The Mail

June 17 1996

The Mail

June 17 1996

The Mail

'Canada's self-respect'

Robert Friedland may well be “Canada’s next billionaire,” as your article claimed (Cover, June 3), but the mother lode he struck at Voisey’s Bay, Labrador, is not his

but belongs to the Inuit and Innu of Labrador. No treaty has so far been made between them and the Canadian government. Is this an unimportant little detail? For the sake of the Innu and the Inuit, but even more so for the sake of Canada’s selfrespect, I hope not.

Cornelia Fuykschot, Gananoque, Ont.

An absurd notion

I am getting very tired of left-leaning people in this country blaming everything they see as a problem on “modern capitalism” and the small-c conservative movement. Charles Gordon implied in his latest column that modern capitalism has conspired to give us more television channels to disguise the fact that it is giving us fewer jobs (“The Horse Network is no longer a

joke,” June 3). How ridiculous. I realize that his comments were (maybe) tonguein-cheek, but his attitude is clear. I’d like to know how it is the free market’s fault that unemployment is high when we have such high government intervention in the econ-

omy and have had in this country for so many years. Did he stop to think for a minute that it is this socialist attitude that got us into this mess in the first place? The free market isn’t operating as efficiently as it could in the face of smaller government, and to lay the blame on modern capitalism is absurd.

Annette Wilson, Mississauga, Ont.

After reading Charles Gordon’s piece, I felt I had to commend him. It is the one opinion column I’ve read that I’ve totally agreed with. Well done, Mr. Gordon. We can only hope that the television executives eventually become as

observant as you, although, admittedly, there is little hope of that.

Gail Sterling, St. Albert, Alta. Ill

Getting physical

It is incorrect to say that “moderate activity three or more times a week carried health benefits similar to more vigorous workouts” (“How much exercise is really enough?” Life, June 3). The greatest increase in public health benefits occurs when the unfit become moderately fit. This is where the largest difference in mortality rates show up. Moving from sedentary to moderately active is like moving from a failing grade to a C. But it is not an A To get an A people have to be highly active. From a researcher’s perspective, the studies discussed are not confusing. They add evidence to the fact that sedentary living is a major health risk. What is different is that initial studies, focusing on vigorous physical activity and its relationship to cardiovascular health and disease, established that vigorous activity did make a difference. Now that it is established that being active has broader health benefits, researchers are investigating the effects of lower levels of activity on a wide variety of health outcomes. What we know now is that even a small increase in an individual’s activity level helps to increase the health benefits from this broader perspective. Canada has been a world leader for many years in

Drug tolerance

In your article on drug policies in The Netherlands, you write that youths enjoying Dutch tolerance in the streets of Amsterdam was “not exactly what Canadian soldiers had in mind when they fought to free Holland half a century ago” (“The limits of tolerance,” World, June 3). I could not disagree more strongly with this statement. Perhaps because Holland has experienced firsthand the devastating results of intolerance and persecution of minority groups, it is reluctant to participate in what is essentially a worldwide pogrom against marijuana users. Holland’s policies of tolerance and harm reduction provide an excellent example of the ideals for which Canadians went to war. Canada would do well to follow the Dutch example, and end our own continuing persecution and senseless harassment of marijuana smokers.

Dana Larsen, Editor, Cannabis Canada, Vancouver

building consensus about the health benefits of physical activity. Encouraging Canadians to be more active has been working. Four in 10 Canadians were active about every other day in 1981. By 1995, this had risen dramatically to seven in 10 Canadians.

Cora Lynn Craig, President, Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, Ottawa

'A family dispute'

I believe I am the senior executive referred to in your story as the one responsible for “immediately ushering” Fred Mitchell out of the plant when he dropped by (“High noon in Saskatoon,” Business, April 29). This is entirely untrue and I believe Mr. Mitchell would agree it is false. He spent close to two hours in our cafeteria having coffee and talking with the employees that were there. I went to see him and we talked about a business matter that had been the purpose of his visit. He was satisfied that appropriate action had been taken to resolve the matter. I then said I was somewhat uncomfortable with him there in the circumstances and he said he understood and would I call a taxi for him—which I did. I am loath to be drawn into a family dispute, but this false information reflects badly on me and the other professional managers in the company.

Ian Muir, Vice-president, finance, Intercontinental Packers Ltd.



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Turning our backs

Your article “The people smugglers” (Cover, April 29) is notable for its lack of sympathy for refugees who flee war and persecution and seek safety in Canada. You talked to U.S. and Canadian immigration enforcement people, who predictably hyped the issue. You talked to Sri Lankan government representatives. You delight in how much money may be made and

how much refugees have to pay. There are indeed about 23 million real refugees in the world. It is reasonable to say that “we”—

Canada and the United States—cannot take care of everyone. But let’s not overestimate what we are doing.

Canada, a few years ago, accepted 36,000 refugees. Now, it takes only about 25,000.

Since you mentioned us in the article, I would like to point out that Vive is neither incredibly dumb nor

complicit in “smuggling” people. We are a church-initiated and supported organization and we retain a commitment to the people involved. We struggle against the agents continually. But people fleeing for their lives can hardly wait to get a passport, especially from the government they are fleeing.

Rev. John R. Long, Director, Vive, Buffalo, N. Y.

The reaction to “The people smugglers” that may engender a negative response is the term “smugglers,” in that it would conjure up the notion of evil. I am afraid that such strong emotion may suffocate a sympathetic response to the plight of millions of bona fide refugees, and I hope Canadians will see the real tragedy and continue to be generous to those seeking refuge.

Seeing the big picture

Bravo to Steve Kirby and his letter in the April 8 issue (“Business of jobs”). I, too, live in Asia (primarily because the teaching opportunities are better than in Canada), and I have only respect and admiration for the self-reliance of the Japanese. I read Maclean’s weekly and I am constantly amazed that so many Canadians expect to be taken care of by their employers and the government, and don’t seem to see the

big picture, economically or technologically. One either meets it head on, or is left behind (read unemployed).

Janet L. Oakes, Aichi, Japan

Science and the media

Your Opening Note titled ‘What science gives, science takes away” (May 13) should, instead, have been called, “What the media gives, science takes away.” Science should not be blamed for the sensa-

tionalism of headlineseeking journalists who turn every scientific study into incontrovertible proof. For example, you mention that millions of people chant the mantra that “fat is bad.” I think you would be hard-pressed to find any reputable scientist who could claim that one should avoid all fat in one’s diet. The study you cite from the New England Journal of Medicine would hardly surprise 5 anyone who followed “ current scientific stud-

ies on dietary fat intake, but it might surprise people whose only source of scientific data was from mainstream news media.

Ian Silver, Toronto HI

Unravelling reality

Allan Fotheringham is my favorite Pollyanna, the enteric coating on the bitter pills of Diane Francis, Peter C. Newman and Barbara Amiel, all excellent pundits, analyzing the gloomy news for us. Some help, however, is needed to digest these concoctions. Dr. Foth has the uncanny ability to unravel the fuzzifications and bounce the reality against humor.

J. Claude Gagnon, Stroud, Ont.

'Best new idea'

Tim Paleczny’s contribution to The Road Ahead in the May 20 issue (“Help wanted to pay down the debt”) suggesting a way for Canadians to contribute to eliminate the national debt is, in my opinion, the best new idea in Western economic thought in years. I hope that all the leaders of Canada and, yes, even U.S. President Bill Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole take it to heart.

Albert Haldemenn, Los Angeles HI

Albert Linus, Ottawa


The right words

Regarding your editorial about the rushed and ridiculous visit to Canada by ABC’s Good Morning America (“The Jean and Lucien show,” May 27), you summed up what had been on my mind about the inanity of trying to encapsulate all of what Canada is in so short a time. Thank you for putting it into words.

Carolyn Towne, Kapuskasing, Ont.

Forgetting our own

Thank you for your recent coverage of the conflict in Lebanon. As our national magazine, it would have been nice if you mentioned we have six Canadian Forces officers, including the commander of the observer group, serving as Unarmed United Nations Observers on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Capt. David G. MacPherson, Canadian Forces, United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization, Observer Group Lebanon

Thanks to Lt.-Col. Ridge Marriott of 1st Special Forces (Airborne), United States army, who spoke up so sensibly for the Airborne Regiments (“Military turmoil,” The Mail, May 20). Having held my brother’s wings, both the American with the curled wings and the Canadian with the outspread wings, and remembering his pride in his uniform, his unit and the country that he served in the Second World War, I cannot help but feel a comradeship with those brave young men. In war, as in peace, there are those whose values are not like mine. But when we wear a uniform and disgrace it, we diminish those whom we serve and those with whom we serve. I cry for the lost honor of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. I cry for the lost lives of those who served so valiantly and I cry for my beloved country.

Betty Morgan, Hubbards, N.S.