The Mail

The Mail

February 23 1998
The Mail

The Mail

February 23 1998

The Mail

The United States’ strategy of air strikes on Iraq is an example of military cowardice (“Clinton’s comeback,” World, Feb.

9). Bombing and the use of long-range missiles will only kill innocent people, and will not get rid of Saddam Hussein and his evil dictatorship. If the Americans and the British want Saddam out, they should invade Iraq. Former U.S. president George Bush should have completed the Gulf War of 1991, conquering Iraq and executing Saddam as a war criminal. But he didn’t, because he was afraid of American casualties: the Vietnam syndrome. In the Second World War, there was also an overreliance on air power. The effect of mass bombing was to prolong the war and allow the Soviets to conquer Eastern Europe. The Americans and the British, in their military arrogance, never learn.

History lessons

Peter Stursberg, West Vancouver

Prior to Dec. 31, 1978, my wife and I spent two years living and working in Iran. Iranians were very clear about their dislike for the American administration and its bully-


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ing ways. At the time, they had no bone to pick with Canadians, though how they feel about us since the Gulf War, I can only guess. But I do know that a couple of years after we returned to Canada, I received a letter from a good American friend who had been a neighbor in Iran. He and his wife were teachers and had travelled all over the world for years. The letter said that, although they had very much enjoyed what they were doing and would like to stay with it, as Americans it was just too dangerous to do so any more, ft our leaders are foolish enough to drag us into another action of the schoolyard bully in the Middle East, Canadians had better stay out of the Muslim world (more than 700 million strong), and take great care with their travel plans. We’ll be in the same boat as the Yanks—and deservedly so.

Keith and Eileen Leal, Pincher Creek, Alta.

Your report on U.S. President Bill Clinton’s troubles simply shows again how the media are totally fixated on hounding celebrities. I guess we did not learn anything from the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Americans should take an example from us Canadians and allow their President to govern instead of always searching for reasons to impeach him.

Sylvain Charron, Timmins, Ont.

“Is sex an addiction?” (Health, Feb. 9) is tantamount to saying “Is eating an addiction?” Bill and Hillary Clinton should be given credit for continuing in a civilized manner despite the allegations. More power to them. It is time to separate loyalty, companionship and respect from the act of sex. Sex is completely an animal and biological fact of life. The others are values developed by Homo sapiens.

J. M. Cohoe, Mississauga, Ont.

'Corporate citizens'

Increasing alarm and a degree of sadness compel me to write this letter. In your Feb. 9 issue, two articles, “Pipeline partnership” (Business) and “Rethinking capitalism” by Deirdre McMurdy (The Bottom Line), are related in content. The latter story outlines the recent trends of corporate consolidation in general, while the former deals specifically with the merger of Nova Corp. and TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. 1 heartily agree with many of. the statements included in McMurdy’s column as she tells of financier George Soros musing that “excessive glorification of the ability to make big money is creating a society in which material success is all that counts.” How true and how frightening. As the parties involved in the pipeline merger trot out the well-worn phrases, such as “this is good for Canada” and “one player in the big leagues,” another few thousand workers are faced with dismissal. I always thought that to be a good citizen one must show concern for one’s neighbors and care for our common interests, such as the places where we live and raise our families. Shouldn’t our corporate citizens show the same care? While I oppose government intervention in the affairs of business and appeal to the conscience of the corporate community to act as better stewards of their human resources and our natural resources, it is with sadness that I feel they don’t care. Do we indeed need to “rethink capitalism”?

Geoff Allen, Aylmer, Ont.

Conflicting language

In stating that Canadian citizens should be free to “live, work and communicate in English,” and that this is the definition of Canadian sovereignty, Ian Donovan succumbs to bigotry comparable to that of oft-

condemned francophone extremists (“Gambling with Canada’s future,” The Road Ahead, Feb. 9). He fails to realize that for every person like him, who believes that English Canada is the only Canada, there are many, many more who dream of a prosperous, united and bilingual Canada.

Brad Parr, Cambridge, England

While I heartily agree with Donovan’s arguments, there is a question in my mind whether things could ever go back to what they were before the francophones took control of the federal government. Perhaps the best solution for Canada’s problems would be for Quebec to separate and let the rest of the country go on to greater prosperity with English as the only official language.

George Potter, Fournier, Ont.

War of words

Clifford Chadderton’s comments about the Canadian War Museum’s expansion plans (“Museum tales,” The Mail, Jan. 12) go too far. Belittling the museum staff reflects on the credibility of the museum’s many volunteers. We have worked hard to help the museum and believe in its plan to make all Canadians—wherever they are— aware of the contribution of the military to the development of Canada.

Col. Murray C. Johnston (ret.), Ottawa

Health and gender

As a breast cancer survivor and a breast cancer researcher, I was delighted to read your cover story on ‘Women’s health” (Jan. 12). Although it is encouraging that increased funding is being directed towards breast cancer research, it is important to remember that the “slice of the federal pie” is still abysmally small in comparison with funding for diseases that affect primarily men, e.g. AIDS. From 1983 to 1996, approximately 10,000 Canadians (mostly men) died of AIDS. More than 10,000 Canadian women have died of breast cancer in the past two years alone. In 1996, the government provided more than five times as much funding for AIDS as for breast cancer. What’s wrong with this picture? I am weary of losing wonderful friends, in the prime of their lives, to this dreaded disease for which we still have failed to find either a cause or a cure.

Susan R. Harris, Vancouver

Defending DeVry

As a former chairman of the technology program at DeVry Institute, I was very disappointed with your article (“A class in action,” Education, Feb. 9). It exposed the negative experiences several students had during their stay at DeVry, but did not fully investigate the students’ claims. There are many excellent qualities about DeVry that were not included in the article. DeVry provides the opportunity for individuals to obtain a higher education in the field of electronics—where the opportunity may not have existed before. Students can continue their education in the United States and receive a degree in technology. Upon completion of the degree, the option is available to find employment in the States, or obtain a master’s in engineering. No other Canadian college provides this benefit. DeVry has been around for many years and will continue to be in the future.

John Levstek, Toronto

Bafflegab and style

There must be a blue moon—I actually found myself in agreement with that terror from the far right Barbara Amiel (“Making the Unabomber sound reasonable,” Feb. 2). Philosophy and art are truly fertile areas for banality and bafflegab in their most virulent forms. A recent visit to the National Gallery in Ottawa to view a rather famous (infamous?) painting convinced me as far as art was concerned. I’m referring, of course, to Voice of Fire, a cleverly titled painting consisting of three vertical bands of color. The cloud of exotic verbiage used to justify this extravagant purchase was fabulous and impenetrable. I think that, in this case, as well as in the one cited by Barb, the word charlatan might well be employed.

Jack Blackie, Qualicum Beach, B.C.

It’s a pity Barbara Amiel has read little more than a book review from one of Canada’s finest essayists. If she picked up The Solitary Outlaw, for example, she would find prose with the classical virtues she espouses: clarity, brevity and simplicity of diction. Style in language exists to give voice to what it’s like to be alive now, in a time of lightning speed, not what it was like to be alive hundreds of years ago. When you read Powe, you know you’re living at the end of the 20th century. When you read Amiel, you might think you were in an English tavern hoisting a pint with Dryden.

/. S. Porter, Hamilton

Barbara Amiel says: “Powe’s many honors include the 1994 George Woodcock Fund Award.” There is no such award. The George Woodcock Fund makes a number of grants each year, small ones made to help writers whose circumstances have suddenly become desperate. To quote Amiel: “You couldn’t get away with such tripe in engineering, mathematics or any other discipline.”

Eric Wright, Toronto

Schoolboy suicide

As an alumnus of St. Michael’s Choir School, I thought that the warped atmosphere that your article created was appalling and distasteful (“Death of a choirboy,” Canada, Feb. 2). I do agree that something went terribly wrong at the school, but for you to think that your readership is so naive as to believe that there must have been some hint of sexual abuse for such a tragedy to occur questions the quality of stories that you choose to publish.

Michael Herrera, Toronto

If Stephen Hegedus (The Mail, Feb. 9) had been at the meeting on Jan. 18, he would be aware that the majority of the parents were very angry at the attempts by the school superintendent and his lawyer to intimidate them from trying to find out what happened to make a choir school student commit suicide. Most choir school parents know all too well that the school’s administration is prone to favoritism and resistant to change. At least your article prompted the Toronto Catholic School Board to commission retired judge Lloyd Houlden for an “independent and impartial inquiry,” although the board has not explained why it waited more than six weeks to take that step. The school’s resistance to the Jan. 18 meeting taking place at all, and its success to date in discouraging Grade 12 students from contacting Houlden, explain why we believe there is a conspiracy of silence. Please withhold my name to avoid reprisals against my son, a student at the school. (Maclean’s has verified the authorship of this letter.)

Do not ever give up on investigative reporting. It is the only way we, the public, will know the facts and the truth about events that concern us all.

Stanley J. Homuk, Toronto