The Mail

The Mail

July 5 1999
The Mail

The Mail

July 5 1999

The Mail

Enduring the spotlight

Someday, I hope the question people ask about public figures and media attention will change from “Can Edward and Sophie survive the spotlight?” to “Should anyone have to endure such a spotlight?” (“The royal question,” Cover, J une 21). Diana, Princess of Wales, called the paparazzi’s camera flashing “face rape.” The time has come for laws protecting a public person’s right to some privacy. Public personalities who are stalked, harassed, chased, slandered and abused by unethical media should be given more clearly defined protection.

M. E. Lang Collura, Campbell River, B.C.

When are we going to shed our colonial past? After a week in which the war in Kosovo has ended and where New Brunswick now has one of the youngest premiers in history, you feel justified in giving your cover story to a member of that inbred anachronism also known as the Royal Family.

John Merzetti, Vancouver

Surely “The royal question” ought to be: how long must we wait till this country rids itself of a foreign head of state and installs an institution that all Canadians, regardless of ethnic background, can identify with equally? Vive la République canadienne!

René Boeré, Lethbridge, Alta.

Letters to the Editor

should be addressed to:

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Sports reporting

Congratulations on your article about Canada’s women’s soccer team, which never once uses the words feisty or spunky (“World of possibilities,” Sports, June 21). Further, the athletes’ uniforms, personal grooming habits, ages, heights and weights are not mentioned—just straightforward reporting of the issues facing this growing sport. Very refreshing, and I hope, a harbinger of things to come.

Evelyn Saungikar, Toronto

Crime and punishment

So Stephen Reid robs more than 140 banks, a sum total of thousands of terrorized folks forced to stare up the business end of a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun—loaded with flesh-ripping, bone-disintegrating double-ought buck —not knowing if they would survive the next few moments (“The jackrabbit

Arthur Hailey responds

I object strongly to being referred to prominently in your article “The tax dodgers,” and especially in the same sentence as “Bre-X infamy” (Canada/ Cover, June 14). My wife, Sheila, and I are not “tax dodgers”—a description that the article’s thrust implies as discreditable and dishonest. The literal and accepted meaning of “tax dodger” is an individual who fails to pay what he or she legitimately owes to a particular government. fdowever, during the Haileys’ 30 years as official permanent residents of the Bahamas, we have at no time been in that category.

Arthur Hailey, Lyford Cay, Nassau, Bahamas

stumbles,” Canada, June 21). The justice system hands him 14 years in those country-club, high-service institutions that replaced penitentiaries. While there, he manages to escape three times, marry a beautiful literary icon and subsequently write a thriller detailing his exploits. The authorities then place him back on the street. When shall it be time for accountability? When will we take steps to indict judges, guards and parole boards for creating a hazardous climate in this nation? When do we begin teaching young people that crime, indeed, carries painful burdens for the felon? And not merely for the victims? D. Grant DeMan, Royston, B.C.

Liberating France

Anthony Wilson-Smith’s excellent column “Memories of D-Day” has a quote from historian Jack Granatstein about the French doing little to acknowledge Canada’s role in the Second World War (Backstage, June 14). Having spent four years as minister at the Canadian Embassy in Paris, and having participated in commemoration ceremonies across Brittany, Normandy, Dieppe and the north (Vimy Ridge and Beaumont Hamel), I was always surprised and moved at the numbers of French people who participated in these events. Canadian flags are omnipresent throughout Normandy, which was in large part liberated by Canadian troops, and each little village that was liberated holds an annual ceremony. Many French people

The Mail

told me that if it was not for the sacrifices of our soldiers they would be speaking German. I often had the impression that the French knew more about our role and the sacrifices made by our troops than many Canadians.

John J. Noble, Ambassador to Switzerland, Bern

Tax troubles

Those Canadians who criticize others who “shelter” their assets offshore as well as criticize fiscally responsible premiers like Ontario’s Mike Harris and Ralph Klein of Alberta should look at the fundamental reasons why tax avoidance is increasing and why so many overtaxed Canadians support Klein and Harris. While we continue to have an arrogant, socialist-style, grossly obese and spendthrift federal government, Canada will not have any chance to effectively improve its GDP and lower both its excessive taxes and chronic eight-per-cent unemployment rate.

Bob Tarplett, North Vancouver

Your incisive articles on the Canadian middle-class penchant for tax havens make my hair stand on end. Even if these people are not evading taxes, but rather using tax loopholes to set up phoney companies in order to reduce their contribution to society, why are they seeking to undermine the very system that accounts for their own prosperity?

Stefa Shaler, Vancouver

Canadian culture

It seems Canadian nationalist Charles Gordon, in his urging of his fellow Canadians to embrace Canadian culture, is asking people to judge if something is worth seeing by it being Canadian or not (“In the Canadian way,” June 21). Heaven forbid that we should judge something by other criteria, such as talent, merit and entertainment value. It has been shown that Canadians will be interested in Canadian culture, but only

as long as it’s appealing to them. Ask yourselves why Canadians seem interested in “American blandness” more often than in Canadian culture.

Keith Bailey, Victoria

The famous Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Hossain Danesh recendy stated that television—far removed from the educational systems of our past—is the educational system we have today, leaving little if any spiritual input in our lives, and that people are starved for this. We’re growing up to be little more than consumers of goods and services—zombies with less and less ballast, doing what we’re told to do by the corporations. With each passing generation, more and more of the influences that nourished us—nature, music, literature, art, drama, religion, amateur sports—are brushed aside in the rush from the TV set to the shopping mall. Hopefully, the growing trend towards spirituality will change this direction, and more wholesome, better-balanced, more satisfying values will ensue. Catherine M. Draper, Victoria

Controversial closure

A decision to close the Victoria Creek Youth Ranch was made following a number of reports, from a variety of sources, alleging serious concerns about the quality of care provided to youth over the 12-year period of the ranch’s operation (“Trouble on the ranch,” Canada/Focus B.C., April 12). After community concern began to grow following the closure of the ranch, Ross Dawson, director of child protection for British Columbia, called for an independent review of the ministry’s decision. Dr. Brenda McCreight conducted the review and her findings clearly supported the ministry’s decision to close the home. The operators of the ranch were advised by ministry staff of their right to appeal the closure of the home and they declined.

Lois Boone, Minister for Children and Families, Victoria

The Mail

Rushdie’s fatwa

It is unfortunate and irritating that virtually every article about author Salman Rushdie, including yours, has failed to mention that no self-respecting Muslim takes the so-called fatwa seriously (“The revival of Salman Rushdie,” Publishing, May 24). The only people who seem to delight in keeping this issue alive are those who are out to prove Islam is an intolerant and militant religion. Many Canadian Muslims have always felt the greatest harm inflicted upon Islam by the fatwa was to reduce the rich and enduring Islamic civilization to a petty conflict over an egocentric writer and his mediocre book. The fatwa played into the hands of profitmaximizing publishers, and the very people who were looking for any excuse to attack Islam and undermine its intrinsic respect for freedom of thought.

Ibrahim Hayani, director, Muslim Educational Institute of Ontario, Unionvllle, Ont.

Magazine protection

As a strong believer in the notion that the production of printed material is indeed a cultural industry, I felt compelled to comment about the latest sellout by the Chrétien government to our big, bad cousins to the south (“A run for the money,” Business, June 7). I will continue to flex my muscles as a voter and consumer. Next election, as all previous elections, will find me voting for any alternative to the Liberals, and I will never spend a cent on U.S.-based split-run, or otherwise, publications. I invite likeminded Canadians to do the same. Melanie Beson, Toronto

What really angers me about the magazine debacle is that Canadian culture and magazines are not and never have been protected under either the FTA or NAFTA. As much as I admire Heritage Minister Sheila Copps’s chutzpah, this is an example of shutting the barn door after the horses are out. It is a thinly disguised public relations damagecontrol effort.

LeeAnn Knutson, Erickson, Man.