THE MAIL

February 23 2004

THE MAIL

February 23 2004

THE MAIL

Waking the giant

George W. Bush is a good, kind and decent man. He is also incredibly unshakeable in the face of criticism (“Canadians to Bush: Hope you lose, eh,” Cover,

Feb. 9). He will continue to do what he thinks is right regardless of his lack of popularity around the world.

Tammy Gammon, Tombait, Tex.

Whatever happened to you Canadians? I remember Normandy,

Antwerp, A Bridge Too Far. Now we get little mealy-mouthed guys writing about a great man trying to do a job after 3,000 of his fellow citizens were murdered. You Canadians can’t even field an army any more. What happened to a great people?

Lenny Nalty, New Orleans

As a retired U.S. soldier having served in George Bush Sr.’s Gulf War, I am sickened by his son’s “with us or against us” attitude.

I feel that any criticism of the current President Bush or the system is being met with an increased “you’re unpatriotic” or “that’s un-American” sentiment, when the opposite is the case.

Under this President we’ve lost a lot, gained little and there’s no end in sight.

Harold Ort, Red Bank, N.J.

It is easy to express contempt for the only remaining superpower; it is what we expect. Bush in a landslide. Get used to him. Robert H. Eddy, Cleveland

Thank you for a pointed, honest—and funny—article concerning our glorious leader, the idiot George W. Bush. This is not the first time I have thought that Canadians have much more sense than do my fellow Americans.

David Pankey, Albuquerque, N.M.

Stuffit, eh.

Peter Collins, Arlington, Va.

Shame on Maclean’s for its malicious and inciting cover story. As though our relationship with our neighbour wasn’t already bad enough thanks to our gutless stand on the Iraq war, now this country’s national newsmagazine adds insult to injury with a headline and story that can only serve to further alienate the very nation and people whom we should be supporting. Yet again I am forced to embarrassingly apologize to my valued American friends and business associates. Peter volny, Toronto

I have framed my cover of “Hope you lose, eh” and it now hangs in my hallway for all to see and admire. We proud Canadians have done away with our dinosaur, now it’s time to get rid of the world’s Antichrist. Katherine Taylor, Oshawa, Ont.

You’ve got (hate) mail

We seem to have touched a nerve. Our Feb. 9 cover on Canadian antipathy for George W. Bush has generated an unprecedented response-more than 2,000 e-mails and counting. Most of the letters are from south of the border, where the article was posted on several popular Web sites. “We don't care what you think," begin the printable ones. Some say Canada has nothing to offer but beer and hockey. Others worry about a deteriorating U.S.-Canada relationship. A few cheered us on. It has taken writer Jonathon Gatehouse days to sift through them. “It’s better to be read than popular,” he says. “Or so they tell me.”

We Canadians have it pretty good, don’t we? When was the last time a terrorist flew a plane into a skyscraper on Bay Street? We sit nice and cozy at home watching our favourite American reality shows, drive our American cars to our jobs at the American companies we work for, in order to pay for our vacations to Florida or Las Vegas. Our beef industry is on the brink of extinction and we’re desperate for the U.S. to reopen its border to our cattle, yet we think it’s a good idea to keep telling George W. Bush and his government how much we hate them. We put them down for their enormous defence budget, yet we feel safe in our beds at night in the knowledge that they’ll be there if anything should happen. Then again I’m not surprised since we’ve relied on the U.S. to protect us ever since the end of the Second World War, but still put it down every chance we get.

Ian McGregor, Orleans, Ont.

When they are in cahoots with each other, power, commerce and religion are the real axis of evil. If the Democrats lose, I promise to move. New Zealand looks nice, but outer Mongolia would do.

Dot Dedman, St. Simons Island, Ga.

I lived in Texas from 1999 to early 2003 and, believe me, he’s even scarier up close. Shelley McKibbon, Halifax

I like President Bush’s style and politics because he’s a down home, straight shooter kind of guy, transparent and easy to figure outrare traits in a politician these days. So what if he has ties to Big Oil? Last time I checked, our high standard of living was directly dependent on oil and would collapse if the oil taps were turned off. Because I love our Western lifestyle very much I, for one, want those vast oil fields in the Middle East protected. We need a man like Bush in power to kick ass and preserve the American way of life—because, like it or not, when America is under threat, so are we.

‘You need to realize that you have declined to provide for your security, preferring to depend on the U.S. while you Prattle On abOUt lofty SOCial gOalS.’ -Mary McLemore.Autaugaville, Ala.

Maria Hugi, Vancouver

President Bush has something Canadians know little about: the guts to make a decision. Bruce Hynes, Eastport, Nfld.

As a dual Canadian and American citizen who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years, I feel that many Americans are “Amerocentric” and are ignorant or unconcerned about world opinion. From Bush’s arrogance regarding the war in Iraq to his energy and environmental policies that will leave future generations bankrupt, this president is leading America on the wrong path.

Paul McCarter, Mission Viejo, Calif.

What were you thinking? To use such a cover just at a time that Canada was beginning to mend fences with the U.S. Here in New Brunswick we need the softwood exports and in the West they need the beef. We all know that the majority of Canadians do not think highly of the President, but you should have used discretion with that article. Shirley Paget, Plaster Rock, N.B.

Count me among the 15 per cent who admire President Bush and support his re-election. Forgive me for admiring a man whose priority is protecting the citizens of his country and to a lesser extent those of the world’s oppressed.

Michael Boothby, Oakville, Ont.

In spite of all the hatred, we remain the most forgiving nation on the planet. When earthquakes wreck lives and communities, we are there with blankets, water, search and rescue teams. When countries are openly attacked, we are there to defend the people and help them take back their country. When a country is faced with famine, we are there to face down the warlords responsible— those were American soldiers being dragged around the streets, and I’m repaid with a snicker from the North. Kosovo, Rwanda, we were there. Then came 9/11. The world saw the devastation that terror can bring, and it stood up and did nothing.

Jon Hebert, Houston

I love my country. But if someone doesn’t beat Bush in November, I may be heading up north, eh?

Mary O’Sullivan, Yonkers, N.Y.

As an American citizen and a Democrat who’s proud he voted for Al Gore last time out, I find your article the best argument for giving the son of a bitch a second term I’ve read in the three years he’s been in office. Eric Lurio, New York City

I am sure the President is not losing sleep about his Canadian electoral chances. How many electoral votes does Canada have anyway? Dave O’Connor, Butler, Pa.

I am tired of being told that Canadians should avoid criticizing the policies of the U.S. government for fear of economic retribution. I am proud that Canadians have the thoughtfulness and moral integrity to challenge the pomposity and arrogance of the reactionaries running the U.S. Never in my life have I been more proud to be a Canadian.

Robert B. Stewart, Tillsonburg, Ont.

I doubt President Bush would be terribly upset that Canadians don’t like him. It is Canada’s enduring shame that we stood sneering on the sidelines, content to let Saddam’s torture and murder continue because we didn’t like Bush’s attitude. Oh, but can we bid on the Iraq rebuilding contracts and make some money—please, oh, please, please, please? Terry Edwards, Bowmanville, Ont.

Thanks for the article on Canadian perspectives of George W. Bush. I can assure you the sentiment is much the same for Canadians living abroad.

Laurel Patterson, UN Programme Officer, Nairobi

As a Canadian living in the U.S., I think President Bush shouldn’t be concerned for one moment whether Canadians feel better off since he took office. He is not the prime minister of Canada. He is the President of the United States, with the duty of making decisions that he feels are best for his country—not the country to the north or south. Douglas Sider, Jr., Lancaster, Pa.

George W. Bush does not command the respect of Canadians because we see his presidency for what it is: an obvious fraud. Thanks to Jean Chretien’s decision to stay out of Iraq, we have retained our objectivity on the Bush administration. Pretending that everything is peachy while Dubya continues to defraud his nation is the greatest disservice we could ever inflict on our American friends. Blame Canada only for telling it like it is.

Tim Branton, Toronto

Fet’s be clear: at least George W. Bush stood up for what was right. I wish the same could be said of Jean Chrétien and many of this country’s citizens. This constant anti-Americanism is mindless and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the final gasps of a nation that has lost its character and relevance.

Alan Baker, Ameliasburgh, Ont.

You have really hit a new low with this one! We may all have our opinions about President Bush, but your magazine crossed the boundary of respect for another country to personal insult. Last time I checked, we did not vote in the U.S. Thus your survey and scurrilous editorial stance is irrelevant. Don’t you think Americans would have expressed a similar opinion about our former prime minister Jean Chrétien?

Dieter Hundrieser, Gananoque, Ont.

I found your cover story to be overly provocative and ill-mannered.

Harry Gilman, Toronto

Rules of morality

I have the honour and privilege of being the sergeant major of the 3 RCR Parachute Company currently deployed in Kabul. To openly state, as Scott Taylor did in “Tragedy in Kabul” (Afghanistan, Feb. 9), that the Canadian contingent’s Rules of Engagement are “too restrictive” is false. It also erodes the very core of sound leadership and responsibility we have for our men. We are morally and professionally obligated to allow the commander on the ground—which could be a private in some instances—to make his own decisions on the weapons required to match the threat at any given time. We, speaking on behalf of all officers and NCOs of the Parachute Company, will never place our men at a disadvantage to any type of threat.

Sgt.-Maj. Wayne Bartlett, Kabul, Afghanistan

Something to sneeze at

Do you publish these articles just to annoy people (“Nothing to sneeze at”, Essay, Feb. 9)? The fact that Patricia Pearson would enter a hospital with what may have been a contagious flu, despite the hospital posting a notice requesting that she do exactly the opposite, says something about her lack of regard for others. It isn’t simply rude and ignorant to cough or sneeze in another person’s face. Disease is spread that way. Perhaps if Ms. Pearson washed her hands more often, she would catch colds less.

Ken Dresen, Vancouver

While I found part of this essay comical, I have a couple of concerns. Pearson admitted to coming down with her son’s cold, therefore was probably contagious and yet entered a hospital where very ill people, if they caught her cold, could end up with pneumonia and die. Did she consider this? Or, if someone like my husband who has chronic bronchitis was in contact with her, he could develop severe bronchitis in a couple of days. Did she consider him? Instead she says we suffer from social neurosis and anxiety. No, we would just like to avoid people who have a cold so that we may be able to enjoy our lives as much as we can.

Donna Wraith, Edmonton

Offshore accounting

I find it rather troubling that the Prime Minister was too busy campaigning to let the public know his companies received more than $160 million in grants and contracts rather than the $ 137,000 he admitted to a year ago (“Oversight,” OnSpec, Feb. 6). For those counting zeros, that’s a 1,000-per-cent mistake. Is this the same man who was our finance minister for nearly a decade?

Matt Huston, Delburne, Alta.

Me first

Your definition of a good leader (“What it takes to lead,” Mansbridge on the Record, Feb. 9) as having the ability to inspire confidence, to motivate, to know where you want to go and to convince others to follow, is right on. The problem with current leaders is that their leadership is so often not where the people want to go, but where I want to go—as in what serves the country’s elite. Eileen Wttewaall, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Repositioning sleep

After reading the article “Flat-out frustrating” (Over to You, Feb. 9), I was appalled to find out how many other babies suffer from this problem simply because of the Back to Sleep campaign. I had the same problem with my son’s head flattening. It took a trip overseas to visit my parents to find a solution when my mother told me to put the baby to sleep on his side. It makes me wonder what could have happened to my baby’s head if I had not been lucky enough to go visit my mother? It makes me so angry to read this article and find out how many other people go through the same situation because of this campaign. I am going to take this article to my pediatrician. Something must be done to change this situation.

Debora Ayres, Montreal

The real museum story

I am writing with respect to a letter by Lois Hashimoto (“The real internment story,” The Mail, Jan. 26), which was a bitter attack on the novelist Joy Kogawa inspired by the article about the project to save Kogawa’s childhood home in Vancouver. Contrary to the letter, the project was not Kogawa-initiated and does not involve creating a museum in her honour. I initiated it, not Kogawa, and the project involves creating a writer’s residence where writers of conscience may work and dialogue with others.

Chris Kurata, Toronto