The Mail

The Mail

December 1 1997
The Mail

The Mail

December 1 1997

The Mail

"Should Robert Latimer go free?” (Cover, NOV. 17). Unequivocally yes. It is time we face the issue of mercy killing and recognize the horrible dilemma faced by decent members of our society. To cast Latimer as a criminal is self-defeating. Jail time for him would be a total waste of resources and spirit. It would also represent another missed opportunity to collectively examine our humanity and recognize the need to sometimes relieve unbearable human misery.

Marie-Odile Marceau, North Vancouver HI

The case for Latimer

To say Robert Latimer’s actions were justifiable sends an awful message that people with disabilities have a less meaningful life.

Beth Morgan, Cobourg, Ont. HI


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Robert Latimer should not go to jail for 10 years for the killing of his daughter Tracy. The whole motivation for his actions was to find relief for Tracy’s pain. This is not an issue of disability, it is an issue of compassion. A parent for his child.

Charles Cumming, Regina HI

I don’t think Robert Latimer should go free. No matter what, no one has the right to be the judge, jury and executioner.

Gordon Kane, Toronto HI

He should go free. The man is not a criminal and he does not deserve to go to jail.

Georgette Sheridan, Terrace Bay, Ont. HI


our article on the persecution of the Church of Scientology by the misery German government (“Church of controversy,” World, Nov. 17) raises important questions of religious freedom, but fails to mention some salient facts. You refer to the raid on the Church of Scientology of Toronto by 100 members of the Ontario Provincial Police, but you neglect to mention that Justice James Southey of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) ruled the raid constituted a breach of the church’s constitutional rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was the largest illegal and unconstitutional raid in the history of Canada, and Southey found the police had not acted in good faith in their execution of that search warrant. Moreover, your article does not fully explain the extent of the persecution directed against members of this religion in Germany today. That persecution includes state-sanctioned dismissal from employment by private companies, the ostracism of children from public schools, and beatings of Scientologists. Such measures would not be tolerated by any democratic government that respects religious freedom.

Clayton C. Ruby, Counsel to the Church of Scientology, Toronto

Congratulations on your article on the situation with the Church of Scientology in Germany. I’m a Scientologist and I attended the march for Religious Freedom in Berlin last month. Your portrayal of the different view-

A father's support

As the father of a severely disabled daughter, I find myself—inevitably —in support of Robert Latimer. There has been no evidence at his trials that he acted out of anything other than anguished concern for the pain his daughter was suffering (though lobby groups for the disabled have cravenly suggested his motive was self-interest). Still, our legal system is able to condemn him, ostensibly with the aim of warning off others. But does anyone really expect a compassionate parent to be deterred by a prison sentence in such circumstances? Only by being less than human, by watching his daughter decline in agony, could Latimer have avoided jail. There is something wrong in a state that places a citizen in such jeopardy, and something chilling in those who say they have no sympathy for his plight.

Gord Ripley, Teeswater, Ont.

points regarding this situation shows clearly that the German government’s position is not generally accepted outside Germany. The freedom to be involved with the religion of one’s choosing is a basic right for any freethinking individual and should never be denied by any government.

Guy Tourville, Montreal JH

I was the organizer of the demonstrations that took place in Montreal against the visit of German Vice-Chancellor Klaus Kinkel. Kinkel had the audacity to attempt to ridicule the religion of the Canadian Scientologists who were demonstrating outside. On his reference to Nazis, history does not tell of a small religion taking over the German government. It tells of arrogant and intolerant government officials trying to destroy minority religions. It is time to confront and resolve this recurring German problem of inciting hatred and discrimination against minorities before widespread violence happens again in Germany and Europe.

Jean Larivière, Director of Public Affairs, Church of Scientology of Montreal


Due to a technical problem, the caption did not appear under the picture on page 79 of the Nov. 24 issue, “Universities 97.” The photograph was of Gretchen Hess, discipline officer at the University of Alberta.

'A great place to live'

As a Canadian living in New York City, I’d like to thank you for your cover story “We love New York (again),” (Nov. 3). It’s a great place to live and we “frostbacks” fit right in. By the way, you missed one on your list of Canucks in Manhattan: Dañan OToole from Halifax who’s the host of the best morning radio show in NYC on Q 104.3.1 should know, I’m her sidekick.

Shawn Kelly, Brooklyn, N.Y. HI

No forests or trees

Peggy Witte, CEO of Royal Oak Mines Inc., said after surveying a property in northern British Columbia for a future gold and copper mine that when she “walked around, there was nothing there” (“Eight women at the top,” Cover, Oct. 20). Peggy, please take a decade or so to bird-watch, study ecology, or meditate. Then, I’d be interested in your definitions of sterility.

Karen Hamre, Yellowknife IS

'Human stupidity'

Allan Fotheringham wrote an excellent column about investors (“ ‘Investors’ get what they richly deserve,” Nov. 3). Those “investors” are people who want to be rich without hard work, unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of human weakness. A law professor once told me: you can cultivate the land, or mine gold or diamonds, but eventually these will cease being productive. Why not exploit human stupidity, vanity and ambition? These resources will always be abundant as long as there are humans.

Francisco Valenzuela, Winnipeg HI

New consumer group

While I appreciated Deirdre McMurdy’s column (‘Taking on the banks,” The Bottom Line, Oct. 27), there is one point that readers may misunderstand. Democracy Watch is advocating that the federal government require financial institutions to enclose a flyer in their mailings to customers. The flyer, however, would not describe or invite people to join Democracy Watch. It would instead solicit members for a new financial consumer organization that would be independent, run by its members, and act as an umbrella group for all consumer groups working on financial consumer issues.

Duff Conacher, Co-ordinator of Democracy Watch, Ottawa

Cheering for Canada

Diane Francis is right to say Canadians should stop whining about our economy (“Why manufacturers should love Canada,” Nov. 17). The KPMG report gives Canadians a right to cheer about living in a place that can balance good economics with good social policy; it should give our business elite a reason to stop slamming social programs and taxes as the enemies of capitalism. Life is indeed a balance. Canada’s got it. Yes, let’s flaunt it. But especially, let’s keep it.

Ray Martel, Gloucester, Ont. HI

'Government folly?'

So Ontario teacher union leaders are “infuriated” by the government’s intention to bar principals and vice-principals from the unions (“Harris under siege,” Cover, Nov. 10)? Their reaction is unsurprising—they are there to represent their members. Putting principals and vice-principals in the same union as the people they manage places them in a daily conflict of interest. It’s a great arrangement for teachers and no one else. What government allowed such folly?

Mark Allan, Prince George, B. C. HI

I teach in Saskatchewan and appreciate the visions of education that fostered the confrontations in the Ontario teachers’ strike. No one position is all right or all wrong, but I am certain of one crucial factor. The government will not have to deal with the consequences of its decisions. Education has a unique quality in that its permanent impact is rarely seen immediately. Time has to pass before you begin to understand the harm done to our children through deprivations imposed by cost-conscious bureaucracies. Harris’s government will be a footnote in history when the lessons of its actions come to fruition.

Stan Kopciuch, Regina HI