The Mail

The Mail

November 23 1998
The Mail

The Mail

November 23 1998

The Mail

Trading punches

There is an immediate remedy for thuggery on ice, which was adopted many years ago by the Charlottetown Minor Hockey Association (“Thugs on ice,” Cover, Nov. 9). The concept was very simple. If a player was injured in an on-ice incident for which an opponent was penalized, the offending player was automatically suspended until the injured player was able to return to play. At that point, the disciplinary committee would meet to adjudicate the incident and decide what additional penalty was warranted. The impact was immediate. Not only did we eliminate any possible reward for taking good players out of the game, but we created a very strong disincentive for doing so. Is there any good reason why the NHL should not adopt this policy?

J. E. Green, Charlottetown

Too bad you didn’t interview Eric Lindros to see if his views changed recently regarding body checks. It was not long ago that he and his brother were interviewed on TV


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bemoaning the fact that a bad check had cost the younger Lindros his hockey career. I guess this superstar comes complete with a bad memory.

Janice DiTomaso, Belleville, Ont.

You claim that “anyone who believes fighting is helping keep sticks down should consult Paul Kariya” (who was brutally cross-checked in the face by Gary Suter last season). But Kariya has stated that he is against the two-minute instigator penalty that is given to a player who starts a fight because it prevents the “enforcers” from protecting the star players on the team, like Kariya. Over the off-season, Anaheim went out and a got a couple of enforcers, which has g enabled Kariya to have a productive I season without any more cheap shots. § It is safe to say that if Tie Domi played on Kariya’s line last year, Suter would not have cross-checked Kariya and Canada

would not have been robbed of its best offensive player right before the Olympics.

Rob Ward, Fredericton

I used to love hockey with all my heart. Sadly, though, I have not encouraged my three kids, ages 6 to 10, to play hockey. They play soccer and basketball, where fighting is not tolerated. I agree with Bob Levin that it’s “too bad. Great game, hockey. A gang of wrestling promoters shouldn’t hold it hostage” (“Fight night in Canada: send in the goons,” Cover/Column). Maybe my grandkids can play.

John Groen, Kitchener, Ont.

If Levin’s fragile sensibilities are so offended by fighting in hockey, why doesn’t he change the channel and watch his beloved baseball and leave us poor “gang of wrestling promoters” in peace while we watch our beloved hockey. I wonder if Levin will call on the enlightened proprietors of baseball to rid their game of brain-damaging beanballs, the regular bench-clearing brawls that feature roving masses of men beating each other silly and the bonecrunching, sometimes-career-ending collisions at home plate.

Andrew Mitrovica, Toronto

The comment that “Canada’s failure to win a medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics hockey tournament sparked widespread concern in Canada about how players were being

Irony on the right

There used to be a united right in Canadian politics (“Divided over unity,” Canada, Nov. 9). It was called the Progressive Conservative party and Preston Manning, with his Reform party, fragmented the political right in the first place. What irony now that he is calling for unity.

Lisa Sansom, Toronto

developed” (“The mean season,” Newsroom Notes, Nov. 9) served to negate the efforts of a very dedicated and talented group of women who can teach us about playing “real” hockey. If you care to recall, our national women’s hockey team brought home silver (in a close race for gold) in those very same Olympics. Maclean’s, thy name is androcentrism.

Cathy Hamel, Embro, Ont.

Gates's inner child

I see no similarity between Ayn Rand’s John Galt and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (“In defence of Microsoft,” Ross Laver, Nov. 9). Galt developed products that were useful to society and could be sold at a profit. But he also allowed other people to do the same. Gates spends millions of dollars trying to put other software developers out of business or forcing them to sell their business to his company. Gates supplies an operating system that has built-in programs to make programs developed by other companies very difficult to run. These actions are like a wilful child who must have its own way. He gets no praise from me.

John Cohoe, Mississauga, Ont.

Solo, but not first

Sorry, but Charles Lindbergh was not the first but the 67th person to cross the Atlantic by air (“A hero’s highs—and lows,” Books, Nov. 9). John Alcock and Arthur Brown crossed first in June, 1919, in a heavier-than-air aircraft, a converted Vickers Vimy twin-engined bomber. The other 64 crossed in airships in July, 1919, and October, 1924. Lindbergh was the first person to make a solo flight across the Atlantic, and nothing should take away from that accomplishment, but the real glory should go to Alcock and Brown.

David Bellwood, North Vancouver

College advantage

What a fantastic cover story on Canada’s institutional gems (“Why college grads get jobs,” Oct. 26). How uncommon for Canada to have the best in the world in education and actually boast about it. Canadian families are learning what we in the international consulting business discovered long ago—in Canada, universities do something to you, colleges do something for you.

Tom Norton,

Asian Development Bank project team, Karachi, Pakistan

It is gratifying for us in the community colleges to have the advantages we offer our learners more broadly acknowledged. With our emphasis on learning and training, we go beyond more traditional postsecondary offerings to provide our graduates with real skills. We await with much anticipation the day when a full expansion of transfers among colleges and universities provides students with seamless opportunities to pursue a full range of postsecondary options. I look forward to Maclean’s guide to Canadian colleges in January.

John Farrell,

Chairman, Ontario Council of Regents for Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, Toronto

When I tell people that I am a third-year political science major, Canadians often tell me that I am wasting my time with my university education. The fact is, a university education is far superior to a college education. The analytical skills obtained by a university graduate are far superior to a college graduate’s. Also, the skills obtained in university can be applied to any field, whereas college graduates are limited to their field of study. Why is Canada so hostile towards its university-educated? Perhaps Canadians should take a cue from the parents of firstgeneration Canadians (such as me) and start to tell their children that the most im-

portant thing anyone can obtain in life is a university education. Until this attitude is taken up by all, this nation can only step backwards while others step forward.

“Where the jobs are” did the study of geography a disservice by suggesting there are few or no jobs for grads in that field. Geography students who include geographic information systems in their coursework at college or university are able to use one of the fastest-growing information technologies in North America and land jobs quickly. GIS originated in Canada as a result of the work done by Roger Tomlinson of Ottawa and lets people see the complex relationships between humans and their environment, facilitating analysis and decision-making in areas from business to politics and zoology.

Job opportunities

I cannot speak about other professions, but for biologists like me and many of my friends there is only one main reason we do not work in Canada: no one will employ us (“Measuring the brain drain,” From the Editor, Oct. 26). Four of us who graduated together with PhDs in the early ’90s are awardwinning scientists who have repeatedly applied for jobs in Canada. But one is currently employed in Norway, two are in Britain and I am in the United States. Four other friends recently took jobs in the United States. Not once have any of these people suggested that higher taxes in Canada had anything to do with going to work elsewhere. The second-biggest problem with science in Canada is the lack of funding. I am not talking about “big science” like certain areas of molecular biology, where Canada will never have even close to the financial resources required to compete on a global scale. I am talking about the basic support that good scientists need to do their work. In my opinion and experience, Canada produces some of the brightest and most competent biologists. We are well trained, used to working with less equipment and resources than American students and still manage to produce top-quality science. Of course, maybe our field isn’t that important to Canada: of the eight people I have mentioned, six work with fish. Read our lips: we want to work in Canada.

Ron Coleman, Section of evolution and ecology, University of California, Davis, Calif.

The editorial ends by exhorting the Canadian public to read the lips of Canada’s professionals moving to the United States. The editor interprets the lip movements of those professionals to say “reduce the taxes.” I must say that those lips might just as well be saying “raise our remuneration.” To my mind, it should be the responsibility of corporations and organizations who want the services of these same professionals to offer them remuneration that is competitive enough to keep them in Canada. Expecting the Canadian public to subsidize programs through tax reductions to keep those nomadic professionals at home amounts to no less than a subsidy to those same corporations and organizations.

Mario Golini, Meaford, Ont.

I’m one of those professionals who moved to the United States for a job. I’m a research chemist and there were not too many wellpaying, challenging research opportunities in Canada when I left in 1994. That may have changed, but I don’t think so, since several of my scientist friends have decided to move across the border. Most of them, like me, are Canadian-educated PhD scientists. I want to come back to Canada someday, do groundbreaking research, and send my children to a quality Canadian university, but that time may be several years away. I do believe Canada is the best place to live on this planet, I just need to find a way back home that will be financially and politically acceptable to my wife and children.

David A. Biro, Branchburg, N.J.

Taxes are a contributing factor in the flight of skilled Canadians south, but there is a more profound reason professionals leave: American culture, more than any other, promotes the value of the individual. The individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are enshrined in the American way of life. Greater economic freedom, which includes lower taxes, is but one result of the political freedom that results from those values. Instead of calling for lower taxes, the editor should be exhorting Canadians to re-examine their values. If those are repaired, lower taxes will follow.

Scott Powell, Edmonton

For me—a Canadian computer professional working in the United States—and for the 10 or so Canadian friends I know in the same situation, taxation is not the main issue behind our decision to move. What made us come to the United States is the quality of the jobs and the size of the salaries. Even discounting taxes and exchange rate, in Silicon Valley, we can do leading-edge, interesting work and make twice what we would make at home doing work that can only be described as hum-

drum and obsolete. As far as taxes go— most of us who have sampled American health care wouldn’t begrudge paying the extra five to 10 per cent more for universal health care and other basic social benefits that Canada provides. No, it’s not the taxes. What needs to be fixed is the quality and competitiveness of Canadian technical industries before computer professionals such as me and my friends can have a hope of finding the interesting, well-compensated work that we would be much happier doing in the country of our birth.

Thomas K. Burkholder, San Francisco

'Closet autocrat'

The “closet autocrat” reference to the Prime Minister (“For the love of power,” Cover, Oct. 19) brings us back to the Socratic debate: is the tyrant the democrat? Commendations on your introspective analysis of our national crisis, but a greater issue is at hand—what shall become of our state in this continued order? Will democracy lead towards the same fork as a totalitarian regime in that the leaders will have to choose between abandoning morals or face failure? Perhaps British economist Friedrich Hayek

put it best: in the democracies of today, those who hate all of Nazism’s manifestations are working for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the tyranny all are trying to avoid.

J.J.Beh, Toronto

Regarding the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit scandal: who cares? Fix health care.

Patricia Allen, Toronto

I’ve been reading with interest what is being written (especially in the eastern media) about our Prime Minister. I’m getting quite a chuckle out of the dissatisfaction you easterners are feeling. Don’t be looking at us westerners for foisting this mess on you: it wasn’t us who elected this clown. The noise you hear coming from the West isn’t the result of the buffalo roaming the range—believe it or not, it’s the rumbling of the western separation movement again. It’s funny how the eastern media can only find fault with Preston Manning’s hairstyle or voice, but don’t seem to be able to find anything wrong with the policies of the Reform party. What still amazes me is how popular the Liberals remain. Any bets that

once the Liberals get their hands on the Employment Insurance surplus to buy your votes that you will vote them in again? Give your heads a shake.

Ken Miller, Red Deer, Alta.

I object to Lloyd I. Farnham’s Nov. 2 letter in which he describes student demonstrators as “hooligans, troublemakers and strikebreakers” (“APEC and democracy”). While I can’t speak for all student demonstrators, those who protested at the APEC summit did so for a worthy and important cause. They were speaking out against governments who regularly imprison and execute people simply for having unpopular beliefs or opinions. The people of those countries cannot protest such injustices for fear that they will disappear in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. Those in Canada who choose to speak on their behalf should be praised.

Laurel Seybold, Picton, Ont.

Environmental record

Not many mainstream magazines would have the guts to do articles like yours on the devastation mankind is causing to our marine heritage (“The dying seas,” Cover, Oct. 5). You covered the economic, ecological and

employment dimensions with depth and candor. The problems are complex, and the solutions require corporate and international co-operation, both of which have dismal track records. Keep helping to raise the general awareness of the consequences of our unsustainable practices. Only when there is awareness can there be responsibility and change.

Bob Willard, Ajax, Ont.

I enjoyed reading your article but was somewhat surprised and saddened that you referred to algae as “tiny plants.” Algae are plant-like organisms of the kingdom protista. Protista are eukaryotes that lack the distinguishing features of plants. Those features include true roots, stems, leaves and specialized systems for carrying nutrients. Algae are generally photosynthetic, like plants, and generally live in either salt or fresh water. Algae are fascinating organisms living all around us, and while many species look a lot like plants, they truly are not.

Sil ja Freitag, Kingston, Ont.

Our species has never demonstrated much ability to exert prudent self-control over the consumption of our environment. When times get tough, protective restrictions, often put in place when it is too late anyway, tend to get relaxed until the resource is virtually gone. Add to this the notion that economies have to keep growing to remain healthy and we have a scary mix. We’re such a clever species, yet so impotent over our own (and unfortunately the Earth’s) destiny. Kind of humbling.

Kevin Marks, Williams Lake, B. C.

It is interesting to note the limited reaction to an issue of such magnitude and consequence. Therein lies the problem: the issue is so significant with such far-reaching implications that we avoid dealing with it.

David Molstad, St. Albert, Alta.

Teacher burnout

I have just read Ann Dowsett Johnson’s column ‘Test your politics here” (Oct. 19) and found it to be oh-so-true. For the past 10 years (I’ve taught on and off for 20 years), I have been an elementary teacher in Toronto, working closely with the children of refugees and immigrants. When it comes to meet-theteacher night, curriculum night or interviews at report card time, it is usually a very discouraging experience. Parents are frequently no-shows and, to gain their support in the academic and/or behavior department, we face an almost impossible task. I’m ready to flee the school at 4 p.m. after a day

of not teaching so much as refereeing fights, solving conflicts, getting ice or Band-Aids, consoling miserable kids, counselling others and running around like a madwoman to cover the basics. I’d love to teach where kids are actually motivated to learn, explore, research and listen—if it’s only happening at private schools, more’s the pity. I can’t teach much longer—there are far too many of us drained, burned out and discouraged. What a sad situation for those who once loved to teach to those who once loved to learn.

Lois Field Carrier, Mississauga, Ont.

Perpetual blackmail

In “Quebec’s election could produce a surprise,” (Column, Nov. 2), Charles Gordon calls for a new baseball stadium for the Montreal Expos? No thank you! The cost of the new stadium would only be the first step in a long list of requests for funds as players’ salaries keep rising into the multimillions. It is well known that teams that pay the most have the best chances of winning, and repeated demands are not what we want to hear. There is enough economic unease in this province without being perpetually blaclonailed by the managers of a group of overpriced American players.

John Gradwell, Beaconsfxeld, Que.

Big-league sport exists for gamblers, the upwardly mobile, and those whose main challenge in life is to down a bucket of beer in the shortest time. To levy others in order to subsidize this lifestyle is outrageous. Public money for stadiums is one insanity I trust we have left behind. Even at election time.

D. Grant DeMan, Royston, B. C.

Guaranteed merit

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The knowledge Canadians exhibit about how they are taxed is about as little as you can get (“Guaranteed income,” The Mail, Sept. 7). Even minimum consideration of the guaranteed income concept as proposed by William Clegg in The Road Ahead (“A guaranteed income for all,” Aug. 24) discloses its merits. First and foremost is its fairness. No working for six months, then taking six months off at Employment Insurance expense. No transferring property to the kids, then collecting old age security. Then, think of the billions of dollars saved by eliminating EI, OAS, guaranteed income supplements, huge provincial and municipal welfare rolls—and the horrendous bureaucracies required to administer them all. Clegg’s second suggestion, that income tax should be eliminated and replaced with GST, is interesting. We are to increase disposable in-

come by replacing, say, $10,000 income tax with $10,000 GST. Guess I missed that day in math class. It would be just another flat tax in any event: for tonight’s entertainment, watch the poor shiver and starve while the rich dance for joy. Until voters are knowledgeable about the effects of various forms of tax (income tax is least offensive), the only change will be more complications that benefit some at cost to the rest of us.

Harvey L. McIntyre, Winnipeg

Defending Melanie

What a mean-spirited—not to mention inaccurate—review of Melanie Doane’s new CD (“Mellow minstrels,” For the Record, Nov. 2). First of all, in the 99-percent positive reviews I haven’t heard Melanie called “a Maritime fiddler with pop ambitions,” and this description would be puzzling to her many fans. Obviously, you have not listened to, or haven’t understood, the lyrics of either song you call “feminism-

lite.” Thousands of people can relate perfectly to Melanie’s lyrics, and both songs are more than “catchy.” They are insightful, honest, clever and musically interesting.

Paula Fredericks, Lower Sackville, N.S.

Clark and the media

I am not a member of a political party, but I feel strongly that former prime minister Joe Clark has been treated unfairly by the media (“Joe’s back,” Canada, Nov. 2). It’s time to look at his strengths instead of his perceived weakness. When Clark was elected prime minister, he tried hard to be honest when he told us taxes would have to be raised. He was gracious in his defeat to Brian Mulroney. He showed excellent ability in diplomacy as minister of external affairs and he has shown that he has political stamina by sticking it out after all these years. His luggage was lost. Does that have political significance? He was open and honest. That’s a fault? Is it more important for our elected representative to look good and demonstrate power, or would we rather have one who demonstrates the core values of integrity, good teamwork, positive experience, openness and honesty?

Cathy McNeil, Parksville, B. C.

Surplus books

I read with interest your article regarding the fire in Cambridge Bay and the assistance being provided by Howarth Penny of England in finding replacement books for the high school (“Bookish benevolence,” Opening Notes, Nov. 2). Several years ago when I lived in Oakville, Ont., I was annoyed with the library when I wished to donate a large number of excellent hard-cover books for their shelves but was refused. Being an ex-Forces member, I suggested they contact Transport Group Headquarters in Trenton, Ont., and find out if there was space available on the C-130 Hercules flights that support some of the northern stations, to transport surplus books to these communities. I am not sure of the outcome. However, I keep reading in local papers about local libraries that have surplus book sales. I suggest that libraries contact Minister of Defence Art Eggleton and insist that we share our surpluses with our northern friends.

John Scott, White Rock, B. C.

'Blinkered opinion'

Allan Fotheringham’s jabs at the SingTao School of Journalism reek of nostalgia for a golden era of journalism (“When you and I were young, Allan,” Nov. 2). His reminiscences of a boozy evening lead to the

tired canard that journalism can’t be taught. Nonsense. Fotheringham flatters himself by saying people are born to journalism. Given some raw talent, students can learn to research, think critically and report with authority by attending journalism schools. Newsroom experience is indispensable, but it is only one part of journalism education. He chides B.C. timber barons for not endowing the school. Hasn’t Fotheringham heard that the B.C. forest industry is barely hanging on? Finally, he indulges in irrelevant and mean-spirited secondhand reports about the school instead of asking us for the facts. Our program is educating a new generation of journalist, one not content with blinkered opinion but seeking fair, informed comment.

Stephen Ward, Associate professor, Sing Tao School of Journalism, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Nobel winners

Even though the two religious faction leaders from Northern Ireland—Protestant leader David Trimble and Catholic leader John Hume—have shaken hands and won Nobel Peace Prizes, I, a Catholic/Christian, nonetheless feel somewhat cynical (‘The right stuff,” The Nobel Prize, Oct. 26). It’s quite bewildering to observe some Christians and Catholics in, for example, Northern Ireland (not to mention the former Yugoslavia) despise others because of their religion. Christ’s teachings are antithetical to such hatred; I cannot imagine God/Christ being pleased as people torture and murder one another in His name because of such trivial differences. Unfortunately, such people are often perceived by many as representative of Christianity or Catholicism as a whole, and thus the entire faith is left with a dirty stain.

Frank G. Sterle, White Rock, B. C.

Your article on this year’s Nobel Prize winners says the award for medicine was shared by three researchers studying nitric oxide. Just wondering, what part of NO did they not understand?

Brian Yamashita, Ottawa,

Credit unions

As chairman of the board of one of Ontario’s largest and most successful credit unions, Duca Community Credit Union Ltd., I wonder if Deirdre McMurdy really got the true inside story from the brotherhood of the umbrella organization Credit

Union Central (“Reluctant competitors,” Nov. 2). It is clear that the diversity of performance results and product delivery within this small financial segment prevents any united front. The new wave of merger talks and banks wanting to get bigger does not mean merged banks or credit unions serve their customers or members with any greater performance ratios than if they were smaller. Whether new financial credit union fronts come from Vancouver or Toronto makes little difference to the consumer. It is the service level and meeting their real needs that still prevails.

Marten A. Mol, Chairman of the hoard, Duca Community Credit Union Ltd.


Sather's victory

The article “The winning ways of Slats” reaffirms my belief that, like him or not, Edmonton Oilers president Glen Sather has always commanded respect (Sports/Profile, Oct. 19). As a transplanted New Yorker, I remember watching him play, then go to lead the Oilers to dethrone my Islanders and proceed to build a dynasty. While he was the champ it was easy to root for someone to beat him, but impossible not to respect what he did. Now, I’m more impressed with his ability to compete with the financial deck clearly stacked against small-market Canadian teams. I hope that the domino effect that started in Winnipeg and Quebec City can be stopped. Growing up watching games broadcast from Maple Leaf Gardens, the Forum and even the Corral in Calgary always gave me a sense that this was the world’s best sport. How many more teams must leave Canada before something is done?

Rich Melin, Orlando, Fla.

Will and testament

The most important tool we chartered financial consultants use in estate planning is the will, but the word you left out is “testament” (“Planning your estate,” Cover, Oct. 12). The will is a testament to your life and your values, and what better testament to your values than a charitable bequest? I ask my clients four questions: 1) Who is getting the estate? 2) How is it being transferred? 3) Is the estate plan going to be executed tax effectively? 4) Does the plan reflect your values? The last question is probably the one that takes the most time to answer, and I fear was the one question that your article failed to address.

Peter R. Bennett, Toronto