Your piece on Calgary was right on (“On top of the world,” Cover, Feb. 24). I’ve been telling friends and family what a fantastic city and province this is. After growing up in Toronto and starting to believe that I lived in the centre of the universe, I decided to move out here. In the past seven months, I have found an apartment downtown for $385 (Toronto equivalent: $750) and found work quite easily. I’m always asked: “Will you ever move back to Toronto?” And I reply: “When the Leafs win the Stanley Cup.”
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Zero inflation impact
When John Crowe was appointed governor of the Bank of Canada, he made it known that his paramount goal was zero inflation. At the time, many economists thought this amusing because we knew that zero inflation, as currently measured, is actually deflationary and would lead to very high unemployment and restricted economic growth. We are not so amused many years
For the record, Alice Munro’s many books contain no “passages of incest” and only one reference that can be remotely described as dealing with the subject (‘Wast problem of abuse,” The Mail, Feb. 24). The rumored act is not described and the 19th-century perpetrator is hunted down by a mob and killed. As for the other charge, Munro’s wide-ranging work deals with all sorts of subjects, at length. Her recent book, Selected Stories, runs to almost 250,000 words and only once touches on pedophilia. On that single occasion, she leaves any healthy reader feeling rightly chilled and appalled—and as it happens, the victim wrecks a house in revenge. For you to assist the letter writer in casually blackening the reputation of Alice Munro—a mother and now grandmother—by linking her with child abuse is unforgivable.
Douglas M. Gibson, Publisher, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto
later. The call for full employment policy is understandable (“The false promise of low inflation,” The Road Ahead, Feb. 24) and equally as attainable through changes in economic policy as is today’s very low inflation rate. But it is a cry for the economic policy pendulum to swing to the other extreme, which will resurrect the commercial and social ills of high inflation. Rather than polarizing our economic, social and political alternatives, we need to seek and then steadfastly support moderate policies for the long term. Our national motto should be: “Moderation in all things, excess in none.”
Alex Menzies, Ottawa
The Road Ahead writer is correct to point out the “growing chasm between rich and poor in Canada.” It has gradually penetrated our consciousness that our economic interests differ by generation and by sex. There does not seem, however, to be a similar recognition that socioeconomic class makes our interests profoundly different in matters such as inflation, employment, deficit reduction and taxation policy. Nor does there seem to be an awareness of how the current neoconservative agenda has disrupted the previous (admittedly imperfect) balance of interests, and pitted different groups against each other. We are risking a deep polarization of Canadian society that could destroy the values we say we hold dear.
Paul F. Sodtke, Toronto E
Regarding the facts
Allan Fotheringham writes in “Chrétien: he gets along by going along” (Feb. 24) that Chrétien “has been guided in his entire political career by Mitchell Sharp, who is now approximately 104, the most skilful conservative ever hidden « within the Liberal Establishment.” 2 So there I was, seven years of age at I the beginning of the 20th century. I Always precocious, I read the newsS papers. There was one writer who I appealed to me. I forget his full “■ name; everyone called him Mr. Calgary: challenge for economic leadership of Canada Froth. Not much regard for the
James E. Ballard, Calgary
I rather enjoyed the challenge that Calgarians are putting out to Torontonians for economic leadership in Canada. I do take umbrage, though, with the comment by Calgarian Debbie Collins about the city’s light-rail transit being on the honor system: “You would never in a million years get that back east.” Debbie will be interested to know that GO Transit, the government-run commuter rail system in Ontario, has been running on the honor system for years. Let’s keep the race on positive friendly terms.
Chloe Hartfield, Toronto B
facts, but a witty way of writing about superficialities. For example, about John A. Macdonald. Mr. Froth, who was from Saskatchewan, couldn’t understand how John A. had risen to be prime minister—twice. He had no principles, gave no leadership, compromised, procrastinated, deserved to be called “Old Tomorrow,” said Mr. Froth. That’s how he brought about Confederation. In opposition, a Tory; in office, a closet Grit. What fun to look back a hundred years or so and recall the profound changes that have taken place in political life in Canada and, at the same time, to observe how little has changed in the way these profound changes are interpreted by those in the press who from time to time find it profitable to entertain rather than inform.
Mitchell Sharp, Ottawa
In highlighting the propensity of the British to laugh at themselves, Allan Fotheringham recalls Beyond the Fringe, mentioning Dudley Moore and Peter Bennett (“Laughing at the twits we elect to lead us,” Feb. 17). More rightly, I think, he intended to refer to Dudley Moore, Peter Cook and Alan Bennett, not Peter Bennett.
Christopher Roden, Ashcroft, B. C. E
Hockey and abuse
Your Feb. 10 cover depicting a young hockey player—apparently hiding his face in shame—gives the impression that abuse is rampant (“Are your kids safe?”). Nothing could be further from the truth. This is just another example of the media focusing on the very few bad apples while virtually ignoring the majority of volunteers who are dedicated to developing good character and the skills of our young people.
Peter Fisher, Ottawa
Although sexual is one form of abuse, let’s not forget about the other kind that can leave as damaging a scar—verbal abuse. It’s caused by raging coaches who think athletes can’t make any mistakes. It’s caused by coaches who constantly scream at their players, all the while thinking it will improve performance. It can create irreparable harm without parents knowing what has happened to their child.
Pete Mateja, Oakville, Ont.
Not too many people I know want to “drive 100 miles to buy a car,” contrary to auto analyst Maryann Keller’s assertion about how buying a car is about to change (“Kicking the tires,” Business, Feb. 10). Keller also overstates the role of the Internet in changing the way people buy cars. Nobody using the World Wide Web wants to read car dealership ads, though people do check out product specifications on the manufacturers’ sites. Further, the Canadian part of the North American automotive market is clearly different, as Canadians have less disposable income and pay more for fuel, so I question Keller’s opinion as to whether a majority of Canadians will be able to afford expensive new gas-guzzling light trucks and sport-utility vehicles in the future.
Chris Hogue, Gaithersburg, Md. HI
As a member of the Canadian Society for Nutritional Sciences, I am concerned about the abundance of nutrition/diet books that are being written by nonprofessionals (“Dangerous dieting,” Health, Feb. 10). If I were to write a book on psychiatry or chiropractic, how credible would it be, given that I neither studied nor practised in these two areas?
20 GERARD ST. EAST TORONTO ONTARIO M5B 2P3
Edward R. Farnworth, St-Hyacinthe, Que.
As a mother of four, I read in utter disbelief your article on child poverty (“Growing up poor,” Special Report, Feb. 24). We have a secure household income, and yet after our third child, thought long and hardabout having a fourth and the financial impact it would have on us. If we living in comfortable circumstances, had to think whether or not we could afford a fourth child, how can these poor families continue to have the children that are destined to suffer so? Some of the families you profiled have a large number of children (by today’s standards) and are expecting more. Perhaps some of our government funding should be allocated to programs concerning responsible sexual practices, birth control and the option of abortion. With such an education, it is possible that those currently striving to survive will better understand the options available to them and make sounder decisions than their parents.
Belinda Beveridge, Kentville, N.S. ®
Once again. I’m dealing with feelings of sadness, sympathy and anger. Sadness and sympathy for the families described in your article, and anger at people who continue to turn away from their fellow Canadians and either deny that they live in truly appalling conditions or tell themselves it’s what poor people deserve and if they weren’t so lazy they wouldn’t be poor. A lot of my feelings come from personal experience. I have a beautiful, intelligent and extremely funny sister. She has three smart, gorgeous children. She works part time and attends university. She was on welfare until she was cut off last September because she attends university. Now, she was lucky in that she is one of the few, and 1 mean few, who managed to get some financial assistance partly because, even though she works and raises three kids, she remains at the head of her class. She works her butt off every day making sure her kids are fed, dressed,
and are happy and healthy. She wants to better herself and she gets no help from a government that doesn’t feel the need to help its citizens, citizens who will one day be active members of this society. Can no one see how shortsighted everyone’s being by turning away and ignoring so many members of our society? Why is it always about money now?
Janice Hearn, Clinton, Ont. HI
Affording health care
Your editorial on cuts to the Canadian health-care system (“When cuts go too deep,” Feb. 24) ends with the simple question “Why?” The simple answer is we can’t afford the Canada Health Act. We have been pretending we could afford it by funding it with our children’s money (i.e. deficit spending) for altogether too long. Finance Minister Paul Martin and his small-c conservative
provincial counterparts should not be faulted for trying to stop this irresponsible fiscal madness. We need a two-tier system that allows for public and private funding of healthcare services. Public resources should be directed towards providing essential services for those who cannot afford private coverage, ldi ose with the means to provide for themselves should be encouraged to do so. Only then will it be possible to have a system that works reasonably well for everyone, instead of one that increasingly doesn’t work well for anyone. Canada, burdened with the ideological legacy of Pierre Trudeau, continues to ignore reality and cling to the utopian views of these very unrealistic social engineers. The result is likely to become increasingly grim until the public and our elected leaders acknowledge this and make the necessary adjustments to the real world.
The “devastation of the lives of health professionals and their patients” sums up the record of the federal government. As a frequent visitor to hospitals and listening ear to health-care workers in my congregation, I am increasingly witnessing the anguish you describe. Slash-and-burn budget cuts on the backs of the sick and poor are unworthy of a Canada whose Prime Minister likes to boast about our country’s favored status.
Rev. Bill Jay, Ottawa
The answer to the question ‘Why?” is very simple. We Canadians expect and demand the best health care. We also shy away from paying for this excellence. Our health-care system, the best in the world, has to be paid for. There is no Santa Claus.
Dr. Wilfred S. Goodman,
I have worked in a health-care setting for 35 years and am alarmed at the deterioration of the care provided now and the lack of dignity it allows our citizens. We in Ontario had better wake up and start making noises about the neglect of this vital aspect of our social fabric before any more cuts are forced upon us. It is at the point where patients can now expect to spend at least some, if not all, of their hospital stay on a stretcher in the emergency department. We have had 20 medical beds cut from my hospital during the past year, and our province, in its wisdom, says we need to close more. This may look good on paper, but it does not show the patients we have to move out of their beds at night to send back to emergency so that another, more critically ill, patient may take their place. Thank you for your words of concern. They are greatly needed.
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