December 27 2004


December 27 2004



Letters to the Editor: letters@madeans.ca

‘With the passing of Pierre Berton, a part of Canada and a part of me has died, too. I often thought of Berton as the greatest governor general we never had.’ -Paul wnbee.Ottawa

Warring factions

I am so proud of the citizens of Ukraine who have finally risen up to fight for their rights and speak up for democracy, honesty in government and an end to the old style of corruption (“Rise up, Ukraine,” Cover, Dec. 13). I get a lump in my throat watching the crowds braving the cold and singing the Ukrainian anthem. How I wish my late father, so proud of his Ukrainian heritage, had lived long enough to see it.

Donia Burianyk Sims, Vancouver

I am happy to learn that other Canadians consider Ukraine’s election and following turmoil as an important event. Thank you for your support of democracy and fairness. Yuriy Kovalenko, Toronto

Maclean’s biased and partisan reporting of the Ukrainian crisis is not in keeping with what one would expect from a national magazine. It is hard to believe that the superb organization and logistics of the demonstrations are entirely spontaneous. The question of who is funding and sponsoring them needs to be investigated. The giant screens, the rock bands, the three hot meals a day for thousands, surely must have taken some pre-planning and lots and lots of money. The Leonid Kuchma government should be congratulated for refusing to be provoked by a threatening mob and has given democracy, rather than mob rule, a second chance. Nash Soonawala, Winnipeg

Events in Ukraine have implications that go beyond that country. World wars have started for less.

Ravi Sharma, Calgary

Polygamy vs. same sex

In response to the story written about the power struggle in the Mormon community of Crestón, B.C. (“The battle for Bountiful,” Religion. Dec. 13), I would like to remind readers that we live in a country whose government recently said it would introduce legislation to allow the legal marriage of same-sex partners. To those who may

be outraged at the practice of polygamy in Crestón, I ask, “Where do we draw the line?” In a society that has come to accept gay marriage, I ask, “Two men? Two women? One man and more than one woman? What is the difference?”

Amanda Nunweiler, Edmonton

I don’t know which is more disturbing, the behaviour of these Mormons who exploit and abuse women and children in the name of religion, or being exposed to stories about them and having no recourse. The wanton lasciviousness and power mongering of these tyrants is literally beyond belief, and so hideously transparent that one can only pray that they’ll be struck down by the very

How Canada can help I

A suggestion for easing the pain in Darfur

Dr. Eric Hoskins’s “excellent” (Dec. 6) Sudan prescription could go further, writes Dale Dewar of Wynyard, Sask. One idea: send in the counsellors. They visit schools here after a tragic death. In Darfur, where nearly everyone has been hit by death or rape, massive healing is required. “We are known for our peacekeeping,” says Dewar. “Let us be known for healing, too.”

God they claim to worship. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

Mo Bock, Gananoque, Ont.

Inside Russian politics

Alexandre Trudeau writes stories that are very compelling and educational (“Soviet Chic? Moscow, Nov. 22). Trudeau’s praise of his father’s Russian friend, Alexander Yakovlev, who helped former president Mikhail Gorbachev end Communism and design glasnost, is also very compelling. Ideal socialism is as good as ideal democracy; both systems of government need to rid themselves of greedy leaders.

Cy Poissant, Blairmore, Alta.

It is one thing to drive around and interview people, as Alexandre Trudeau did (“Down and out,” Russia, Nov. 29), and another to write a piece that carries an analysis of the problems and difficulties that represent modern Russia. Where is the evaluation of the Russian spirit that has endured centuries of exploitation, human misery and savage, dictatorial regimes? Trudeau refers to the erosion of democracy in a nation that has never known democracy in the first place. Where is the insight? Richard Harrington, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Protesting George W. Bush

Your story about President Bush’s visits to Ottawa and Halifax (“He’s no Churchill,” Politics, Dec. 13) failed to mention even a word about the big protests. In Halifax, more than 4,000 peaceful demonstrators filled the streets carrying a multitude of handmade signs condemning many Bush administration policies, but especially the Iraq war and the mad missile defence plans. Martin Haase, Chester, N.S.

That was nice that we fed President Bush our beef. Did we make him sit on our chairs made from our softwood lumber, drink our water from Lake Ontario and hand him napkins made from the shredded Kyoto accord? Vince Cifani, Hamilton

No stripper shortage

I can’t understand why the opposition is making such a big deal about the government’s program to bring strippers into Canada (“Strippergate,” Up Front, Dec. 13). After all, strippers who come to Canada get to be strippers, while doctors and engineers who

come to this country get to be cab drivers and labourers.

Tom Henningson, Edmonton

Canada’s champion

It was Pierre Berton who really discovered and invented a vibrant and interesting Canada (“Remembering Pierre Berton,” Tribute, Dec. 13). Berton wasn’t just a dusty history writer—he believed in a living history, a Canadian history that Canadians could relate to.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

It brought a tear to my eye to hear of Pierre Berton’s passing. He made me proud to be Canadian.

David Milner, New York City

Many of us grew up with Pierre Berton, the black-and-white images flickering from Front Page Challenge, The National Dream ingrained in our heads. Some of his writings engendered our wrath, yet he proved to be our conscience whether we liked it or not. He brought our diverse past into the present and confronted us with it. He made us realize that we had much to be proud of and left us with more than we realize. We will miss him.

Peter Dougall, Stratford, Ont.

One man’s morals

In response to Peter C. Newman’s “Beware the ‘moral’ squad” (Nov. 22), the truth is that Newman and other self-described (small-1) liberals have been pushing their own brand of morals for years. Now that the Christian fundamentalists who support George W. Bush are promoting a different kind of morals, these liberals get up in arms. Christian values include a strong work ethic, an emphasis on family and strong communities, and the belief that we are in the world for something more than self-gratification. Also, Ottawa has for years been giving Canadians significant tax breaks to support local churches and Christian charities. Maybe we are not so secular as Newman would like us to believe. David Campbell, Moncton, N.B.

Peter C. Newman is bang on target. He is quite right to be scared—I am, too, particularly after our last election. The U.S. may well be on its way to theocracy. As an 80-year-old who grew up during the Great Depression,

I cannot recall any time in the past that I have felt so disheartened by events.

Sid Eighmey, Ithaca, N. Y.

Making it better

I am a first-year student at Queen’s University who used your rankings to examine the choices I was considering just a year ago (“University rankings ’04,” Cover, Nov 15). Although the addition of the graduate survey is a great idea, I believe Maclean’s can do even more to enhance its annual report. Firstly, more about student life at a university would be welcome. I chose Queen’s over some of its equally prestigious competitors because of its amazing student environment. Secondly, you should consider ranking graduate and professional schools. Simply getting your bachelor’s degree is often not enough; further education at a master’s or doctoral level, or at a professional school, is pursued now more than ever.

Michael Diamant, Kingston, Ont.


In our Nov. 8 issue, we incorrectly reported that Canadian Olympic swimmer Brent Hayden was beaten and injured by Athens police while leaving a nightclub before he finished his races. In fact, the incident happened one week after Mr. Hayden’s last race when he inadvertently found himself in the midst of a confrontation between police and protesters. Our apologies.