The Mail

November 2 1998

The Mail

November 2 1998

The Mail


APEC and democracy

If the cover story “For the love of power” (Oct. 19) is true, then you have answered some questions. First, the current political system in Canada is not representative. Second, the Liberals have circumvented/corrupted democracy in Parliament. Third, the RCMP has at least some leaders that now function as a private police force for the Prime Minister’s Office, instead of an unbiased law enforcement agency. Fourth, the solicitor general not only preordains the results of public hearings, but corrupts the cause of justice by refusing to fund plaintiff representation. This raises the question: does this offend docile Canadians enough to vote this group into the same stage of oblivion as the last one?

Doug McLeod, Victoria

With all due respect, I submit that Prime Minister Jean Chrétien should be praised for his efforts in trying to maintain order when we have high-profile visitors to this


should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7

Fax: (416) 596-7730

E-mail: letters@macleans.ca

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.

country. These so-called student demonstrations are becoming more and more frequent of late, causing me to question what percentage are legitimate full-time serious students as opposed to part-time professional students, along with a mix of hooligans, troublemakers and strikebreakers.

Lloyd I. Farnham, St. Stephen, N.B.

I found your cover story about the centralization of power in the Prime Minister’s Office disturbing but not surprising. It confirms my observation of current governments both federally and in New Brunswick. These governments are Liberal in name only. More specifically, my MP, SoS licitor General Andy Scott, was quoted sev| eral times on local media last week saying I that one reason he would not resign is be| cause he has received overwhelming sup| port in his constituency. I want him to know ° that at least one constituent is not at all happy with his, and the government’s, handling of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit scandal issue. I voted for Scott twice, but if there is not a drastic change in the pattern of government heavy-handedness, not only will I not vote for him again, I will actively work for his defeat.

Alan Sears, Fredericton

I am truly amazed how complacent Canadians are over the trampling of civil liberties by the Chrétien government. We should all be alarmed how this country is drifting away from democracy. What does it take to wake us up?

Shirley Mooney, Wawanesa, Man.

As the author of 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal, I appreciated seeing my views in your cover story on prime ministerial power. But you slid over a key point I have argued. What has made Parliament so weak is not that MPs obey the government. It’s that MPs—on all sides—blindly obey their leaders. When MPs grasp that party leaders are answerable to them, and not vice versa, parliamentary democracy might start to function again.

Christopher Moore, Toronto

As an American immigrant living in Vancouver, I am disappointed with the media’s failure to inform Canadians living outside Vancouver what an insult last year’s APEC summit was to Vancouverites, with the blockage of large sections of the downtown

Stiffing the economy

Here’s what Viagra is not. It’s not the fountain of youth, not Prozac, and certainly not the cure for economic downturns. Viagra is a breakthrough oral medication designed to allow men to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for successful intercourse. Viagra will not suddenly induce a Prozac-like personality change or magically transform men who have impotence resulting from pre-existing medical conditions into Casanovas with money to burn, as Peter C. Newman suggests (“The Viagra solution: a fix for economic ills,” The Nation’s Business, Oct. 12). The world’s financial crisis requires guidance from intelligent men and women (from their minds and hearts), not by the whims of a stiff penis.

Dr. David Saul, Toronto

core and the loss of untold thousands of dollars in business and personal earnings. Also absent is the following irony: the Canadian government commits huge resources in military deployment through international peacekeeping. Yet it also pepper-sprays its own sons and daughters who openly fight at home against the very same injustices. I came to Canada expecting better than this.

Nathaniel H. Joseph, Vancouver

Taking responsibility

So this is it? Six military personnel die unnecessarily in the crash of a Canadian Forces helicopter and Maclean’s gives them eight lines of acknowledgment (“Saying goodbye,” Canada Notes, Oct. 19)? Have you done so much damage to the armed forces by your relentlessly negative articles of recent months that you are incapable of writing about the good and the brave things that the military do on a daily basis? The deaths of these heroes could have been prevented by the Liberals had they believed in 1993 more in the safety of the men and women in uniform than foolish promises to cancel a much-needed helicopter purchase.

Capt. Barbara J. Lewis (ret.), Bragg Creek, Alta.

Amiel's advertisement

Not being one of Barbara Amiel’s journalist friends looking for a job, I declare that I have no conflict in saying that her column is a breath of fresh air (“Let me declare my conflict of interest,” Oct. 19). And high


time. In Canada, starting any new business is a rotten, tough process. If a person wants to put up money and take a chance, so be it. Perhaps we will also see the dawn of new standards of journalism, columns that challenge us to make the country work, and thoughtprovoking analyses of business in lieu of truncated news releases or homage to people who do not make decisions when they should. And maybe we will see some investigative journalism. Now, if she had time for politics.

Adrian White, Toronto

Why does Maclean’s insist on keeping Barbara Amiel as a columnist, continuing to bore us all with her irrelevant and tedious view from the mansion?

David Woods, Berlin

I kept looking for, and couldn’t find, the words “advertising supplement” somewhere on the full-page advertisement for Barbara Amiel’s husband’s newspaper. Did she pay the regular rate or was there an employee discount?

Martin J. Steinbach, Toronto

'Shavian irony'

In his article “Challenge of the highway” (Essays on the Millennium, Oct. 12), David Johnston paraphrases a quotation that he attributes to “a statesman of our time.” In fact, the line originates in George Bernard Shaw’s play Back to Methuselah, published in 1921: “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say Why not.’ ” With typical Shavian irony, the line is spoken by the Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Denis Johnston, Publications editor, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

In response to David Johnston’s question in his essay on the millennium, ‘Will humankind’s desire for a better understanding of the condition of healthy living transform the role of doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals, and hospitals and clinics?” The preferred view of modern medicine is one of rational, scientific method. In this context, medical practitioners, especially doctors, are considered independent of social, cultural and political forces. As long as medical doctors maintain their dominant role as gatekeepers of desired goods and services in Canada’s health-care system, the likelihood of such an unparalleled and abstruse body of knowledge being easily accessed seems remote.

Anne Graham, Victoria


Shocking behavior

The item about the perils that department of fisheries officers face has changed my image of fishermen (“Perilous business,” Opening Notes, Oct. 5). Armed violence, hostage taking, dog attacks, destruction of property, death threats, etc., etc. The industry ought to do something to stop this outrageous behavior or forget about any sympathy from the Canadian public. The end never justifies the means.

Russ Blakely, Ajax, Ont.

Canada's artists

I was delighted to read about violinist Catherine Manoukian (“A harmonized life,” People, Oct. 12). Canada does create a great number of performing artists of the highest calibre. Too bad there won’t be many orchestras in Canada’s future for them to perform with. With the government cutbacks in the arts, organizations are chasing private and corporate donors with increasing intensity. Sometimes the hard work pays off. Unfortunately, the reactions of some people, many with considerable wealth, are to work harder to persuade the government

to pay for it, or what’s in it financially for me? Unless those attitudes change, Manoukian and other Canadians like her will only be appreciated elsewhere.

Philip Sarabura, Ancaster, Ont.

'Substance over style'

Diane Francis is right on (“The U.S. President is a ‘dry drunk,’ ” Sept. 28). The saga of Bill Clinton shows our continued belief in our myth of leadership. Hopefully, Clinton’s legacy will be that he woke the citizens to what leadership should be about: substance triumphing over style.

Noel Cheeseman, Montreal

The President may be a cheat, but Diane Francis’s views seem narrow-minded and elitist. How else could she write: “You couldn’t take the trailer park out of the boy”? Couples who lie and cheat include Prince Charles and Diana—with no trailer parks in their backgrounds. The President’s actions shouldn’t be condoned, but neither should derogatory comments like Francis’s.

Pat and John Martin, Calgary

A need not to know

I thought of the book title A Bridge Too Far when I read of Eric Mailing’s death (Passages, Oct. 12). The last sentence went too far. Not only did I not know “Mailing struggled with alcohol abuse,” I did not need to know this, nor did I feel it was necessary to demean his memory with such personal and totally irrelevant information.

Clifford E. Perry, Pefferlaw, Ont.

Model for the world

Within minutes of the tragic crash of Swissair Flight 111, Nova Scotians risked their lives, followed by an inspiring demonstration of kindness when they opened their arms, hearts and homes to families of the victims and the searchers (“Lost in the depths,” Cover, Sept. 14). This outpouring of sympathy and kindness would have been puzzling to me more than a decade ago. Today, it is not. As a frequent visitor to that lovely province, I continue to be delighted by the extraordinarily polite and genuinely warm people of Nova Scotia. They are a model for the world to follow, and as the saying goes, “God broke the mould.”

William R. Bibber, Derry, N.H.


Insurance surplus

When the Employment Insurance fund was short, the government cut off some recipients, lowered the benefits to others and increased the premiums of all (“ ‘Drop the money,’ ” Canada, Oct. 12). When the El fund swells from excess contributions, and sacrifices of the unfortunate, the government steals the money under a scheme to buy votes from the same people they robbed. The media are pussyfooting around this profanity just like they downplayed Sheila Copps’s flag caper, the survival of the GST, Chrétien’s NAFTA boner, Allan Rock’s paper wars with gun-toting non-criminals and the hepatitis C charity farce, the chopper flip, the Pearson airport disgrace, another Quebec armory with no arms to put in and the 64-cent Canadian dollar. The bigmouthed watchdogs of public good in the media all play dead for the Liberals.

Frank Simek, Braeside, Ont.

I am currently expecting a child and find it interesting that, with what was a tremendous surplus of the Employment Insurance fund, I am eligible, while on maternity and parental leave, for only for 55 per cent of my average pay for the last 26 weeks worked, which of course is taxable. How about next time we allow the fund to first meet the needs of its rightful claimants and worry about the “surplus” after?

Karen Kenney, Simcoe, Ont.

Finance Minister Paul Martin’s rationalizations for the most punitive taxation system in the hemisphere continue to be driven by what is needed to feed the bloated Liberal government bureaucracy. The Liberal government’s love affair with taxing every penny possible has given Canadians high unemployment, a feeble dollar, low productivity and a declining standard of living. Canadians have ample reason to be outraged.

Gordon Brain, St. George, Ont.