September 6 2004


September 6 2004


‘I’m so sick of hearing about this low-carb fad. People need to understand the best diet is a balanced one, COUpled With exercise.’—Jamie Friesen, Edmonton

School days

I applaud your feature on Canada’s best public secondary schools (“Canada’s best schools,” Cover, Aug. 23). As a former Earl Haig Secondary student in Toronto, current high school history and English teacher, and the proud older sister of one of the cofounders of the Zoom Student Film Festival featured in your Earl Haig profile, I think that we too often focus on the academic aspect of the high school experience. We should not forget that the students are doing a large part of their character formation at school, outside of the classroom. That the public school system has been able to put aside all criticism and foster such creative and enthusiastic students is a testament to teachers, administrators and the students themselves—an achievement that standardized testing can never hope to measure.

Debbie Lerech, Toronto

Your cover story brought home to me, yet again, how unfairly the public system is managed. A chosen few students get unbelievable perks, while others fight to keep the basics. We don’t need any funding going to these special projects when simple, local education is in jeopardy for so many rural children. Constance Prichard, Melbourne, Ont.

As an Ottawa parent of two elementary school age boys, I was particularly interested, and then extremely disheartened to read about Ottawa’s Canterbury High School. I hope the flippant referral to the “troublesome testosterone factor” in regard to the success of its girlsonly classes was an ill-conceived phrase by your writer and not a comment by the school’s representatives. With attitudes like that, it is no wonder that boys are dropping out of high school at higher rates than girls and are less likely to pursue post-secondary education. Lisa Jamieson, Ottawa

From its beginnings as Overlea Secondary School through to its reincarnation as Marc Garneau Collegiate, this Toronto school has always meant a great deal to both its staff and alumni like myself. It has always drawn from

low-income areas, yet has produced exceptional students—a tribute to its dedicated staff. Concerned, dedicated teachers made the difference then as they do now.

Dawn Dickinson, Toronto

For the past number of years you have published an annual university rankings in which Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University is way down your list. Now you seem to be making your same silly appraisal of high schools. What gives you the right to rate any school? GJ. Poling, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Hellenic feat

I’ve attended several Olympic events and I’m happy to say that all those who warned

Balancing act I The difficult task of deciding what’s important

From news to pop culture, the interests of our readers vary greatly. And in each issue, our editors aim to balance those interests. Sometimes you agree with our decisionssometimes not. “Though I appreciate his vast talent,” writes Shirley Theriault of Ladysmith, B.C., “I was disappointed that, in the Aug. 16 issue, you wrote more on Prince than on the problems in Sudan.”

that Greece wouldn’t pull it off were dead wrong. The Games have been awesome. There’s a lot of security, the volunteers are friendly, beer and bottled water are cheap, garbage and recycling bins are everywhere, plus lineups at concessions are virtually nonexistent. The Athens 2004 Olympics have been well-organized, well-run, completely professional in every respect. It’s too bad that many stayed away because of all the negative press. The tiny nation of 11 million has pulled it off in a big way, proving that thousands of years after having given the world science, art, culture, democracy and the original Olympic Games, Ellas has still got it. Peter Hantzakos, Toronto

Thank you to Brian Price, Olympic rowing competitor, who talked about his challenge of beating cancer as a child (“My ‘second biggest challenge,’ ” Voiceover, Aug. 23). His story about the healing environment that Camp Oochigeas provides, along with his continued involvement with this summer camp for kids with cancer, even after his own cancer went into remission, is truly inspirational.

Jannice Foreman, Victoria

Responding to hate

Jonathon Gatehouse’s treatment of the Jewish response to recent acts of anti-Semitism in Montreal (“Pride and prejudice,” Society, Aug. 2) depicts us as hysterical, antiimmigrant types, reacting to Arabs as Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and his government did to Jews in the 1930s. This is far from the truth. The leading organizations of our community are not and never have been anti-immigrant. It is quite a leap to move from my plea to “bring new arrivals into the mainstream” while screening out radical imams as prospective Canadians, to characterizing this as an antiimmigrant reaction.

Stephen Scheinberg, past chair for League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada, Montreal

The carb question

I am personally sick of hearing about all these new trends and fads regarding dieting methods (“Low-carb bubble,” Business, Aug. 23). It all boils down to the classic philosophy of eating a variety of foods in moderation and combining it with exercise. Everything else is just dressing on the salad, so to speak. And, we shouldn’t forget that

exercising won’t just make you lose fat, it’ll also make you feel stronger, healthier and more energetic.

Richard Ahn, Toronto

Regarding the possible end of the fad for low-carb diets: I always found it strange that people who want to lose weight would cut out an entire food group. If people want to lose weight, then the only permanent way is through eating properly and moving more. This isn’t a new concept, but people always want the magic diet pill. Atkins claimed to be this pill, but it didn’t work. It just took dieters a long time to figure that out.

Stephen Bujas, Toronto

I can’t see people going back to eating the way they used to. Sure there is the “fad” thing going on, and, yes, it might have peaked, but the low-carb diet is here to stay. Rod Barr, Calgary

As more and more people cut down on their carb intake and start seeing how easy it is to keep the pounds off and still eat till you’re full, their successes will entice others to give it a try. I’ve tried other diets without success. After two weeks of no potatoes, pasta, bread, rice and corn, I lost 10 lb. In total, I’ve dropped 25 lb. and have been holding it there for over a year. I now cheat occasionally and enjoy high-carb treats, but easily maintain my desired weight.

Dan Hayduk, Prince Albert, Sask.

War motivations

I was very pleased with your interview with retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie. Like MacKenzie, I have never believed the invasion of Iraq was motivated by anything other than the free world’s need to get a madman out of power and hopefully lend some stability to a very unstable region (“War was justified, and overdue,” The Maclean’s Interview, Aug. 23). Yes, the coalition has had a difficult time, but once the people of Iraq have what we take for granted—medical care, freedom of expression, women’s rights and a robust economy fuelled by oil—they will give thanks that Saddam and his sons are no more.

Bill Terry, Fort McMurray, Alta.

Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie maintains that the U.S. can still justify the war, given Iraq’s treatment of minorities and its defiance of UN resolutions. But the U.S. was will-

Unlike many, Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie supported the war

ing to ignore similar bad behaviour in other countries such as Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Libya, even Communist China and Russia. No, they invaded because of what Iraq has, oil, as well as what they don’t have, a strong military.

Eric Kirkpatrick, Vancouver

Concerning the American debacle in Iraq, Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie is simply wrong in his claim that the “war was justified, and overdue.” The world needs no convincing of the benefit of Saddam’s removal, just as

most of us would rejoice at the removal of the leaders of Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, even the United States today. But there was a bigger issue at stake for the world post-9/11— the removal of terrorism. Just imagine what the resources expended in Iraq could have done for the re-

Greece has pulled off the Games in a big wayproving that even after thousands of years, Ellas has still got it

Saddam Hussein was a menace and a murderer, a threat to all his neighbours, as well as to the rest of the world. If more nations joined the coalition, the present difficulties may have been prevented. Instead, we let the Americans bleed for

all of us, and on top of that, we have the gall to criticize them.

moval of terrorism, the true enemy of freedom, in the country where its source truly exists—Afghanistan.

Larry Wade, Ottawa

The Iraq war has cost more than US$125 billion, with no end in sight. Was Saddam Hussein’s removal worth that US$125 billion, which could have been spent on enormous health, education, infrastmcture, and other societal improvements in the U.S. or abroad? Was his removal worth the estimated 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed and the further 40,000 or so wounded? Not in my view, but then, unlike Lewis MacKenzie, I am not a general. Ric Moodie, Winnipeg

Pavel Calda, Halifax

A vote for Bush

As a pro-Bush Canadian, I’m still hoping for a more balanced position in your approach to the U.S. political scene. But so far, no such luck. The most recent example: two anti-Bush letters in your letters to the editor section (“Four more years?” Aug. 23). Where were the counter comments? I am confident that Americans realize the implications of a Bush re-election—and are both proud and confident with what they see. Don Barnes, Ottawa

A rainbow of extremism

I find myself somewhat bemused by Mary Janigan’s reference to “extremists” among the supporters of Stephen Harper (“Harper’s hard sell,” Janigan, Aug. 23). If there are right-wing extremists, are there not also left-wing extremists? I would nominate many Liberal and most NDP members for that dubious distinction.

Ray Mulrooney, Toronto