September 1 2003


September 1 2003


‘Paul Martin has promised so much we could eventually see the government’s costly executive jets replaced with a fleet of flying pigs.’ -r.fredmercer,caigary

Letters to the Editor:

Great expectations

Paul Martin is proud to have slashed the deficit, albeit on the backs of the provinces, health care and national security (“Paul Martin, PM,” Cover, Aug. 18). Many Canadians, however, do not realize that while he was cutting essential services he continued to fund mismanagement and waste as exemplified by the HRDC fiasco, the gun registry cost overruns and the advertising scandal. The answer to your question on the cover, “What kind of PM will Paul Martin be?” is easy: another aging socialist PM from Quebec favouring big government, high taxes, programmed and uncontrolled immigration, indifferent to national defence and security, and he’ll spend gobs of money to keep the Liberal vote-getting machine humming.

Jean Boulet, Ottawa

Last year I was an organizer for one of Paul Martin’s town-hall meetings Paul Wells mentioned in his article. First and foremost, the guest list was not vetted or compiled by anyone within Martin’s inner circle. It was a cross-section of business people living within our community and surrounding area. We even included two local high-school students who expressed an interest in attending. Martin answered all the questions that were asked of him in a deliberate and insightful manner. I wish you had painted a little fairer picture.

Marilyn Bach, Strathroy, Ont.

As a long-time Liberal, I feel certain that Paul Martin will be a much better PM than Chrétien. But then again, that would not be hard to do considering all the stunned things Chrétien has done over the years. Martin needs to get rid of Chrétien’s old cronies and renew the Liberal Party. A common-sense approach to government certainly will be a refreshing change.

Bob Byrnes, Stephenville, Nfld.

When Paul Martin ascends to his paid-for throne in November it will represent a new era in Canadian politics. We will have three

right-wing parties in Parliament. With “Liberal” backbenchers sounding increasingly like Alliance members—against same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and for sucking up to the U.S.—the choice for social progressives is becoming more and more obvious. I will be joining many of my fellow under-35 Red Liberals in voting for Jack Layton in the next federal election.

Trevor Jenkins, Toronto

Shame on you for pages and pages about the past and future of just one of the candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Sheila Copps stands tall and dignified in her presentations. She discusses issues. But Maclean’s cartoons are rude and ugly. Paul

VIDEO GAMERS WHO SPEND ALL THOSE HOURS IN SHUTTERED ROOMS, STARING AT THE SCREEN? Well, they have feelings, too. Tim Bowman writes from Calgary to express dismay at the illustration accompanying our article on older game players (“The grey market,” Business, Aug. 18). “The zombie-like skin, red eyes, skullmotif clothing and pizza-box-strewn room of the men in the drawing,” he complains, “imply that all gamers are unfit, mentally disturbed, Satan-worshipping freaks.”

Wells calls her candidacy “goofy.” You should be helping Canadians see the choices, broaden the debate, test out the potential leaders, not knuckle under to make life easier for the big guy.

Pauline Kay, Calgary

How much did Paul Martin pay for that eight-page campaign ad?

Paul Jerry, Medicine Hat, Alta.

My brother and I met Paul Martin at a Liberal convention five years ago, when I was 23. We were expecting a simple “hello” and “nice to meet you,” but instead we were asked questions about what we felt was important to our generation. We talked for 30 minutes about youth, education and rising tuition fees. I hope your insight into the Martin juggernaut will allow others to see what we witnessed that day in Ottawa—a politician who listens, supports and leads. Lesley Racicot, Belmont, Ont.

Percentage gain

In your “Off the charts” listing of census trivia (Census, Aug. 18) you named Markham, Ont., as the municipality with the highest percentage of visible minorities. In fact, Statistics Canada and the 2001 Census show Richmond, B.C., a suburb of Vancouver, as the highest at 60 per cent.

David Andrews, Langley, B.C.

Wrinkiies rule

Allan Gregg’s “Aging is as aging does” (Essay, Aug. 11) is outstanding in style as well as substance. Talking of the baby-boom generation’s refusal to act old, my wife and I, both in our 50s, went para-sailing hundreds of feet over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico last March. Besides having an absolutely awesome experience, we were tickled pink at the curious glances of GenXers on the beach trying to screw up courage to do the same. No, don’t count us out, not for a long while yet.

George Daniels, Winnipeg

Peter’s plumage

Since our community had power back on in four hours, I was flipping stations the night of the Big Blackout. I paused when I saw Peter Mansbridge’s newscast on the CBC. While I am not a beard-and-moustache kind of woman, I was very taken with his manly look. Maybe it was the dimmer lighting that

enveloped him or the excitement of the moment, but I called my husband to the TV and commented, “Look at Peter Mansbridge! He has a beard! Wow! I’ve never seen him look so sexy! ” To which my husband raised an eyebrow and replied, “Really?” I later read in “The ploys of summer” (Mansbridge on the Record, Aug. 18) how last year he shaved it off 15 minutes before air time. Personally, I think his look caught the essence of the moment; we were relaxed, enjoying our summer and taking in stride the latest challenges presented to us.

Melanie M. Ball, Cambridge, Ont.

Connotations of love

I trust Maclean’s will provide an equally biased interview with someone having a diametrically opposed view to gay rights activist John Fisher’s slanted opinion (“Some MPs are out of touch,” Q&A, Aug. 18). Among other things, Fisher clearly does not have adequate knowledge concerning the religions he refers to, nor is the “battle won in the courts.”

Kris Kingston, Smithers, B.C.

In the darker days of our civilization, homosexuals were forced to live the lie that they were the same as everyone else. Medical science has revealed evidence that homosexuality is a genetic variation. This has helped to transfer guilt to those whose ignorance and fear prompts unspeakable crimes against a helpless minority. Today that guilt is helping to blind a substantial portion of our population to another misguided crime—against truth and our language. A “redefinition of marriage” is proposed to correct wrongs against same-sex couples, wrongs that are rapidly disappearing through the due process of law. How can forcing everyone to live a new lie, that same-sex unions are “the same as everyone else,” do anyone any good?

Victor M. Andrucson, Coquitlam, B.C.

When it comes to marriage, we must remember that the Church has had absolutely nothing to do with the traditional definition. That was around for thousands of years before religions appeared, and has been adopted by states such as China and Soviet Russia that, being completely atheistic, would not have taken orders from any religion. None defined marriage as being between two men or two women. That defin-

ition belongs to the strange reasoning of three countries, ours being one of them, although ours is the only one where “learned” judges decided to redefine marriage at the behest of a tiny minority.

H. L. Wlpprecht, Cobalt, Ont.

Church and state

You reported that “at least 789 children were sexually abused by 250 priests and church workers in Boston’s Catholic archdiocese over the past 63 years” (The Week, Aug. 4). In the next issue you wrote of the Vatican’s public statements and dire warnings about the evils of same-sex marriage, and quoted Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe labelling Paul Martin as being “totally schizophrenic” (“The Vatican turns up the heat under same-sex marriage,” The Week, Aug. 11). Let’s see if I understand this. Hateful, demeaning and abusive crimes are committed against hundreds of children and many members of the clergy are conspicuously mute, while others offer hollow selfserving sympathy. Consenting adults want to participate in a public ceremony and there is an outcry, including threats and recriminations. Holy hypocrisy!

Mark Sefton, Brandon, Man.

John F. Kennedy, when he was aiming to become the first Catholic president of the United States, stated, “I believe in an America where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be Catholic, how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.” Four decades later, and not only in the U.S., that vision is far from realized. It is a sad day, in

the year 2003, when one might reasonably ask if it is time to deny religious fundamentalists, be they Catholic, Protestant or whatever, the right to hold public office.

Ed Gilbert, Colllngwood, Ont.

Ooh, makes me wonder

I am a 36-year-old woman—too young to have experienced Led Zeppelin as a hot new thing, but old enough (and girl enough) that Stairway to Heaven was my favourite song through most of high school. In their essays on the band’s fame (“Record sales and a whole lotta love,” Essay, Aug. 4), Peeter Kopvillem and Jonathan Durbin caught the lust, but missed the romance. Picture a golden-haired young rock god holding out his hand and singing, “Hey, lady, you got the love I need.” In real life, it would never work—I mean, lady? And who could ever trust a man with that much hair, such a very exposed chest, and pants cut so low? But it wasn't about real life, it was about fantasy. Yes, pick me! I’ve got the love you need! Led Zeppelin appeals to the part of us recognized by D.H. Lawrence when he wrote of “the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect.” Kathy Humphrey, Victoria

Hideous and disputed

In his letter (“Pools on the West Bank,” The Mail, Aug. 4), Louis Schmittroth vilifies Israeli residents on the West Bank, particularly those of Itamar, as fanatics who drove Palestinian families from a village last October. In glorifying the Palestinians, Schmittroth does not mention the massacre in Itamar on June 20,2002. A Palestinian terrorist slaughtered Rachel Shabo and three of her children, wounded two of her other children and killed a neighbour who came to rescue them. This was hideous even by the grisly standards of Palestinian terrorism.

Jacob Mendlovic, Toronto

I would like to protest the use of the word “disputed” to describe the Palestinian territories conquered and brutally and illegally occupied by Israel (“Words, Guns and Anguish,” World, July 21). This designation flouts UN resolutions and other internationally accepted views of the status of these lands. Even the most expansionist and repressive prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, has acknowledged that Israel is an occupying force in Palestine.

Parkash Mahant, Toronto