The Mail

The Mail

July 24 2000
The Mail

The Mail

July 24 2000

Scare tactics

I am continually amazed at the central Canadian mainstream media’s ability to pass off vilification and demonization of a public figure as news reporting. “How scary?” (Cover, July 10) goes to great lengths to air Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day’s personal views regarding gay rights and abortion, but merely passes over his stance on economic issues. Portraying Day as some sort of fanatic bent on forcing Canadians to conform to his “extreme” views does a disservice to the Canadian public. Day’s views and intentions are not hidden. He speaks his mind. Perhaps the possibility of someone doing so on a national scale for the first time since former prime minister Pierre Trudeau is, for the political establishment, the real “scare factor.” Daniel Philippot, Richmond, B.C.

I have no fear of Stockwell Day. But the specter of a third term for the Liberals, with or without Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, scares the living daylights out of me. Robert Anes, Brantford, Ont.

I was impressed by two extremely sinister observations about Stockwell Day. The first was that there were “suspicions that he was running on a platform rooted in his own faith.” How terrible. Of course, it’s not new and different at all. Everybody runs on a platform rooted in his own faith, even if the main principle in that faith is “Get elected.” Then, there was his proposal to use the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution “to prevent a landmark court decision from extending protection to gays under the province’s human-rights law.” But that is a rather dishonest statement of Day’s view of the Supreme Court decision on gay rights. The case was not about Christians trying to have homosexuals arrested for their practice. It was not even about Christians going into public schools to throw out gay teachers. It was about Christians’ right to maintain their beliefs in their own institutions. What kind of human-rights code insists on rights for everybody but Christians? Don Codling, Lower Sackville, N.S.

I must admit that the articles were balanced. However, it is clear that the goal of the cover was to smear Stockwell Day and maybe even sell some magazines. Bernie Barrette, Cranbrook, B.C.

Is it “scary” to you that Stockwell Day represents the beliefs of millions of Canadians that you liberal fundamentalists have tried to suppress for so long? Eric Sheppard, Brockvllle, Ont.

Since when is a gracious, moral, spiritual man “scary”? Rev. D. Mark Davison, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

A few years ago, Stockwell Day would have been laughingly dismissed as a radical, perhaps running as an independent nutter without a hope of becoming as much as a school trustee. Men like him are a package deal: protect life before birth; kill, selectively, after birth. Bring out your guns, reinstate the death penalty. Down with gays. Canadians might want to remind themselves of this as many of them mount the train going to a hell this country has never known. Jo Balet, Mississauga, Ont.

The article stated: “There’s something, well, vaguely American about him. He owns a .38 handgun.” No offense, but isn’t Canada “vaguely” American? J. Wheeler Drayton, Worcester, Mass.

Anthony Wilson-Smith suggests that, in politics, the electorate sometimes judges a book by its cover (“Why Day can become PM”). Stockwell Day’s cover is that he is Christian right. This raises some questions. Did Jesus Christ switch his politics? Is Day’s intolerance of gays a Christian characteristic? What is right about his proposed tax changes to benefit the rich and middle-income earners? Why does he need to own a .38 handgun? What is new about Day is that, under the cover of Christian right, he has made these issues appear acceptable and, worse yet, desirable. And that’s scary—very, very scary. Trudy Magas, Stony Mountain, Man.

‘Tinkering with genes’

Andrew Phillips refers to critics of genetically modified food as “ill-informed activists who are crippling the industry” (“The genome revolution,” July 10). Strangely, when he turns to the genetic revolution of the human genome, he concedes that “some top geneticists recommend a ban until the implications can be fully studied.” Phillips also worries that too many regulations may slow research and prevent innovation, ignoring Mother Nature who has been tinkering with genes for a few billion years and was doing quite nicely until humans came on the scene. Rod McCormick, Abbotsford, B.C.

‘Back to Shawinigan’

Bravo for Allan Fotheringham for daring to say what nobody will: Jean Chretien must go if the Liberal party is going to be able to stand up to the Canadian Alliance in the next federal election (“Who will bell the Grit cat?” July 10). Flow about if we all send a flood of letters to 24 Sussex Drive reading: “Dear Jean, you had your chance in two terms, you didn’t do very much, showed no leadership, had no new ideas. How about going back to Shawinigan now, and enjoying the water fountains there, along with all the tourists? Give the other guys a break.” Renate Kellhammer, Mississauga, Ont.

Homosexual parents

Barbara Amiel makes some good points in her column “Same-sex marriage is OK” (July 10). However, I strongly disagree with one. While I have no problems with homosexual marriages, I disagree with her approval of same-sex couples having children. A child’s neurological requirement and birthright is to be raised by one parent from each gender. Of course, this is not provided in some cases of dysfunctional families or single-parent situations, but why rob a child of a crucial birthright? Some homosexuals would make better parents than some heterosexuals, but that doesn’t change the fundamental issue. Joe Hegedus, Edmonton

As a social worker, I have held children in my arms crying with sadness and relief that someone has saved them from the inhumanity that was their family. It is not some secret government plan to intrude on families that drives the law requiring doctors and teachers to report suspected cruelty or negligence, as Amiel believes—it is the fact that what exists in too many families is horrific. Amiel’s comments show an ignorance to the reality that is so many families. Her column has done a disservice to the most innocent and abused segment of society. Rebecca Gray, Erickson, Man.

Geeks on top

Like Grant VanZeumeren (“Reaching higher,” The Mail, July 10), I am one of the geeks and nerds who attended this year’s Reach for the Top nationals in Edmonton. I, however, was not insulted when I read “Reach for the book” (Entertainment Notes, June 12) and Over and Under Achievers (Overture, June 19); rather, I was tickled that we had received coverage from the national media. Reach players may be fine, upstanding, successful and intelligent individuals, but we are unquestionably geeks. Instead of counter-productively attempting to dispel this image, we should embrace it, pocket protectors firmly in place and pants held high (preferably by suspenders). After all, it is the geek who shall inherit the earth. Steve Smith, St. Albert, Alta. - www.macleans.ca for more letters



AIDS in Africa

Last year, I spent six weeks in Zimbabwe as a volunteer at an orphanage in Harare through World Vision. Zimbabwe is a beautiful country, with warm, friendly people, who feel very strongly about family unity. Education is second in priority only to basic food and shelter, but lack of education is killing the population. Ignorance is encouraging AIDS to take a foothold (“The slim disease,” Canada and the World, July 10). Even many of the medical personnel there would not talk about AIDS. To admit to the full number of AIDS cases would cause political and economic instability—who wants to invest in a country that is dying? A tour guide named Tatenda summed up the issue well. He was 18 and married with two children. “Here,” he told me, “you marry young, or you die.” Tammy Skrubbeltrang, Welland, Ont.


Letters to the Editor

should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W 1A7

Fax: (416) 596-7730

E-mail: letters@macleans.ca

Maclean's welcomes readers' views, but letters may be edited for space, style and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Submissions may appear In Maclean's electronic sites. E-mail queries about subscriptions or delivery problems should be addressed to: service@macleans.ca