The Mail

October 25 1999

The Mail

October 25 1999

The Mail


The Onex bid

Thanks for showing us what a smug and sly guy Gerry Schwartz is. You may not have intended it, but it came out between the lines (“Gerry Schwartz,” Cover, Oct 11). Let’s hope that Schwartz loses his “fight of a lifetime.” He “needs” Air Canada in the same way that a child needs a toy car or a Barbie doll. To call his Monopoly-playing the fight of a lifetime is a bitter insult to all those who have truly lived through such a struggle.

Thomas Abray, Outremont, Que.

It seemed to me that your article was little more than a ploy to soften Gerry Schwartz’s image in the eyes of the public. But the picture of Schwartz seated fireside in his comfortable sweater with his sincere, reassuring smile did little to

allay my fears. Schwartz said that acquiring and merging Canadian Airlines International Ltd. and Air Canada is not about money. It would be the big high-profile merger that Onex Corp. needs to make it a household name. This may be true. But as the majority of the financing is coming from south of the border, namely from American Airlines’ parent company, AMR Corp. of Dallas, they are the ones calling the shots. Schwartz and his Onex Corp. are just the Canadian front men. It definitely is about more than money. It is about the transfer of control of our Canadian airline industry and jobs to the United States.

Doug Gilbart, Barrie, Ont.

In the midst of all the paranoia of the possible forthcoming Air Canada/Canadian Airlines merger, one of the published fears is that the new airline would hold a monopoly over Canadian travellers. This is absolute hogwash. On international routes, Air Transat and Canada 3000 already have I lower rates. And what about all the other airlines that fly into Canada? Domestically, there is already plenty of competition from the likes of Westjet. This particular fear is just simply unfounded.

Mark Orge, Co-ordinator, Properties and Facilities, Canadian Regional Airlines, Calgary

Irony upon irony

I was enjoying Charles Gordon’s commentary on irony in the media until he did the very thing he was critically commenting on (“When irony becomes cynicism,” Oct. 11). As he said, one can get “tired of the automatic mocking of anybody who actually cares about anything.” So why did he choose

to mock, in almost the next breath, western Canadians who voted for, and elected to Parliament, Reform party members? Frankly, I am tired of the constant eastern Establishment mocking of western Canadians like myself who believe in and elected Reform party members. Does Gordon really feel that those Canadians—albeit mostly western Canadians—who believe in what Reform stands for don’t actually care much about anything? And because a majority voted for the Reform party out west in the last election, does that mean that westerners are mostly unintelligent as well as uncaring? Central Canadians like Gordon might wonder why there is a sense of estrangement in the West. His Reform party comment and the cynical, narrow-minded and anti-western thinking it reflects is one of the reasons why.

Marvin Croswell, Duncan, B.C.

Families and the law

I appreciated the thought-provoking issues raised in addressing the question: who is responsible for a five-year-old’s death on his bike (“Parental duties and the law,” Families, Oct. 4)? But I must take exception to the comments of Robert Glossop, executive director of programs and research at the Ottawa-based Vanier Institute of the Family. In one breath, Glossop boldly states that “we can’t let parents off the hook,” and then with the next—characterizing criminal sanctions as “a very severe response”—he essentially absolves parents of responsibility for the negative consequences of not parenting. Perhaps if government were to cease protecting parents from parenting by not providing such “services” as funding for day care and sex education in schools, our families would find the identity and cohesion that can only come when a child regards a parent as life-giver, provider, exemplar and educator. Such expectations are enormous but absolutely required to ensure the endurance and sanctity of the family in our society. Robert Morris, Calgary

Letters to the Editor

should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters 111 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, style and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear in Maclean's electronic sites. E-mail queries about subscriptions or delivery problems should be addressed to: service@macleans.ca

Change the anthem?

Letter writer Peter Stursberg urges a change in our national anthem to amend the wording “our home and native land” to include foreign-born Canadians (“Clarkson as GG,” The Mail, Oct. 4). I urge another change, specifically, to take out the words “thy sons,” which effectively excludes more than 50 per cent of the population, and substitute “of us.” These simple changes would include many more Canadians, whether foreign-born or female or both.

Marian Pocock, Vancouver

Peter Stursberg hopes the first act of Adrienne Clarkson as Governor General will be to have the national anthem rewritten to appease the 13-per-cent of foreign-born Canadians. What about the 87 per cent of Canadians for whom Canada is their “home and native land”? Shouldn’t the anthem be relevant to the majority of the population? When I immigrated to Canada from

England 30 years ago, I did not expect Canadas institutions to be changed to suit my preferences.

Kevin Byrne, Hanna, Alta.

If Adrienne Clarkson, as Canadas new Governor General, gets around to ordering an update of our anthem’s words, may I point out that the “thy” and “thees” are hopelessly out of date— unless that be how thou plannest to speak in the new century.

Kail Wahl, Waterloo, Ont.

Adrienne Clarkson’s appointment as Governor General is pregnant with possibilities that can only be enhanced due to her relationship with longtime companion John Ralston Saul (“Adrienne’s Ottawa,” Special Report, Sept. 20). Isn’t it deplorable that they had to be wed before sleeping in Rideau Hall? And that just such a precondition was

also applied to predecessor Roméo LeBlanc? Is it really necessary that a candidate for the position of Governor General be superimposed on the procrustean bed of marriage? Does this step, the result of so-called gentle hints, really support either institution? Besides, what is to be done when a k.d. lang or a Laurier LaPierre is the candidate for the position, because (at least at this time) marriage is precluded for gay persons? By the time a prominent gay is a candidate, hopefully there will be a united alternative.

Rev. Eldon Hay, Sackvllle, N.B.

One is not sure why the appointment of Adrienne Clarkson as Her Majesty’s Governor General of Canada should involve her husband at all; he has been appointed to nothing, and any comments John Ralston Saul makes will only represent his own thoughts, while

those of the governor general should represent the thoughts, and wishes, of the majority of Canadians who love and respect this most fortunate country. Canada expects good, wise, elegant, stylish representation from Clarkson as she represents the Queen of Canada in her viceregal role. From her husband, Canadians expect merely his support of her in the task she has undertaken. Robert F. Marsters, Hantsport, N.S.

Double threat

When Diana Krall hit the streets in 1993 with her first CD, Stepping Out, she faced a routine question of whether she thought of herself as a singer who could play piano or a pianist who could sing. Invariably, she chose the latter. Her keyboards are incomparable. It’s clear, too, that she can sing. Her talent is something far more than the simple dichotomy the earlier choice gave her. She is a jazz artist (“Sweet seduction,” Cover, Sept. 13).

Layne Marshal, Campbell River, B.C.

Pursuing dreams

As a special education teacher and one with a learning disability, I was very pleased to read your article about hardworking learning-disabled students (“Giving the learning disabled a head start,” Education, Sept. 13). I’m glad your story attempted to capture how hard these students study and their determination to achieve. Hopefully, it will encourage many learning-disabled students to pursue their dreams of a postsecondary education.

A. Wayne McFarlane, Cobourg, Ont.

‘Fear as a mandate’

Allan Fotheringham writes about the justice system in Texas, the state now governed by George W. Bush

(“Getting to know George W,” Sept. 27). Fotheringham makes much of the presidential hopeful’s platform of “compassionate conservatism,” and notes that his record on crime issues in anything but. I remember when a Scottish business traveller seeking assistance rang a doorbell in an affluent Houston suburb. He was shot dead by the homeowner. The police would not lay charges and a grand jury concluded that the homeowner’s actions were entirely justified. No, George W. did not invent compassionate conservatism. He’s just dancing with those that brung him. Bruce Arculus, Port Perry, Ont.

“Getting to know George W” could have been titled “The man who should not be president.” What puzzles me is that the American people would even consider him as the leader of their country. Cunningly, he has instilled in

Texans fear of crime, and fostered mistrust and ignorance, allowing him to take control. Great material for fiction, but sadly it is reality.

Anne Watson, Belgrave, Ont.

Unfinished business

Anthony Wilson-Smith noted that economist John Kenneth Galbraith, in a recent speech, identified “mankinds greatest challenges” as “the growing number of desperately poor people and the need to eliminate nuclear weapons,” and furthermore that, according to Galbraith, we are now “on the edge of a total end to civilized existence on the planet, perhaps life itselP’ (“Lunch with John Galbraith,” Backstage, Sept. 20). On the world stage, Canadians have made a convincing effort to reduce and eliminate the nuclear threat and other dangerous weapons, such as land mines; however, the desperate poor can be found by the growing thousands. We can no longer turn our backs on the poor. If we cannot adequately and honestly face the challenge of poverty in one of the worlds most affluent countries, then as Galbraith suggests, what hope is there for the world and the future of our children?

Brian MacKinnon, Winnipeg

No doubt John Kenneth Galbraith would be amused to read Rev. Lindsay G. King describing him as a socialist (“A rich socialist,” The Mail, Oct. 4). King says that Galbraith is a hypocrite because, despite being rich and therefore a beneficiary of capitalism, he expresses left-wing economic opinions. Doesn’t this logic make King a hypocrite as well, because, although he is poor, he supports capitalism? King says that “wealthy socialists give me a pain.” Does this mean that he approves of poor socialists? King should not be so cynical as to assume that it is necessarily self-serving for people to identify with, or express empathy for, those less fortunate than themselves.

Mark Marshall, Ottawa

Windsor’s riverfront

The Casino Windsor slogan has always stated: “We put the win in Windsor.” The casino never has been a “win” for the citizens of the city. It has always been about bringing more Americans into the city. Walk through the casino at any hour and you will swear you have entered into a “Little America.” Indeed, the casino has brought positives in the form of new jobs and increased tourism, all of which in turn have revitalized the downtown. But for how long? Will they keep coming with gambling now available right in their own backyard? The riverfront development project shows me that Windsor is finally planning for the future (“Splendour in the grass,” Letter from Windsor, Oct. 11). This project is truly for Windsorites, for the long term. Now, that’s a winning formula.

Donald Rikley, London, Ont.

The film industry

Why is it that I sense a lack of confidence in your Special Report “Northern exposure” (Oct. 11)? There is nothing to feel uneasy or have bad conscience about, just because important U.S. film producers are preferring Canada’s studios and crews. This is something good: for once, Canada is beating the “big guys” and globalization is benefiting the weaker economy. If U.S. producers are preferring Canada for their projects, it’s not because Canadians are “nice”; it’s because they know their jobs, do them well and are cheaper than Californians. So, to hell with Hollywood protest rallies. Keep Canadian film folks on the move.

Ingo Niehaus, Mississauga, Ont.

Parties or leaders?

Maclean’s may claim to be Canada’s newsmagazine, but its recent coverage of the Manitoba elections was American all the way, with its main focus on individuals, not on political parties (“Doer does it,” Canada, Oct. 4). For the record, it was the New Democratic Party that did

it: Manitobans did not elect Gary Doer (except those who actually live in his constituency). They elected the party he leads, rejecting the Conservatives and ignoring the Liberals. The issue here goes far beyond semantics. Our entire system of parliamentary democracy is based on political parties—Canadians choose the party it wants to govern, whose leader then forms a government. Our systems allows us to vote for a party whose policies and practices we know, rather than an individual who we know little about.

John Hutton, Recife, Brazil

A child’s death

If, indeed, the Shaws were criminally negligent with their young son, who was killed while playing in a back alley by a reversing van (“Parental duties and the law,” Families, Oct. 4), steps should have been taken by authorities to prevent the accident before the tragic death of their son. Charging them after the fact not only defeats the purpose, but compounds the tragedy, and in my opinion renders the police just as responsible as the parents. My heart goes out to the Shaws who seem to be victims of a very brutal and callous system. Donna-Marie Morris, Fraser Lake, B.C.

‘Born in Canada’

The inane statement “We are all

from somewhere else” has once again appeared in a letter as if it somehow justified illegal immigration (“ ‘A receptive nation,’ ” The Mail, Oct. 4). For one thing, it isn’t true. I am not an immigrant. I was born in Canada and so were millions of others. Sure, my ancestors came from somewhere else, but in all the wide world is there anyone whose ancestors did not? To say our ancestors were immigrants is about as morally significant as saying they had two feet. Each society in its own generation determines its policies in morality and politics.

Clifford J. Williams, Toronto