The Mail

The Mail

June 10 2002
The Mail

The Mail

June 10 2002

The Mail

Strained relations

“The new solitudes,” (Cover,

May 27) is a well-written, thought-provoking article that showed both sides of the very sensitive issue in the Middle East. As a born-and-bred Canadian, I have no ties to the region, yet I am deeply affected by the recent events there. What horrifies me most, however, is the way U.S. President George W. Bushs ‘ you’re either with us or against us” policy has spilled over into the IsraelPalestine debate. To say that you disapprove of the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government is now tantamount to anti-Semitism and support of the suicide bombings. Expressing disapproval of the efforts of suicide bombers and other radical Palestinians is now tantamount to supporting Israeli policy and ignoring the rights of Palestinians. When will this terrible situation end? Perhaps when Israelis and Palestinians lay down their arms and listen to those who work for peace. Perhaps when both sides acknowledge and take responsibility for their own behaviour. Or perhaps not until all human beings get it through their thick craniums that we’re all in this world, working together, no matter what our skin colour, religion or personal beliefs are, and when human life is worth more than a mere piece of land.

Jaime Adams, Ottawa

I think maybe all of us could use a refresher course on exactly why racism is bad. The problem lies with any group thinking it’s inherently better than another. That includes Arabs and Jews, blacks and whites, men and women, gays and straights, Star Warts and Trekkies, Americans and . . . Canadians. Nope, no exceptions. Any time a group gets together, declares itself better than the other guys and demands a forced expression of solidarity or identity from its members, it contributes to prejudice in general.

David A. MacNeil, Sydney, N.S.

My grandfather was a member of the infamous Black and Tans auxilliary force in Ireland for a few months in 1920. My wife’s family is Catholic Irish. If our families had carried their Old World hatreds to this country we certainly would not have been happily married for the past 33 years. Throughout Canada’s history, people have come here for a better life including personal freedom for all and the opportunity to be and do what your skill and ingenuity afford you. This country will eventually become what people are escaping from if they carry their hatred baggage here. Don’t forget your culture, but forget the hate. Geoff Lynn, Olds, Alta.

Global conspiracy

Oh dear, Auntie Barbara has left observable reality and joined the U.S. punditocracy in outer space, beating the depressingly familiar drum of global anti-Israeli conspiracy—which to her is anti-Jewish, but these are not nearly the same thing (“The new evil empire,” Barbara Amiel, May 27). My goodness, does she really think a bunch of weepy left-wing liberals under UN Secretary General Kofi Annan are out to make war on the Jewish diaspora? What absolute nonsense. This sort of paranoia is something one expects from the absurdly wealthy, not investigative columnists. She asks, why is the UN critical (“hating” is her inexact term) of Israeli

foreign policy? Perhaps because Israeli governments have consistently ignored UN Resolution 242, calling for a withdrawal from illegally occupied territories. No mystery there.

Simon Archer, Toronto

The urgency of Barbara Amiel’s column should not be lost on any of us who recognize the intolerable rise of anti-Semitism throughout our world perpetrated by organizations such as the United Nations. The paradoxical views held by the United Nations in regards to the survival of Israel as a nation are contrary to its original mandate and thinly veiled to its skewed prejudicial resolutions against Israel. As Amiel points out to those who are not already innately biased, the yardstick by which Israel is now being judged on the world stage for the defence of its people and democracy is both unreasonable and obviously indefensible. Dan Kowbell, Toronto

It’s hard to tell where Barbara Amiel’s sarcasm ends and the illogical comparisons begin. How can the FLQ crisis be compared to the intifada? Can anyone even imagine tank-exploding mines in Montreal? And to actually whine about not having the star of David on ambulances while Israel refuses to abide by one UN resolution after another is just mind-boggling. Salaheddin Baki, Montreal

Hockey rules

Unlike Peter Kent, I find the strains of Hockey Night in Canada music to my ears (“How I unplugged the CBC,” The Back Page, May 13). At this time of year, I walk devoudy with the CBC on the road to the Stanley Cup, and I continue to watch CBC news, suffering the pain of pre-emption with good humour. I agree with Kent that the CBC needs new vision, but that is where our views diverge. I expect my CBC to compete for the rights to cover professional and amateur sports and to fund high-quality news, historical and educational programming important to our national (small-n) psyche. My CBC does not complement private broadcasters, Mr. Kent. It competes with, and supersedes, them.

Tracey Evans Buhr, Vancouver

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Immigrant exploitation

The essay by Rudyard Griffiths, “Open the gates wide” to immigration (April 29), should not go unchallenged. The brutal realities of Canada’s immigration policy are a disgrace to our county. We seek three types of immigrants, not so much out of charity or goodwill, but to enhance the luxurious lifestyles of our high-income citizens. The first type of immigrant we seek is the highly qualified scientist and professional, educated by their home countries at enormous cost. Such immigrants represent a huge saving for Canadians. The second type is the skilled technologist, technician and tradesman, again acquired at great savings for Canada. Relatively unskilled workers, eager to do jobs that need to be done, but that able-bodied Canadians on welfare or “unemployed” are unwilling to do for low wages, are the third type. A majority of Canadians have an almost insatiable thirst for more material goods and luxurious lifestyles. Low-cost immigrants contribute significantly to the

ever-higher incomes of those enjoying luxurious lifestyles. As a fiercely proud Canadian I am sickened by our rampant greed at the expense of the countries from which most of our immigrants come.

C. F. Bentley, Edmonton

Power to the people

I think the essay by Allan R. Gregg should not be titled “Wake up, Canada” (Essay, April 8), but rather “Wake up, Canadas government.” It is critical that the federal government realize it is working for the public. The longer Canada operates with a government that does not care, the greater the detachment between them and the people.

Sandra Yoon, Ingersoll, Ont.

The art of business

How splendid to see David Thomson’s passion for the arts featured so prominently in your article noting his ascension to power at Thomson Corp. (“Fortune’s

child,” Cover, May 6). I noted that this passion, which he considers fundamental to his business ability, was firmly rooted in his early opportunities for meaningful arts experience. I hope that when he and others think about supporting the arts, they will remember the young people who have little access to deeply engaging arts experience. Donations to programs that bring artists into contact with young people across a broad spectrum of society could have a profound impact on many lives. Jennifer Cayley, Ottawa

Prohibition madness

“First rum, now drugs” (History, May 13), the story of rum running and drug smuggling off the East Coast, shows that we must have been mad then and we are no better now. Why else would we tolerate a law that seeks to punish people for what they choose to ingest? We may as well roust people off to jail for eating Rice Krispies or having B.O.

Alan Randell, Victoria

Time to intervene

Barbara Amiel sees Israel becoming a code word for hostility. Media have an obligation to account occasionally for the hatred, in place of daily scorekeeping. Consider aboriginal Palestinians, bearing traditional Muslim hospitality to Jews, falling subject in less than four decades to occupation and military suppression by an immigrant power. Britain’s Balfour Declaration of 1917 supported a Jewish homeland, provided that the civil and religious rights of non-Jews were not affected. Under the British Mandate (1920 to 1948), which fostered Jewish immigration, the Jewish population in the region then called Palestine grew proportionally from less than 10 per cent to more than 30 per cent (to almost 700,000) when independence was declared. The once-secret Jewish army brought Israeli occupation and control by 1967 to present conditions where 5.9 million Israelis dominate more than half that number of Palestinians who live in Israel and the occupied territories or are dispersed to neighbour states. Europeans and North Americans with antiSemitic guilt should now promote an interventionist mandate to sponsor separate and secure statehood for the two communities.

James Farris, Charlottetown

J. Alfred Chrétien

Judith Timson writes in “101 uses for an ex-PM” (The Back Page, May 27), “Yeah but what about the rest of us? We grow old, we grow old, we will wear the bottom of our relaxed jeans rolled.” It is the doubtridden J. Alfred Prufrock of T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of], Alfred Prufrock who reflects, “I grow old ... I grow old ... I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” It is amusing to think of Chrétien declaiming the rest of the passage: “No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; / Am an attendant lord, one that will do / To swell a progress, start a scene or two, / Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, / Deferential, glad to be of use, / Politic, cautious, and meticulous; / Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; / At times, indeed, almost ridiculous/ Almost, at times, the Fool. /1 grow old... I grow old... /1 shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. / Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to

eat a peach? / I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach ...” Rachana Raizada, Vancouver

I found Judith Timson’s article enjoyable and stimulating. I have an additional suggestion as to what might be a suitable career move for Chrétien if he ever decides to leave politics: a position with the United Nations. His incessant world travel and what I would assume to be a genuine interest in the welfare of the denizens of the Third World in particular would seem to make him a natural choice for a UN posting. The sooner he makes way for a successor as Prime Minister, the sooner Canadians might be able to look forward to a leader who places more emphasis on domestic problems. Assuming the perks and privileges that go with a UN job are on par with those Chrétien now enjoys, it begs the question: “What’s holding him up?”

Carl James Johnson, Victoria

Corrupting influence

Why is the Liberal government, which fought so vigorously to paint former prime minister Brian Mulroney as a crook (in the end being forced to apologize to him for getting the RCMP to investigate allegations against him in the Airbus affair ), becoming so corrupt (“Ethics—or tactics?” Canada, June 3)? It is because that is what absolute power does. The ideological parties in Canada have so thoroughly terrified voters that these same movements have actually served to buttress the Liberals. Mainstream voters feel they have little choice but to back the Liberals because of the threat the Canadian Alliance and Bloc Québécois present to the economic well-being of the

country. It is time to vote Tory again and send the Liberals a message, and not one they can ignore.

Jason Daniel Baker, Toronto

Assisted conception

I am deeply disappointed and troubled by “Who’s my birth father?” (Cover, May 27) because the article mirrors medical practice of a decade or more ago. Today, any person can go on the Internet and access the catalogue of any of a dozen sperm banks and choose with some detail the donor whose sperm the courier will deliver I to her doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s ofS flee. In the catalogues of the various sperm I banks are indicated whether the donor accepts to be known or wishes to be anonymous. It is not surprising that of the hundreds of donors available to Canadians from all over the United States and Canada, only a half dozen have chosen to be known. The article fails to recognize that provincial laws in all but two provinces (Quebec and Newfoundland) and one territory (Yukon) state that if the sperm donor is known, he is the biologic and legal father of a child. For those who donate sperm as a gift of life, there may be little desire to know the identity of children born. For heterosexual couples, their need for privacy may lead them to choose an anonymous donor. Each of us has the right to make informed choices about the reproductive care we want. Pity that you could not see beyond the anger of a few to the future and happiness of the many who will enjoy the benefits of donor insemination and infertility care in Canada.

Dr. Arthur Leader, Chief, Reproductive Medicine, Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Medicine, Ottawa Hospital/University of Ottawa

Your cover story “Who’s my birth father?” caught my eye as it is a question I have lived with for over 31 years. I am not, however, a product of artificial insemination. I am an adoptee. Contact with unknown biological parents is a desire shared by many whose origins are a mystery to them. Without revisions and additions to current legislation, contact, in many cases, is impossible. I am not ungrateful for the sacrifices made by those who gave me life. Nor do I wish to “trade in” the loving parents who raised me for the parents to whom I have genetic ties. I am simply trying to put together the puzzle that is my unique individuality. CindyMarie Mack, Winnipeg