THE MAIL

April 5 2004

THE MAIL

April 5 2004

THE MAIL

‘While Bertuzzi gets blamed, coaches, owners, the league and the fans go unscathed by this issue of accepted, no, encouraged, Violence*

Donald Lahaise

Hammonds piams, N.S.

Letters to the Editor: letters@madeans.ca

Combat zone

Kudos to Maclean’s for taking a strong stand against hockey violence in a country that largely seems indifferent to it (“No end in sight,” Cover, March 22). It boggles my mind that in a nation so proud of its peacekeeping role around the world, our national sport should feature, and even encourage, such mindless, sickening acts of violence on a regular basis. No wonder I stopped watching hockey in favour of soccer years ago.

Ron Stewart, Vancouver

I say if you do not like fighting in hockey, watch something else—like cricket or curling.

David Bruce, Ottawa

I was about to get my tights in a knot after I noticed that hockey violence rated seven pages of coverage while the Madrid bombings—vastly more deadly—merited only two. But, after reading both articles, I decided that hockey may indeed be the best arena in which to start curbing our instinct for violence. We all have to start at home, with ourselves.

Jay Berry, Hamilton

Upon departure for an out-of-town hockey tournament with my 11-year-old son the week following the Bertuzzi hit, I was confident that he would not cross the paths of any mini-Bertuzzis, especially since it was a non-contact tournament. I was stunned as I watched him get slashed across the head from behind as he was making a rush to the net. He immediately went down and needed to be assisted off the ice. After the game, while passing the opponent’s changing room, I overheard the coach tell his players that they were not aggressive enough and that he wanted to see more violence. When coaches and/or parents drill this neanderthal mentality into the minds of our young hockey players, future Bertuzzis are inevitable.

Elizabeth Cecchi, Ottawa

Why would one call for a ban on fighting in hockey after seeing Todd Bertuzzi’s attack? That was in no way a fight. Steve Moore was unable to fight back since he was attacked from behind. A true fight does have a place in the game. When a team is down, a good fight won can get a team motivated enough to get that tying goal. And, if nothing else, it can turn a slow, low-scoring game into something more exciting and fast-paced. Why give the whole class detention for a couple of people throwing spitballs?

Devon Babin, Ottawa

You wrote: “When [Ace Bailey] did eventually recover, he was unable to play again and his career in hockey was limited to working as an assistant penalty timekeeper at Maple Leaf Gardens.” Wrong. While Bailey did not play again, he was head coach of the University of Toronto senior hockey team (the Varsity Blues) for 10 years. His teams won three Senior Intercollegiate Hockey League championships, and, in 19391940, he coached the Blues to the championship in the International Intercollegiate Ice Hockey League. A few years ago, some of his players recognized Bailey’s contribution to their hockey careers by creating the Ace Bailey Award, presented annually to the Varsity Blues team captain. Paul Carson, Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto

Passport to nowhere

Like Adnan Khan, I travel overseas for business. Unlike him, however, I have not found a decrease in the “weight” of the Canadian passport (“Getting a cold shoulder,” Travel, March 22). Regrettably, Mr. Khan does allude to the real cause of the repeated verifications and roadblocks when travelling with his Canadian passport—his ethnicity. He is right to question whether technological advances in identification documentation can assuage baser human behaviour such as bigotry and prejudice. Surely only the wilfully naive believe profiling began post-9/11. Still, Canada now has the opportunity to regain its place as the world’s pre-eminent middle power, to proliferate its respected values of inclusivity, multiculturalism and diversity of ideas—a call to action it cannot ignore if there is to be any hope whatsoever for both the symbolic and political value of our passports. Stacy Kelly, Kingston, Ont.

Why should Canadian passports be any different from those of any other country? Canada has housed terrorists, so why shouldn’t countries take the same precautions with us as they do with others? We are not better than anybody else, so for everybody’s protection, including Mr. Khan’s, everyone should be checked carefully before entering another country. If one has nothing to hide, one should be happy such measures are taken.

Ilda Sarazin, Ottawa

Final word I The problem is with the people, not the movie

Our mailbox continues to overflow with defences of The Passion of the Christ after Brian D. Johnson criticized the film as gratuitously violent. After reading similar letters in recent issues, Tony Charters of Kingston, Ont., writes: “The controversy reinforces my view that all religions and their prophets were created equal. May their gods save us from the zealots.”

Enduring pioneers

John Ralston Saul’s “Two forgotten pioneers” (March 15) is probably the single best essay I have read in the past 30 years of Maclean’s. It captures the uniqueness of the Canadian experiment and the generous, visionary quality of Canadian society that sets it apart from the increasingly violent, sectarian tendencies of most of the world. Baldwin and LaFontaine were genuinely great leaders—among the very greatest in terms of their achievements on behalf of their fellows. It’s essential that we be reminded, every so often, of just how far ahead of their times they not only were, but—in view of the state of political society on the rest of the planet—still are.

Robert Levine, Columbus, Ohio

A better-than-fine balance

The happiest mothers—and children—I know are those who work part-time but are able to be primary caregivers for their children (“Kids over career,” Cover, March 15). Lest this be perceived as a gender issue, I need to add that I know a number of families that are equally satisfied with the dad being the primary caregiver doing occasional work and the mother working full-time. IVe rarely encountered the prejudice of, “If you stay at home, you’re a nothing.”

Susan Fish, Waterloo, Ont.

Only the individual can decide if the benefits of personally raising a family outweigh the benefits of paid employment, or vice versa. Why is the individual then made to feel guilty about that decision by society, by friends and relatives, and by the media?

Glenn Morgan, Orleans, Ont.

It’s great that families with the financial means are making the decision to put their kids first, but the women divas profiled in this story obviously have the money and power to do what they want. The lowerto middle-income “mom” bracket is where the

true struggle and sacrifice lies.

Kate Werkman, Edmonton

Years ago, my husband had a massive stroke and died suddenly, leaving me with no money and two children to raise. I tried to get a job, but to no avail. During this time I was in a bank lineup when I overheard a young woman in her midto late-20s saying how she had left her children at home with a sitter so she could resume her career. All this, she said, so she could feel “fulfilled.” She had a husband with an excellent, well-paying job. It wasn’t that she needed the money. I stood behind her thinking, “Dearie, I don’t have a job, and here you are taking up space that I could be filling. I have the experience, I have the knowledge, and I have to go on welfare so you can feel ‘fulfilled.’ ”

Betty Summerhayes, Dunnville, Ont.

The pension myth

Maryjanigan’s statement in “Remedy for a failure” (March 15) that “even the poorest seniors now receive adequate pensions” perpetuates a fondly held Canadian myth. In rebuttal, may I remind readers that the CPP provides a useful income only if one qualifies for the full amount by having had an extended working career in Canada at the maximum qualifying income rate. As for the “universal” Old Age Security, one needs

to have lived here for 40 years to qualify for the full amount. There is a clear inequity here—recent arrivals who have imported their skills, education experience and work ethic are regarded as less deserving of OAS than born Canadians who have, say, spent their adult lives in jail.

Patrick McLean, Penticton, B.C.

Dearie, I don’t have a job, but I have the experienceand I have to go on welfare so you can feel ‘fulfilled’

Yeah, right

What should be asked of Paul Martin is: “Really, what difference does it make who’s in control of his multi-billiondollar investments (“Branding Paul Martin,” Politics, March 15)?” He’s still in power and can make policy that benefits his business interests. Can he not? Or are we to believe that those in trust of his property will do the opposite of what would otherwise benefit his interests whenever he produces industry policy, so as not to be in, or appear to be in, conflict of interest?

Frank Sterle, Jr., White Rock, B.C.

Weak defence

Thanks for the article “That déjà vu feeling” (Australia, March 1). As an Australian married to a Torontonian, we often enjoy noting the similarities, as well as the differences, between our two lucky countries. I was surprised, however, to read of David Malouf’s alleged “defence” of Australia’s participation in the invasion of Iraq. Especially as that defence was based on Australia’s meeting the threat before it made it to our shore. The article hinted at the realpolitik of Australia needing to please its potential “protectors.” But to many Australians, becoming a subservient lackey in George W. Bush and Tony Blair’s dishonest war is beyond the pale. It is hard to meet anyone down here who supports Australia’s involvement in Iraq, so I can’t imagine such a distinguished thinker as Malouf defending the decision. I wonder if it was more of an explanation than a defence?

Shaun O’Neill, Melbourne, Australia