November 1 2004


November 1 2004


‘Unfortunately, the outcome of the U.S. election will have a greater impact on us than our own. What a sad comment about our sovereignty.’ -FrankReihoiz, Kingston,ont.

Around the water cooler

The criteria for rating “Canada’s 100 best places to work” (Cover, Oct. 11) seemed rather shallow and me-oriented. Where were attributes like “a stimulating place to work” or “a place that I am proud of” ? Great companies are those that contribute to society, are accountable, support their communities and are environmentally responsible. They don’t just have “happy” employees— they have employees who share the same values as the organization they work for. John Abele, Shelburne, Vt.

I was surprised when I read that Maclean’s had put the Hamilton Police Service in the top 100 list. I’m a police officer with another police service and can tell you that Hamilton has the worst morale in all of southern Ontario.

Richard Lukos, Hamilton

I read your “100 best places to work” issue every year, but wonder about the methodology. Based on a past list, I once went to work for one of your top companies. It makes the list every year, but from my first day there I had to ask how this was possible. I found a workplace with a very negative and bitter employee base. Perhaps you should also poll employees. In some workplaces, the benefits extolled by the company may not tell the whole story.

C. L. Smith, Oakville, Ont.

Why do you have a special feature to recognize the top 10 employers for promoting women? Whatever happened to promoting employees on the basis of merit, ability and knowledge—regardless of gender? Maybe the next time Maclean’s publishes these lists, you will include those companies that are tops in promoting men, minorities or seniors.

AI Donnelly, Redwood Meadows, Alta.

How encouraging to read that the workplace comfort, training opportunities, customer consideration and the sense of public responsibility we knew years ago are once

more a trend (“VanCity confidential,” Cover, Oct. 11). This is indeed a welcome change from the recent reports of administrative greed and corporate corruption that have blackened the business banner.

Walt McConville, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

Why is it that every year your parent company, Rogers Communications Inc., seems to make the top 100 list, but Rogers’s major competitors, Telus Corp. or BCE Inc., don’t? David Hoffard, New Westminster, B.C.

(Eds. note: the survey is independently produced.)

The medium is the message

Your over-the-top attack on Fox News presented the best argument for permitting

Who’s No. 1? I At the

workplace, one person’s meat is another’s poison

The Maclean’s annual survey of the best places to work always produces kudos for some choices along with complaints from people asking why their employer was not included-or why theirs was. Dentist Cindy Gammie of Vernon, B.C., says the list is an inspiration to make her office crack the Top 100. “Thank you for the ideas and the motivation.”

them to broadcast here (“Is Canada ready for loudmouth TV?”, Cover, Oct. 4). Yes, Canada is ready for Fox; however, I suspect the tired old Canadian media industry is not.

Harold Chadwick, Corunna, Ont.

Former Ontario premier Mike Harris used the media to manipulate people to hate teachers, ridicule nurses, paint the poor as the cause of unbalanced budgets and make the public agree with cuts to essential services. We are still paying the price. My concern is that loudmouth manipulators get people not only to listen, but actually believe what they are hearing.

Jeanne Wellhauser, Ariss, Ont.

When a network has to use a motto advertising its “fair and balanced” view of the world, one thought comes to mind: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” Jonna Ebel, Port Elgin, Ont.

I have the solution for those who aren’t ready for Fox News: change the channel. Leigh Donovan, Saint John, N.B.

I was concerned to learn of the possibility of Fox gaining a foothold in Canada. As an American citizen, I have seen the damage that a rabidly rightist network can do. Fox appeals to the worst in all of us: selfishness, bigotry, hatred, fear and the belief in brute force. It has contributed greatly to the moral decline of my country.

Bob Holtz, San Diego, Calif.

American extremes

In his Grano lecture, William Kristol defended U.S. Mideast policy by saying: “You couldn’t go into the 21st century with a huge chunk of the world being this home of increased extremism, terrorism, of weapons of mass destruction development, of antiAmericanism. That had to be broken” (“Kerry’s best hope,” Oct. 11). But the idea that anti-American sentiment and the threat of terrorism have to be broken by the U.S. is itself a primary cause of anti-Americanism and one of the reasons for the terrorism in the first place.

David Rogers, Burnaby, B.C.

Trudeau’s travels

I continue to be moved by Alexandre Trudeau’s articles (“In search of the Chechens,” The Caucasus, Oct. 11). As a student involved

in the study of international relations, I’m inspired by his determination to travel in a region synonymous with terrorism in order to explore our misconceptions. Trudeau is a prime example of the will to create ties of understanding, and foster compassion and love.

Brice Hall, London, Ont.

Alexandre Trudeau’s article on the Chechens tries to romanticize one of the most gruesome terrorist acts in the history of humankind. He portrays those who shoot children as nice people who live in a “magical” forest with “nothing of the savagery of Beslan.” The Chechen conflict is complicated, with many wrongdoings by the Russian side (which should be investigated and persecuted). But what Russia faces is internationally supported terrorism, for which your article virtually serves as an advertisement.

Maxim Lyutikov, Vancouver

Thank you for publishing Alexandre Trudeau’s work—please continue. Thank you to Trudeau for living and writing with his heart: courageous choices in today’s aching and weeping world.

Suzanne Keeler, Richmond, B.c.

Democracy under debate

As a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen, I am especially concerned with American politics (“The candidates debate as Iraq turns bloody,” Up Front, Oct. 11). I can’t believe that, with his record, George W. Bush still has the support he has. I have to feel that it unfortunately has to be a reflection on the intelligence of many Americans.

Syd Forer, Toronto

I don’t think you can believe a word George W. Bush says, and I doubt John Kerry is much different.

Mary McLelland-Papp, Ridgeway, Ont.

I wish we had a prime minister like George W. Bush—a man with strong moral convictions and the courage to act on them. Tatjana Johnston, Iron Bridge, Ont.

After following international politics for 20 years, I feel that this is the first U.S. election that could directly affect my personal wellbeing. With the range of current international

instabilities, I am certain that a careful, measured, multilateral approach is needed. This is the antithesis of what George W. Bush has delivered over the past four years.

David Lewis, Victoria

Ja or nein to user fees?

Bravo! It was great to read what should have been written many years ago: Canada needs to look at the way European countries deliver health care and realize that there is a middle ground between the U.S. and Canadian systems (“Saying Ja to user fees,” Politics, Oct. 11). I don’t know if user fees are the answer (as in Germany) or parallel private and public systems (France) or a public system complemented with private insurance coverage (Switzerland), but I do know that politicians owe it to us to closely examine those systems.

Claude Gannon, Markham, Ont.

Paul Wells tells us how the German government introduced a $16 user fee to try to control escalating health care costs. And guess what? Doctor visits declined. The conclusion he reaches is that

I can't believe that Bush still has the support he has. I feel it has to be a reflection on Americans' intelligence.

user fees reduce unnecessary doctor visits, but it’s not that simple. How many of those people didn’t see a doctor because they couldn’t afford to? How many people put off seeking treatment and then ended up costing the system more because they were sicker when they finally went to the doctor? Lori Kornder, Delta, B.C.

Scientific scaremongering

David Suzuki is concerned that “people just do not hear what scientists are telling them” about the health of the planet (The Maclean’s Interview, Oct. 4). Over the past three decades we have been warned of the imminent approach of another ice age, that we were going to run out of oil, that our forests would be devastated by acid rain—all idle predictions. So maybe there’s a reason why some scientists are not listened to.

Bob Jeppesen, Stratford, Ont.

Thinking outside the box

Thank you for Steve Maich’s story “Fight of his life” (Boxing, Oct. 11). I have never been a boxing fan, but this story brought tears to my eyes. The boxer’s determination to make his mark—even a small markafter all his past disappointments was truly inspiring. I urge you to keep finding stories like these, about ordinary Canadians doing extraordinary things.

David Nesbitt, Oakville, Ont.