Letters

The Mail

James G. Scott November 5 2001
Letters

The Mail

James G. Scott November 5 2001

The Mail

Letters

Wartime reporting Maclean s is one of the granddaddies of Canadian magazine publishing, dating from 1905, and I’m sure my grandfather read the words, and probably my father read those words, but I never thought that in my generation I would ever see the day when I would read the same words on the cover of Maclean's: “Canada goes to war” (Special Report, Oct. 22).

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

Our neighbours

In the article “Those damn Yankees” (Special Report, Oct. 22), authors J. L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer wrote, in part: “Most Canadians support the United States in the war on terrorism. So they should, because it is Western values of pluralism, secularism and democracy that are under attack.” Are those really the Western values? How about the old values of the Western world: freedom, justice and the rule of law? If freedom is interpreted only as freedom of pluralism, secularism and democracy, is it worth preserving? What are the real values? Pluralism by definition cannot be a value—whose and what value would it be? What is secularism but, along with pluralism, a denial of all absolute

values and truths? Democracy? That is good only so far as it serves absolute truth and righteousness. These were not the values the West fought over in the world wars.

John Nieminen, Terre Haute, Ind.

Pooh on Granatstein and Hillmer’s piece on antiAmericanism in Canada being alive and well. I invite both of them to visit my town and see for themselves the number of citizens proudly displaying the Stars and Stripes on their homes, cars and businesses. I wonder which neighbourhood these two live in? I expect if the terrorists had attacked a Canadian target rather than the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, our American neighbours would have been the first ones to our defence (God knows we would have difficulty defending ourselves). Canadians may not always be enthralled with their neighbours to the south, but we could do a lot worse.

Steve Harris, Niagara Falls, Ont.

UBC Prof. Sunera Thobani is the worst kind of hypocrite, using the mass murder of thousands as a platform for her rabid anti-American views. Any validity that her arguments have is washed away by the shame of her blatant opportunism. Apparendy she is not opposed to hate-mongering so long as the targets of that hate are of her choosing.

Demetreus Blakemore, Burnaby, B.C.

With jaw agape, I forced myself to read yet another dismissal of dissent, another accusation of insensitivity from another in a long line of shell-shocked conformists writing under the title of “historian.” The assertion of J. L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer that Sunera Thobani’s criticism of U.S. foreign policy is an example of latent Canadian anti-Americanism reveals much about the tenuous nature of their commitment to impartiality. A reasonable analysis of cause and effect is dismissed as merely another in a long line of “Americabashing” by stubborn Canucks. Unfortu-

During the War of 1812, the Yankees may have almost taken over Upper and Lower Canada, but the British did burn the White House. We Canadians do tend to look down our noses at the Americans and consider ourselves to be more compassionate, but I question this attitude (“Those damn Yankees,” Special Report, Oct. 22). Consider our treatment of the Japanese in the Second World War: we took all their possessions and did not allow them to return to the coast until 1949. The Americans released their Japanese in 1946, never confiscated their property and allowed them to return to the West Coast immediately. During the Thirties and the era of relief camps, we kept our young men locked up, doing meaningless labour for 20 cents per day. The American camps, on the other hand, paid their workers $1 a day, had them plant trees or build dams and gave them time off. Yet we consider ourselves to be more compassionate and superior to our neighbours to the south?

Compassionate?

Wayne Thomas, Vancouver

nately, Granatstein and Hillmer’s senses seem to be tuned only to the media releases of the White House and the echo chamber that is CNN. The goal of appalling acts of terrorism on the shores of North America is not to overthrow our way of life; rather, these desperate acts are attempts to draw attention to the injustices inflicted by our arrogant way of life. The writing off of dissident voices as some kind of petulant envy is a far more dangerous attack on “pluralism, secularism and democracy” than anything accomplished by radical terrorism.

LorinYochim, Edmonton

Why do people focus on American foreign policy and blame trade embargoes in a region that had self-destructive forces well before the Americans’ arrival? These forces were there for all to see for centuries. The Thobanis of this world simply do not want to admit where the ultimate responsibility lies. Their sad rhetoric and typical clichés blame everyone else but the actual forces that suppress the very freedoms they enjoy here. Most of these countries receive billions of dollars of humanitarian aid meant to be given to their citizens. Instead, most of it (and a large portion of their small GDPs) goes to military spending. A larger issue is the fact that there is a maniac in power in Iraq who has (ahem, allegedly) harboured terrorists, used biochemical weapons, and murdered and raped his own innocent people. It is time for Islam and the Arab world to look at themselves in the mirror and critically ask what kind of society and existence they want to have.

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Alessandro Nicolo, Montreal

The overwhelming majority of Canadians support the United States in its response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Your article finally gets around to making this point in the last paragraph. While Sunera Thobani has the right to say what she wants, her speech was not an indication that “Canadian anti-Americanism is back—in full flower.”

Mary Jane Green, Ottawa

‘Banks standing ready’

In “Follow the money” (Special Report, Oct. 22), your magazine rightly reports that banks in Canada have a long history of co-operating with law enforcement on money-laundering issues, including our voluntary reporting of suspicious transactions to law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, the article also creates the impression that our industry opposes new federal money-laundering legislation. This is simply not the case. Banks in Canada support the new money-laundering law and other government efforts to suppress the financing of criminal and terrorist activity. Our member banks stand ready and willing to do their part to achieve this important goal.

Denise Harrington, Vice-President, Public Affairs, Canadian Bankers Association, Toronto

Religions coming together

After the Hindu temple in Hamilton was burned down, apparently in retaliation for the Sept. 11 event, the city’s religious leaders stood together (“Rising from the fire,” Special Report, Oct. 22). Your story reports that they commissioned a local

graphic artist to design a poster showing the symbols of 12 area religions with the slogan, “An attack on one is an attack on us all.” What a terrific way of raising the community’s awareness and teaching everyone the civil way to behave. What leadership. Congratulations.

Peter VanderKam, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Global social services

I happened to be on a tour of airport security in Athens when the horrific events of Sept. 11 were aired. Our group included consultants formerly of MI-5 and Israeli security. We looked at one another and wondered where it would end, not in the short term after retaliation, but in the long term. Global security will be elusive as long as the world’s gross disparities are not addressed, the cries of the displaced and dispossessed are unheard, and justice is reserved for the few. What we need is a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century to fight the root causes of terrorism and unrest by unleashing the weapons of mass construction! Canada can make a unique contribution by getting this plan, to provide basic social services to all, on the agenda at the Ottawa G-20 in November and then again at the Alberta G-8 in June, 2002. Dare we call it the “Martin Plan”?

Randy Rudolph, Calgary

‘Real leadership’

One of the tests of leadership is the ability to cope in an emergency when people turn to their leaders for inspiration and directions. Since Sept. 11, the media have been awash with the testimonies of Canadians voicing their embarrassment at the government’s uncertain response to the catastrophic events in New York City and

Washington. Allan Fotheringham hits the nail on the head when he writes that this is but a symptom of what really ails the Canadian government: “A crisis in leadership” (Oct. 22). Saddled with a crop of amorphous and mediocre cabinet „ ministers, under the unwatchful eye of I Prime Minister Chrétien, the government floundered until either extensive public opinion polls charted the course of action or the compelling performance of world-class leaders like George W. Bush and Tony Blair forced it to take corresponding action.

Col. Michel W. Drapeau, Orleans, Ont.

Hysteria?

The article “Nervous energy” (Special Report, Oct. 22) is either a product of the writers imagination, or the post-Sept. 11 anxiety it describes is an eastern-based phenomenon. Living out here in Victoria, I have yet to see, hear about or talk to anyone who is looking over their shoulder, or looking sideways at their neighbour, or generally exhibiting any of the symptoms described. Do we have a little hysteria in the works?

Richard Weatherill, Victoria

Patriotic Esprit

Having been editor of Esprit de Corps from 1990 to 1994,1 was stunned to discover that according to Lee Windsor of Fredericton I was in the employ of a man who could single-handedly “destroy political will” and discourage “some young Canadians from entering our military service” (“Military support,” The Mail, Oct. 22). Scott Taylor, myself, and all who contributed to Esprit de Corps over the years were desperately patriotic, and heartily proud of Canada’s military heritage. We always thought the fault lay not within ourselves but within the “stars” who were at the helm of our national defence policy. On occasion we stepped on political toes, but we were not aware this led to any minister falling to his or her knees in agony, never to rise and actually develop a policy that would save our armed forces from ennui and decay.

James G. Scott, Ottawa