The Mail

June 24 1996

The Mail

June 24 1996

The Mail

Working for welfare

welfare recipient Patricia Gardner is quoted as saying that the workfare

program will force her to do some jobs that “will probably be demeaning” (“The Harris revolution,” Special Report, June 10). Evidently, collecting welfare for six years while holding out for a job at the auto-parts plant is not demeaning. Why am I, as a taxpayer in this province, expected to open my wallet, support this person and then listen to her carping that the government is forcing her to live on a knife edge? Ms. Gardner, and others like her, seem to be having a hard time understanding that the gravy train they have been riding is broke. As a result of wild spending by previous governments, the Harris government is being forced to perform the fiscal equivalent of triage to ensure that all children in the province of Ontario have a hope of any future.

Don R. Dagenais, Acton, Ont.

I sympathize with Patricia Gardner, or anyone in her position, who has difficulty finding work and making ends meet. I can-

not understand, however, how anyone in need of work, even work for welfare, can say that work can be demeaning. I am a hog farmer and have been for 20 years. Every morning, I put on a pair of rubber boots, and not just because they are stylish. If I were to object to some jobs that I have to do because they are demeaning, I would be in the welfare line along with Ms. Gardner.

Fred Olthius, Neerlandia, Alta.

I read with considerable surprise about Ontario Premier Mike Harris preparing to celebrate the anniversary of his “landslide” victory. The Conservatives received 45 per cent of the popular vote, not quite a majority by anyone’s count, especially considering that in British Columbia, Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell lost that election with 42 per cent of the popular vote. Even looking at the number of seats won by the Conservatives (82 out of 130) takes you to just 63 per cent. So maybe a “landslide” depends on who actually ends up in power.

Deanna Groetzinger, Toronto

Whiners of Westray

In your article “Passing the Westray buck” (Canada, June 10), you quote Nova Scotia’s executive director of minerals and energy, Patrick Phelan: “Maybe if [the provincial and federal] governments hadn’t loaned the money, we wouldn’t have had the project and we wouldn’t have been in there on May 9.” I recognize the selfpitying, sociopathic whine of all wrongdoers: “If the gun dealer hadn’t sold me the gun, I wouldn’t have shot the old lady.” Shame on Patrick Phelan and the rest of that sorry bunch.

Alex Hawkins, Edmonton E

Deathly choices

I have just read the article “Dying by choice” (Life, May 20). In Canada today, terminally ill patients have two choices. They can refuse treatment or accept palliative care. This consists of attempting to control pain with drugs, and when this eventually fails the patient is placed in a drowsy (a comforting word) state with sedatives. They are maintained with a solution of drugs, dextrose, salt and a daily (legal) injection of phénobarbital until they eventually starve to death or become so

Olympian deals

After reading “The big-money man” (Olympics, June 10), I believe I finally understand what the Olympic Games now stand for. There was not so much as a mention of the sporting contests that will take place in Atlanta. An Olympic champion, it would appear, is no longer a person who wins a gold medal in an Olympic event, but someone who is capable of generating hundreds of billions of dollars in sponsorship deals. If anything has been lost amid this “highlevel wheeling and dealing,” it is not a boardroom bidding competition between prospective sponsors, but rather a competition originally aimed at showcasing the world’s greatest athletes.

Eric Villeneuve, Gloucester, Ont.

weak they have difficulty breathing. It is hard to understand why a compassionate, civilized society can be brainwashed into thinking this is the way terminal patients must leave the world.

Don Vogel, Pritchard, B.C.

Photo credits

Unfortunately, in your article on the Shaw Festival (“Diabolically good diversions,” Theatre, June 10), the actors on the photo from Mr Cinders were incorrectly identified in material supplied by the Shaw Festival. The actors in the photo are in fact Todd Waite and Nora McLellan.

Dawn Atamanuk, Public relations co-ordinator, Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the Lake, Ont.

'Learning the lessons'

In The Road Ahead Qune 10), professor emeritus Frank McKinnon writes about “Exorcising national fairy tales.” The idea has some merit, the point being that we must be careful to avoid imposing various interpretations on facts. I take exception, however, to the description of the expulsion of the Acadians as a fairy tale. I suppose Col. John Winslow did not on Sept. 2, 1755, issue a proclamation ordering all men above 10 years of age to gather at the church at Grand-Pré. I suppose also that he did not tell them that “I shall deliver you to His Majesty’s instructions and commands, which are, that your land and tenements and cattle and livestock of all kinds are forfeited to the Crown and that you yourselves are to removed from this


should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters 777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7 Fax: (416) 596-7730 E E-mail:

or: Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites.


province.” The quote is taken from the book by Bona Arsenault titled History of the Acadians. The road ahead will be bumpy indeed if we refuse to learn the lessons of the darker moments of Canadian history.

Brian A. Peters, Ottawa JM

Yes, there was an expulsion of the Acadians by the British in 1755. Nearly 10,000 of them over a period of years were deported from their Nova Scotia homes to places all over the world. We Acadians feel the pain of our ancestors to this day.

Bernard G. F D’Eon, Ottawa

The unread prophecy

I wonder how many of the nearly six million copies of The Celestine Prophecy sold have actually been read (“A prophet’s profits,” Books, June 10). After borrowing a copy from friends who had not read it, I was unable to get past the first chapter and know of no one who has completed the book. Some good has come of this: it has made author James Redfield happy and wealthy. Perhaps he should accept one of Hollywood’s offers before people tire of his ninth and 10th insights.

Sylvia Groop, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Junk mail by fax

So, corporate Canada has finally hit Barbara Amiel where it hurts: her fax machine (“There ought to be an anti-fax law,” Column, June 10). I was rather amused to see this free-enterprise cheerleader suddenly calling for criminal sanctions—and even consumer boycotts— against entrepreneurs, all to avenge her embattled paper and toner. Now that Amiel has finally realized that capitalists sometimes do wrong, she may wish to investigate a few other minor improprieties: environmental destruction, unsafe prod-

ucts, unjust layoffs, misleading advertising. The list goes on and on—but don’t worry, I won’t fax it to her.

Jeffrey Rosenthal, Toronto SI

I have found a quick and inexpensive way of getting these fax junk mail intruders off my phone line: I’ve photocopied their letter to me three times and interspersed it with 12 pages of my own letter that states: “I didn’t call you, don’t call me any more . . . any ethical company would not use this marketing ploy, and how do you like it when I tie up your system, your fax, and cost you time and money?” I then put

all 15 pages in my fax, dial their number and give them a taste of their own medicine. Until such time as unsolicited fax junk mail is outlawed, this reverse-harassment works wonders.

Donald Tracey,

Brampton, Ont.

Hooray for Barbara Amiel. As an independent bookkeeper, I see firsthand the number of unsolicited faxes that are thrown out. Several of my clients are struggling to keep office expenses down—why then should they pay for another firm’s advertising?

Phyllis C. Bohonis,

Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Road Ahead

Let the songs of Canada be heard

My the 11-year-old American Memorial girl and I Day watched celebrations on TV, as the U.S. armed forces, a magnificent orchestra and a glorious choir performed a rousing tribute to the United States, fairly oozing American joy and patriotism. Suddenly, I noticed we were proudly singing all the marching hymns and anthems, sometimes in harmony. It brought tears to my eyes.

Now, I’m a Toronto girl and my daughter is an Ottawa-born child. We owe absolutely no allegiance to the bottom half of North America, although, like any Canadian who attends hockey or baseball games in this country, we are naturally fluent in both Canadian and American anthems. But this show exuded so much patriotic pride that it brought back memories of a similar event that I took part in back in 1967, during the Centennial celebrations in Ottawa.

I was just an elementary schoolgirl draped in a red cape, part of the maple leaf in the Canadian flag image we creat-

ed from 1,000 redand white-clothed young singers in the Centennial Choir. The Ottawa Civic Centre was packed to the pigeon roosts as we sang song after heartswelling song: Land of Hope and Glory, This Land Is Your Land, Ts the B’y,

(There’s No Place Like) Saskatchewan, The Raftsmen, The Maple Leaf Forever. .. Wow. I still feel a thrill all over thinking of it. I’ll never forget the fierce little-kid pride I felt.

It would be a monumental, meaningful moment in my life if a similar spectacular concert were performed in 1997 on Canada Day, featuring our armed forces, Mounties, a stupendous orchestra and a throatknotting, tear-inducing 1,000-voice choir of schoolchildren, all races, one of them being my little girl, inviting Canadians to sing along once more, until our voices are raw and we want to hug everybody, and our hearts are bursting with a love of country that wants to live deep in all of us and never die.

We should start practising now.

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.

Katherine Allen,