The Mail

The Mail

March 4 2002
The Mail

The Mail

March 4 2002

The Mail

Same old, same old

What a sad commentary on Canadian society your “Fifty most influential Canadians” cover story (Feb. 18) provided. Not only were a mere nine women given the honour, the vast majority of these influential Canadians were old, white and male.

Julia Christensen, Vancouver

I found the articles about the most influential Canadians very enlightening. Some have helped Canada take very positive steps up the ladder of greatness. Michael Trebilcock, however, may be a scholar and “all-round brain,” but his involvement in deregulation of Ontario Hydro does not serve the people of this province.

Jeanne Wellhauser, Ariss, Ont.

While I enjoyed the article on the 50 influential Canadians, I couldn’t help but wonder, where was environmentalist David Suzuki?

Maggie Harbert, Ottawa

A few people should be added to the list (and replace some): music producer Daniel Lanois (not to be mistaken with Daniel Langlois); singer Gordon Lightfoot; Elijah Harper, former member of Parliament and aboriginal author; native

actor Graham Greene; aboriginal songwriter and musician Bufiy Sainte-Marie; and, posthumously, Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson, in my opinion, the last great leaders this country has seen. To them, we owe at least an honourable mention.

Justin Brûlé, Victoria

What a commentary on the fabric and soul of Canadian society today that not one of your influential Canadians is a spiritual leader. Is it because of our preoccupation with political correctness and fear of offending some that we choose to not honour a single Canadian who has enriched our country and its people by building and strengthening our spiritual lives? Eric Long, Thunder Bay, Ont.

You do a great disservice to the other 48 by including Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney. There is a world of difference between being “influential” and influence peddling.

David Gwynne, Cedar, B.C.

Those Americans

I thoroughly enjoyed Elizabeth Renzetti’s column “Hollywood vs. Canada” (The Back Page, Feb. 18). After serving side by side with many U.S. sailors working on exchange with what was the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System, I can say that our American neighbours are caring, considerate and willing not only to tolerate but accept and embrace our Canadian quirkiness.

Monty Montgomery, Nepean, Ont.

Elizabeth Renzetti’s Back Page should more appropriately be called “Hollywood vs. Toronto.” It ain’t like that in the rest of Canada, Elizabeth. I’ve spent most of my life in Newfoundland and the Maritimes, where avoiding eye contact is between difficult and impossible. My shorter stints in Alberta and London, Ont., were also pleasant.

George Power, St. John’s, Nfld.

From one former Torontonian to another and as someone who has lived in the U.S., I totally understand and agree with what Elizabeth Renzetti has written. Ail I can say is I loved it, loved it, loved it.

Dolores Bremer, Victoria

Canadians abroad wear Canadian flags on their backpacks not for patriotic reasons but so they won’t be mistaken for Americans. We don’t say that Americans don’t know their country well, we complain that they know very little about other countries, including their immediate neighbour.

‘Ivory-tower Liberal’

Peter C. Newman’s glowing assessment of new junior finance minister John McCallum (“Finance minister in waiting,” Feb. 18) was laughable. McCallum, as a politician, has yet to show any intelligent analysis of his two apparent areas of expertise, banking and economics. His public whine about “grotesquely high” credit card interest rates levied by the banks was foolish. With his background, he should know that almost all the banks have alternative, lower-interest cards that charge in the 10to 12-per-cent range for clients who choose to carry a balance on their accounts. Furthermore, the Canadian Alliance tax initiative is flat, not regressive. In fact, it retains progressivity by favouring lower-income Canadians with tax deduc-

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Amiel’s tough love

The letter headlined “Cross purposes” (The Mail, Feb. 18) struck a nerve. The writer commented that the juxtaposition of Barbara Amiel’s column “The low dollar is our fault” and the tribute to Peter Gzowski, both in the Feb. 4 issue, implied that Amiel doesn’t love Canada. Maybe Amiel writes in her provocative style specifically for the opposite reason. Maybe she does love Canada and wants us to be less complacent. Maybe Momingside would have tried to get to the bottom of this thoughtfully, with its trademark civility and respect, instead of dismissively labelling it unpatriotic.

Chris Scatliff, Oakville, Ont.

tions, and therefore with lower average tax rates. A family of five, under the Alliance plan, would pay no federal income tax on its first $29,000 of family income. We see McCallum’s true opinion of the people of Canada in his disdain for referendums. Only an ivory-tower Liberal would show such arrogance. This is the last person we need to be the next minister of finance. Jeffrey R Sullivan, Summerside, RE.t.

Remembering Korea

In the Feb. 18 issue, Matthew Fisher provides us with a valuable analysis of the critical situation the Canadian Forces face as they perform magnificently in a multitude of tasks that stretch them to the limit (“ A real challenge,’ ” Canada and the World). However, I have to take issue with his statement that their mission in South Asia is “bolder than anything Canada has attempted militarily since the Second World War.” As a Korean War veteran, I see this as further proof that Korea is a forgotten war. The Forces of 1950 were numerically smaller than those of today, even after all the unfortunate cuts of the past decade. And yet, in a matter of days, we dispatched three destroyers and committed an air transport squadron; in a matter of months, an infantry brigade was formed, trained and transported to Korea. Some 25,000 Canadians served in action. Lest we forget. Ramsey Withers, Ottawa

Gold digging

I don’t understand the piece on Alastair Ralston-Saul (“All that glitters,” Canada and the World, Feb. 18). Perhaps the purpose was to celebrate a man whose com-

pany will probably leave a legacy equaling the Sydney, N.S., tar ponds, the Niagara Love Canal and General Electric’s pollution of the Hudson River. To laugh off the environmental damage about to be created is not funny.

Shawn Rosvold, Brooklyn, N.Y.

There is nothing honourable or romantic about the war in Tajikistan that Alastair Ralston-Saul seems to have so enjoyed. Or about invasive and destructive practices that destroy the environment and pass little benefit to the local communities. Just ask the 4,000 residents living around Lake Issyk-kul in neighbouring Kyrgystan, site of a cyanide spill from another Canadianowned mine in May, 1998.

Ian Small, Toronto

As an engineer with over 30 years experience in the international mining industry, I am writing to express my serious concern. The article portrays Canadian international mining industry investment in the worst possible light, leaving your readers with an unfair and undeserved impression of the contribution that our industry has made to improve the welfare, safety and environment of the people in many countries. Largely because of intense media pressure following previous scandals, but also because it was the correct thing to do, the industry has moved a long way to improve regulation of the public companies involved through actions of the Canadian Securities Regulators. Ail of the effort of improved regulation and professional standards will be totally poindess if poorly performing companies are portrayed, as they are in this article, in glowing terms. Terence J. Bottrill, Toronto

Brain drain explained

Donald Coxes remarks in his Feb. 11 commentary “Don’t dollarize Canada” seem contradictory. He says that if Jean Chrétien had lived up to his pledge of “tearing up” NAFTA, Canada would have preceded Argentina to the “global Dumpster.” Then he seems to blame Canada’s inability to keep its best and brightest on a lack of a “competitive economy that offers challenging careers.” It is very likely that NAFTA is the cause of this brain drain. Many Canadian programmers and engineers I have met as an American engineer came to the U.S. for the higher pay, and NAFTA made the transition easy.

Paul Russell, St. Paul, Minn.

Supercomputers

Your article says that MDS Proteomics maintains what it bills as the largest supercomputer in Canada (“Protein power,” Health, Feb. 18). Since 1986, theTop500 List has been the gold standard for ranking computer performance. Not only is that Inukshuk of MDS Proteomics not the top supercomputer, it isn’t even on the list. Computer “clusters” like Inukshuk, while powerful, are more comparable to large linkages of small PCs. Internationally recognized supercomputing sites include those at the University of Western Ontario, the University of British Columbia and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Or. A. Jamie Cuticchia, Toronto

Roots of anti-Semitism

In response to letter writer Vic Stecyk’s criticism (“Minding manners,” The Mail, Feb. 18) of John Ralston Saul’s claim that Christianity was responsible for the Holocaust (“Philosopher king,” Books, Feb. 4), Stecyk needs to do a little research. Hitler and the Nazis may well have had their own agenda regarding the Jews, but their ideology had its firm foundation in many centuries of Christian anti-Semitism. Since the statement of Vatican II, the Catholic Church has sought to overcome its sordid past treatment of Jews. Neither the Orthodox nor the Protestant churches escaped that guilt, the best example being the rabid anti-Semitism of Martin Luther. Rev. Peter Gilbert, Toronto