THEMAIL

May 26 2003

THEMAIL

May 26 2003

THEMAIL

‘This is the iast chance for Canada to stay in one piece. If Ottawa screws it up one more time, B.C. will leave before Québec can spell REFERENDUM.’-ROBERTSAINT amour,surge Narrows, B.C.

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

Summer holidays

Finally, a Canadian magazine that under-stands that the country doesn’t end in Halifax. I am so glad you included the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland in your “Eight great escapes annual guide to summer travel in Canada” (Cover, May 12). I was born in Ontario, but my family is from that region and I am so proud to be from that part of the world. Since the cod closure, tourism is its main industry, so I hope this article attracts more visitors. This is a truly magnificent place.

Joanne Payne, Brampton, Ont.

My first reaction to seeing Minas Basin, N.S., listed as one of the eight great Canadian places to visit was to be pleasantly surprised and proud. After reading your item, however, I was hugely disappointed. Minas Basin is indeed where your map shows it is, but none of the attractions that you mention is located along the shores of Minas Basin! The sites listed are all wonderful and certainly places that I take visitors to, but Digby and Annapolis Royal are on the Annapolis Basin, and Briar Island is in the southernmost end of the Bay of Fundy, far from Minas Basin. Minas Basin has numerous places of its own worth visiting. How about a hike up Cape Blomidon, from where you can see the magnificent tidal whorls? How about a bicycle ride along the Acadian dikes that run all along Minas Basin with a stop at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, which commemorates Acadian life and the expulsion of the Acadians from that very spot in 1755? How about spending a few nights in Wolfville and attending a couple of plays at the smashingly successful Atlantic Theatre Festival? How about watching the tidal bore on the St. Croix River? Come on, Maclean’s!

Elisabeth Kosters, Wolfville, N.S.

Casualties of war

If Prof. Houchang Hassan-Yari really believes that wars prior to the Second World War “were fought among soldiers” to the exclusion of civilians, he needs a serious re-

medial lesson in history (“A grim toll on the innocent,” Children and War, May 12). To cite but one example: the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) ravaged much of Germany, resulting in the deaths of at least one million civilians, the obliteration of central Europe’s farmlands and destruction of several thousand villages. The difference between now and then is that now nice clean-cut boys kill from a safe distance; then—as in Sierra Leone today—it was done at close quarters where you saw your victim.

Lewis Abbott, Moffat, Ont.

Potholes, sewers and bridges

In “Cities under stress” (Column, May 12), Maryjanigan states that federal Transport Minister David Collenette is on the defensive with his claims that Ottawa has contributed to “civic goodies” such as affordable housing and the fight against homelessness. That’s not the problem. Despite strong commitments in the 2001 Liberal Red Book, the 2002 Throne Speech and the Caucus Task Force on Urban Issues, the February federal budget did little for crumbling city infrastructure. The budget commitment of $250 million over the next two years fell far short of the more than $50 billion needed for infrastructure repairs. After his speech, Finance Minister John

Manley said this was a “down payment.” Thank heaven! Canadian municipal governments await the next instalment.

James W. Knight, Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Ottawa

Champlain revised

Peter Mansbridge is not at his best in his casual endorsement of a new book about Samuel de Champlain’s dealings with the indigenous peoples (“What Champlain did,” Mansbridge on the Record, May 12). “By reaching out to form alliances with various Indian peoples, by respecting their culture, and soft-selling religion,” Champlain is seen by the non-Native author of the book—and, apparently, Mansbridge— to have been more admirable than the “explorers, missionaries, settlers, and governments who followed him.” Renowned Native historian Olive Dickason could have told Mansbridge about Champlain’s key role in developing a fur trade that pitted Indian nations against one another and began the process of eroding their traditional lifestyles. She could have also told him that Champlain refused to trade with Indians unless they permitted missionaries and Jesuits to preach Christianity in their territories. He encouraged intermarriage of French settlers and Indians, on the condition that the brides convert to Catholicism. You might say that Champlain was really the father of the assimilationist policies pursued by Canada two centuries later, and for which the federal government issued an official apology in 1998.

Maurice Switzer, Director of Communications, Union of Ontario Indians, North Bay, Ont.

As a Métis journalist, it is refreshing to read an article that describes learning involving Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples as not a one-way street from the non-Aboriginal to the Aboriginal.

Joyce Atcheson, Ottawa

Reserves were a bad idea at their time of inception and they are still a bad idea today. Any group of people living in an area where employment is not available will suffer social problems. In the case of northern reserves, isolation serves as a further depressant. Enormous amounts of money are required to support people in these locations, and to what purpose? Segregation doesn’t help anyone. So, as Peter Mansbridge stated,

“problems persist, and carry on from generation to generation,” and such will be the case as long as we support groups of people where they have no purpose.

Grant Murphy, Dryden, Ont.

Playing in the big leagues

Two things about “Victories on and off the ice” on the future of hockey’s Ottawa Senators (Business, May 12). First, you cite the city of Ottawa’s population (as in “Then there’s the question of whether Ottawa, with a population of 774,000, can play in the big leagues”), rather than the 1.1 million population of the entire metropolitan area, which includes Hull and Gatineau, Que. Second, Ottawa has not one, as you say, but two big-league teams like virtually all major Canadian cities—the Ottawa Renegades CFL football team being the second. Or are you not including the CFL as the “big leagues”?

Richard Parfett, Ottawa

Separatism will never die

In response to Peter C. Newman’s article “Adieu to separatism?” (May 12), let me tell you, Quebec separatists are here to stay. They are going to stay for one main reason: Ottawa politicians were never smart enough to understand why three million Quebecers want to separate. If three million of us are willing to vote au revoir, could it be because something is wrong in this federation? If something goes wrong within your family, shouldn’t you listen or try to understand why? They say Canada is a bilingual country. Then why is it that most of the time when I try to be served in French at federal institutions outside Quebec, I get a response like, “Sorry, no French-speaking agents are available at the moment”? You think we then feel at home in this country? Dominique Sorel, Montreal

I disagree with Benoit Aubin in “No more separation anxiety” (April 28). No matter what happens inside Quebec politically, there will still be tense relations with the rest of Canada. Jean Charest’s election cannot change the fact that Quebec is still the only province that has not signed the Constitution Act of 1982. Many people in Quebec still feel that everything is being done for English Canada and they worry about being assimilated into English culture. Even if I am wrong and things do settle down in

Quebec, separation is still a serious question in Canada. There is also “separation anxiety” in the western provinces. One change that could get Alberta and British Columbia on board with Canada is to give them more say in Parliament. This can be done by making the Senate based on equal provincial representation.

Michael Fuciarelli, Hamilton

Love and marriage

Marriage has always been the bonding together of a man and a woman with the natural desire to reproduce (“Gay and ready to marry,” Essay, May 5). This has been recognized by all societies and all religions down through the centuries. If two people of the same sex form a union, it is not to reproduce, but to form a partnership for sharing life. That is their choice of lifestyle. It should never be considered the same as a marriage. Alden D. Winter, Penticton, B.C.

Homosexual unions should be legalized so that couples involved in gay relationships will have the same rights and penalties regarding property, divorce settlements, etc., as married couples. However, in order for gay marriages to be acceptable to the general public, homosexuals will have to come up with new words to describe their union. The terms marriage, husband, wife, spouse, fiancé and honeymoon should be reserved for heterosexual couples only.

William Bedford, Toronto

How is it hurting anyone when a same-sex couple can be married legally? We should all be happy that couples have found their soulmates and find hope in their love.

Larissa Teoh, Hamilton

I ask myself, “Why do gay and lesbian couples want to get married?” After all, most mainstream churches have not been exactly welcoming. Homosexual couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples under the law, they can still have a celebration—why the push for a wedding? Could it be, perhaps, that the ceremony has a powerful meaning for them? In our society, where most heterosexual weddings have become merely a way to display opulence and good taste (or lack thereof), I find it refreshing to know that some couples somehow find a deeper meaning to the whole thing. Who are we to deny that? Katherine Klages, Desboro, Ont.

Pit bull personality

I was so touched by “A woman’s best friend” (Over to You, May 5) that I cried. Like Hana Gartner, I, too, had family treating me as if I had two heads—what was I thinking to get a dog in the first place and a pit bull, no less. My eldest daughter refused to visit with my grandchildren because my dog would surely kill them. If only people would stop stereotyping. Willow is the softest, sweetest and most loving dog. She has given me so much joy and love, and I find it so soothing to have her flop her head on my knee, and to pet her. Thank you to Gartner—one hopes this article will educate the numerous people who think pit bulls are nothing but killers. Debbie Sakaluk, Española, Ont.

We don’t like being lied to

Paul Cellucci chided Canadians for not helping the U.S. attack Iraq because of its socalled threat to the U.S. Shame on him. In spite of the rhetoric from the President and his administration, the fact of the matter is that the United States of America was not under attack in the early spring of2003. As it turns out (and as many Canadians strongly suspected), the U.S. was not even under threat of attack from Iraq’s apparendy non-existent weapons of mass destruction. As we did after Sept. 11, Canadians will come to the assistance of the United States when a real threat is posed to the security of our continent.

Elaine Thompson, Winnipeg