The Mail

The Mail

September 17 2001
The Mail

The Mail

September 17 2001

The Mail

Do we need provinces?

The question is not “Does Ottawa matter?” (Cover, Sept. 3). The question is “Do the provinces matter?” The persistent animosity among the provinces, between the provinces and the federal government, and between the provinces and their municipalities, suggests there must be a better way. Consider the cost savings and the absence of bickering if the country had only two levels of government—a national federal level and a local municipal one. The cities could become communities again, while the feds attended to matters of national consequence common to all communities, such as education, health, pensions, social assistance, environment, defence, security and national resources.

Paul F. Smith, Pickering, Ont.

Where would Canada be if big government hadn’t spent the past 134 years funding the initial building of our infrastructure and setting up reasonably similar sets of laws and standards across our provinces? While it is true that Canada has recently been at a point in history where it has made sense for government to sell off some mature Crown corporations, no one should expect this to always be the case. Too many Canadians would like us to

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move towards the U.S. model, where it’s every city, county and state for itself. True, taxes are lower, but it creates a huge diversity between regions. One only needs to compare a U.S. inner-city school with one in a rich suburban neighbourhood to understand where this road leads.

Robert Fitts, Minesing, Ont.

The Chrétien government— like Little Jack Horner—pulled out a plum and said: “What a good boy am I.” The deficit has been eliminated, and these dolts are looking for political projects on which to spend their surplus. Have they forgotten our nearly $600-billion debt? If Ottawa wants a challenge, our health system needs revamping, not tinkering, so that it is not continually under stress, and what about a first-class passenger-rail service between Windsor, Ont., and Quebec City? Ottawa doesn’t need to search for grand projects, it needs to properly handle its existing responsibilities.

Eldon Yundt, Walkerton, Ont.

Of course Ottawa doesn’t matter. If it did, it would have a CFL team.

Declan Boylan, Sudbury, Ont.

As long as the Prime Minister and his cohorts are more interested in playing it safe, governing by the polls instead of sticking their necks out and offering real leadership regarding the crucial issues facing Canadians (pollution, energy, globalization, national unity—the last Quebec referendum was too close), then, yes, many Canadians will regard Ottawa’s antics as irrelevant. Stephen Choies, Hillsdale, Ont.

Depicting the Parliament Buildings in a garbage can on your cover does a great disservice to the democratic ideal. For many people, particularly those who have come to Canada from faraway homelands devastated by war and tyranny, the Parliament Buildings are a stirring symbol of the principles of democratic government.

John Raybould, Westbank, B.C.

Baseball’s strikeout

What has happened to baseball (“The baseball blues,” Bob Levin, Sept. 3)? This once-proud sport is dying a slow death and the lords of baseball don’t seem to notice or care. The real health of this game can be seen at the little-league level: in our own league, there were 1,200 kids playing ball in 1992—today, there are fewer than 700. Unfortunately, the game continues to fade, and what is baseball’s answer? Unreachable ticket prices for the average fan and another looming labour strike. The gods of baseball past must be rolling in their graves.

John Fullerton, Cambridge, Ont.

21st-century feminism

While reading Judith Timson’s essay “What’s a girl to do?” (Sept. 3) on the dizzying array of choices and role models available to young women today, it occurred to me that we do not seem to share a like concern for the healthy development for our young men. While young women can employ a machiavellian combination of feminist ideals and the more traditional advantages that come with being female to get what they want, the choices available to young men continue to be bound by society’s (and women’s) time-worn expectations of what it means to be a “real man.” Indeed, feminists have so successfully attacked male sexuality that men now find themselves in the unhappy position of having to justify and/or defend their sexuality at the same time as young women can fall back on feminism or, employing more traditional means, use their sexuality to achieve their aims. Simply put, in the present day, a girl can have it both ways—our young men, clearly, cannot.

Blaine Hislop, Stratford, Ont.

During my adult life, I have played many roles. I have been the subservient teenage wife, the struggling single mom, a capable woman thriving in the man’s world of construction. Finally today, after quitting my job to stay at home with my third child, while my wonderful second husband works all day, I feel like a cross between June Cleaver and Roseanne. I think that the most important thing that girls have to learn is that there is beauty in all

The Mail

the roles females play, and the most important part is to be true to yourself and to make yourself happy.

Nadine Currie, Hamilton

Judith Timson’s essay differed from many gender-specific articles by at least acknowledging that the lives of males are not simple either. Can it be that we are almost ready to discuss issues in the context of a single, integrated system, in which entire genders are not cast as either victims or villains? It can’t happen too soon.

Scott McMeekln, Toronto

Pictures at night

The images in the photo essay “Night shift” (Sept. 3) truly encapsulated the work of the individuals portrayed, and are nicely linked together by the prominent one-light source. Please keep it up—you are reducing the void left by the demise of Life magazine.

Mario Crespl, Markham, Ont.

Hey! What about us? The friendly, disembodied voice that accompanies many people while they go about their nocturnal missions—the radio DJ. I worked the godawful midnight shift at CFCN radio in Calgary for about six months in 1975. Getting up for work at 11 p.m. is just plain weird. The only nice thing was getting to know a lot of the listeners who called in on a regular basis. Now that I work on a morning show in New York City, I get to wake up at 3 a.m. That’s just plain weird, too. But the moneys a lot better.

Shawn Rosvold, Brooklyn, N.Y.

UFOs... skeptically

Your article “UFOs . . . seriously” (Life, Aug. 13) didn’t quote a skeptic (passing John Robert Colombo quote notwithstanding), but managed to characterize skeptics as people “who believe nothing.” Let’s see. Some fantastic race that has mastered the ability to travel fantastic distances through space at incredible speeds regularly make visits to Earth. When they get

here, they go to places like St. Paul, Alta, (foolishly not using the landing pad that has been thoughtfully constructed for them), and seek out the strangest of Earth’s creatures, beef catde. These sophisticated and intelligent creatures then (repeatedly) excise parts of catde tissue using plain old scalpel blades. Sometimes on the way out of the atmosphere, if the mood strikes them, they will do a quick spin through a wheat field and draw some enigmatic (usually circular) shapes in the crops to toy with those who would enslave the noble herds. All they used to do was build pyramids. You can see why a large number of Canadians are convinced this is real.

I Greg Hart, Calgary

Minority opinion

Milton Wong is concerned about the “tyranny of the majority” when it comes to a referendum on aboriginal land claims in British Columbia (“Time for amends,” Canada/ Opinion, Sept. 3). Checking my dictionary, I find tyranny defined as “governing arbitrarily”; arbitrarily defined as “subject to personal whims and prejudices.” Democracy is defined as “a political or social unit governed by all of its members.” Referendum is defined as “the process of all the electorate having a say.” You will notice the word “all” shows up quite often in these definitions. Did the previous NDP government in British Columbia use tyranny when it negotiated with the aboriginals without all having a say? Doesn’t the majority have any rights anymore? Wong goes on to say that the First Nations have accrued a debt of $150 million in these negotiations. I wonder who will pick up this tab in the end?

Bill Kushnlryk, Swan River, Man.

It would, in my view, be a major error on the part of the B.C. Liberal government if it took the size of its current mandate to be justification for a confrontational stand on native rights. I do not think Canadians are that eager to invite a civil war.

Ed Zacharias, Winkler, Man.