December 20 2004


December 20 2004


‘I have always been amazed at Canadians’ assumptions that every Canadian law, regulation, policy and program is better than those in the U.S.’ -Duff conacher,Ottawa

Friends again

Great job on your story about why it’s time to be friends again with our U.S. neighbours (“Are we having fun yet?” Cover, Dec. 6). Most other media put a negative spin on George W. Bush’s visit to Canada. I may not be his biggest fan, but I think it’s time we put an emphasis on strengthening the partnership between our two great countries. Michael Daine, Halifax

I am relieved to see, at last, a sensible response to the American election. Who do we think we are? We have no right to criticize our neighbours.

Grant Camine, Kelowna, B.C.

I was struck by a line in your cover story: “Making nice isn’t appeasement, it’s the Canadian thing to do.” Are you implying we should swallow our pride, and desecrate our morality? Are you suggesting that “making nice” with the tyrant is better than standing up for ourselves? How dare you advocate complacency?

Cloé Bayeur Holland, Victoria

The Dec. 6 cover photo looks like Paul Martin is a puppet being manipulated by George W. Bush.

Marcelle Duguay, Montreal

Americans are a funny bunch, aren’t they? They have the nerve to re-elect a man who much of the world hates. How could this happen? The smart, progressive, enlightened Left tell us that since George W. Bush is stupid, and anyone who voted for him is stupid, it must follow that slightly over half of the American population must be stupid as well. This is arrogant ignorance at its worst. Why? Because this election has shown that the American public won’t be cowed by mindless left-wing name-calling.

Dr. Ronald Healy, Cheyenne, Wyo.

On the question of whether Canada should support the U.S. ballistic missile shield defence initiative (“The U.S. is not taking advice,” Cover/Q&A, Dec. 6): If al-Qaeda

or North Korea or anyone else wishes to set off a nuclear explosion in North America, the delivery will likely be by container ship or by offshore vessel or perhaps even a simple suitcase. In today’s world, intercontinental ballistic missiles are obsolete weapons. Canada should not support the U.S. initiative on the simple ground that it is a very expensive, unworkable solution to the wrong problem. Robert Barrigar, Victoria

The nature of invention

I want to thank you for including my father, Allan Dove, and one of his inventions, the Ardox nail, in the list of important Canadian household products in your 2004 Leaders and Dreamers, Special Commemorative

Office dreams I Does debt fuel your get-richquick fantasies?

Our Dec. 6 story on debt hit home with Toronto’s Sarah Pugsley, who just graduated from university with a load of it. She writes: “I can’t do the things I want. Instead, I must settle into an unenjoyable job.” And speaking for many of us, she adds, “In the meantime, we are all trying to scheme up clever ways to make more money in order to pursue the life we want.”

Issue (“Immersed in Canadiana,” Commerce, Household). However, I was astounded by letter-writer Eric M. Kelday’s statements on the subject. He wrote, “I must strongly disagree with your contention that Allan Dove developed the spiral Ardox nail for Stelco in 1954. My father, Roy Kelday, and Fred Hayden, both employees of Stelco, co-invented the process to make spiral wire in the early 1950s.” That’s like saying the creator of aluminum invented the airplane. In fact, Allan Dove created the engineered item we know as the Ardox nail—a product that is a major step forward in the fastening together of pieces of wood.

John Dove, Grimsby, Ont.

The fun in learning

This letter is in response to your one-sided look at educational toys in “How toys lost their innocence” (Cover, Nov. 22). At LeapFrog, we believe in a balanced approach to both play and learning. Our products are grounded in solid educational research, and at the core of all our products is the notion that children like to play and are naturally curious about new ideas and concepts. Cherie Stewart, senior director, corporate communications, LeapFrog Enterprises, Emeryville, Calif.

The oil factor

I appreciate Brian Bethune’s kind words about my book It’s the Crude, Dude (“Mad, Mad World,” Books, Nov. 22). But his review left the impression that I have no answer to Gwynne Dyer’s blithe dismissal of the notion that oil was an important factor in the U.S. invasion if Iraq. Dyer contends that Washington could have just written a cheque to get Iraq’s oil. This misses the point. Washington’s goal has never been simply to buy oil, but rather to get control of it. This has particularly been the case since the 1973 Arab oil embargo left U.S. strategic planners focused on how to prevent America’s access to this most vital commodity from ever being cut off again. Washington’s keenness to get control of oil is even more pronounced today, since the world will face dwindling oil reserves in the coming decades—a problem that Vice-President Dick Cheney has long considered key.

Linda McQuaig, Toronto

Small-town voices

Your article on the urban-rural divide generated an entire gamut of emotions (“The

war between town and country,” Cover, Nov. 29). I live in a small town in northern Ontario, an area both my husband and I were born and raised in, and planned to raise our children in. In the last decade, we’ve watched family after family leave their homes for city life. Our houses, which in Toronto would probably be worth more than $500,000, sell for just $6,000. Our hospital and medical services get cut to the bone. We pay our taxes, elect our members of Parliament, but in the end, we live each day with the noxious cloud of despair created by the war between town and country. Thank you for providing a realistic picture of our adversities.

Cindy Boivin, Smooth Rock Falls, Ont.

Feel free, people from the city, to come and join us for this idyllic lifestyle—but please

of us have been here

don’t take over. Some for generations, and we don’t want our way of life to change dramatically. We enjoy the variety you bring and the financial support as well—but remember we were here first. Irene Camp, Picton, Ont.

If city people don’t like looking out their windows and seeing cows or a field, they proba-

Feel free, city people, to come and join our idyllic country lifestyle-but remember, we were here first

bly should have thought about that before they purchased a home right beside one of them. It’s their own fault and they should learn to deal with it. Kari BlatZ, Carman, Man.

Altered perceptions

In his response to Steve Maich’s article on decriminalizing marijuana, Daniel Conrad of Maple, Ont., wrote: “Could you imagine how dangerous the roads would be with reckless, stoned drivers behind the wheel?” (“Sparking debate,” The Mail, Dec. 6). I would ask Mr. Conrad to choose between a drunk driver travelling at 160 km/h who thinks he’s going 50, and someone high on weed who is travelling 50 but thinks he’s going 160. While I wouldn’t want either on our roads, it seems to me that the stoned driver is the less dangerous one.

Colin MacEachern, Sudbury, Ont.

The measure of a man?

In his BackTalk item, John Intini wrote that Colin Farrell is a man’s man because “he peppers his conversations with obscenities” (“A Hollywood pretty boy who’s not afraid to get a little dirty,” Dec. 6). Wow. And here I thought that a real man knew how to carry on a conversation without using obscenities. If cursing makes him a man, no wonder the school system has to deal with swearing six-year-olds. They’re just in training to be men!

Donna Meek, Arnprior, Ont.

Setting the record straight

As a member of the Saskatoon Police Service since 1993 and a current member of the police association executive, I take issue with your story concerning the dismissal of two Saskatoon police officers (“Fired,” Up Front, Nov. 22). Although this has been a difficult time for the service, at no time did the police association or any member of the service talk about a mutiny if Constables Lawrence Hartwig and Bradley Senger were dismissed. Also, you inaccurately wrote that the “police union had threatened job action” if these constables were disciplined. Brent Penner, Saskatoon