The Mail

The Mail

July 16 2001
The Mail

The Mail

July 16 2001

The Mail

Brainstorming

Congratulations. Arriving just days before our national birthday, your July 1 cover (“The brain gain”) encompasses both familiar and unfamiliar ground. Canadians everywhere, I’m sure, could make up their own list; but you’ve managed to reveal our Canadian quiet determination as opposed to ego. Thanks for this birthday present.

Ken Bertram, Victoria

Your decision to celebrate Canada Day by offsetting the much-publicized brain drain with a report on the “brain gain” is to be admired. As an immigrant myself, I agree wholeheartedly with Jack Granatstein’s sentiment that “Canada is God’s country,” but I wish we still could say this today. The time that God was honoured in this country is past history. And your own magazine leads the way: how else could you decide to list abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler among those who contributed to the welfare of “God’s country”?

Peter M. Koning, Burlington, Ont.

It was with much anticipation that I opened my July 1 Macleans hoping to find information to bring to my brother in

Texas about how Canada is not suffering from “brain drain.” To my dismay, this article only proved my brother’s point. The people profiled for this feature are mosdy dead and, if not, came to this country 25 years ago. When my brother talks about how Canada’s regressive tax system is chasing away the best and brightest, I can now counter with, Oh, yeah? What about John A. Macdonald?

Lori Klassen, Winnipeg

Bravo to Macleans for showing that talent crosses our border in two directions. As a Canadian scientist working in the United States, I spend a great deal more time helping international scientists consider immigration to Canada than I do worrying about the Canadian “brain drain.” Until recently, it was a long-standing policy of the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada that Canadians receiving the prestigious NSERC post-doctoral research fellowships use them outside of Canada. This was wise and explicit recognition that in science, as in the arts and business, Canada cannot afford to be parochial. Simply put, Canada is a wonderful country. Many of us who have left are watching like hawks for the right opportunity to return. Yet I am very proud every time an international colleague immigrates to Canada. On a less emotional level, it is also critical to the future health and prosperity of our nation. Andrew G. McArthur, Staff Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass.

OK—so you had difficult choices to make, but leaving out multi-award-winning author, teacher and all-around great Canadian Carol Shields?

Elma Beall Gerwin, Winnipeg

The message of “Brain gain” is that immigrants who come to Canada only join the anglophone majority, and that the only Canada that counts is English-speaking. Hundreds of people of all languages are

coming into the home province of the “ feuille d’érable” (maple leaf, that is) to enrich Canada in our other national language. Actors from France, business people from Lebanon and Egypt, dancers and scientists from Russia or Germany, writers from China, Japan or Haiti, architects and doctors from Italy. They don’t all become members of the Parti Québécois. They even get the Order of Canada.

Jean Paré, Ogden, Que.

Your ranking includes more than 10 names associated with government, almost 20 artists and 10 academics. Yet it includes just two business people. In Canada, wealth creation and success are treated with derision and financial punishment. Is it any wonder those who seek to create jobs or wealth find friendlier climes?

John Vellinga, Kiev, Ukraine

I can’t believe you omitted CPR builder Sir William Cornelius Van Horne.

William C. Tripp, Delta, B.C.

It has been a number of years since I last saw a resurrection of the durable legend that “in 1909, McCurdy made the British Empire’s first powered flight at Baddeck in the celebrated Silver Dart.” Of course, the Royal Aero Club recognizes the first sustained powered flight in Britain as that of S. F. Cody, an American. On Oct. 16, 1908, he flew a distance of 1,390 feet over

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\earn to return

I suppose I fit somewhat uncomfortably into the “drain” side of the equation—for now (“Brain gain,” Cover, July 1 ). As a young professional seeking an entry-level position, I quickly discovered that Canadian companies are not particularly enthusiastic about allowing young people to get a foot in the door. After being contacted by over 200 companies (only two of which were Canadian), I grudgingly accepted one of the five job offers from the United States. My company is a small one, 28 employees, among whom are 11 Canadians. We are virtually unanimous in our desire to return home. Will Canadian companies finally put out the welcome mat for their own?

Paul Nickson, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Laffans Plain, Farnborough. It takes nothing away from McCurdy’s feat to refer to it as the first flight in Canada.

H. M. Mac Leod, Kingsport, N.S.

Re. your article on the 50 who chose to stay—how could you have overlooked Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins?

Temple Pentland, Vancouver

Speaking of whom . . .

My name is Ronnie Hawkins, and I’m lucky enough to know David Foster pretty good (not good enough to borrow any money from). But if I owned the country, he would be the very first one I would call to write a national anthem for me. He’s all Canadian and one of the best ears Canada has ever produced (but he can’t play rock ’n’ roll). I have read that David Foster produces “forgettable songs”

(“Strike up the bland,”

Overture, July 1). Well, whoever wrote that should have been with me out in Malibu at David Foster’s studio—it looks like a Grammy museum! Keep puttin’ out those forgettable songs you been puttin’ out, David, and we’ll buy Switzerland. Ronnie Hawkins, Peterborough, Ont.

Day at the movies

While witnessing the heartbreaking demise of the Canadian Alliance at the hands of Stockwell Day (“Mortal wounds,” Canada, June 18), one can’t help but be reminded of the tragic antics of the infamous Captain Queeg in the Hollywood classic The Caine Mutiny. Queeg also refused to capitulate when he ordered his ship to sail into certain disaster while blaming his “disloyal” officers for the steady stream of calamities that was caused by his own personal incompetence and paranoia.

Paul Arnold, Victoria

Much to the delight of the news media, the news media have successfully and totally destroyed the Alliance party of Canada. Members of the media will give each other great awards for a job well done. Our Prime Minister can make as many shady hotel deals as he wants, and yet our media make a great hero of him and save all their mud for Stockwell Day, the only upright politician in our country.

Peter Neufeld, Winnipeg

‘The real brain drain’

Surely the Canada25 group, sponsored in part by a couple of Americans who have made their fortune in Canada with Roots, have got it backwards (“The magnetic north,” July 1). There will always be talented, privileged, ambitious people who head for the bright lights, big paycheques and status of the United States. But then again, the United States ! draws talent from every corner of the globe. Of far more concern to these I young people should be the millions of young Canadians who drop out of high school, can’t afford university and lead lives of underachievement. The inability of many to compete is the real brain drain with which we must all be concerned.

Tim Kelly, Oshawa, Ont.

As an IT graduate for over a year, one who has yet to find work, I sympathize with Canadians who leave Canada in order to find jobs. Having taken an alternative route to higher education, I am not eligible to cross borders in search of employment. That leaves me marooned in my homeland, caught in the dreaded catch-22 of “no job, no experience,” followed by “no experience, no job.” I find myself stuck in a country preoccupied with the talent already gone, while not paying enough attention to the talent that is here. Peter Harvey, St. John’s, Nfld.