The Mail

The Mail

October 11 1999
The Mail

The Mail

October 11 1999

The Mail

Native power

It’s about time we started recognizing the new generation of aboriginal peoples (“Move over,” Cover, Sept. 27). There is a lot of talent and energy there. We hope the actor Adam Beach becomes well known on the Canadian and international scene. The new aboriginal channel on TV is also a welcome addition to our Canadian networks. It’s about time.

Therese Mair, Georgetown, P.E.I.

It is so good to see young men like Adam Beach on the cover of magazines and shown in pictures with their children. He is a loving father and a very good role model for the younger native men. I commend and thank you for a great article.

Joanne Sutton, Claremore, Okla.

Bravo! Give us more stories about native Canadians. We read “Move over” in our Grade 11 language arts class in Winnipeg’s inner city, the core of the child poverty capital of Canada. Many of our R B. Russell High School students were inspired, delighted and proud to read in a national magazine about Troy Rupert, the native Hercules, who has been coaxing them away from gangland. Native youth need to know they can realize fulfilment despite obstacles such as racism and the devastating cross-generational impact of the residential school fiasco. They need to know that college and university are options if the homework work ethic comes into play via an inspirational, responsible educational system that promotes study skills for all cultures.

Brian MacKinnon, Winnipeg

They can stand side by side with me for as long as they want, but I’m not moving over.

Ken Higson, Kelowna, B.C.

Although I enjoyed Macleans positive cover story, it saddens me that in Canada we still have a white world. It saddens me that we separate our artists into race categories and that we use phrases such as “native identity” in place of “national identity.” I was raised to believe that my people are Canadian people, regardless of their race, and to think that notion quixotic is disheartening. Jason Gileno, Toronto

I was disappointed to see no mention of the most important role models for young aboriginal youth today—the educators. At the Kihew Asiniy Education Centre, a junior/senior high school, we have a First Nations education director, principal and vice-principal, and on a teaching staff of 20, we have 10 First Nations teachers. All our

teacher assistants and support staff are First Nations people. Our staff works together to help First Nations children learn responsibility, honesty, commitment and, most of all, love. Our expected graduation rate for the year 2000 will be triple that in 1998. This is a true sign of growth and success among aboriginal youth in our particular part of the First Nations world.

Sherryl A. Maglione, Saddle Lake First Nation, Saddle Lake, Alta.

Smokin’ drive-ins

It is obvious to me why drive-ins continue to be popular in Quebec (“Distinct drive-ins,” Opening Notes, Sept. 27). In the drive-in, Quebec patrons can smoke while watching the movie. They can’t if they go to the movie theatre. In the rest of Canada, the addiction isn’t quite so rampant.

Dr. Howard Bargman, Toronto

‘No war zones’

Not one more Canadian peacekeeper should be sent into a war zone until Canada’s politicians and military brass accept accountability for so doing and for misleading the paying public about what happens to our personnel overseas (“Help at last,” World, Sept. 27). Our politicians, military brass and bureaucrats are too interested in their pensions, positions and global profiles, and we cannot believe the misand disinformation they mete out to us. In short, they are not to be trusted to support the widows and orphans, or the physically and mentally maimed resulting from the peacekeeping efforts for which successes they take credit. Former peacekeeper Matt Stopford, now ill and going blind, has exposed a coverup related to the exposure of our troops to hazardous substances and their subsequent illnesses being ignored. Defence Minister Art Eggleton recently said they will get to the bottom of it. Rather, the aim should be to get to the “top of it”—to the politicians and generals.

E. Berton and Irene Nickerson,

Wolfville, N.S.

Letters to the Editor

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Memories of Eaton’s

I am very disappointed and sad to

see Eaton’s closing its doors (“The end of Eaton’s,” Business, Aug. 30). As a child growing up in Edmonton, every Saturday afternoon my mom, my sister and I would get out of our cleaning clothes and go downtown to Eaton’s for a toasted bearclaw and a cup of tea or glass of milk. Just knowing we were going downtown later made cleaning an easy chore. I also won my first-ever three-speed bicycle at Eaton’s when I was about 7 or 8 (1954 or ’55) for completing a slogan with the word Eaton’s in it. I have always been an Eaton’s shopper and do not know who will fill that void.

Shiriey Dohei, Edmonton

‘Up in arms’

It’s no surprise that we Canadian paleontologists are up in arms about the intrusive, destructive trenching in Axel

Heiberg Island’s fossil forest (“The forest of the past,” Canada, Sept. 6). Much more scientific work needs to be done on an intact fossil forest, and this disturbance could destroy irreplaceable research opportunities. It would be tragic for long-term researchers to lose out because of unco-ordinated activities by the U.S. team.

John Storer, Whitehorse

High-tech costs

In your cover story “Welcome to the wired classroom” (Sept. 6), you stated that “last March, Canada was the first country to plug every public library and school—18,263 in total—into the Internet.” That is not correct. Industry Canada made funds available so that every public library that wished to could purchase a computer for the

public to use for Internet access. In Saskatchewan, 35 libraries decided not to participate because they could not afford the telecommunications charges. Library associations across Canada are actively working to find ways to have sustainable Internet access. One-time funding for computer purchases is commendable, but it ignores the realities of long-distance charges and the costs of upgrading software and hardware.

Lauraine Armstrong, President, Saskatchewan Library Association, Saskatoon

The unbridled optimism and sense of urgency reported in the article on online education only fuels speculation and makes the case for dramatic investment into this phenomenon, often at the cost of other important programs designed to increase access and oppor-

tunity for our neediest students. Two items in particular will determine whether and when the educational promise of virtual instruction will be reached. First, access to computers and the Internet must be equally distributed. To date, these technologies are clearly helping learners who are mosdy adult, mosdy hold a degree already, and have the motivation, access and technological capacity to take advantage of these opportunities. Last year, data from the U.S. department of commerce illustrated the large gaps in access to computers and technology by income, level of education and race/ethnicity. More disturbing was this summer’s update by the department: the gaps are growing, not shrinking. Access among our highest-income families grew by 12 per cent between 1997 and 1998. Among low-income families, less than three per cent. Second, and an almost forgotten part of the discussion, is learning theory and preferences. Research clearly shows that our neediest students require individual, hands-on instruction. Undoubtedly, technology

has its merit. However, we must also keep it in perspective, and continue to focus our effort on issues of equal opportunity and educational excellence. Until technology takes another leap in progression, the current power of Internet-based instruction will remain mostly fictional.

Watson Scott Swail, Associate Director for Policy Analysis, The College Board, Washington

‘Pact with the devil’

In our very recent past, our government brayed ever so loudly about human rights abuses in Kosovo and went to war over it. It became, so we were told, the first war in history fought on the grounds of human rights. That may or may not be true, but it opens up the question, what to do about East Timor

(“Reprisal in East Timor,” World, Sept. 20)? In 1996, Canada struck a $2.76billion trade agreement with Indonesia. But if we are true to our word about protecting human rights, we ought to go in and bomb the hell out of East Timor to protect the Timorese, right? Wrong. It doesn’t make sense to invest $2.76 billion and then turn around and bomb them, does it? What about economic sanctions, that other triedand-true method of getting the other to bend the knee (it certainly has worked wonders in Iraq and Cuba for the United States)? Equally, does it make sense to jeopardize one’s investments by imposing sanctions on those very investments? Truly, Canada is faced with an interesting dilemma. When you make a pact with the devil, there’s no telling how the devil in the end will own you.

Richard Toews, Abbotsford, B.C.

Shooting for votes

I found Allan Fotheringham’s column on George (Dubya) Bush very informative (“Getting to know George W,” Sept. 27). It strikes me that should he and Bill Bradley win their parties’ respective nominations, the run for the presidency will be quite a shooting match—the NRA versus the NBA. Stuart Wright, Sillery, Que.

It is apparent that with the approach of the 2000 U.S. presidential election, the real Y2K bug is George W. Bush. He has an outlaw mentality and seems to believe in the old adage of shoot first, ask later. Executing so many people must make him feel powerful, but at a cost of lives to mostly poor minorities.

Daniel 0. Gagne, Cochrane, Ont.

Tired, but loving it

I read Deirdre McMurdy s column of Sept. 20, “Yawning to be free,” with great empathy and amusement. However, I believe she left out a very important segment of the population—those of us who are supposed to work those normal hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and don’t. There are tens of thousands of us out there whose day runs like mine: up at 5 a.m. to get on the road to miss traffic, commute an hour so you can live in a great, inexpensive location to raise your kids, hit the office by 6:15 a.m. to make coffee, check email, voice mail, paper mail, make coffee (did I say that already?), prioritize the day’s activities, have some time for uninterrupted work, answer the phones that start ringing at 8 a.m., take a break and lunch at your desk and then hit the road by 4 p.m. to pick up your kids (no I didn’t forget to drop them off, my husband does that) by 5 p.m., get home, make dinner, take the kids to whatever lesson the season offers, bathe the dogs—no, I mean the kids, then try to accomplish all that other stuff you need to do, like return phone calls, recall what your mate looks like, if you have one, bathe and go to bed to do it all over

again the next day. Now, fortunately, I love my job, love the people I work with and wouldn’t trade it or them for the world—but boy, I’m tired.

Joanne Young Evans, Fergus, Ont.

Cause and effect

“A stormy season” (World, Sept. 27) purports to explain “why big hurricanes like Floyd are on the rise” without mentioning the effect of human economic activity on the temperature of our planet. In the face of near consensus among the scientific community that excessive human production and consumption are causing potentially irreversible changes to the Earth’s climate, blaming an increase in hurricane activity primarily on weather cycles reinforces the perception that business and individual citizens have little reason to alter their destructive and unsustainable practices.

Timothy Paci, Hamilton

Black-and-white TV

I am disappointed by the lack of people of colour in leading roles on the shows on TV (“TV: old ideas, new packages,” Special Report, Sept. 27). When a person of colour does appear on a TV show, the persons ethnic background is black and of course the leading roles are almost always played by a white person. Where are my brown people? Where are the Indians, Asians, natives, Hispanics? I am ashamed that Canadian TV portrays Canada as truly the Great White North.

Shyamudin Mohamed, Toronto

Professorial bias

Ann Dowsett Johnston’s “Welcome to the gender wars” (Sept. 27) was an important and balanced article on the controversies informing the hiring of women faculty. Regardless of the anomalies of women-exclusive hiring at Wilfrid Laurier University’s psychology

department and subsidies by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to hire women, it is timely to note relevant, shared outlooks between Prof. Clive Seligman (Western) and Prof. Nancy Hopkins (MIT). It is apparent both academics are unambiguously opposed to discrimination and bias. Hopkins puts it well: universities need to pursue excellence and “there are great women out there.” Any university department that fails to recruit and hire available, outstanding women candidates is committing an unconscionable disservice to its students, male and female, as there are no better mentors than accomplished, dedicated faculty. Regrettably, the Wilfrid Laurier approach is to substitute chromosomes for quality and inadvertently contribute to patronizing its women students, who, I would guess, are more interested

in good teaching and good research than the culture wars engaged in by faculty. One can only hope that Wilfrid Lauriers psychology department will find an excellent woman candidate who will not reject them. Unlike every other member of the department, she will never know if she would have been chosen if the search was open.

Ann Johnston’s column concludes that “systems tend to reinforce themselves.” This conclusion, as applied to university faculty hiring, is bang on. As Prof. Angelo Santi, psychology department chairman at Wilfrid Laurier University, notes in the article, most universities bias their hiring towards female applicants “in a covert fashion.” Even so, at WLU, they cant hire enough women.

Thus, turning covert sex discrimination into overt sex discrimination by refusing to even consider applications from men would seem to be merely the next logical step. Given the immorality with which the university hiring system now operates, one would hope that the Ontario Human Rights Commission will have the sense to put an end to it.

Prof. Stephen J. Lupker, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.

‘Jews and Judaism’

Thank you for Barbara Amiels column “Jews and Sunshine ’ (Sept. 27). I like Jews, many of my classmates were Jewish and I appreciated their hard work, sense of humour and contributions. I also experienced, because of my ethnic background, some non-acceptance from the WASP culture in which I grew up, and share this with my Jewish friends. My concern is with the negative influence on our culture: the violence, immorality and attack on the

family portrayed by Hollywood. If Jewish people are “overrepresented” in Hollywood, then it seems to me that they have a lot to answer for. There, Jewish people do not seem to be “people of the book,” more like bottom-line people and damn the consequences. I join in Amiel s prayer.

Peter G. Peloso, Elora, Ont.

Though Barbara Amiel may have considerable acumen as a journalist, I do wish that she would stop putting herself forward as a commentator on Jews and Judaism. While Amiel apparently spent the hours of Yom Kippur, 1999/5760, musing about the origins of anti-Semitism, her co-religionists all over the world paused to fast, pray and reflect on how we, as individuals and as members of the human community, failed to live up to our own potential for goodness. On this holiest of days, we do not turn our attention to judging others or to instructing them (no matter how well intentioned that instruction might be). Rather, we are bidden to acknowledge that we are, all of

us, imperfect, and to look deep within ourselves for the will and the commitment to do a little bit better next year. I think she missed the point.

Willa Litvack, Calgary

Sellouts to sold out

Wayne Gretzky should be pushing glucosamine instead of Tylenol (“A star for team arthritis,” Health, Sept. 27). I was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hips and lower back. I was a ballet dancer for many years and have always continued strenuous exercise in one form or another. You can imagine my dismay when almost overnight my hips became so bad that after sitting in a car for two hours I’d have to shuffle stiffly for a few yards before I could move with my former balletic grace.

My doctor prescribed Aspirin. I don’t like drugs. I informed myself with books and self-prescribed glucosamine sulfate, which rebuilds cartilage and is readily available. After just one month, I’m back to my strenuous exercise with only a mere hint of stiffness in the morning. Tell Gretzky to try glucosamine for Great results.

Joanna Gosse, St. John’s, Nfld.

Wayne Gretzky’s games were sellouts in hockey, but sadly now he has sold out. If he truly was suffering from osteoarthritis, he would be devoting time and money to finding a cure rather than filling his already overflowing coffers with the profits from desperate arthritis sufferers. Perhaps Gretzky should study up on a true Canadian hero—Terry Fox.

Wayne Alexander, Markham, Ont.