The Mail

The Mail

December 6 1999
The Mail

The Mail

December 6 1999

The Mail

Signing Gretzky

In the very short time since he retired from hockey, where he was known as the Great One for the many records he holds as a super hockey player, Wayne Gretzky is seemingly on a supersonic pace to set new records in the commercial world of advertising (“Wayne’s new world,” Cover, Nov. 22). Not showing any particular talent in these commer-

cials, but being handsomely remunerated for them, I suggest we now refer to him as the Greedy One.

Wayne Moran, Kanata, Ont.

Congratulations on a diplomatic article exploring the industry that is Wayne Gretzky. It is difficult to speak against a national hero who has found time for many good causes while main-

taining an unprecedented humility. However, Gretzky should be careful about what products he endorses. I was lucky enough to have been given, in 1979, a Titan-brand hockey stick. I was 8, running up the steps of the hockey arena to show my acquisition to my teammates. “Its the stick Wayne Gretzky plays with!” Not only did I believe it was the best stick on the market, I was certain it would make me play a better game of hockey. In 1999, only the products have changed. Recently, I watched a group of eight-year-old children at Gretzky’s restaurant in Toronto. They were wide-eyed and exhilarated and most had No. 99 proudly displayed on their backs. I wonder if one of them might run up the steps of their local arena with a bottle of Tylenol in one hand and a Bud Light in the other? Jason Gileno, Toronto

I admire Wayne Gretzky and wish him good fortune. He is more than welcome to all the booty he can accumulate through product endorsements and other enterprises. However, he risks losing his credibility and image of integrity when he endorses a product by associating his pain with arthritis when, in your words, “he has never been so diagnosed. ” My opinion of Gretzky has been lowered a notch or two because of his Tylenol ads. They trivialize what is for many a very debilitating disease.

Jack M. Riley, North Saanich, B.C.

1 was appalled to read that Canadians were criticizing Wayne Gretzky for his post-retirement endorsements. Gretzky is the epitome of class and he has done more for this country than we can ever imagine. I am proud to say I am Canadian when I see how highly he is regarded around the world. Why would we criticize him for his efforts, particularly those that benefit charities

and other good causes? Would we criticize others for earning a living to support their families and their lifestyle? Certainly not. Let’s be proud of Gretzky and continue to admire him off the ice, as we did when he was on it.

Sonia Boyle, Stoney Creek, Ont.

Nyah, nyah

Allan Fotheringham begins his column by lamenting the absence of standards and then demonstrates his thesis with a decidedly substandard rant (“Leaders without principles,” Nov. 22). He gives an incorrect definition of responsible government, accuses our government of being absolutely powerful and absolutely corrupt, and makes unfounded generalizations about several national airlines. What is most infuriating is his infantile name-calling (twit, moron, silly-ass) and the sweeping half-truths that sound like beer talk at a postgame watering hole. Fotheringham and Don Cherry, both inexplicably provided with national stages, are living, loud-mouthed testimony to the sad fact that rude, offensive commentary is condoned and rewarded.

Brian Ryan, Halfmoon Bay, B.C.

Allan Fotheringham suggests David Collenette “obviously was hiding behind the door when they passed the brains out.” I doubt if he was even in the building, but it is of litde consequence. Brains

Labour dot calm

I was really excited when I read “Online mediation” (Opening Notes, Nov. 22). The description of insurance claim settlements facilitated by struck me as exacdy the type of collective bargaining tool needed for the settlement of labour disputes. Too often the consequences of labour disputes reach far beyond the participants and seriously impact a great many innocent people. If a service such as this does indeed “cut out the posturing and allow both parties to get down to business,” my only question is: how soon can it be online? Ingrid Strauss, Victoria

Letters to the Editor

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and principles are not a prerequisite of being a Chrétien toady. The main attribute is to abandon your principles and toe the line. Obviously, there must be some discipline in a political party, but there should be some room for an MP’s principles and conscience. Chrétien cannot abide either. He abhors the free vote and coerces MPs to vote his way, examples being the hepatitis C compensation bill, and Bill C-68 on gun control. A quote by consumer advocate Ralph Nader comes to mind, which Chrétien would obviously disagree with: “I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”

Donald W. Cofell, Stirling, Ont.

Powered in Canada

The promise of environmentally friendly cars (“Lean, green driving machines,” Opening Notes, Nov. 22) is an exciting prospect. But your story fails to mention that the Ford fuel-cell vehicles will be powered by a marvellous made-in-Canada technology, the Ballard fuel cell. Ford spent $300 million to buy a 15-per-cent share in Ballard Power Systems Ltd., based in Burnaby, B.C. DaimlerChrysler AG has a 20-per-cent share in Ballard and also plans to put Ballard fuel-cell cars on the roads of California by 2004. It is probably the greatest Canadian business, technology and environmental success story of our time. Tom Koppel, Saltspring Island, B.C.

Lords elected

So British Prime Minister Tony Blair is putting most of the 759 hereditary old codgers out to grass as part of his new, reformed House of Lords (“Lords a-leaving,” World, Nov. 22). The real problem for the Brits is who will replace them? If Blair is thinking about appointing his own political hacks and left-wing nuts to the upper chamber, then he had better look to Canadas Senate to see what an unmitigated disaster that would be for the British people.

Shame really, 800 years of a country’s history gone for political expediency. Some of those old boys had more common sense than the whole government front bench put together. Perhaps the hereditary lords will have the last laugh after all if the Royal Commission on the Reform of the House of Lords pushes the proposal for some sort of semielected/semi-appointed upper chamber with substantial powers to deal with major issues. At least it will be a move in the right direction (towards a fully elected upper chamber in Britain) that will also finally force Canada’s politicians to take the necessary step to a Triple-E Senate, as Canada will be one of the last countries in the industrial world to have a politically appointed upper house. Robert Tarplett, Kitchener, Ont.

Man’s evolution

Somewhere between the opposable thumb and the invention of the wheel, mankind took a wrong turn. I believe this was a mutation that made us human beings, removed us from our true nature, our animal nature, and alienated us from the rest of the natural world. No other creature on earth knowingly destroys its environment and its life-support systems. One small computer programming oversight 30 years ago, the Y2K problem, overlooked in the lucrative carelessness of rapid change and technological advancement, threatens to annihilate our modern toys and grind our society to a halt (“Millennium countdown,” Cover, Nov. 1). It is the red flag signalling we have gone too far too fast without considering the repercussions of our actions and the intricacies and interconnectedness of our natural, technological and spiritual worlds. Just maybe this millennium bug will cause us to pause for a moment, perhaps long enough to re-examine our true role and place on earth. Only when man does this will he have respected his true nature and realized the value of committing to a more measured and cautious approach to his own evolution.

Bev Richmond, Hillier, Ont.