The Mail

The Mail

July 30 2001
The Mail

The Mail

July 30 2001

The Mail

The measure of Richler

“Richler remembered” (Cover, July 16) triggered a neat old memory. In 1970, I was a reporter for The Quill, Brandon University’s student newspaper, and Mordecai Richler was to be a guest speaker. After the lecture, there was a small reception. Richler was standing, and looking a bit uncomfortable, with a small group of people. There was a momentary lapse in their conversation and I zeroed in: “Hi, Mr. Richler, I’m with the student newspaper and my friend Tom and I were wondering if maybe you’d like to come to the pub with us later on this evening... like, after you’re done here.” He replied: “I’d love to, just give me about five more minutes.” I was

dumbfounded. Tom and I had snagged Mordecai Richler. But a prairie snowstorm was raging, and we didn’t even have a car. What to do? Aha! There was a real reporter at the reception (from the Brandon Sun), and, yes, she had a car and was a member of the Sokol Club, one of three very unadorned, members-only drinking clubs in the city’s north end. We made our way to the club and were duly signed in. After a while, Richler’s habit of pouring strong drink (from a silver flask) into his draff beer prompted some concern from our waiter. We were asked to leave. Not a problem, Richler reassured us. We could just go back to the hotel bar and drink on his tab. Richler, Tom and I drank and talked until the bartender chased us out at about 2 a.m. Truly a populist memory and measure of the man.

Ron Drysdale, Winnipeg

Mordecai Richler—successful writer and happy family man—had everything to live for, but whisky and smoking made him a poster boy for the deleterious effects of alcohol and tobacco abuse. Ah well, this must be an occupational hazard, witness Margaret Laurence, Nick Auf der Maur, et al. So sad.

Helen Kiperchuk, Brockville, Ont.

How can you not like a man with such great taste in whiskies—the Macallan and Cardhu. May his cup always be full.

Peter Nairn, Whitby, Ont.

Nora Joyce once asked her husband, James Joyce: “Why don’t you write books people can read?” Mordecai Richler always wrote books people could read.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

Israeli settlers

What irony. Canadian-born Jews like the Wolbromskys can move to Israel and live on Palestinian land in “red-roofed villas that look like a California suburb.” But

Palestinians were forced to leave and now live in wretched conditions in crowded refugee camps (“Under siege,” Canada and the World, July 16). In the name of justice, there is only one thing for the settlers to do: end the occupation.

Joseph Backus, Kingston, Ont.

If the Jews were persecuted in the past in their own home countries, the solution is not dispossessing a defenceless nation and confiscating its land, thus doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them. It is time for Jews to get over it and move on. Now they are the ruthless persecutors, not the victims.

Baha Abu-Shaqra, Barrie, Ont.

Most of the Jewish settlers on the West Bank, like the Canadian couple in your article, are neither heroes nor religious zealots. They are simply religious Jews following the Old Testament directive to settle the land. With a peace settlement, many would agree to leave, but wonder if they were doing the correct thing. How-

Unwanted graduates

Upon graduation from Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design in 1999, approximately half of my fellow design classmates, as well as me, were snatched up by eager American companies (“The magnetic north,” Canada25, July 1). I was never once recruited by a Canadian company, and those I did contact showed little or no interest in me. To graduate in Canada and not have one Canadian company interested in you, when American, British and Scandinavian countries are all smiling your way, is, to be blunt, a kick in the head. For years, I have had to grit my teeth with much irritation as my fellow Canadians ooh and ahh over how I am “so lucky to be making American dough.” It never occurs to them that I took a job in California not at all for money but because it was a great opportunity. It was never my intention to work in the United States, so I am finally back in Canada and, once again, I find no opportunities for me. Well, I have received an offer—and I am off to live in Stockholm.

Sharilyn Wright, Vancouver

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ever, with terrorism against Israel unlikely to stop until Palestinian territorial demands in Jerusalem and for a right of return to Israel proper are met, there is no incentive for the settlers to leave.

Sam Einhorn, Montreal

What I find disturbing as a Canadian is that, while Canada professes to be seeking peace in Palestine, at the same time we are selling military equipment to the Israeli air force, which can only help with its policy of genocide.

D. A. Bamford, London

Judgment Day

In Paul Arnold’s letter about Stockwell Day (“Day at the movies,” The Mail, July 16), he tells only half of the tragic outcome of The Caine Mutiny. At the end, once the trial is finished and the mutineers against Captain Queeg are found not guilty, their lawyer berates them for not supporting their captain when he asked for help before the mutiny. In the final scenes, it becomes clear that even the supposed heroes of the tale bore more than a little responsibility for Queeg’s failure. As a recently lapsed member of the Alliance with no plans of going back until the skies clear, I find the parallel between Queeg and Day striking, but if events unfold as they did for the crew of the Caine, we may come to view our heroes differently as well. The Alliance

mutineers should be wary of the tarnish that builds on brass during stormy seas.

Jayson Tarzwell, Toronto

The Alliance party reminds me of a bunch of turkeys. When one turkey is hurt, the other turkeys peck at it until they kill „ it. The rest of the turkeys get I butchered in the fall.

1 Carrol Sanregret, Beaverlodge, Alta.

I The Canadian Alliance 1 should commit its exploits to ë Pay TV, like a never-ending soap opera. Then the media can cease coverage of its foibles and report on matters that count. By choice, the public can pay to watch the show on TV. And the Alliance will get needed revenue to pay its debts. Voilà.

Dave Anderson, Victoria

Steely troubles

As a lifelong “Soo-ite,” I well appreciate the impact Algoma Steel has on the community (“Steeltown blues,” Business, July 16). But being in a position to have to restructure a multimillion-dollar company for the second time in 10 years must go hand in hand with some less than stellar upper-management decisions. Surely, union workers cannot again be expected to bear the brunt of getting back on track. Trees trimmed at the roots rarely survive. Karen Boston, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Vasectomy reversal

Comments about the lack of success of vasectomy reversals are unfortunate and inaccurate (“Reversible vasectomy,” The Week That Was, July 9). Success rates of returning sperm to the ejaculate—according to my study published in the British Journal of Urology—are 100 per cent if the obstruction is relieved within three years, up to 90 per cent if relieved within eight years and up to 70 per cent if relieved after eight years.

Dr. Marc Anthony Fischer, Toronto

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