The Mail

The Mail

December 18 2000
The Mail

The Mail

December 18 2000

The Mail

Election results

Canadians have spoken. Let the East govern the East, and the West govern the West (“Majority rules,” Cover, Dec. 4). If Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wants to waste eastern dough, fine. But we don’t want him giving our western tax money to friends. If he prefers doing business with easterners and thinks westerners are so “different,” it’s time to start thinking about a new federation. Sovereignty-association anyone?

Greg Watrich, Coquitlam, B.C.

Your election coverage cited poll after poll after poll. Once upon a time, politicians stood up and told us what

they believed. Polls now allow them to tell us what they think we want to hear. Former U.S. president Harry S. Truman got it right when he said: “How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if he had taken a poll in the land of Israel? What would have happened to the Reformation if Martin Luther had taken a poll? It isn’t polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It is right and wrong and leadership.” Where have all the leaders gone?

John Rodgers, Thunder Bay, Ont.

In one way it is probably a good thing that Jean Chrétien was still leading the Liberals in this election because if he had resigned and Paul Martin had been heading the party, it is likely that the Liberals would have swept the whole country.

J. E. Jolie, Rockwood, Ont.

I think it is time you threw out that “rascal” Peter C. Newman, who is so out of touch with political realities as to be last century’s man. In “Throwing the rascals in” (Dec. 4), he fails to see that this federal election was indeed a defining one of great importance for our country and the future of our political parties. Canadians do not want an Americanized health-care system, or an American system of referendums and pressure-group politics that undercuts

our traditions of representative government. They do not want a value system set by pseudo-Christian bigots on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, or a tax system that favours the rich and entrusts the future of our economy and society to the strategic decisions of big business. Canadians did not just vote “for their local candidates,” as Newman says. From coast to coast, they backed the government as the best political option. Canadians voted for a centrist party with a balanced program of health, welfare and tax reduction. Until the opposition can put together a similar program, it will never gain power in Ottawa.

George Mowbray, Toronto

No wonder Jean Chrétien is ecstatic. The man is history incarnate. A national treasure. While Anthony Wilson-

Culture on the brink

I wept when I read “Crisis in the North” (Letter from Sheshatshiu, Dec. 4). What the article hasn’t stated is that, because these children are the products of alcoholic parents, they are most likely suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. They are permanendy and seriously brain-damaged. Add to that the fact that they are not inhaling gas sporadically, but all day, every day. The only glimmer of hope I see is from Paul Rich, the band chief, who had the courage to be honest about the situation and beg for the government to take his children away.

He should be given the support he needs to give his people a purpose, a sense of belonging so that they can start rebuilding a culture on the very brink of extinction.

Sarah Newton, Fort St. James, B.C.

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Smith (“Happy now, PM?” Dec. 4) rambles on about Conservative party Leader Joe Clark’s positive qualities, he should be reminded of what politics is about and always has been: winning and power. Game, set and match. Chretien’s 37-year winning streak is galling to many, no doubt, but WilsonSmith’s prediction of parliamentary war is plain silly. The election is over. Alex McQuire, Cambridge, Ont.

Long-term debt

James D. Jones, in his letter to the editor (“Debt and leadership,” Dec. 4), states that the national debt would be paid off in fewer then 35 years. It isn’t quite that simple. First, he assumes that Canadians will continue to tolerate approximately 30-odd per cent of every tax dollar going to debt reduction and interest payments. During our recent election, concerns were expressed that government expenditures on health care and education have to be increased to compensate for earlier cutbacks. In short, the savings in interest as the debt is paid down are not necessarily going to be used to reduce the principal; therefore, we can expect to have a national debt for longer then 35 years. I expect a lot longer than that.

G. Randy Shantz, Toronto

The Smythe story

If one only read Centre Ice: The Smythe Family, the Gardens and the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club by Thomas Stafford Smythe, about the Leafs and the Smythes, one would have a misunderstanding of the author’s father, my brother-in-law Stafford (“Hockey’s new roots,”

Books, Nov. 27). Our families were quite close.

His family adored him as did my children, but never did I see Stafford drunk. To call someone an alcoholic because they enjoyed a drink before dinner or a nightcap after a game is farfetched. Stafford had his troubles, some de-

served. But he was a good, fun-loving father, husband and friend. To fail to capture his character is hurtful for his family and is wrong and unjust.

Bernice Smythe, Toronto

Unnecessary evil?

For every story of a cellphone proving helpful in an emergency, there are numerous examples of their intrusiveness in a host of settings (“The cell in your future,” Tech Special, Dec. 4). Why anyone should need to be engaged in a cellular conversation while wheeling a grocery cart through a supermarket escapes me. The need has been manufactured and marketed as if cellphones were every bit as necessary as toilet paper.

Bruce Shand, New Westminster, B.C.

Fiasco down south

The most disturbing thing about the fiasco that is the United States presidential election is the partisanship of the people responsible for administering the electoral system (“The standoff in the South,” World, Dec. 4). The issue of whether the votes in Florida should be manually recounted and which votes are valid and which are not is the responsibility of a member of the state cabinet, whose head is Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican and brother of one of the two candidates for the nation’s highest office. To put it in Canadian terms, it is as if a cabinet minister in Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard’s Parti Québécois government were responsible for administering the electoral results in Jean Chrétiens own riding and had the power to make decisions that could affect whether the Prime Minister held his own seat. In the absence of a nonpartisan federal agency, it is no wonder that the close election has ended up in the hands of the courts and the lawyers, instead of the people.

Gerald Macdonald, Grande Prairie, Alta.

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