Letters

The Mail

May 8 2000
Letters

The Mail

May 8 2000

The Mail

Letters

Rave reviews

My 20-year-old son, Bradley, was elated to see his first rave party promotion, “Welcome to the family,” on the cover (“Rave fever,” April 24). I shared his high spirits for reasons of my own; 35 years ago, my Mariposa Folk Festival was in the same “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” media spotlight that shines on todays ravers. I attended his event to observe. What I saw made me realize

the similarities between many of the ravers and their parents, who turned up at Mariposa seemingly eons ago chanting their mantra “peace, love, no violence,” to which todays kids have added “respect.” You produced a first-class piece, particularly dramatized by the timeline “Wild ones through the ages,” which serves to remind those of us who

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may have forgotten that each new generation of teenagers finds its own forms of musical expression, almost always accompanied by some legal or illegal stimulant a minority seems to need to abuse. Randall A. Ferris, former president, Mariposa Folk Festival, Toronto

I found your cover story to be fairminded and comprehensive. One point I would make is that only on a superficial level can ravers be characterized as “the idealistic tribe.” It is true that in a rave environment issues of colour, sex and age become less pronounced. However, you can be accepted for who you are as long as you’ve spent $200 on the right pants and $50 on admission. As your story noted, most ravers see raves as mini-vacations from stress. It is much more about escapism than idealism. It could be argued that the truly idealistic youth tribe these days are those young people who read Naomi Klein’s No Logo, listen to Rage Against the Machine and were in the front ranks of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle and Washington. They are idealistic because they work to change a world they think needs changing, rather than try to escape from it. Sean Saraq, Montreal

1 was disappointed when I read the “The dark side of ecstasy.” I made it clear in my conversation with Macleans that at no point have I told, or will I ever tell, anyone to take drugs such as ecstasy. I have always made it a point to allow people to come to their own informed decision. The final paragraph seems to suggest otherwise. It begins by saying, “Despite the dangers, ecstasy still has great word of mouth,” then quotes my response to a question about the positive effects of ecstasy. I do not give ecstasy great word of mouth. This is an inaccurate representation of

Big banks

Motivated by the desire to be prime minister, Finance Minister Paul Martin has worked himself into a box that will see the destruction of a viable, independent, Canadianowned banking system (“Feud without end,” Business, April 24). The banks did not, as you say, “complacendy talk about why their plans were good for themselves,” with no concern for consumers. They did agree to avoid the layoffs that are now so prevalent. They did promise their head offices would continue to be major employers. And all of that was thrown away by Martin. He is the father of the more than 8,000 bank layoffs that have happened so far. David E. Bond, Port Moody, B.C.

my position. Many of my peers were astounded that I was being played off as a pusher of sorts.

Eric Malinski, Oakville, Ont.

Thank you for a thoughtful and unbiased piece regarding the current rave culture. I enjoy coming to Toronto for parties, and the current efforts to shut raves down are a concern to me and my friends here who love Toronto’s scene. Get information out there about drug use and how to party safely instead of taking away the party itself—you’d have a lot less rebellion that way.

Katie O’Farrell, Ann Arbor, Mich.

As a dedicated partygoer, I am getting disgusted with the biased information put out by the media about our scene. Would you rather have 3,500 teens walking the streets every weekend, or have them in a secured venue with security, first aid and, often, police in attendance? And drugs are not used by all ravers. Drugs are used outside the scene: raves are not the breeding ground. The scene is about being positive— from dancing to making friends to life in general. I refuse to back down while a few are ruining it for the rest of us. Shawn Petraschuk, Mission, B.C.

In “Wild ones through the ages,” you say crack was the drug of choice for “Hip-hop kids 1960s to the present.” I

had to laugh. Crack? Where did you get this? And in describing a 20-year period, you say of the look: “extremely baggy sportswear sometimes worn backwards.” What does this mean? I love hip-hop, rap, soul and funk, and have never seen anyone wearing backwards clothing. Sonja Rasula, Toronto

Under the gun

The largest portion of my employment has been at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Ontario. Robert Walsh of Forensic Technology Inc. correctly states that the reason for not buying his Integrated Ballistics Identification System (a computerized system that allows investigators to link bullets to their guns) was that the benefits did not justify the cost (“Gun smarts,” Canada and the World, April 17). As a firearms examiner for 32 years, I was approached about it some years ago and refused to consider the purchase for that reason. The idea of test-firing at the time of manufacture for future comparison is an old one, which was most often rejected because of the time it would take to make comparisons. The IBIS system appears to have removed that obstacle, but it still should not be seen as a panacea. Barrels can be changed in many pistols and the knowledge to do other alterations can easily be obtained by listening to your friendly firearms examiner the next time he testifies.

Finn Nielsen, Mississauga, Ont.

In “The Canadian solution,” you

fail to point out the difference between firearms licensing and firearms registration. Gun owners must be licensed. Guns must be registered. Firearms acquisition licensing had been in place in Canada since the late 1970s. Anyone wishing to acquire a firearm had to undergo a security check and obtain a federal firearms acquisition certificate. Since 1993, licensing required safety testing and passing grades on both written and practical exams. And although purchase or transfer of firearms from one owner to another requires immedi-

ate registration, registration of all guns is not requisite until Dec. 31,2002, not 2000, as reported in your article.

Mark Holmes, Communications Specialist, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Peterborough, Ont.

Class-based medicine

Barbara Amiel suggests that, because of the wider range of occupations available for women and men today and the harshness of nursing, the quality of the average nurse is lower (“Why we need private medicine,” April 17). She suggests that more “intelligent and higherquality people” choose less strenuous work. This is ridiculous. Unlike Amiel, nurses in Canada do not differentiate between high-quality and low-quality people. That is why we must protect our public health-care system from attitudes like Amiel’s. When you are sick, it should not matter how rich you are or who you know.

Louise Rogers, President, Alberta Association of Registered Nurses, Edmonton

I recently had surgery in Toronto, which was unavailable to me in Thunder Bay, Ont. This specialized surgery in Toronto General Hospital meant a four-day return trip by car and a week’s stay in Toronto. Thanks to a Northern Health Travel Grant, I had the sum of about $36.40 per day for transportation, food, accommodation and other extras. Contrary to Barbara Amiel’s concerns that private medicine would have helped, how else could we afford such care? We cannot call on influential friends to pull strings. The staff was very professional and the care I received could not have been better. Give us all the chance to receive the best Canadian heath care possible—not just those in a position to pay out of pocket for it. Mary Lou Warren, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Over the past 10 years, I have visited hospitals in Alberta and Nova Scotia to be with family and friends. I found every nurse to be professional, welleducated, caring and compassionate

despite a workload that would choke an elephant. So, may I take this opportunity to thank the nurses of Canada for the excellent work that they have been doing. May they receive the praise and the wages and proper working conditions that they all so richly deserve. Lorna F. Lotvedt, Calgary

I thought Barbara Amiel deserved support. Given all the negative letters, it is sad to see so many Canadians simply don’t get it. Two-tiered health care already exists in Canada and it is a better system. In Alberta, midwifery care costs $2,500. We have received infinitely better prenatal and postnatal care than the public system provided us. Is this only for the rich? No, it is for those who budget properly and work hard. If people are willing to make wise choices with their wealth, let them. For those who pretend to be incapable of managing their affairs, then a public system can take care of them, albeit with poorer quality service. We all have choices, maybe it is time we take some personal responsibility for them.

Rob McNaughton, Calgary

Foreign service pay

I could not agree with Andrew Phillips more. Canada’s diplomatic corps is a bargain workforce few Canadians acknowledge (“Diplomacy on the

cheap,” April 10). Overseas postings nearly always guarantee long work hours, with little or no overtime paid. Government wages don’t come close to acknowledging the dedication, motivation and education of its foreign service officers. Too many of us have experienced financial stagnation or backsliding while working abroad. My husband has two graduate degrees, and his base pay is only slightly more than a rookie firefighter’s. So why are we still with the government? Because we enjoy experiencing life in other countries and cultures, and because, for us, money isn’t the sole determinant of life quality. But the government needs a wake-up call: provide competitive salaries or watch your once-admired foreign service decay and disappear.

Joanne Willms, Canadian Embassy,

Quito, Ecuador

Draft-dodger politics

I am one of the aging Vietnam War resisters who came to Canada more than a quarter of a century ago and stayed (“Hell no, they won’t go,” Canada and the World, April 24). I married a Canadian and fathered two Canadian kids. I made a career in education, becoming superintendent of education for an Indian band, and more recendy, serving as principal and CEO of a Saskatchewan community college. Sure, I could have

served my term in the American army and gone on to make a heck of a lot more money in the U.S. military-industrial complex. But at least now I have the satisfaction of knowing that I probably did more good than harm in my life. Christian Stuhr, Swift Current, Sask.

In 1967, I arrived in Canada from Monterey, Calif. I returned to the United States to clear my name in 1974, and have lived in Vancouver ever since. You had to physically go to the United States and be processed. Many didn’t out of mistrust and fear and it was their last opportunity. Actually, it was painless. They shook my hand at the border and welcomed me home. Yes, home\ Seven years later ... I never thought when I immigrated to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War that I was making a decision to live the rest of my life here. It does show something truly wonderful can come from war.

Garrett Stout, Vancouver

Those draft dodgers who shirked their responsibilities in America and now support separatism in Canada are traitors twice: first to their country of birth and second to their country of adoption. Dennis DeRusha, Kanata, Ont.