April 21 2003


April 21 2003


‘Aligning Canada with the U.S. in its invasion of Iraq would have destroyed our credibility in the world

as keepers Of peace.’ -JIM HONEY, St. Catharines, Ont.

Letters to the Editor: lettersd>

‘Skepticism and humanity’

Thanks to Jonathon Gatehouse (“The road back”), Arthur Kent (“War miscalculations”), Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau (“Living in a city under siege”) and to Maclean’s for surprising me with your April 7 cover stories. Maybe I’ve spent too much time down south, but I’d lost hope that a national newsmagazine would even begin to present that level of skepticism and humanity when covering a U.S.-led war. I only hope you would be presenting the same quality of analysis if a majority of Canadians favoured the war on Iraq.

Tyee Bridge, Vancouver

Maclean’s could be described as “The Baghdad Times.” This is a critical moment in history and the tone you are setting is one that vilifies the Americans and glorifies a society that has religious leaders screaming murder and mayhem from loudspeakers. Why don’t you devote more articles to the Saddam Hussein regime’s many documented crimes and atrocities?

Tom Reay, Rocanville, Sask.

Arthur Kent wasted little time jumping on the “Rummy blew it” bandwagon. He writes, “The shortcomings of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s strategy are many and varied, but most boil down to simply getting the math wrong.” I suppose Kent has a point. The “war” portion of this mammoth undertaking lasted a whole three weeks, instead of a more acceptable one or two. Some shortcomings!

John Gross, Beloeil, Que.

Ever since the Marines entered Baghdad I’ve been depressed thinking that soon I would be missing my daily chuckle from the Iraqi information minister’s daily TV message. How pleased I was to read Arthur Kent’s article on U.S. “War miscalculations.” Thanks for the laugh.

Rodger Beals, Vancouver

The effect of the waves from the Euphrates River that have been washing over the rest

of the world were obvious on a recent trip home to Ottawa from San Diego, Calif. The heightened security and the ensuing fivehour delay to catch my flight gave me the opportunity to read the excellent reporting of the events in Iraq by Maclean’s—in particular, Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau’s. When a fellow waiting passenger asked what sort of junk I was reading (we were all getting cranky), I replied by handing him Trudeau’s story about life in a besieged city. A couple of minutes later, he handed it back to me with the words, “I did not know about these people. Why wasn’t I told?”

Peter Lévesque, Ottawa

Stuck, as I am, in a country where the concepts of objective reporting and journalistic integrity have all but disappeared in our

corporate-controlled press, it was an absolute pleasure to stumble onto your Web site and read some truth for a change. What irony that, in the United States (a nation that likes to think of itself as the birthplace of the free press), we have so inundated ourselves with propaganda disguised as news that the propagandists are actually starting to believe their own fiction. NBC’s firing of Peter Arnett was much more than a simple management-employee disagreement. It was a very public warning to American reporters everywhere that responsible journalism and intelligent discourse will not be tolerated if it is, in any way, critical of our unelected president’s insane little war or the way in which it’s being carried out. God bless you, Canada, for refusing to participate. I only wish I had the financial means to emigrate.

Greg Tyrey, Oklahoma City, Okla.

American view

Interesting article by expatriate J. D. Considine (“An American in Canada,” The Back Page, April 7). However, I am afraid I don’t recognize anything or anyone in it. I, too, am an American, living in Canada since June 2001, and have ffequendy travelled back to my home in the southern U.S. I have not met any people who believe Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 or many who are fearful of seeming unpatriotic. I don’t believe the vast majority of Americans or American politicians have any ill will toward Canada, and I believe that the Americans who have been vocal about Canada’s involvement are about the same calibre as the Canadians who are so vocal in their anti-American views. My experience in Canada has been much different from Considine’s in that people automatically assume that, because I am American, I am a warmonger. For the most part, American citizens are just people living their lives, and George W. Bush is no more a realistic representation of an average American than Jean Chrétien is of an average Canadian. Leah Price, Waterdown, Ont.

J. D. Considine has offered us a perspective that we, as Canadians, were hoping was out there: that we are not as shunned by the population of the United States as the Ari Fleischers or Paul Celluccis would have us think. Canada’s role has yet to be played within this conflict. I trust our countries will

get through this. Siblings will get into scraps occasionally but will always be family.

Perry wilford, Calgary

I am on the flip side, being a Canadian in an increasingly patriotic American city. I am not aware, however, of any Americans who actively support the war. There are many who support the men and women in the armed forces, and rightfully so, but this should not be confused with supporting the Iraqi invasion. Considine was correct in his portrayal of the type of information that is reported and the manner in which it is portrayed. The news here is little more than a thinly veiled attempt at pacifying the masses. What is more disturbing, however, is that the people are beginning to realize that they are being manipulated, yet no one appears to care. It is frightening that in this land of Freedom, people are terrified to speak up in case they appear anti-American.

Marianne Grenkie, Boston

I can see why J. D. Considine is in Toronto. Actually an even better place for him would be Quebec. He doesn’t represent Americans, just like the morons who harass 10-yearold hockey players in Montreal don’t represent Canadians. Real Canadians, like real Americans, believe in freedom and standing up for it.

Terry James, Okotoks, Alta.

You are a good man, J. D. Welcome to our country! I hope you stay and prosper.

Rolfe Wakefield, Orono, Ont.

At war with SARS

Margo Halupka in her encounter with severe acute respiratory syndrome (“I’m not giving up, says a nurse on the front line,” Health, April 7) is facing many of the same challenges and emotions that the entire town of Walkerton faced when the E. coli water crisis disrupted thousand of lives. I recognize the feelings of low morale, the uncertainty about your own health and that of your co-workers, the fear of transmitting illness to your family. In the early days, we, too, faced many questions that could not be answered. We were unsure whether we should be at work. Throughout our crisis, hundreds of volunteers and health workers worked endless hours and days to provide some comfort and information to the residents—healthy and ill. These people, from

here and away, were the true heroes of the crisis. Congratulations to Margo Halupka and hundreds of others who won’t quit in the face of another medical crisis.

Beverley Willick, Walkerton, Ont.

In the midst of the uproar surrounding the SARS outbreak, I am forced to ask why the enormous effort being exerted by governments to deal with this still rare and usually benign illness is not duplicated in the way we deal with some of the real scourges of our society. I sympathize with the families who have lost loved ones to SARS. But when are our governments going to act with resolve to reduce the much greater numbers of families who lose loved ones to smoking-related diseases and to car crashes?

Gerald M. Macdonald, RN, Grande Prairie, Alta.

Our home and...

In his letter (“Family reading,” The Mail, April 7), Peter Stursberg expresses surprise that Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson has done nothing about changing the words “native land” in the national anthem so it would apply to herself, to him and to all immigrants and Canadians bom outside the country. Has Stursberg considered that maybe Her Excellency feels, like thousands of other Canadians, that there is no reason to change the lyrics solely to be politically correct? The music to 0 Canada was written in 1880 and the English lyrics currently included in the anthem were written in 1908 (though amended slightly in 1980), long before the term politically correct was even considered.

Jeff Willis, Kingston, Ont.

It was interesting to read the letters about your March 24 cover story on the Governor

General. It is sad there was no response from those, whether Muslim, Christian or other faith, who uphold the values of the family. The Governor General and her nowhusband living for many years without the benefit of marriage was just plain wrong.

J. H. Broadwell, Calgary

In a fashion

Bravo to Maclean’s for featuring interesting and insightful commentary about the fashion industry (“Canadian cool,” Fashion, April 7). The nature of the fashion business and the current state of the industry are certainly newsworthy and I applaud Suzanne Boyd’s discussion of the Canadian fashion identity. While inspired by the rich influences of Canadian culture, Canadian geography and our favourite Canadian customers, designers like myself are often trapped by the struggle to keep our business afloat in such a tough market. The result is too often a compromise of identity. With the encouragement and support of the media and organizations such as the Fashion Design Council of Canada, I am confident that a market shift will give designers more freedom to establish an identity that is uniquely Canadian.

Sara Robson Francoeur, Vancouver

I am not really an authority on fashion, but I am sick of Europeans and Americans telling us how much better than us they are. I wonder if the writer of “Canadian Cool” has actually seen what most Europeans and Americans wear.

Cameron Diver, London, Ont.

The French example

For all her hand-wringing in “Of course they’re angry” (Column, April 7), Mary Janigan misses the point: it is Canadians who should feel “disdain and fury” toward the Bush administration over its brutal and barbaric conduct in Iraq, not the other way round. Does she really expect us to believe that “the Americans would have been much happier if Chrétien had taken a principled stance from the very beginning and stuck to it rather than dithering”? Excuse me, but isn’t that what France did? The bottom line is, the only countries to find favour with the Bush administration these days are those that pander to its insatiable appetite for global dominance.

Peter J. Calhoun, Moose Jaw, Sask.