December 2 2002


December 2 2002


This nation has been brainwashed to believe that people who cannot or do not want to go to university are second-class citizens.’ -robinwinders,Betont.

University bound

I would like to commend Maclean’s for doing an amazing job on the “The university crunch” (Cover, Nov. 18). I am part of that “double cohort” in Ontario. I was overwhelmed by the information I received about different universities and by the whole application process. Finding a university to suit the program and grades I have has been a lot harder than I expected. The statistics and articles in your magazine have helped me consider universities I may never have thought of applying to before. You have helped me and probably many other Canadian students deal with the stress of finding that “perfect school.”

Merissa Bokla, Delhi, Ont.

I remember well the controversy of the very first ranking of Canada’s universities. I’m glad that you had the conviction to do it and the courage to improve on it. As for the costs of going to university—tuition and other fees are only part of the equation. Housing and food are by far the most costly items in any student’s budget. The price of onand off-campus housing, food, public transport, gasoline and parking does affect the viability of going to a school of one’s choice or making the compromise to go somewhere else.

GUS Roberts, Winnipeg

Whether the institutions will admit it or not, your annual review has been an impetus for positive change on many of our campuses. Why not apply the same investigative techniques to distance education universities? Distance education can ease the double-cohort issue in Ontario and provide affordable alternatives for students who cannot afford traditional post-secondary education. Prisca Campbell, Richmond Hill, Ont.

My university, the University of Calgary, has not been around for 149 years, as primarily undergraduate winner St. Francis Xavier has, but it is as innovative as they get. Maybe next year we should tear down our school and rebuild it with cobblestones and

hand-mixed cement. That obviously counts for something.

Suzanne Ohorodnyk, Calgary

Your magazine seems to equate sessional lecturers and non-tenured instructors with a second-rate level of instruction. Do you not realize that sessional lecturers are, in many cases, even better instructors than tenured professors? In commerce, law and arts they are often sessionals by choice, and when they are not teaching they are staying up to date with new trends in their field.

Justin Pfefferle, Saskatoon

Promises, promises

Quite possibly Paul Martin will provide “A tectonic shift” (Cover, Nov. 4) in government reform. However, as the article points out, Jean Chrétien watered down his own 1993 electoral promises, so why wouldn’t his replacement do the same? I’d like to think that real political change is on the horizon; it’s just that my memory extends farther back than the last election.

Clay Riley, Penticton, B.C.


Congrats on not focusing too much attention on Ed the Sock in the latest issue in the article about MuchMusic VJs (“Living the beat,”

Television, Nov. 18). It’s so evident he wanted to be mentioned more, but it’s good that others like George Stroumboulopoulos were in your spodight as opposed to a talking sock. Mark Naser, Ottawa

Why would you, in your infinite wisdom, all but omit Ed the Sock in your article regarding VJs with MuchMusic? Are you nuts? He is definitely the leader, the VJ among VJs. You owe Ed an apology, a new car and an unlimited supply of yarn so he can repair the wounds you have inflicted upon him.

A. J. Green, London, Ont.

It is unfortunate that your well-crafted profile of MuchMusic’s VJs was marred by your quickness to stereotype. Even as you laud the compelling hosts and their understanding of popular culture’s greater implications, you dismiss “model” VJ Amanda Walsh as merely “a pretty face.” Walsh, despite her youth, boasts arguably the best comic timing of them all and serves as a contemporary with whom younger viewers—those not quite ready to emulate Stroumboulopoulos’s nonchalance—identify eagerly.

Duana Taha, Toronto

Ready for war, and peace

Constance Brown’s letter in the Nov. 18 issue almost has it right—Canada’s “Military specialty” is peacekeeping. Many nations now provide inexpensive troops to support peacekeeping, but Canada should be capable of peacemaking—imposing and enforcing peace. Our forces should therefore be credibly equipped for war fighting, and maintain that skill set as the primary aim of training. Brad Sallows, Burnaby, B.C.

Energy efficiencies

Your article concerning the Kyoto accord implies that for most Canadians, Kyoto is about caulking windows and turning off the VCR (“Beyond Kyoto,” Cover, Nov. 11). Canadians should be concerned about Kyoto’s broader implications. First, of the disincentive to industry to invest in Canada and the corresponding encouragement to locate elsewhere, thus rendering the accord pointless. Second, the fact that of all of the signatories to Kyoto, Canada’s economy may be hardest hit. Third, that fundamental to the accord is international trading of emission credits, which, for Canada in particular, means a direct transfer of wealth

out of our country. And fourth, the possible creation of a “Kyoto Kops” bureaucracy with intrusive enforcement powers. Canada can pursue energy efficiency without swallowing the bitter medicine of Kyoto. We need a frank discussion about why Canada should suffer just to make us the darling of the UN. Michael W. McCachen, Calgary

I am puzzled why you selected a windmill farm for the cover of your issue featuring Kyoto. The problem is that it strongly suggests that wind power is the solution to our electrical energy and pollution problems. In the first place, wind power can have little impact on supply—a few percentage points at best for the foreseeable future. Secondly, wind power companies, in Canada at least, earn emissions credits, which they can sell to polluters, allowing them to continue to pollute. Wind power technology continues to advance, and we can embrace it later at a more advanced stage, if it provides a good solution. The sad truth is that if we really want to reduce pollution in this country we have to reduce energy usage. The culprit is the very low price we pay today for energy, because this fuels demand. Higher prices will contribute to reducing demand, and this will happen over time. In the meantime, we must be careful not to be stampeded into solutions that do not solve our problems, and which we might regret in the future. A cover featuring smokestacks spewing pollution would have been better.

Kent Hawkins, Picton, Ont.

We try to “walk lightly” on the environment. But as I write, I am looking across the lake to a ridge where some clear-cut logging was recently done. There are at least 12 slash bums underway, and I suspect that today they have put more carbon dioxide into the air than I will in my lifetime. And that’s just one day, on one mountain. Come spring, our farming neighbours will likely burn their fields. Yes, it’s fair to beat up on Alberta for its emissions from producing energy for the continent, but we don’t scream at the forest industry or the farmers for their emissions. Is there something wrong with this picture? Sande Berger, Tappen, B.c.

If Jean Chrétien is truly concerned about climate change, why is his government closing down the Arctic Stratospheric Ozone Observatory near Eureka, Nunavut? Seems

to me Kyoto has less to do with climate change than with Chrétien’s pride—which we’ve seen on display far too much of late. Carolyne Aarsen, Neerlandia, Alta.

I would like to challenge Robert Sheppard’s claim of the hydrogen fuel-cell car being the “holy grail” vehicle of the post-petroleum era. The designers of the Air Car, manufactured in the south of France, say it can

run at speeds up to 110 km/h for a distance of300 km on one tank of compressed air. The air is filtered before passing through the engine, so the car actually releases cleaner air—something Torontonians would greatly appreciate come next summer. My information comes from the Air Car Web site at www. theaircar. com.

Renay Roberts, Ottawa

Old-boys’ network

What Allan Fotheringham does not seem to comprehend in “Where are the real men?” (Nov. 11) is that it is women like Jeannie Lee, Wendy Mesley, Vivienne Sosnowski and Cynthia Kent, to name a few, who are changing the style and face of the old, blustery, ego-dominated boys’ network that he is pining for. I guess he’ll have to watch reruns from old CBC episodes while I settle in and get some real news from faces that represent a world view that includes me.

Isabelle Giroux, Courtenay, B.C.

The Alberta difference

I was fascinated by Brian Bergman’s “Doing

it the Alberta way” (Essay, Nov. 18). As one who has lived on and off for 20 years in the United States, I was reminded of the great immigration of Germans to that country during the first half of the 20th century. They came not as refugees, but to make a sizeable contribution to the entire society, without relying on the government to solve their problems, as too many Canadians elect to do. Perhaps there is a parallel with the influx of Americans into Alberta. My long observation tells me that what made that province unique was not only its creativity and the willingness to take gigantic risks, but also good old common sense. Witness its handling of Kyoto and health care. Maybe Alberta can be an important influence in establishing an elected Senate, bringing true representation for the smaller provinces as well as checks and balances to the House and the Prime Minister. The Australians have done it while preserving their parliamentary system.

A. R. Pettigrew, London, Ont.

There is a bit of naughtiness in the way the writer explains why Albertans do things their way, citing inferiority complex, image problem and other light-hearted reasons. And he plays safe by identifying himself as an Albertan. There is no inclination from him to indicate that Alberta’s tendencies could be danger signs for the country. I’d be interested to see this naughtiness in a follow-up essay when Alberta successfully uses the Clarity Act to separate from the country. That will be triggered by two coming events; Kyoto and the annihilation of the Alliance Party in Eastern Canada in the next election.

Albert Cachero, Calgary

Parallels to war

Ruth Robins-Jeffery remembers the slaughter of the Second World War and asks, “How could anyone want that again?” (“The way ofwar,” The Mail, Nov. 18). Well, she couldn’t and I couldn’t, but the trouble is, others infesting our world today could and do. I remember the thirties. We heard, but didn’t want to hear, the screeching, bullying rabble-rouser Adolf Hitler agitating 100,000 impressionable young men into a great, roaring bellow of “Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!” We heard, but didn’t want to hear, Winston Churchill, a voice in the wilderness, warning of the horrors to come.

Whether we willed it or not, whether prepared or not, we were plunged into a war we did not want, had not sought nor started, but had to finish. We did finish it well and with credit, after the spilling of a lot of Canadian blood. But let it be admitted, it was partly because we had luck, partly because we had the Churchills and the Andy McNaughtons, partly because we and the U.S. were isolated by geography, partly because Hitler, with his many stupid mistakes, was at times on our side, and hugely because the U.S. came in to help. One would have to change only a few words in that to make it apply today. But we must not depend upon luck, we are no longer isolated geographically, and there now is an international bandit, Saddam, probably much more clever than Hitler. We have only pale shades of the Churchills and the McNaughtons, but never mind. Should Canada support the U.S.? Yes, emphatically yes. George Bush is no saint; the CIA is no army of angels; the military-industrial complex is alive and well. But if we wait for a saint supported by angels and a band of selfless, non-profit-seeking, altruistic corpo-

rations, we will wait a long time. Unless, of course, we die in agony of radiation burns inflicted by Saddam.

Frank Gue, Burlington, Ont.

War and deceit

The stories “Heroism on Verrières Ridge” (History) and “Waiting for the firing squad” (The Maclean’s Excerpt) in the Nov. 11 issue confirm the Canadian military’s practice of cover-up, denial, prevarication and deceit. This was true during the Second World War and the Somalia cover-up and was well documented by Maclean’s in the 1998 series of articles including “Rape in the military,” “Abuse of power,” “Mystery at Gagetown,” and “It’s a man’s world.” The fact that reporters had no access to war operations in Afghanistan and that the military tightly controlled all the “news” from the theatre ofwar intimates more cover-up and deceit. The calls for more military spending are multiplying, but how can we support an institution that consistently lies and then has the audacity to insist it is telling us the truth?

Dave Hubert, Edmonton