December 15 2003


December 15 2003


‘Why did you put a picture of Alexandre Trudeau on your cover? Next time, show something relating to the subject rather than the reporter.’ -KimberlyYarovich, Calgary

Evocative pictures

Maclean’s is guilty of a journalistic sin: the author of a story becoming the story, and the headline being a vehicle for the promotion of the author. Your cover photo of Alexandre Trudeau certainly points to that (“Baghdad in bloom,” Cover, Dec. 1). The media created Pierre Trudeau as our saviour. What a farce that turned out to be. It was the start of our slip into uneconomic governance, a huge long-term debt and a country that is ruled, not by Parliament, but by the prime minister and the courts. Now you have the appearance of trying to create a successor for the throne by promoting his son. We do not need the media to produce another “leader” for us. Let us, the voters, mess up on our own.

Douglas Einarson, Qualicum Beach, B.C.

It made my day to see Alexandre Trudeau on this week’s cover. He is the real Canadian idol.

Rickie Boothman, Victoria

I cannot imagine the grief felt by those who have lost loved ones serving in the armed forces in the campaign against terror. And the daily unease felt by those who have loved ones deployed abroad must also be an unimaginable burden. Trudeau’s article, however, may serve as solace to the aforementioned.

Douglas L. Martin, Hamilton

The picture of a U.S. soldier giving gum to kids in Baghdad brought back happy memories. The first American soldier I saw was sitting in the turret of a Sherman tank looking into my bedroom window. It was 1944 in Southampton, England, and the U.S. army was assembling in the streets close to the docks preparing to embark for the DDay invasion. We scrounged gum and candies from the Americans and looked at their easygoing wealth with wonder and envy. The Americans brought the power to rid Europe of the evil of Hitler. After five long years of wartime austerity, living on a street where every third house was a bombed wreck and where pleasures were deferred “for the duration,” the Americans opened my eyes to the possibility of a bright new life when the war was over. I hope, like the postSecond World War Europeans, the Iraqi people have the wisdom and opportunity to forgive the Americans for their faults and take their help in creating a better society for themselves and their children.

Peter White, North Vancouver

View from Mars I Have Martians left their planet to invade the Earth? Barbara Amiel’s contention that Martians viewing the UN record would consider Israel to be the “wickedest country on earth” predictably sparked controversy. A.C. Bene of Toronto pointed out that Martians must be inhabiting Europe since a recent survey there found Israel to be the “greatest threat to world peace.”

Israel and the UN

A great article. Unfortunately Barbara Amiel’s opinion (Column, Dec. l) will be minimized because of her Jewish background. The anti-Israeli sentiment in Canada is very strong: people are not concerned with what is right and wrong, just what is best for their own welfare. After 9/11, the comments I heard from my educated Canadian colleagues blaming Israel and the Jews were appalling but, to be honest, I was not overly surprised. Why do people feel it is reasonable for a Palestinian terrorist to break into a home on a kibbutz and kill a mother and her two little children who are defenceless? Yet when the Israelis target murderers, they are condemned by the rest of the world Ken Woolfson, Whitby, Ont.

While it may be true that Israel isn’t the “wickedest country on earth,” other arguments are valid. Israel, for example, maintains the longest-running military occupation of another nation’s land in modern history. Israel, for example, is implicated in massacres running from Sabra and Shatilla to Khiam to Jenin. Israel refuses to allow refugees one of the most basic rights of all— the right to go home. Israel no doubt possesses a nuclear, chemical and biological stockpile that would, were it not for the patronage of the U.S., earn it membership in the “axis of evil.”

Patrick Page, Kingston, Ont.

Israel may be unwelcome in the United Nations, but when countries such as China, which executes political dissenters, and Sudan, which stones women for adultery, along with Saudi Arabia and Syria, which are havens for terrorists, are helping make key political decisions, justice cannot be had. Dalia Tubis, Toronto

Safe salmon

As a fisheries conservation organization, we welcome your article (“The Empty Seas,” Nov. 3) that rightly calls attention to declining fish populations. However, you say “now add ... Pacific salmon to the imperilled list.” There is reason enough to insist on sound conservation of Pacific salmon stocks and habitat, and some stocks (not species) are depleted and others have vanished. But, overall, hundreds of Pacific salmon populations have benefited from significant reductions in fishing pressure and, at least for now, are in healthy condition. Most populations of Pacific salmon can be fished safely and provide wonderful food and recreation.

Hello, Paul

Even though almost every political insider, political junkie and party member loves elections and almost every Canadian is expecting Paul Martin to call an election as soon as the new electoral boundaries are in place, do we really need an election? Given that the last election was on Nov. 27,2000, just three years ago, and that electoral rules say the maximum is five years; and that the Liberals have already called three in less than 10 years; and that Martin was a major player in the party and government in all those elections; and that most if not all sitting Liberal members have at least as much confidence in Martin as in Jean Chrétien; and that most people think Martin would win another majority if an election was called today or next week, next month or early next year, perhaps it would be wiser to allow Paul Jr. time to present his comprehensive action plans before calling an election. The opposition is in the throes of a reorganization, and the 1997 election cost $129.2 million (without counting the nowabandoned door-to-door enumeration costs of $71.4 million). So, if Martin asks the Governor General for a dissolution in April, should Her Excellency grant the request, or should she just say no, as did Lord Byng to incumbent prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1926?

Robert Ede, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Are British Columbians so naive as to expect that with Paul Martin at the helm, things will be any better? Who is fooling whom? While Martin says graciously that one of his priorities will be to include the West in his agenda, the reality is that he was minister of finance for eight years, and all the while he conveniently forgot that the West exHas isted, let alone helped put it on ever the political map. toward Sashl Prakash, Delta, B.C. Canadian

Goodbye, Jean

I must thank Peter Donolo for the biggest laugh I’ve had in months (“Never a dull moment,” Politics,

Nov. 17). In his paean to Jean Chré-

tien, he extols Da Boss’s virtues: “I’ve never worked with anyone more even-tempered and more grounded.” Well, Jean once “grounded” a protestor after choking him. How even-tempered is that? Donolo alludes to Chrétien’s “basic thoughtfulness.” No examples are given, so I’m left wondering, but has Chrétien ever exhibited thoughtfulness toward the Canadian taxpayer? Toward the military? Toward Americans? Toward anyone but himself? And finally, Donolo notes that the PM “doesn’t like to keep anybody waiting.” How long has it been since he announced his retirement, again?

Ken Breadner, Waterloo, Ont.

Has Chrétien ever exhibited thoughtfulness toward the Canadian taxpayer? Toward anyone but himself?

Thanks, Desmond

Archbishop Desmond Tutu says it well in “ ‘Power tends to corrupt’ ” (Q&A, Nov. 17), and we in the West should take note. He lets us know that Nazism, Communism, and Fascism are Western inventions; a Western nation is the only nation that has dropped an atom bomb on another; the West has had two World Wars; Westerners engineered the Holocaust. I don’t think Tutu is above taking advice, and Africa may well need all the help it can get, but he is reminding us of something Jesus said some 2,000 years ago: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Stan Penner, Landmark, Man.

Black power

Peter C. Newman describes Conrad Black’s career as being “totalled last week” (“The Black perils of greed,” Dec. 1). Hardly. Black’s business interests may have run aground, but who can say how they will be launched again. Clearly, Lord Black also has a broad sense of public service, reflected in the role he has held as honorary colonel of the GovernorGeneral’s Foot Guards and in his participation in the upper chamber of the British Parliament. His founding of the National Post was motivated by a desire to enhance public debate in Canada. Lord Black’s business and intellectual capacities and strategic vision have allowed him to make significant contributions to Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Black’s career is as multi-dimensional as Newman’s column is unidimensional.

William Galbraith, Ottawa

Tom Peters defines an entrepreneur as one who “discovers a vulnerability in the establishment” (“ ‘Make yourself the centre,’ ” Q&A, Dec. 1). Peter C. Newman says Conrad Black “hasn’t lived up to his potential as a model entrepreneur.” To the contrary, I believe Lord Black fits the Peters definition perfectly. Sam Egglestone, Edmonton

Eagles and loons, eh? Different games, for so many reasons. A Canadian original can stand on its own merits.

In the eye of the beholder Perhaps Steve Burgess should in-

vest in oversized shoes, loud clothes and a red puffy nose, since it is he that comes across as the clown in his “Send in the clowns” (Essay, Dec. 1). Most of the celebrities he cites, like O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Robert Blake, have either not gone to trial or have been tried and found innocent. Innocent until proven guilty, Mr. Burgess, and once deemed innocent, no matter one’s personal or public opinion, they are legally innocent. As a result, they should be free from continued conjecture, speculation, hypothesis, ridicule and harassment from bleating journalists and bleeding hearts. K. M. Whitehead, Dartmouth, N.S.

Yankee go home Inevitably the Canadian media, Maclean’s included (Scorecard, Dec. 1) glorifies the Grey Cup by comparing it to the dull Super Bowl. Please stop. Eagles and loons, eh? Different games, for so many reasons. A Canadian original can stand on its own merits. D. D. Livicker, Atikokan, Ont.

Groundout Franklin’s ground squirrel is hardly endangered in New Brunswick (“The view to oblivion,” Up Front, Dec. 1), since it has never occurred there. In Canada, its habitat is Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. You need a biologist on staff. Phillip Youngman, Ottawa