The Mail

May 10 1999

The Mail

May 10 1999

The Mail


Hockey’s greatest

Congratulations on a very fitting tribute to Wayne Gretzky (“The Great One,” Cover, April 26). There are not enough superlatives to describe both the player and the man. He demonstrated that hockey greatness requires highly developed skills, not slashing, grabbing and other goon-like activities. Unfortunately, too few other players learned that lesson and hockey in Canada is poorer for it.

Alistair Hensler, Nepean, Ont.

Gretzky is, without a doubt, the greatest hockey player in North America, if not the world. However, lost in the hype is the fact that he was not a surgeon, nor did he invent a new way to save lives. He was a hockey player. He has been more than amply compensated for his efforts and is, after all, one of the original reasons the average person cannot afford to attend an NHL hockey game.

R. F. Irwin, Victoria

Now that Wayne has retired and Pamela Anderson Lee reduced to a mere mortal (“A curvaceous Canadian downsized her chief assets,” Opening Notes, April 26), where will our next hero come from?

Chuck Benson, Summerland, B.C.

‘Vietnam, or worse?’

Canada’s world reputation as a peacekeeper has been severely compromised by subjecting our national purpose to NATO, the leaders of which are proving to be remarkably inept (“The front line,” World, April 26). Without the Cold War to justify its existence, is NATO trying to reinvent itself as a world police force? Is it attempting to reignite hostilities with Russia? Or could it be that the whole thing is being orchestrated by the munitions industry? It took an act of Parliament to go to war against Germany, but the five parties in our current government returned from their vacation and nodded their heads in agreement at the abandonment of our peacekeeping role. Are we ready, on NATO’s say-so, to engage in a protracted war that could parallel Vietnam—or worse?

Allen Nelson, Thunder Bay, Ont.

With each successive article that I read, I can’t help cringing at all the military details they contain. No one knows where or how far this unhappy situation

Letters to the Editor

Should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters 777 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 and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear in Maclean's electronic sites.

Painful memories

I sympathize with Peter C. Newman (“Horrific reminders of my days as a refugee,” The Nation’s Business, April 19). At the age of 10, I, too, was a refugee at the end of the Second World War, not in Prague, but in Berlin. I was a German child, so I was at the other side of that war. No matter what side of the fighting or bombing people are on, the images, hardship and danger of that time stay with you for the rest of your life. Seeing all this fighting on TV is unbearably painful and I feel shellshocked all over again watching these tragic scenes. That this is happening again is mind-boggling.

Marghote Behrensen, Vernon, B.C.

is going to lead us, but by publicly airing our soul-searching are we not doing our military a disservice? Heck, if Slobodan Milosevic gets real lucky CNN will tell him when and where the first truckload of ground troops is due.

Andrew Lucock, St. Catherines, P.E.I.

The good in man

Ralph Peters’ Essay on the Millennium titled “The future of war” (April 26) is correct about the role the West must play in ensuring a peaceable world, namely forceful intervention against power-hungry warlords. Unfortunately, beyond all the highly charged, dramatic language, Peters makes a serious mistake. He states that “we in the West have taken refuge in the utterly irrational conclusion that mankind is fundamentally good.... In the next century, we will learn otherwise.” The idea that humans are fundamentally good, cooperative beings who seek to live and let live is not a delusion. No, instead it is a philosophical view of man that is the rational basis of individual freedoms (in politics), and capitalism (in economics). Furthermore, it is upon this view of man that the West gains its moral authority in conflicts against the so called butchers. Peters is undermining (dare I say unknowingly?) the philosophical foundations of the very system he is trying to defend. If one is left alarmed and confused from reading Peters’ essay, that is because it is alarming and confusing. Ashley Mascarenas, Toronto

Taxable benefits

I was delighted to learn from columnist Charles Gordon about “The myth of Canadas tax hell” (Another View, April 26). Am I to assume that the 30-per-cent more tax I pay in Canada than I would in the United States is a myth? The tax hell, which our Liberal government continues to defend, destroys jobs and economic growth. All Canadians suffer the cost of these policies, through lower incomes and decreased opportunities for themselves and their children. The loss of every trained and talented individual from Canada weakens our economic vitality. This ultimately destroys the economic base for delivering health care and other goodies of the “nanny state.” Apparently, Finance Minister Paul Martin says Canadians prefer health care to tax cuts. The trade-off is not tax cuts versus health care; it is tax cuts versus economic stagnation.

Gordon Brain, St. George, Ont.

Charles Gordon’s is a voice of common sense in the Canadian tax debate. People in this country don’t seem to realize where their quality of life comes from. If we don’t want to pay through the nose for every service we require, every time we require it, taxes are a reasonable alternative. Ironically, the sectors of our society that have benefited most from the system seem to be the biggest complainers. If one economist or conservative editorial writer can exhibit a tangible, indispensible contribution that they make to society that has been hindered by our tax system, I will be very surprised.

Jeff Warkentin, Leoville, Sask.

A non-racist future

1 read with interest the article addressing the kidnapping of native children. (“Canada’s ‘genocide,’ ” Justice, April 26). It is right for us to be outraged, but let us place the article’s points in the

proper context. It is clear that Canada was born and grew as a racist state. There were many victims and few hands are clean. Let the report on native children be part of a national effort to end the lies about our past, atone for our crimes, celebrate our progress and dedicate ourselves to a non-racist future. All of our children are worth the effort.

John Boyko, Lakefield, Ont.

In the mid-1970s, I was briefly the Yukon territorial government’s executive member responsible for health, welfare and corrections. It was a shock to me at one session when an aggressive woman verbally abused our social worker for making arrangements to move a native child to a home outside the aboriginal community, then backed down when asked if she could come up with a foster home in the native community. To my knowledge, children adopted by a number of white Yukon parents were not abused, but given the same care and opportunities as their own youngsters. On the other hand, one sad memory remains with me of a teenager who had been a foster child for several years with a prominent native family. On the day in family court when the final step in the adoption process was to be taken, the foster parents learned, apparently for the first time, that as adoptive parents they would no longer receive payment for foster care. Incredibly, they walked out on the boy. Please don’t tar everyone with the same brush.

Florence E. Whyard, Whitehorse

A fitting retort

Allan Fotheringham need not worry about what to do about his “employee,” assistant deputy finance minister Susan

d’Aquino, calling him a “f--g son of

a bitch” (“What’s a scribbler to do when a subject hits back?” April 26). I think he has taken care of it quite neatly by sharing it with readers from coast to coast. Peggy Moxon, Perth, Ont.