The Mail

May 13 2002

The Mail

May 13 2002

The Mail

Devoted to the cause

It is truly amazing that a talented actor like Michael J. Fox can view Parkinsons disease as a positive force in his life and feel himself a “lucky man” to be drawn along this new path (“Michael then and now,” Cover, April 29). As he educates so many about Parkinson’s and raises funds for research, many who live with this condition also feel lucky to have such an appealing, articulate spokesman.

Vivian Heinmiller, Peterborough, Ont.

On behalf of the nearly 100,000 Canadians with Parkinson’s and their loved ones, we applaud your extensive and compelling coverage of Parkinson’s disease. At a time when discoveries are occurring on a weekly basis and Michael J. Fox is building so much awareness, it is still very humbling to read a story like Peeter Kopvillem’s (“That disease is an indignity”) about watching his father suffer from Parkinson’s over many years.

Mary Jardine, National Executive Director, Parkinson Society Canada,Toronto

My own mother was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease 22 years ago. She was a vibrant, energetic, beautiful woman, only 47 years old. Life for our family certainly changed quickly as we went through the trials of medication, fa-

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tigue, weakness and severe depression. Our most difficult decision was to place her in a retirement home just to maintain her safety, and then in a chronic-care facility where she still lies, kept alive by a feeding tube. This disease has robbed our family of a mother, a grandmother and a friend. Thank God a celebrity like Michael J. Fox is bringing more attention and insight to this dreaded disease.

Linda Lammens, Delhi, Ont.

Yes, the Fox story is an important issue, yet its selection over the deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan as the cover story is an awful mistake. My brother was right there when the bomb was dropped on their training exercise. I cannot even begin to imagine what they felt and experienced that night. This war, what it means and represents, is a new experience for the younger generation of society. Yet you have managed to minimize its importance and nationwide impact by not having it as your cover story and instead having a pop culture figure in its place.

Let me get this straight. An aged member of a foreign royal family dies a natural death and is given full front-page coverage (“Queen of hearts,” Cover, April 8). Young men willingly gave their lives serving our country and all they rate on the cover is a small headline at the top?

Tim Pope, Brampton, Ont.

Canada’s loss

The photo of the condolence sign for the four dead Canadian soldiers illustrates a number of points about the Canadian public in general (“Death by friendly fire,” Canada and the World, April 29). First, it shows their deep-seated affection, especially in the few remaining base towns, for the men and women of the Canadian Forces who put themselves in harm’s way. Second, it is indicative of a lack of knowledge of who they are and what they do.

The clock stops here

Just read “The ticking Daddy clock” (The Back Page, April 22) by Andrew Pyper and had to laugh. I am female, age 31, married almost four years to my college sweetheart. I make $62,000 and had more of a clock tick in my mid-20s than I do now. Why? Because as I grew up I realized life is what I choose it to be and not what the societal norm chooses it to be. I see the options I have before me. I have searched my soul and have learned that I lack the desire to parent anything other than a dog. I love my husband. I love my marriage. I love the freedom. I love things the way they are and I have found a safe haven for others who feel as I do: www. no kidding, net.

Lisa Giassa, Bogota, NJ.

The men who were killed and injured were members of the PPCLI—for Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry—not the “PPLI,” as the sign put it. The Patricias have always been fiercely proud of their identity as Canadians and fly the Maple Leaf in some of the world’s most inhospitable places. If any good is to come of this tragedy, perhaps it will be the Canadian public starting to take more interest in the men and women of the Forces and what they really do. Then maybe the government will.

R. Peter Van Rienen, Richmond, B.C.

U.S. President George W. Bush’s slothlike response to the recent tragedy in Afghanistan caused, no doubt, by U.S. military incompetence, marks him again as a boorish and rather vulgar little man. The cornerstone of relations between Canada and the U.S. has always been friendship and mutual respect. This he either doesn’t understand or chooses to ignore as he pursues his inept and unstatesmanlike actions toward this country. Richard R Taylor, North Vancouver

I am continually dismayed at the attitude of many Canadians to U.S. President George W. Bush and his relationship with Canada. When Bush learned that Canadian soldiers had been bombed, the first thing he did was call the Prime Minister to offer his sympathy and his commitment to

find out what went wrong. What people don’t realize is that this incident was not his only concern that day. Among other things, he also had to deal with reports of a plane crash into an office building in Italy, a huge warning from the FBI about possible terrorist threats against U.S. financial institutions, a train derailment in Florida and the explosive situation in the Middle East. Too many people in Canada think that we are the centre of the universe and that the world should stop everything and pay attention to us.

Ronald Potter, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Considering that U.S. “friendly fire” killed nine of the 24 Brits who died in the Gulf War and that so many of America's own deaths and injuries are self-inflicted and considering that that same “friendly” fire is responsible for the total death toll of Canadians involved in the Gulf War and this one, we have damn good reason to insist that our soldiers operate under our command in a Canadian zone patrolled by Canadian pilots.

Greg J. Edwards, Delta, B.C.

Isn’t it funny how things change? In another war it was dumb bomb, smart pilot. Now it’s smart bomb, dumb pilot.

Fred Bushorm, Eastern Passage, N.S.

Consider the demographic

I agree with most of the points in Rudyard Griffiths’ excellent essay on the value of immigration, “Open the gates wide” (April 29). However, one issue needs to be addressed if Canada is to capture the cultural benefits its most qualified immigrants can bring. These immigrants will only develop a positive Canadian identity if their economic and professional experiences are positive. To illustrate: my father has a Ph.D. from one of the top universities in the U.K. and years of executive-level experience in the developing world. Yet after three years of trying, he is unable to find a professionally fulfilling role in Canada. He is not alone. Canada needs to help its immigrants integrate economically. Federal and provincial governments need to rethink their over-regulation of foreign credentials; Human Resources Development Canada, the agency that is supposed to help us find jobs, needs to focus more attention on the highly qualified immi-

A Canadian wounded by ‘friendly fire’

grant demographic; and Canadian employers need to better appreciate the value of experience gained in non-Western countries. Only then can Canada truly consider itself a welcoming society.

Yalmaz Siddiqui, Toronto

Rudyard Griffiths claims that immigrants know more about Canadian history than most Canadians. If so, then the solution lies within our education system, not increased immigration. He also claims that immigrants bring with them “a healthy dose of self-examination” necessary to help us meet challenges to our culture. We are a nation of navel-gazers; do we really need more self-examination?

Gerald Becker, Thunder Bay, Ont.

New immigrants think more about what it means to be Canadian than do those of us who were born here, Rudyard Griffiths contends. He further postulates that this self-examination may be just what we need to maintain our identity as we merge with North American and World markets. Well I beg to differ. My family has been here since long before Confederation, and I happen to think about what it means to be Canadian all the time. My Canada had a stronger-than-U.S. dollar, real silver coins, safe streets, the Lord’s Prayer in schools, quiet Sundays and universal health care. Opening the gates wide has only served to rid us of these fundamental Canadian values. Whatever happened to being Canadian?

Ray Search, Brampton, Ont.

Trade irritants

Does Mary Janigan really believe that if Canada unilaterally dismantles some of its business-protection measures, the U.S. will say “thanks” and consider it quid pro quo in the lumber debate (“It won’t stop at softwood,” April 22)? Having presented a

realistic case as to why we are likely to see more politically motivated trade protection measures by the U.S., she then suggests that Canada dismantle supply management, using as an example the “breathtakingly high consumer prices for ... milk.” Numerous studies have shown the consumer price for milk to be higher in the U.S. than that in Canada. The U.S. has many methods of indirect agricultural subsidy such as free irrigation resulting from “flood control” programs conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Robin Smith, North Vancouver

With a federal government that lacks either the ability or the will to prevent 29per-cent tariffs and other such measures, we can expect layoffs and cutbacks in more and more of our exporting industries. But would British Columbia’s lumber industry have been hit this way if B.C. was part of the United States? Not likely. So why don’t we stop asking the federal government for Band-Aids for our mill towns and become the 51st through 63rd states? If we can’t lick ’em, let’s join ’em.

Geoff Dean, Surrey, B.C.

The dairy system in Canada does not cause higher prices to consumers. Where producers benefit from collective marketing, as is the case with supply management, they may capture a larger share of the consumer dollar, a share that is otherwise in the hands of the intermediaries. The stability of the dairy system benefits producers and processors and results in consumer prices that are not higher than elsewhere.

Leo Bertoia, President, Dairy Farmers of Canada

Mountain Equipment profits

With 20 years’ experience working as a competitor to Mountain Equipment Coop in the outdoor retail industry in Canada, I find “The anti-retailer” (Business, April 29) offers nothing that hasn’t been printed many times. What is disturbing about MEC is that, while controlling over half the outdoor market in Canada, $154 million in sales, it pays no corporate income taxes, yet still receives kudos for being a great corporate citizen. For the record, I sold my business this year, but for 18 years I made a profit, and it never bothered me at all to pay taxes to my province or country for the common good.

Shane Baker, Huntsville, Ont.