The Mail

Election agenda

November 13 2000

The Mail

Election agenda

November 13 2000

The Mail

Election agenda

Perhaps the single most revealing question we could all ask the Liberal candidate at the various meet-thecandidate meetings is: “How did you ever come to the conclusion I wanted an election now?" (“Playing the odds,” Cover, Oct. 30). The answer should provide some valuable insight into the motivation behind the move and whose interests are really being served.

Bill Jarrett, Cambridge, Ont.

Last time I checked, the point of an election was to win. If Jean Chrétien and his Liberals want to call an early election, so be it.

Glen Burr, Carman, Man.

At a news conference in Ottawa, Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day asked: “Can we believe the promises of Jean Chrétien?” The more relevant question is: “Can we believe the promises of any politician?” Several court cases (the most recent being the case regarding the B.C. government’s declaration of a surplus just before an election) have resulted in rulings that have basically told the electorate that they are just plain dumb to think that politicians have any obligation whatsoever to follow up on their elec-

tion promises. To date, the Canadian Alliance has already waffled on a number of key promises (taxation and employment insurance restrictions, to name just two). So Day has already demonstrated that he, his party and his quest for power are no different: same crap, different pile.

G. P. James, Edmonton

1 imagine that Stockwell Day’s appearance on 100 Huntley Street will be an affront to mainstream Canadian society. Having spent a lifetime in Canadian public schools, I know that our religious freedom is currently interpreted as the freedom to be atheist, communist, secular, pagan or humanist. Being a Christian white male, Stockwell Day belongs to the only group that can still safely be reviled on its race, creed or religion.

Sonya Handel, Quatsino, B.C.

It doesn’t matter that the Alliance is going to put more money back into Canadians’ pockets, return health-care funding to its proper place and eliminate the kind of waste the Liberals are under investigation for, because once the Alliance is in power, so say the fear-mongers, it is going to impose its religious values on

Barrelling ahead

Your article “The oil outlook” (Business, Oct. 30) gives us some interesting numbers and, since they are no doubt from the industry, we can consider them optimistic. Using the current consumption rate of 75 million barrels a day and a 15-per-cent annual increase (a likely scenario), the number of years left is not quite 13. Modern civilization is in for some radical change in the near future.

G. S. Clark, Winnipeg

the country and destroy it. The tremendous irony is that Chrétien is apparendy a devout Roman Catholic—a faith opposed to abortion, homosexual practice and much of everything the left supports. So why aren’t they accusing the Liberals of also being dangerous? Because Day has the courage to say publicly that those are his values, like it or not. But on these moral issues, Day has said he’ll let the public decide by referendum. The Liberals, on the other hand, push through their agenda—whether we like it or not. Who, I ask, is more dangerous to democracy?

Mark Mallett, Edmonton

Fanning the flames

It seems to me that neither Barbara Amiel nor Macleans is showing any degree of responsibility by publishing her virulent diatribe against Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians—who are all the same and interchangeable in her world (“Peace never had a chance,” Oct. 30). Freedom of expression is not a licence to promote hatred or dehumanize. Just imagine for a moment that the word “Palestinian” was replaced by “Israeli” in

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one offensive instance: for example, the last sentence of the piece, “the Palestinians . .. treated by their own people like animals for the past 50 years—and now, sadly, some behaving like them.” What do you think the reaction would have been? Amiel mixes all Arab countries into one stereotype, using inflammatory remarks about Islam and dehumanizing Palestinians. If this is not bigotry and incitement to hatred and racism, what is?

Where are the defenders of human rights? Or are human rights only for a selected segment of our population? Bahija Réghaï, Ottawa

Israel is a rare, privileged country getting away with annexation of land by force, most notably in 1967. Surely, when other governments use similar force, resulting in mass migrations of refugees, the world shakes its finger, yet in the case of Israel, governments are content to be wilfully blind. In the meantime, it is the Arabs who are seen as uncompromising. Lest we forget, many of these rock-throwing youngsters were

brought up and still do live in camps. What is the alternative when it is clear that the red, white and blue machine is on the other side and can only pretend to be neutral? Why cannot Israel withdraw to its original borders as any other nation would be expected to do after having annexed the land of others? Nazma Shivji, Toronto

Barbara Amiel is right. There will never be peace in the Middle East. The fire burning there is being fanned by a world full of blowhards just like her. There are pro-Arab blowhards and there are pro-Israeli blowhards, and all

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of them are always right and none of them are ever wrong. They just blow and blow and blow and the fire just burns and burns and burns.

Bob McKercher, Toronto

Barbara Amiel has demonstrated yet again her blatant contempt and seething hatred for the Palestinian and Arab people, in particular, and Muslims in general. In her column of Oct. 30, she has crossed the line of civil discourse. Shashina Siddiqui, Co-ordinator of Community Relations, Manitoba Islamic Association, Winnipeg

Loud cheers for Barbara Amiel’s masterly analysis of the Arab-Israeli conflict. She is the only writer I have come across since my recent return from 12 years in Israel who understands the situation and has the courage to write the truth.

Naomi Spiers, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

If your readers were to accept Amiel’s twisted logic when she states, “The decision of the Arab world after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 to refuse to resettle and absorb Palestinians who fled Israel,” the citizens of mainland British Columbia would be obliged to resettle all the citizens of Victoria if the United States decided to occupy Vancouver Island. Israel is clearly and illegally occupying the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. If Amiel and her constituents really want to give peace a chance in the Middle East, simply persuade Israel to terminate its illegal occupation.

Bill Beagan (Middle East UN peacekeeper, 1958-1959), Parry Sound, Ont.

The Arabs accuse Israel of getting what they can in negotiations and taking the rest by force. North American aboriginal peoples lay the same charge against the settlers from Europe, but this is not the issue that must be addressed. At question are the rights, if any, of a deposed people to recover land that they lost by force. Do the Irish Celts have the right to claim southern England and Stonehenge

from the Angles and Saxons who conquered them and colonized this part of Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries? Does East Timor belong to Indonesia? The United Nations will need the wisdom of Solomon to resolve this question and establish guidelines for the rights of deposed peoples.

Peter White, North Vancouver

Flu vaccinations

In a study of employees at the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich., researchers found that giving workers the flu shot cost more than not vaccinating (“An ounce of prevention for the flu season,” Health, Oct. 30). The findings are published in the Oct. 4 issue of The Journal of the American Medical dissociation. Having witnessed over the past several years acquaintances, friends and relatives succumb to the adverse effects of flu vaccines, one might well ask if the flu shot is right for anyone.

Croft Woodruff, Vancouver

How fortunate we are to be living in Canada. We not only have governments willing—and able—to spend millions on vaccines against influenza, we also have readily available vaccination programs against many of the childhood killers: diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, tetanus, hepatitis. All told, our various governments spend an annual $2,815 per person on health care. In comparison, the average annual health expenditure in developing countries is $23 per person. In Indonesia, for example, health spending dips as low as $3 per person. Little wonder eight million people die each year because they don’t have access to basic medicines, including vaccines. It doesn’t have to be that way. Canadian health expenditures are 9.2 per cent of our gross domestic product; our foreign-aid expenditures are only 0.27 per cent.

Deb Ireland, Chilliwack, B.C.

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