The Mail

The Mail

'Not alone'

March 3 1997
The Mail

The Mail

'Not alone'

March 3 1997

The Mail

'Not alone'

The only encouragement in reading your article “Some ‘Recovery’!” (Cover, Feb.

17) is the reinforcement that we are not alone in searching for new holes to pierce in our already constricted belts. The stress of being a one-income family is somehow easier to bear knowing that countless other Canadians are facing equal or more daunting financial challenges. Compassion for neighbors is a healthy replacement for the insidious jealousy of “keeping up with the Joneses” when economic times are good.

Laure W. Neish, Penticton, B.C. HI

Now that we’ve “recovered” from the financial bad times, let the good times roll. Will Paul Martin and the Liberals be bold enough to introduce legislation, similar to Manitoba’s, that makes it illegal for the federal government to borrow money? What a concept, pay as you go. Let’s get rid of the $600 billion we owe without ever adding to it again. What a legacy to leave our children and grandchildren, a country that uses its financial resources for today and tomorrow, not to pay off what we did years ago.

Allan Weatherall, Nepean, Ont. HI

'Visual identification'

The Third Reich, white supremacist groups and other similarly intolerant organizations would like to have individuals of Barbara Amiel’s uncanny ability. After all, Amiel is able to spot a person of the Jewish faith, i.e., Madeleine Albright, the U.S. secretary of state, by certain physical characteris-

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tics, even though that person knows herself only as, in this case, a Christian (“Hiding the past poses a moral dilemma,” Feb. 17). Nazi Germany used similar bastardized logic when they deported and butchered anyone remotely related to Judaism. I am disgusted by Amiel’s so-called visual identification of Albright.

Thomas Weinberger, Toronto

So, according to Barbara Amiel, Madeleine Albright “holds citizenship in the greatest country in the world.” As a Canadian, I take great exception to that. The United States is indeed the most powerful and influential democracy, but until its streets are safe, mass poverty ends and millions of folks are once again free to go to their doctors without fear of financial disaster, the United States cannot lay claim to best democracy. And without best, it is not the greatest.

Rani V. Palo, Camrose, Alta. HI

Opportunism?

It is amusing to watch Sheila Copps tilling at the windmills of Canadian culture, again (“Lowering the gate,” Canada, Feb. 10). There must be an election in the wind. The World Trade Organization ruled against Canada on the matter of split-run magazines because Canada persists in throwing stones at the competition, rather than fostering its own culture. The Liberal attitude is to throw money at everything, hoping that some of it sticks. As rock star Bryan Adams once put it: if you are good, the world is your oyster; if not, there’s always the Canada Council.

George Bailey, Bolton, Ont.,

Not dead yet

Most of the Montrealers I know don’t begrudge Toronto’s success—they’re far too busy enjoying the intense, sometimes fractious, often illuminating conversations" that make Montreal such a great place to live, study and work. Your review of City Unique: Montreal Days and Nights in the 1940s and ’50s, William Weintraub’s book about Montreal in the days when it “was the capital of cool” (“Paris of the Americas,”

Culture bias

Why is it that when discussing music, film, TV, etc., produced in Canada they are always referred to as coming from the Canadian cultural sector, while the indistinguishable products of the United States are from “the powerful American entertainment industry” (“Lowering the gate,” Canada, Feb. 10)? It sounds like an unfair bias to me, and your self-interest is quite evident. True, magazines can relate to culture more distinctly than the international horror of pop music, but they rarely even try to I ive up to that potential. The comments by Charlene Barshefsky, Washington’s acting trade representative, that “we have no objection to the promotion by Canada, or other countries, of national identity through cultural development, but we do object to the use of culture as an excuse to take commercial advantage of the United States, or to evict American companies from the Canadian market," hit the nail squarely on the head. Canada’s heritage minister, Sheila Copps, meanwhile, is misleading us with her talk that “culture is not pork bellies.” The pork barrel is more to the point.

J. E. Loomes, Edmonton

Books, Feb. 17), strays into the kind of nostalgia that ignores the pleasures of maturity. In his mournful allusions to Montreal’s past, you overlook the grace and passion that continue to shape much of the city’s daily life despite, or perhaps because of, attempts to marginalize it. Good music, art, theatre, food and lively argument still thrive amid the ambiguity and the contradictions, leaving no room for complacency. The rumors of Montreal’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

Kate Williams, Montreal

Righting a wrong

Your article “Life sentence in Florida” (World Notes, Dec. 9) recently came to my attention. It concerns the story of two adulterers and a murder victim. David Turenne is the murder victim. The two adulterers are David’s wife, Monique, and her lover, Ralph Crompton. Crompton did not murder his wife’s lover, as your story states. Crompton murdered his lover Monique’s husband, David. As David’s sister, I can tell you that his death has been devastating to his family. To have him painted as an adulterer is quite upsetting to his mother and his sisters.

Patrice M. Oscarson, Lac du Bonnet, Man.

THE MAIL 'Exquisite prose'

Brian I). Johnson aptly describes actordirector Kenneth Branagh as being “hugely at home” in Shakespeare’s language, but Branagh’s ability with and passion for language is certainly matched by Johnson himself. I cannot remember the last time I read anything that I enjoyed as much as I did this group of film commentaries (“Seductively serious,” Dec. 30,1996/Jan. 6,1997). Johnson demonstrates a love and respect for the English language that is sadly lacking in much of what is written today. In our world where correct spelling, precise grammar and using language with flair are lost arts, it is gratifying to see a writer who still understands that language should be creative and passionate.

Deb Swanson, Edmonton

Double standard?

You describe how former prime minister Brian Mulroney, upon learning of Montreal columnist Nick Auf der Maur’s diagnosis of throat cancer, “began working the phones arranging medical help and advice,” and even “arranged to get Auf der Maur in to see noted Montreal cancer specialist Dr. Phil Gold” (“Bighearted Brian,” Opening Notes, Feb. 10). Would someone care to explain this single-tiered health-care system to me again? I think I’m missing something.

Dr. C. R. Hayes, Sidney, B. C. HI

Only a beginning

Your article “Flocking together” (World, Feb. 10) quotes Medipac International Inc. group insurance rates at $850 for a sixmonth period for “a typical couple aged 65 to 70.” This is misleading. To qualify for such a rate, this couple must never have had any heart problems, diabetes or cancer, to mention but a few illnesses. How many couples of 65, much less 70, are so lucky?

Valerie Chenier, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Forgetful giant

As a result of Canada’s misunderstood foreign policy with Cuba (“A new ‘opening,’ ” World, Feb. 3), we are often reminded that the United States has gone to war three times this century to save us from tyranny, as if we had been neutral in these conflicts. Washington would do well to inform the American public of the assistance Britain and Canada provided the United States in radar before, and after, Dec. 7,1941. Fifteen Royal Canadi-

an Air Force radar specialists—I was one— installed four radar stations on the Panama Canal in an effort to prevent a repeat of Pearl Harbor. Canadians as well would welcome hearing something positive about our relations with the States for a change.

Albert Dubord, Ottawa

Unknown hero

You might point out to Allan Fotheringham that it was not Florence Nightingale who founded the Red Cross (“The world’s best country hides its light,” Feb. 10) but the Swiss banker Jean Henri Dunant in 1864 when moved by the sufferings of the wounded at the battle of Solferino of June, 1859.

Hugh H. Macartney, Victoria

Gold conquers all

The real “Rumble in the jungle” (Business, Feb. 3) has always only been the genocide of the East Timorese by the Indonesian government. To juicily report instead on the greed-driven manoeuvrings through which rich men stand to get richer is unconscionable. The song being sung from Calgary to Jakarta should say that there is not only gold but skulls in them thar hills.

Clint Roenisch, Kelowna, B.C.

“On lying and cheating” (From the Editor, Feb. 3) gives a good overview of the deplorable state of governments today. Then you read about former prime minister Brian Mulroney and U.S. president George Bush on the board of Bar rick Gold Corp., which is negotiating to mine gold in Indonesia, and Bush’s writing “to an old friend, Indonesian President Suharto.” You can stop wondering why civilization is in such a deplorable state when our leaders are so comfortable doing business with the likes of Suharto.

Wim Luinenburg, Eagle Bay, B. C.