The Mail

The Mail

March 18 2002
The Mail

The Mail

March 18 2002

The Mail

Canadians in harm’s way

The dedication of our Armed Forces under war conditions in Afghanistan is

reminiscent of the dedication of our troops in the First and Second World Wars (“On guard in Afghanistan,” Cover,

March 4). The difference is, in those conflicts, the Canadian people and government put all their resources together to support them. Today, you could drop all enlisted personnel into

the SkyDome and still have empty seats. Enlistment, training and equipment are not priorities. It’s time the Canadian people and our out-of-touch old politicians made a decision—either properly fund our Forces so they can do their job, or quit pretending we have a defence force and send them all home.

Ruth Drummond, Sundridge, Ont.

From Kandahar, Sally Armstrong’s article brings home to us the horrors of war: no recreation facilities, no television, no e-mail, and (gulp) no workout room. Horror piles on horror when we learn that Master Cpl. Tara Avey has to move out to a forward observation position with a smear of dirt on her lip and a smudge of mud on her nose. Vote-chasing politicians and admiring feminist journalists have degraded the profession of arms in the

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Canadian military to a game of dressing up. Dare one ask how this politically correct formation would fare in sustained

operations in sub-zero Arctic or tropical swamp conditions? Henry Gibbs, Durham, Ont.

I agree with Sally Armstrong’s perception that it’s a “dirty job for Canada’s men and women in uniform” to be “on guard in Afghanistan,” but should they really be doing the dirty work

that a devious American foreign policy has created? It is unseemly, unconscionable and unfair to place Canadian soldiers at risk in the Kandahar combat zone with the possibility of sacrificing them on the altar of a highly questionable, unrepentant American foreign policy. Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Elliott Trudeau would not have been impressed.

Brian MacKinnon, Winnipeg

Holier than thou

I assume that Allan Fotheringham tried to elicit some spirited response by throwing out verbal bait (“The trouble with Israel,” Feb.25). Whether he is indulging himself in mellow reverie or else suffers from the “mature moments” that afflict most seniors, some correction is called for. Joe Clark never “almost walked into one of [the Canadian peacekeepers’) bayonets.” King Hussein did not keep the Clark party waiting 45 minutes because he was “infuriated” that the Conservative leader would visit Israel before his country.” I arranged the Clark program with Hussein’s protocol office, and we knew of the possibility of a delay because the king was meeting the Emir of Abu Dhabi. Arab rulers do not as a rule drop everything for Canadian visitors. With reference to Israeli “so-called settlements” on “disputed territory” on the West Bank, “disputed” is doublespeak by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s flacks and the North American pro-Israel lobby. By comparing these fortified, tank-protected encroachments to suburb expansion in West Vancouver or

Our classy neighbours

Now that we’ve had time to savour our Olympic successes, it’s time to pause and reflect (“How sweet it is!”, Cover, March 11). First, forget the oft-ballyhooed 50-year hockey gold drought. It’s only since Nagano that we have been allowed to ice our best players—a privilege the Europeans, especially the East Bloc, enjoyed throughout. Second, we owe a big vote of thanks to those same oftdissed Americans. Without a doubt the awarding of the clearly earned gold to skaters Jamie Salé and David Pelletier was due to the powerful and unremitting intervention of the U.S. media and public opinion. And what about the often abrasive Jeremy Roenick’s gracious and generous praise of Team Canada and Mike Modano’s seeking Canadian coach Ken Hitchcock for congratulations while both ached from the agony of just losing the game of their lives? Class acts indeed. So a tip of the national hat to our American neighbours. I wonder if we would have done as much for them.

A.D. McKay, Calgary

Markham, Dr. Foth exhibits what he charged Joe Clark with: a “pitiful grasp of Middle East politics.”

Anthony Chernushenko, Ottawa

When Dr. Foth decides to take on the bullies and thugs of the world he never hesitates to say out loud what so many of us only dare to hint at. There are a great many people today who avoid organized religion, viewing it with the same distrust that tourists bring to the drinking water in a host of foreign countries.

William Clegg, Nanaimo, B.C.

Allan Fotheringham’s lament regarding the situation in the Middle East is shared by many people, religious and non-religious. The seemingly perpetual cycle of violence leads us all to question the description of this troubled region as the Holy Land. It is therefore more deeply troubling when this situation leads to the blanket condemnation of religious belief expressed in the conclusion of Fotheringham’s column. The vast majority of the members of the

Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are guided not by the advocates of terror and armed confrontation but by the prophetic words of Micah, “What does the Lord require of you, O mortal, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” It is this conviction that motivates us to work for economic justice and political freedom for all of Gods children.

Rev. Richard G. Leggett, Vancouver

My hat off to Allan Fotheringham for stating the obvious, namely that “God” is a highly divisive figment of our imagination. Fred DeWiel, Calgary

Savouring success

I would like to congratulate all Canadian Olympians who participated and proved to be among the greatest in their astonishing fourth-place finish (“How sweet it is!”, Cover, March 11). The feeling was overwhelming to watch both hockey teams win the gold. The whole country celebrated. For me, as a recent Canadian, it was a great experience of Canadian spirit. I feel proud to be Canadian.

Oresta Gochko, London, Ont.

Thank you for a great Olympics commemorative issue. I now have to buy a new fridge to put up all the pictures!

Pamela Hiensch, Richmond, B.C.

As a volunteer at the Olympics here in Salt Lake City, I was able to meet and interact with many people from Canada at the E-Center, where most of the hockey games were held. I always looked forward to the days when Team Canada would play so that I could be with the fans! It was difficult for me to choose a favourite in both gold-medal games because of the friendship of those Canadians. I feel like I have a second home in your great country because of the people I met during the Games and I truly look forward to the day when I can visit Canada.

Kevin Kamerath, Riverton, Utah

As a Canadian living in the U.S., I have never been so proud of my country as I was during the Olympic Games. Not only did our athletes put on superb performances, but they showed the world what a class act we are. My husband and I have been unof-

ficial ambassadors for Canada during the past 18 months, and were happy to continue in that role as we explained the finer points of curling to our southern neighbours. My heart rate has finally slowed to a regular beat following the hockey matches, both women’s and men’s, and we have rightfully claimed the status as the best in the world. Thank you, Macleans, for making us feel a bit less homesick, with the wonderful coverage of all our athletes. Our Maple Leaf flags have been flying high.

Lisa C. Baker, Rochester, Minn.

I don’t mean to be a stick-in-the-mud, but can someone explain to me how this country can become so incredibly euphoric and jubilant over Canada’s $6-million-per-man Olympic hockey mercenaries beating the American millionaires in the quest for, as far I can see, a tarnished gold medal? One really should take a moment to view the American “miracle on ice” gold-medal team of 1980, or at least our own 1972 summit series with the Soviet Union. Then maybe we could gain better perspective into the true meaning behind Olympic competition and spirit, not the parody it’s become. Dan Kowbell, Toronto

Victorious women and men

I was thrilled with our Olympic men’s and women’s hockey wins. But I was dismayed with your decision to put the men on your magazine cover, while the women got the back page (“Games to remember” Cover, Mar 11, 2001). They shared the glory of the gold. Couldn’t they have shared your front cover too?

Yvonne Askin, Toronto

Mario Lemieux, representing the men’s team, rates the front cover while Danielle Goyette for the women’s team is relegated

to the back cover. The men get a full, twopage photo inside, the women are given a half page. From biased judging to biased journalism—so what else is new?

Charlotte Miller, Rossland, B.C.

The Editor replies:

The March 11 issue of Macleans was not our first celebrating Canada’s gold medal in women’s hockey. We covered that stirring victory over the U.S. squad in the previous edition, dated March 4, including a much larger version of the on-ice team photo that appeared in the commemorative issue. Taken together, the two issues gave the women every bit as much coverage as the men. As for Mario Lemieux gracing the March 11 cover, it’s hard to dispute certain facts: the men’s victory was more “newsy” (coming three days after the women’s, and after our previous issue closed), it drew a larger TV audience, sent thousands of delirious fans into the streets and ended a 50-year drought in men’s hockey gold. They were both great accomplishments and each team celebrated the other’s triumph.

What’s cooking?

As a huge LooneyspoonslCrazy Plates fan, I would just like to say that your article on the team of cookbook writers and sisters Janet and Greta Podleski was great (“Crazy like foxes,” Business, March 4). What I do not understand, however, is why you would then do a complete 180 and give their product such a poor review (“Crash! Crazy Plates reviewed”). I have tried all the Crazy Plates frozen meal kits and have to say they are wonderful.

Margi Bates, London, Ont.

Animal welfare

I am appalled at the thought that present animal welfare legislation would even allow for exotic animals to be kept in hotels, motels and a van for eight months of the year (“Come on and safari with Shannon,” Overture, March 4). Using animals as educational props may be nothing new, but compromising the welfare of the animals for such a purpose is a highly debatable endeavour. Under the guise of education, roadside attractions such as this flourish with little evidence to show their merit. Jessica Ing, Orangeville, Ont.