THE MAIL

THE MAIL

'As I see it, we have been jolted out of our cocoon of avarice and comfort with the grief and terror of the Sept. 11 attack on the United States.'

JOANNA WILKINSON September 30 2002
THE MAIL

THE MAIL

'As I see it, we have been jolted out of our cocoon of avarice and comfort with the grief and terror of the Sept. 11 attack on the United States.'

JOANNA WILKINSON September 30 2002

THE MAIL

'As I see it, we have been jolted out of our cocoon of avarice and comfort with the grief and terror of the Sept. 11 attack on the United States.'

JOANNA WILKINSON

Reflections on Sept. 11

I was so dreading the wrenching emotions that the horrible pictures of last year evoke, but even the pictures in your cover package were well chosen (“September 11: one year later,” Sept. 16). I enjoyed the great writing in Robert Sheppard’s “The pilgrimage to Pennsylvania”—neat phrase that, “small-town custodian of a nation's grief.” And I loved reading John DeMont’s “Guess who came to dinner—and stayed” about Gander, Nfld.’s hospitality. My husband and I visited Newfoundland in the early 1990s and dubbed it Canada’s bestkept secret. Thank you for sensitive, thought-provoking and positive coverage of a life-altering event.

Heather Pattullo, Vancouver

Congratulations on your 360-degree view of Sept. 11. It was thoughtful, comprehensive and deeply evocative of the trauma of 9/11. I read it cover to cover, non-stop. Special thanks for saving The Back Page for Tarannum Kamlani’s excellent reflective piece, “My Islamic roots, my American home.”

Lea Harding, Belwood, Ont.

On Sept. 12, 2002, my 12-year-old son and I drove into the U.S. Midwest to get a part needed for our farm in southern Ontario. He immediately noticed the large number of “God Bless America” signs. But it was overhearing the fortysomething man at the next table in an Iowa diner rather loudly saying grace and ending it with “God bless America” that made us realize to what extent Americans have come to believe God has signed an exclusive contract with them. Later, my son remarked, “I wonder if God has any time left to bless Canada.”

Stephen Thompson, Clinton, Ont.

The U.S. has always had somewhat of a moral advantage in world affairs, but that is now being wasted. The CIA taught torture in Latin America and other places. When Iraq was busy gassing the Iranians,

the U.S. was silent. When the U.S. rescued Kuwait, it restored a dictatorship rather than creating a democracy. In the fight against al-Qaeda, the U.S. does not treat its prisoners as prisoners of war, nor as criminals. Rather, it keeps them in mesh kennels in Cuba. Now, the U.S. is demanding Iraq adhere to UN resolutions or face invasion. But it doesn’t insist on the same compliance for Israel, which is also violating UN resolutions and already has nuclear weapons. Power has never been so naked.

Tom Trottier, Ottawa

I had been hoping that somewhere, somehow, in some publication, on TV or in print I could read a piece that really touched me and made all the rest unnecessary. I found it in “Remembrance and the desire to forget” (The Editor’s Letter, Sept. 16). You have totally captured the essence.

Tom Nease, Woodbrldge, Ont.

The Chrétien years

Never have I agreed with a column more than with Peter C. Newman’s “One tough mother” (Sept. 9). Canadians more than require “a political leader far more articulate, flexible and inspiring” than Jean

Chrétien, we deserve it, and should be demanding it. We are paying dearly for politicians who make ambiguity and incoherence an art form, and we cringe whenever Chrétien meets with a microphone. When I see Britain’s articulate, confident and decisive Tony Blair on newscasts, I wonder why we are not likewise represented on the domestic and world stages.

George Wasylyk, Mississauga, Ont.

Small-town venues

Scoring Elton John in Saskatoon and Kelowna was a tremendous victory for those of us in small-market venues who want to attract top-notch entertainment to what you so charmingly refer to as the “boonies” (“ScoreCard,” This Week, Sept. 9). Bryan Adams and Nickelback, to name a couple, decided that Grande Prairie, in northwestern Alberta, was a place they needed to play, and our audience appreciated their willingness to come. After the show is over, the T-shirts and CDs have been purchased and the building is cleared, it’s the same as the big city, with one major difference—we all get home a whole lot faster.

Jane Cada-Sharp, Grande Prairie, Alta.

Bare-bones education

I have finally figured out the Ontario government’s game plan for education (“Quick, hide the pencils,” The Week, Sept. 9). If they keep cutting the budget, reducing teaching staff, etc., they will eventually graduate classes of ignoramuses who don’t even know what a government is, never mind how one works. Then the government will rule forever because no one will be educated enough to replace it. Until the coup.

Christine MacNeil, Antigonish, N.S.

Modified results

I was surprised to read in the excerpt from L. Ian MacDonald’s book From Bourassa to Bourassa that “Alberta saw a clean sweep of 26 Conservative seats” in the 1988 election dominated by the issue of the Free Trade Agreement (“The untold history of free trade,” Excerpt, Sept. 9). In fact, Ross Harvey of the NDP was elected in Edmonton East in that election.

Bruce Gajerski, Edmonton

THEMAIL

What parents need

Oh, please—Canada unfriendly to babies (“Let’s be baby-friendly,” Over to You, Sept. 9)? Susan McClelland bases her theory on the myth that it is an “increasing necessity for a household to have two full-time salaries.” Try again, Susan. Many families, realizing the value of raising their own children, opt to budget and live on the salary of one parent while the other actually parents. And please don’t tell me that living on one salary would be impossible. Maintaining your present standard of living may be impossible on one salary, but living—with shelter, food and clothing—is most definitely possible. It is all a matter of choice.

Connie Prichard, Melbourne, Ont.

Young marrieds 30 or 40 years ago expected to have less at first in order to have children. Vacations to sunny climes each year were not de rigueur; most who went to university worked their way through instead of borrowing from the government; feminists had not accomplished the belittling of motherhood; real estate prices hadn’t risen out of sight. . . the list could go on and on. As for the unnamed dad-to-be complaining to Susan McClelland about his wife leaving her $70,000 job to raise their child, haven’t they saved up for the time she had ahead of her as a child-rearer? Why should we expect the government to pay any of us to have children?

Marden Wolsey, Surrey, B.C.

Women on maternity leave are treated like a burden on society. When I was going on leave after my son’s birth 11 years ago, I was informed that, because I had taken time off when I was ill during the pregnancy, I did not have enough weeks to qualify for maternity benefits. But UIC said I did have enough hours to qualify for regular benefits if I’d been willing and able to look for work. “But I already have a job,” I replied. “I don’t need to look for work.” The thoughtful and intelligent response was, “Why do you need benefits then?” I would like to see the parent back in the driver’s seat—with something similar to the parent advisory committees in schools—so we can take care of the needs of our children.

Shannon Born, Kelowna, B.C.

Coxe’s conclusions

Although I do not dispute the logic of the arguments Donald Coxe puts forward regarding energy prices and their effect on the economy, I do question his morality (“Rumours of war,” Column, Sept. 9). Coxe states we should all “root for Rumsfeld” in order to achieve lower costs for our energy needs in the future. What an irresponsible statement! We Canadians should support the slaughter of innocents in order to bring energy prices down to a reasonable level for the economy and to suit our wasteful, environmentally damaging lifestyles?

Robert M. Pfeffer, Calgary

I enjoy reading Donald Coxe’s columns, but I was stunned by the absurdity of his closing remarks in “A resilient nation invested in its future” (Economy, Sept. 16): “Osama: you lost. Big. America: you’re winning. Big.” Osama bin Laden sacrificed the lives of a handful of his men, who murdered over 3,000 “infidels.” He may have spent a million dollars or two setting up his devilishly clever scheme, but caused damage to America in the hundreds of billions and the total is still rising. He impacted the way Americans travel, the way they live. The aftermath of 9/11 continues to be felt by much of the Western world. Osama’s “modest investment” yielded returns that would have seemed unimaginable in August, 2001. Some loser.

Tib Szego, Lindsay, Ont.

Class consciousness

As a high-school student about to enter my last year, I feel Evan Morgan is dead on (“Dead students society,” Over to You, Sept. 2). But many students appreciate this type of rote learning. Often, they are the so-called “logical” minds of the class— the engineers, mathematicians and scientists of tomorrow. For them, new understanding comes from cramming facts, numbers and equations. It’s different for the creative, abstract minds. History is no longer an interpretation of the events of the past, but meaningless dates and names shoved down our throats. My school is not diverse enough to be able to offer a philosophy course, but in that area, open discussion, critical analysis of ideas by peers, and the free-

dom of ideas is at least as important as Aristode’s birthdate. But high school must be about what works for the maximum number of people.

Benjamin Myers, Deep River, Ont.

The public doesn’t appreciate the skill of a teacher to recognize the learning traits of the class and to modify accordingly. But this modification and adaptation is complicated by large class sizes—up to 40 in the Halifax Regional system—as well as the inclusion of emotionally and mentally challenged students. The result is a disincentive for the classroom teacher to experiment. What can be done to save the many Evans in the system? A start would be to give the schools more independence so that administrators are not constantly looking over their shoulders in fear that central office would not be happy. Encourage teachers to attend summer institutes as well as free them up to attend workshops specific to their field. When I sub at my old school for a day, I plan to distribute Evan’s article to my classes. I will be very interested to hear what the students have to say.

Alec McCleave, Halifax

Ripeness is all

Your review oï King Lear with Christopher Plummer reminded me of an odd feeling I had when, years ago, I watched King Lear with Peter Ustinov (“Magical monarch,” Theatre, Sept. 9). It seemed to me that

each time Ustinov appeared, the rest of the ensemble became part of the audience. The play seemed to stop as Ustinov said his lines, then resume when he finished. Perhaps the fault lies with the audience. We are going not to see King Lear, but to see Christopher Plummer playing King Lear.

Robert MacMillan, Brantford, Ont.

Riding the rails

A lifelong train buff, I read with pleasure your reports about the resurgence of train travel (“All aboard,” Cover, Aug. 26). A word of caution to would-be travellers, however. Don’t pay a lot extra for business first-class on the Toronto-Montreal run— you’ll find that trip, as my wife and I did, hell on train wheels. Yes, we found the reserved seats comfortable, the steak dinner excellent and the service tops. What we didn’t count on were the six cellphones among the eight seats surrounding ours, all busy at one time or another.

Jack Gale, Bedford, N.S.

We just returned from an absolutely breathtaking trip on B.C. Rail’s Whistler/Northwind from Vancouver to Prince George. Now there is a train for you. Via Rail could take lessons. The service, staff and cuisine were superb. And the scenery was awesome. We would recommend it to all Canadians who, as we do, have pride in our country.

Walter and Evelyn Hadden, Windsor, Ont.