The Mail

The Mail

October 30 2000
The Mail

The Mail

October 30 2000

The Mail

Trudeau’s politics

The cover showing Justin Trudeau, head bowed, holding a handkerchief and a red rose, was very moving (“After the tears,” Cover, Oct. 16). The young Trudeau did grip us as he eulogized his father, even if his words seemed at times a little too rehearsed and theatrical. Some of the pundits claim he may be ready for political life, but it hardly seems likely in such a soulful, tender man. Justin, in his eloquence, is his father’s son, but in many ways is his mother’s son, too.

Anne Zamolo, Wawa, Ont.

Where else but in Canada could we have had at the funeral service of a for-

mer prime minister his exwife and sons, his former mistress and daughter, recognition of all the children by the priest and a eulogizer, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro beside former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, the Aga Khan, poet Leonard Cohen and some previous girlfriends among

many other friends, family and dignitaries. I was so impressed by the tastefulness and dignity of the Canadian press coverage. Fast-forward to later that night and the U.S. presidential debate where we were treated yet again to oblique references to sexual exploits in the Oval

Office. Canada just the 51st state? I think not. The differences are simply too fundamental and they begin with class. Kathleen Glynn-Morris, West Vancouver

Hats off to Marni Jackson for drawing attention to the enormous increase in Canada’s cultural capital (to use market vocabulary, without which nothing is comprehensible these days) that came as a result of Pierre Trudeau’s cultural politics (“Trudeau’s cultural legacy,” Cover, Oct. 16). In 1971, a group of us in Toronto were crazy enough to think we could start a professional Frenchlanguage theatre, and in 1972-1973, a local initiative project (LIP) grant allowed us to start operating. The Théâtre français de Toronto is still thriving,

visited regularly by a great mix of francophones and anglophones, French schools, many of which would have been quietly encouraged to drop dead had it not been for the sea change in language politics, and by immersion schools, another cultural invention of the time. Looking back,

I daresay the cultural investment stimulated by Trudeau has paid off far better than many other common-sense, money-making schemes that would have left us comfortably lifeless and spiritually broke.

John Van Burek, Toronto

Pierre Trudeau was a great man with many flaws, but perhaps his contradictions mimicked our own. We are a country obsessed with national identity and struggling with the direction of our economic policy. Those themes have really not changed much. I am 36, old enough to remember the debate he sparked. Yes, he alienated the West and fumbled with tricky economic ideas,

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Three faces of Jean I commend Anthony WilsonSmith for his revelation of Jean Chrétiens evil twin, but unfortunately he missed the fact that there are really triplet Chrétiens (“Meet Chrétiens evil twin,” Oct. 16). Wilson-Smith correctly identified the Chrétien we all once liked and admired, and his arrogant, dictatorial brother, but he somehow overlooked the buffoon triplet. It is that thoughdess doofus who makes the PM’s foreign jaunts, who communes with phantom street people, who punches out critics, who renames mountains for his friends. To avoid further extending the humiliation and embarrassment felt by all Canadians at these silly antics, Chrétiens colleagues and friends should persuade him to commit that brother to an asylum. Jim McWilliams, Surrey, B.C.

but he tried new things and even failed with style. I am now living in the United States and I was surprised to see my local Memphis paper carry a brief editorial on his passing, and a friend at work kindly offered condolences on his death. When Trudeau was our PM, for better or worse, other countries noticed and acknowledged us. Can any foreigner name our current PM or any others?

Paula Langley, Memphis, Tenn.

I admired and supported Pierre Trudeau and was confident of his ability to joust with any world leader. But I have never quite forgiven him for not vesting Canada’s sovereignty in the Canadian people at the time that he brought the amending power of the British North America Act home. Do I have any hope that Trudeau’s pseudodisciple, Jean Chrétien, will empower the citizens of Canada with the sovereignty of Canada? None.

Sean O’Ceallaigh, Vancouver

The press, for some reason, is trying to make Pierre Trudeau out to be something that he wasn’t. A statesman? A visionary? I don’t think so. He was an arrogant, egotistical man and a lousy

prime minister as well. If they want to name something after him (“Getting the axe,” Overture, Oct. 16), make it the lowest point in Canada because that’s where we were under his so-called leadership.

Bill Hubbs, Port Hope, Ont.

Why the immense resistance to the words Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau? If memory serves, legions of the world’s most alluring women appeared to think it was a great idea.

Thomas Curran, Gloucester, Ont.

Taking Stock

Surprise! It has taken Stockwell Day and the Canadian Alliance only about six months to figure out that their flat tax is a tad too expensive (“On your mark,” Canada, Oct. 16). He must have had their best mind working on it. Rather than accuse Day of political opportunism in his sudden change of policy so close to an election, I’d simply like to ask why, with his party’s obvious level of math skills, Canadians should believe any of his other financial forecasts and promises.

Gary P. James, Edmonton

I am not sure how to react to Ruth Reid’s letter praising the Canadian Alliance and Claire Hoy (“Politics and religion,” The Mail, Oct. 2). She says what many Canadians have always suspected in her statement that the Alliance has “strongly stated views counter to such issues as all religions being of equal value.” Of course, Stockwell Day will deny such a position, but I think that most Canadians are suspicious of the real feelings of the Alliance and further are not fooled by the use of token minority candidates.

Allan Garber, Thornhill, Ont.

In stating that there is “a paradox in supposed lovers of Jesus promoting the death penalty and gun ownership,” letter writer Walker Pautz struck close

to where I live. The Alliance supports I those honest taxpaying citizens, of whom I am one, who pursue and enjoy shooting sports—a healthful, legal outdoor activity that leads us to explore otherwise unseen backcountry areas. The Alliance, while taking a strong stance against people who use guns criminally, defends the long-standing j rights of non-criminals to be free of ar| bitrary, expensive, restrictive, intrusive and confiscatory laws that threaten criminal prosecution and lengthy terms j of imprisonment for anything less | than full compliance. This certainly does not constitute promotion of gun ownership.

Gordon Payne, Comox, B.C.

Homolka understood

The idea that psychiatrists can predict future dangerousness better than anyone else is, itself, a dangerous idea: if a person was dangerous in the past, she is more likely to be dangerous in the fu¡ ture. Karla Homolka was, and is, a danj gerous sex offender, one who has participated in killing multiple victims (“Homolka wants to serve full term,” Canada Notes, Oct. 9). To send her to a psychiatric facility, and to expend valuable mental-health resources to determine if she is still dangerous is a political farce. What psychiatry does know about sex offenders is that those who prey on younger victims of the same sex are the least likely to respond to any sort of treatment or rehabilitation. I suspect that if she were a man, she would already have been declared a dangerous offender and kept incarcerated indefinitely. There is little deterrent, psychological or otherwise, for her to not engage in lethal sexual predatory behaviour in the future, unless we literally keep a policeman at her elbow. Karla Homolka j should not be released, no matter what kind of favours she managed to trade with lawyers in the past.

Dr. Lori Vogt, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Victoria