The Mail

The Mail

April 8 2002
The Mail

The Mail

April 8 2002

The Mail


There’s no question the mechanical heart pump will be very beneficial to people with heart problems (“The pump of life,”

Cover, March 25). However, the long-term strategy should address clogged arteries through preventive medicine that is both effective and non-invasive. Niacin is a miracle B vitamin that cuts down bad cholesterol, increases blood circulation (and thus increases energy) and has antidepressant qualities. Using niacin is very cost-effective, too, which is why we should be hearing a lot more about it as the health-care debate rages on.

Mark Fornataro, Victoria

Serbian experience

I am sure that Canadian police Const. Neil Madill has accurately recorded his experience in Mitrovica (“When Kosovo went mad,” Over to You, March 25). It is undeniable that some Serbs have behaved brutally. But those few Serbs who remain in Kosovo are entirely dependent upon United Nations forces for both security and direction as the UN administration insisted that all Serbian forces, police and army, be withdrawn from what is historically Serbian territory to a line at least five miles outside the Kosovo border. No

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such stricture was applied to the Albanians, and the Kosovo Liberation Army was allowed to turn its coats inside out and assume the role of a police force. For every Serbian atrocity there are 20 Albanian attacks against Serbs. Why is it that we only hear when Serbs are the aggressors, never when they are the victims? Geoffrey Wasteneys, Ottawa

The funding connection

The lack of growth in some areas of Canada, revealed by the latest census (“The changing face of Canada,” The Week That Was, March 25), may in part be the result of federal policies that do not favour smaller provinces and their universities. Universities contribute much to retaining and attracting productive people and providing the foundation for the healthy economies and high-quality life that lead people to live in certain regions. But with the cutbacks in federal transfers for post-secondary education, universities have become more dependent on special transfers that favour large provinces and institutions. For example, Manitoba received only 2.5 per cent of grants and scholarships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada from 1991 to 2001, despite having more than 3.5 per cent of the population. Statistics in the Macleans university ranking issue (Nov. 19, 2001) document shortcomings consistent with this imbalance. Manitoba universities have difficulty offering competitive scholarships and fellowships, fail to attract students from out of province and out of the country, have limited library holdings, and provide fewer funds for students to participate in research. Unless all regions and peoples are similarly supported by the federal government in their scholarly and educational aspirations, Canada will continue to evolve into increasingly have and have-not regions.

James M. Clark, President, Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations, Winnipeg


I was pleased to learn that the RCMP spend considerable time, energy and resources to find the perfect black horses for their Musical Ride, because this obviously means that all crimes in Canada have been solved and the RCMP can spend their energy on these important matters (“When only black will do,” Overture, March 25).

Allen Mendelsohn, Montreal

‘Slap in the face’

When I opened the March 18 issue to The Mail section, my eyes were immediately captured by the picture of a Canadian soldier. As I read, I went from tears of thankfulness for my Canadian neighbours, to tears of anger because of the ridiculous comments of Brian MacKinnon of Winnipeg on the “questionable and unrepentant foreign policy” of the United States (“Canadians in harm’s way”). To imply that Canadians are going in harm’s way for reasons other than helping stamp out worldwide terrorism is an unneighbourly slap in the face of those who lost their lives on that tragic day in September, but also a slap in the face of the freedom-loving soldier. I am proud to be an American who would gladly put on my uniform and help you fight evil. Instead of spending your energy giving us hell, why don’t you spend it supporting your young men and women sacrificing their youth for you and your country?

Fred J. Feyh, Hoytsville, Utah

Book on-line

The content of “Forgotten Mountie wives” (Entertainment Notes, March 18) about my father’s book The Unpaid Second Man went right to the meat of the matter, ultimately catching the eye of many. Unfortunately, the book will not be in stores until the fall and is available only by mail or through our Web site ca/crocuspub/.

Randy Clark, Crocus Creative Publishing, Winnipeg

Hitler’s toll

In “The history maker” (Q&A, March 18), Sir Martin Gilbert refers to a situation “where Britain is being bombed every

The Mail

night by Germany, and thousands of Londoners killed every night.” Not to detract from the interesting article, I believe that Sir Martin may have exaggerated somewhat to put his point across. Though Hitler singled out London for his major effort of destruction, the Germans did not bomb London “every” night (I was there for part of it) and thousands were not killed “every” night.

Peter M. Holmes, Stittsville, Ont.

I don’t doubt there was anti-Semitism in Toronto in 1940—or now. But I’m puzzled by what Sir Martin Gilbert recalls as anti-Semitic signs in the city then. He refers to “pictographs” that indicated certain areas were restricted to Jews. I was born in 1919 and went through Toronto schools up through the University of Toronto, including a bar mitzvah at Holy Blossom synagogue. Never did I encounter anti-Semitism or see any pictographs or restricted signs. I was mosdy out of the country in the RCAF during the 1940s but find it hard to believe that signs sprung up suddenly.

Norman Altstedter, East Hampton, N.Y.

Softwood hardball

If we want to be a significant part of the softwood lumber market in the United States, we have to play their crooked game by buying influence in Washington (“The chips fly,” The Week That Was, April 1). We need to find a way to channel money through organizations that are on our side to fund all kinds of lobbying and political pressure. We need to find the American politicians who are friendly to our point of view and help them get elected in this years congressional elections. We need to get American industry leaders to lobby on our side of the issue. And every Canadian consul in the U.S. should be contacting major businesses in the area with a message like this: “Canada may well be forced to retaliate for this unwarranted trade action, and you could be a target.” We should bring that message to Florida orange growers, Washington state apple pickers, aircraft makers like Boeing, computer firms from Dell to Microsoft, and tourist operators like Disney in all the resort areas that depend heavily on Canadian “snowbirds.” We must also make the American public aware of the issue. How about a set of ad-

vertisements carrying pictures of the CEOs of the top half-dozen big U.S. lumber firms under the headline: “These millionaires don’t want you to be able to buy a home,” with copy pointing out that the home price increases caused by their actions have priced 450,000 American families out of affording a house? It is about time we stood up and fought for our place in the American market.

Ralph Allen, Prince George, B.C.

There is a silver lining to the softwood lumber issue. America is forcing us to diversify our economy and reminding us of Trudeaus third option: trade with the rest of the world.

Greg J. Edwards, Delta, B.C.

The U.S. has been dumping its cultural products into Canada for a very long time. Lets put a 29-per-cent duty on all American movies, television, ads, newspapers, magazines and video games. In short, a duty on all U.S. culture. Now, that might get their attention. Oh, and let’s pull our troops out of Afghanistan. I see no need for Canada to support the U.S. if they are going to treat us like this.

Bob Calhoun, Smithers, B.C.

Zimbabwe alarm

Prime Minister Jean Chrétiens despicable role in the Zimbabwe debacle is an unconscionable blot on Canadas international reputation for supporting democratic ideals (“Stumbling on Zimbabwe,” Canada and the World, March 25). By putting irresponsible “Liberal” diplomacy and political correctness ahead of its democratic obligations, Canada has sullied its name. Zimbabwe must be totally isolated from all Commonwealth events until Mugabe and his ZANU-PF thugs are totally eliminated and a lawful government established. The white farmers and other Europeans must be given full military protection from terrorists and the

Zimbabwean military by a Commonwealth brigade made up of combat-ready troops. We must not allow a repeat of Rwanda.

RobertTarplett, Birmingham, England

I Adventures in Tajikistan

I You captured the spirit, sense of humour and determination of those of us working and mining in a lonely faraway place (“All that glitters,” Canada and the World, Feb. 18). But the Tajik government is not an “old-fashioned Soviet-style dictatorship.” It is a democratically elected body that is gradually working out how to govern the country in an acceptable manner. It hasn’t been easy. After winning its independence from Russia in 1991, there was a five-year civil war. The Russians and the war left Tajikistan with no civil management structure, no money, no financial experience, no commercial know-how and, above all, a people with no “street wisdom,” the vital element of capitalism that we in the West take for granted. Tajikistan’s desperate need for foreign investment is at last being met following the collapse of the Taliban and the West’s new-found interest in the region. Any reference to “risky” countries amuses me. The Tajik people need help to build their confidence, a pride in themselves and a sense of belonging to the world community.

Alastair Ralston-Saul, President and CEO, Gulf International Minerals Ltd., Vancouver

Foth on Erb

Congratulations, Dr. Foth, on an entertaining column about someone my two sisters and I have long considered one of the most fascinating people on earth: Hon. Madame Justice Marsha C. Erb, our aunt (“The twists of history”, March 25). In addition to the escapades noted in your piece, we recognize Justice Erb for never being too shy to peal forth with the witch cackle she perfected to thrill us as children, for never being too nervous to brave a treacherous wintry route (in an ancient yellow hatchback) between Saskatoon and Fort McMurray to spend Christmases being jumped on by three little girls eagerly awaiting her arrival. Marsha is a frighteningly intelligent woman capable of typing faster than she talks, talking faster than most people can think, and thinking faster than most people can possibly imagine. Angela Vogel, Saskatoon