VOICES

THE MAIL

November 22 2004
VOICES

THE MAIL

November 22 2004

THE MAIL

VOICES

‘Because of the election results, we the people in the “smart” states request that Canada take us in. We are refugees in our own country.’ -Peterseo«cameron,vai^NY

In defence of Lady Black

I find it difficult to understand why someone of the stature of Peter C. Newman should be so pathologically obsessed with Barbara Amiel that he would devote a substantial passage of his autobiography to her and her husband (“Barbara’s world,” Cover, Nov. 8). His attacks almost read like those of a jilted lover, unless one assumes that he is merely driven by envy of the couple’s wealth and extravagant lifestyle.

M. K. Kremer, Guelph, Ont.

So, Barbara Amiel’s first Maclean’s article was titled “Let’s bring back debtors’ prisons”? Splendid idea! Normally, I find Ms. Amiel’s opinions loathsome, idiotic, superfluous and indefensible, but in this case I couldn’t agree more. We should bring those old Dickensian workhouses back right away and invite her and her husband to inaugurate one—as its very first inmates. I hear they owe the people at Hollinger a lot of “borrowed” money that they’re not willing to pay back. If that’s not grounds for debtors’ imprisonment, what is?

Sabina Becker, Cobourg, Ont.

I usually enjoy Peter C. Newman’s articles and cannot recall a single column by Barbara Amiel that I have been able to find any common ground in. That said, Newman’s profile of her in his memoirs smacks of sexism and unreferenced tabloid smut. Spending excesses and irresponsible behaviours are one thing, but this entire piece exalts in Amiel’s overt sexuality. I can’t believe that there aren’t men in the Canadian establishment with equally prominent sexual sides.

C.A. Jones, Waterloo, Ont.

It beggars belief that Barbara Amiel is responsible for the fall of Conrad Black by her public delight in prodigious consumption, as Peter C. Newman implies in excerpts from his latest book. Newman would have us believe that an addiction to the wares of a Spanish shoemaker brought down the House of Black. Don’t forget that Conrad himself contributed mightily to his own downfall by indulging in large helpings of old-fashioned greed.

Marilyn Callahan, Victoria

Leave such low-level gossip to the tabloids and get on with reporting stories that affect the lives of ordinary Canadians.

D.A. Boulton, Calgary

So, the most articulate and opinionated Canadian polemicist of her generation, Peter C. Newman says, gets this kind of treatment by her colleagues in the same magazine she contributed to for close to four decades. Newman-esque the editor called it? Cheap is more like it.

Louis Stock, Boucherville, Que.

Hearts, not minds I How to win votes and influence campaigns

Political analysts may have a lot to learn from George W. Bush’s re-election. He proved that you don’t need to be a deep thinker, or a skilled debater, to triumph. “Bush may not speak clearly to intellectuals, but he knows how to reach ordinary people,” writes Sudhir Jain of Calgary. “He showed that in order to win, you have to touch their hearts, not just impress their minds.”

I have to wonder if Peter C. Newman realizes how mild his words are when speaking of the British embarrassment and disgust over these two. We Canadians, as well, are disgusted with the goings-on of this pompous pair of nobodies who believe their lives are worthy of admiration. Let both of them descend into ignominy where they rightfully belong.

Walter Frewen, Surrey, B.C.

We the people

They re-elected George Bush, if you can believe that! This is the guy who lied his way into a war that is killing many young Americans, won the presidency questionably last time, blew a huge budget surplus, lost a million or so jobs, divided the country down the middle, ignores the needs of the environment and made the U.S. the most hated country in the western hemisphere (“The right makes might,” Politics, Nov. 15). Just give them a few slogans, some fear mongering, same ol’ mantra day after day, and they’ll vote for anybody-even if he might well be the most dangerous man in the world.

Larry Harris, Wetaskiwin, Alta.

I am happy that the powerful media and entertainment industries were not successful in their attempts to manipulate the election results. They campaigned strongly and desperately against President Bush. Please, may they now understand that the ordinary person is decent, not narrow, and wants to live in a society with commonsense moral values. Is it too much to hope that Canadian politicians and judiciary will also take note?

Debbie Johnson, Lyon, France

Canadians have an opportunity and obligation, now more than ever, to reinforce our distinct identity in stark contrast to the ideology of the Bush administration. Martha McAlister, Nanaimo, B.C.

In-depth criticism

In his article “Naomi Klein’s tired tricks,” Steve Maich is so intent on skewering the “celebrity socialist” that he misleads readers in much the same way he accuses Klein of distorting the truth in her film The Take (All Business, Nov. 8). The tragic story of Argentina’s economic decline and collapse deserves a more rigorous analysis than either Klein or Maich has given it. But it is misleading for Maich to credit the IMF for any resurgence in the Argentine economy. Infant mortality rates may have dropped between 1960 and 2002, but that is true of developing countries all over the world. And can Maich really establish a connection between IMF policies and lending with improved economic indicators in Argentina? Maybe it’s time for Maich to give up movie reviews and plunge back into his World Development Reports. Ann Thomson, Ottawa

I was very happy to read Steve Maich’s critique of Naomi Klein’s movie. As a Carleton University student, I cannot pass a wall without seeing promotions for this film and a visit by “delegates” from Argentina, promoting their system—among the many Marxist and socialist causes highlighted. Your article was a breath of fresh air.

Erika Burgess, Ottawa

Innovative oversights

In your “Leaders and dreamers” special issue on Canadian innovators, you wrongly write that Tommy Douglas opposed Canada’s entry into the Second World War (“Builders and rebels,” The Innovative Urge, Politics). In fact, J. S. Woodsworth was the lone CCFer who voted to oppose the war. Don Robertson, Nanaimo, B.C.

It’s inevitable in a project meant to highlight great Canadians that some get left out; it is a testament to the breadth of our talent that this is the case. While I do not debate any of the selections included in Terry Mosher’s article on cartoons (“Drawn and quartered,” Arts & Entertainment, Cartoons), I was disappointed nevertheless in three significant omissions: Todd McFarlane—the Alberta lad who created Spawn, one of North America’s most hotly marketed comic book characters; Ben Wicks—one of Toronto’s best-known gag and political comic strip artists; and Richard Comely—the creator of Captain Canuck and his sidekicks Redcoat and Kebec. This is not to mention the bevy of animators Canada has produced who created Nelvana, and those who produced several of Disney’s most successful films.

Michael Clifton, Waterloo, Ont.

Day care divisions

Canada’s tax laws discriminate against couples who choose to raise their own children

at home (“Lessons in daycare,” Politics, Nov. 8). Instead of subsidizing institutionalized child care, the government should reform the tax laws and let parents decide for themselves whether to raise their own children or send them to an institution. Alan Dill, Moose Jaw, Sask.

The federal government should not be working on a plan to allow mothers of preschool children to work. What it should be doing is finding a way to make it financially possible for one parent to stay home to take care of their own children. The future of our society depends on it.

Pam Mclnnes, Ariss, Ont.

If we can find the money for four second-hand submarines, we certainly should find the money for a child-care program. Our children are our future, and any government that invests money for the benefit of our children invests in a positive future.

Ed Gabriel, Vancouver

We can’t afford to pay for proper health care as it is-and now we are to be burdened with universal child care?

We can’t afford proper health care as it is, and now we are to be burdened with universal child care? Child care is not a universal requirement. If you’re going to make babies, then be prepared to afford their upbring-

ing. No one is forced to have children; having a family is a choice.

Mike McCabe, Edmonton

As a working single mother, I highly commend Ottawa’s efforts to fund quality child care across all provinces. Working parents and parents continuing their education or getting back into the workforce need the support of good quality child-care programs. Lynne Griffin, North Vancouver, B.C.

War stories remembered

As a veteran of the Second World War and the son of a veteran of the First World War, I commend Peter Mansbridge for his “Pausing to remember” column that recalls the heroic stories of those Canadians who fought in past wars (Mansbridge on the Record, Nov. 8). It is as beautiful and moving a tribute as I have ever read.

Peter Perry, Collingwood, Ont.

I wish to thank and commend Peter Mansbridge and Maclean’s for the thoughtful and inspiring article regarding Canadian Victoria Cross recipient Lewis Honey. Honey was my grandfather’s brother-a great uncle whom I, unfortunately, never knew. He, like so many Canadian soldiers, served his country with honour and paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedom which we all enjoy today. Our family is proud of his war-time heroism, though saddened we did not know him personally.

Bruce Lennie, Ottawa