THE MAIL

'For two people living together, marriage is what cultures and social units define, not what academics and judges dictate.’

RICK ANGUS July 21 2003

THE MAIL

'For two people living together, marriage is what cultures and social units define, not what academics and judges dictate.’

RICK ANGUS July 21 2003

THE MAIL

'For two people living together, marriage is what cultures and social units define, not what academics and judges dictate.’

RICK ANGUS

Letters to the Editor: letters@macleans.ca

The ‘other’ D-Day

It was a pleasure to read Peter Stursberg’s recollection of Canada’s participation in the Italian landing in July 1943 (“I remember Sicily,” History, July 1). Sadly, very few Canadians are aware of our “other” D-Day landing. My wife and I went to Italy for the first time last fall, planning, along with the must-sees, to visit one very special place—the small Canadian cemetery outside the isolated town of Agira in the middle of Sicily, where Canadian soldiers who died in the Sicilian campaign are buried. The bus driver dropped us off in front of the Romanesque church where the church bells had rung when the Canadians celebrated their decisive victory in this remote part of the world. It was hard to fathom that such a major event had happened near this sleepy little town just 60 short years ago. There were few telltale signs of the fighting except for the Italian cenotaph in the village square and the Canadian war cemetery on the outskirts of town. Here, facing the western slopes of Mount Etna, are 490 of our fellow countrymen who never set foot in Canada again. My wife and I spent the afternoon at the cemetery, stopping and reading each headstone and quietly thanking these brave men for their sacrifice. We were the only people there. But to our surprise, when we entered our names in the registry, we saw another Canadian couple had been there that morning. One of them had written, “Thanks for all of the candy when I was 8... to Bernie Kane.” Let us all thank Bernie Kane—a long way from home, but not forgotten.

Dwayne Hart, Victoria

“Always at the ready” (History, June 16) states that the SS Santa Elena was sunk en route to Sicily as part of an “invasion convoy.” In fact, German aircraft torpedoed the Santa Elena on Nov. 6,1943, four months after the first troops landed. I was then nursing sister Jeanne d’Orsonnens, No. 14 Canadian General Hospital, and a survivor of the sinking. Most survivors were picked up by the U.S. troop ship Monterey in quite a dramatic ordeal. Unfortunately, some of us

did not reach the Monterey with our lifeboats as the sea was quite rough. We drifted for many hours, until finally an America destroyer picked us up. The Santa Elena sank a few miles from the harbour at Phillipeville, Algeria, the next morning.

Jeanne Caron, Quebec City

Hey, whoa. The Canadians who dashed over Juno Beach did not “lead the way” for the Allied invasion on D-Day (Canada, The Week, June 16). The Canadians who actually led the way belonged to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion who, six hours before anyone crossed the Normandy beaches, jumped further into France, blowing up bridges and causing other mayhem. Because this unit was part of the British 6th Airborne Division, and not a Canadian formation, it tends to be overlooked, but not by the Brits who learned great respect for these Canadians and formed personal alliances that are still strong to this day.

John Butler, Courtenay, B.C.

Marriage proposal

Why shouldn’t loving couples of any description get a chance to marry (Canada, The Week, July 1)? It is a move long overdue. Where now only two people can marry, maybe we can finally expect the opportunity to have more than one wife or husband or a combination of both. If you love thy neighbours, why can’t you embrace and marry them all? It would certainly give new meaning to the term Block Parent. My children may soon be informed at school that

being gay is normal, acceptable and preferable, and to believe otherwise is to be one of those nasty heterosexual bigots. I can’t begin to express my excitement over the prospect of what new definitions or interpretations of the law are next.

Ron Thornton, Edmonton

I don’t understand why gays and lesbians, who pride themselves on their alternative lifestyle, want to be seen as mainstream by getting married. Marriage is unique to heterosexuals. It is religious in origin and its exclusive tradition is longstanding. By seeking to adopt a heterosexual institution, the homosexual community has proven true the adage that hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue.

Alan Baker, Ameliasburgh, Ont.

Mr. Wilson-Smith writes, “It’s hard to understand the opposition” to the legalization of gay marriages (“Having A Gay New Time,” The Editor’s Letter, June 23). I believe much of youth turmoil today stems from our abandonment of the traditional family lifestyle. Many would say that gay or lesbian couples can and do provide stable family environments. Children, however, need the influence of both a mother and a father. If we disagree with this notion, then organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, who act to compensate for absent positive male or female role models within the family, would be unnecessary. Through the centuries and in all cultures, marriage has been defined as a union between a male and a female. Before we think in our modem culture that we know better, we had better stop to consider the implications for the family and our children. Shelley Smith, Violet Hill, Ont.

Jack, be nimble

Paul Wells’s column “You don’t know Jack” (The Back Page, July l), notes that NDP Leader Jack Layton has turned his mind “to serious preparations for next year’s election.” If Layton is serious about bringing the NDP out of Fantasyland, he should reconsider running for a seat in the riding of Toronto-Danforth. He was soundly defeated there in the 1997 federal election by the Liberal incumbent Dennis Mills, and Mills will easily defeat him in a rematch. It seems that Torontonians do know Jack. Twice they have voted against him when he went beyond his municipal aspirations. If he wish-

es to rejuvenate the NDP as a leader with a seat in the House of Commons, he might start with a seat that he can actually win.

James Frohlick, Burlington, Ont.

You come up with a plan for governing the country. You explain it to Canadians. You convince them your ideas are better than those of the Liberals. The Liberals then take a poll. They steal your ideas, say they were planning to do all that anyhow, and get reelected in an American-style popularity contest. Parliamentary democracy is now obsolete. The best we can hope for is a leader whose vision extends past seeing his feet up on the prime minister’s desk like we had for the past nine years.

John Rodgers, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Refugee revisionism

Adnan R. Khan, like others writing about the Palestinian refugee issue, falls into a familiar trap of historical revisionism (“ ‘A long journey ahead,’ ” Refugees, July 1). Very few Arabs fled “in the face of advancing Israeli soldiers.” Indeed the greatest majority were encouraged and followed the instructions of their leaders. They left their homes in the face of five or more Arab armies from surrounding countries that meant to invade and occupy Israel. Khan also failed to mention two very important issues: namely, that the surrounding Arab countries did not allow the incoming refugees to integrate with the local population in order to have a refugee issue. And those Arabs fortunate enough to go to other countries, such as Canada, have happily integrated.

I. Bill Gruenthal, Burnaby, B.C.

Third World feminism

As a teenager, I usually leave Maclean’s to the adults in my family. But as I was leafing through the July 1 issue, I was pulled in by the intensity of “Freedom denied” (Afghanistan, July l). I was shocked that Afghan women are treated as though they were not as “worthy” as their male counterparts. How can we believe that these people are free from terror when the women still huddle in their homes for fear of what can happen in the outside world? Most women in Canada take equal treatment for granted, but I hope that other teenagers and women realize that it is something that is not found in every country.

Thanujah Yogarajah, Markham, Ont.

Space and opportunity

Your article about the three new Canadian citizens and their canoe trip to Algonquin Park on Canada Day weekend brought me to tears (“ ‘Canada Day will be celebrated in the wilderness,’ ” Voiceover, July l). My husband and I think nothing of packing up at 5 on a Friday afternoon and heading to the bush for a weekend away. We completely take for granted that there is a space, and an opportunity for us to be there. I feel so lucky to live here, to have grown up knowing how to paddle a canoe, still being able to find springs in the mountains where the water is so cold it gives you a headache, and feeling the sting of a horsefly in that just out of reach spot on my sweaty shoulder as I toss in my line to catch dinner. I am proud to be Canadian and to our new neighbours I say, “Welcome! Sing loudly, tread softly—and I hope you learned to paddle your own canoe.”

Peggy Collins, Kingston, Ont.

Half-hearted celebration

Peter C. Newman notes the major U.S. plans to celebrate the first crossing of the United States by the Lewis and Clark expedition, some 12 years after the continent was crossed by Alexander Mackenzie in 1793 (“We got there first!” Column, June 23). When we tried to interest federal politicians while planning for the bicentennial of the Mackenzie crossing here in Bella Coola, where he first met salt water, we were met with supreme indifference. After much pushing and calling in of credits, we were granted the participation of HMCS Mackenzie and one half of the Canadian Forces Skyhawks parachute team. Both put on a great show, represented their country in magnificent fashion, and brought unearned

credit on our federal political masters. But contrast that with the hoopla south of the border. We have a magnificent history, but we ignore it.

G. K. Corbould, Bella Coola, B.C.

Managing health care

So, 98 per cent of managers are in favour of the team approach to health-care delivery (“Say ahhhh!” Cover, June 16). What a surprise. How else could these managers justify their existence? What bothers many physicians about the “team” concept is its coerciveness—that and the goofy, inane mission statements we are forced to listen to. These mission and vision statements and their accompanying jargon began in the marketing world and have now infected almost every area of human activity, to the great detriment of our language. Now, no hospital is able to get itself accredited without a mission statement. To this end, we have senior management teams all across the country spending days and weeks drafting mission statements or hiring mission statement gurus to do it for them. Talk about a growth industry. This is where a significant percentage of our health-care dollars is going. Is it any wonder physicians have become a little jaded and cynical?

Dr. Anthony Rockel, Placentia, Nfld.

Your most recent national health-care ranking omits communities with populations ofless than 125,000 people because ofvalid statistical concerns. However, it thereby also entirely omits a discussion of healthcare provision in Canada’s First Nations communities, which have some of the most challenging health issues in the country. Unfortunately, you are not alone in ignoring these pressing concerns. The federal government has recently passed a series of amendments making it harder for isolated First Nations patients to access care. For example, patients from the Cree community that I work for will no longer receive funding for travel to receive a mammogram, a service that requires a special X-ray machine that most remote areas simply cannot afford to purchase and maintain. Is the risk of breast cancer lower here than in more populated areas? Certainly not. However, sometimes it is easier to forget about the complex needs of distant and still largely disregarded populations.

Dr. David Ponka, Moose Factory, Ont.