argue about what region of the country needs to be distinct from the other, Canada lies open and pure, offering up more earthly pleasures than can be imagined by blind people obsessed with ambition and power. Would these people pick all the lady slippers, I wonder?

The Road Ahead invites readers to advance specific solutions to Canada's political, social and economic problems. Unpublished submissions may run condensed as regular letters or appear on an electronic bulletin board.

from people who consult the medical profession—many of us fortunately haven’t needed the service. The scientific criteria really need some research.

Pat Hagen, Delta, B. C. HI