January 17 2005


January 17 2005


‘I’m just hoping the hockey strike won’t end. Let the NHL fold up like the cheap pack of cards it is, and start afresh With a neW organization. — Roy Anderson, Mount Brydges, Ont.

Controversial choice

Never have I been so proud of Maclean’s as when it named Chantal Petitclerc its “Canadian of the Year” (Cover, Dec. 27). Yes, Perdita Felicien ranks right up there in track and field, but in view of the daunting challenges that disabled persons face 24/7, the winner is obvious. Just looking at the picture of this young woman, you can see that she is one very special human being.

Gail Bennett, Etobicoke, Ont.

While Chantal Petitclerc’s story is both inspired and inspiring, you made a mistake in choosing her as Canadian of the Year. The contributions that athletes make are clearly inflated unless they transcend athletics for humanitarian activism. Inspired leadership requires compassion for the human condition, along with moral courage that responds to human catastrophe.

Brian MacKinnon, Winnipeg

I would like to congratulate Maclean’s for having the ability to ignore so-called handicaps. Your choice of Chantal Petitclerc as Canadian of the Year is not only common sense, it is honourable and obvious. I would also like to congratulate Chantal on a wonderful year and express my pride as a Canadian in her accomplishments.

Dwayne Parsons, Harbour Grace, Nfld.

I am very disappointed that you chose an athlete, disabled or not, to be Canadian of the Year. There are so many more deserving people that are at the top of such fields as medicine and education. But their efforts don’t generate the news coverage of sports figures and entertainers who help you sell magazines. You should be choosing someone who is doing something that makes a difference in the world, not someone who can make a wheelchair go faster than others. Dennis McCallum, Port Severn, Ont.

Congratulations: Your choice of Chantal Petitclerc as Canadian of the Year was the correct one.

Michael Sheehan, Gaspé, Que.

As I watch the devastation caused by tsunamis in Asia, I can’t help but think there is so much more to life than sports (“No hockey? No problem,” All Business, Dec. 27). If the players and owners don’t want to see the light and come to a reasonable agreement, forget them. There is no longer any real connection between the fans who pay for all the seats, merchandise and tax breaks that support the NPIL and its players. And, as Steve Maich writes, the league does not support as much of the economy as some would have us believe. There will likely be no season this year, and I, like many, don’t really care. There are millions of other people in the world who have real problems,

Hockey, who needs it?

unlike these spoiled millionaires, whom I would rather help.

Bruno Sodaro, Toronto

Hurrah to Steve Maich for his illuminating article. I am as upset as Maich is over governments’ massive subsidizing of the NHL. These subsidies allow wealthy owners to get wealthier, players to be paid ever more ridiculous salaries and corporations to get tax breaks for buying seats and boxes so their high-end employees and customers can go to the games. I have no problem with government offering tax incentives to industries that give a healthy return in good jobs and futures for ordinary working people. The NHL does not fit into that category. John Warner, Prince George, B.C.

I am learning that hockey is not such an important part of my life. The stupid and greedy owners and players can stay out as long as they want. Their stubbornness is allowing me to have more fun going to movies and eating out with my family.

Jeff Gilman, Montreal

Troubled icon

I worked for five years at Bombardier Transportation and I can tell you that the company’s problems are far-reaching and far from over (“Tellier’s last stand,” Industry, Dec. 27). Historically, large cash advances from the transportation division virtually vanished, with that money often used to finance aerospace development projects. With the North American transportation division struggling to deliver the few contracts it has left, it looks like we poor taxpayers will once again help an inefficient business stay afloat, all for the sake of jobs. The best thing that could happen to Bombardier and its shareholders would be for government funding to be cut completely and to let Bombardier restructure itself back to profitability. Sylvain Mercure, Varennes, Que.

Juniors yes, NHL no I Amateur hockey shows up the professionals

Despite record TV ratings for the World Junior Hockey Championships, the public seems prepared to live without the pros. “I used to be an ardent hockey fan: this now has changed,” writes Dylan Hodgson of Edmonton, echoing a near-unanimous view in a Maclean’s website survey. “If the players don’t want to bend, let them get a real job and see how they like that.”

Missing the point

I have never been to Mecca, but it’s always been my dream to perform the hajj one day as a Canadian Muslim. After reading Adnan R. Khan’s critical article (“Piety and profits,” Religion, Dec. 27), I became discouraged and disappointed. But I spoke to many Muslims who have performed the hajj and came back from their spiritual journey more enlightened and more devoted to Allah than ever before. I

think you missed the whole point. I wanted to hear about the spiritual transformation, not an architectural critique of the holy city. You might as well have gone to the Bahamas. Rima Masri, Toronto

After reading Adnan R. Khan’s account of his pilgrimage to Mecca, I felt a true sense of gratitude that I live in a country where so many different religions can co-exist peacefully. It’s a luxury we often take for granted. Samantha Shetty, Hamilton

You go, boy!

I would like to commend Jonathon Gatehouse for outlining Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams’s heroic attempts to secure a better deal for our province (“Local hero,” Politics, Dec. 20). While Ottawa stands firmly on our resources chest, we continue to make strong contributions to Canada. Our iron ore is employing people in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba; the lion’s share of our offshore oil and gas revenues go directly into the national treasury; our hydro power from Churchill Falls provides Quebec about $800 million a year, as compared with only $50 million to us. Gordon Yetman, St. John’s, Nfld.

As a high-school student, I was very pleased to see an article on our premier, Danny Williams. This offshore oil deal is very important to the economy of Newfoundland. While our province is plentiful in natural resources, there have been too many times when we have freely given them away. The deal may not have a great effect on the middleaged population, but my future is at stake here. I’m the one who will have to move to Ontario to find work in a few years time. Rebecca Smyth, Outer Cove, Nfld.

Code busters

What is most depressing about your cover story on The Da Vinci Code is that over 17 million copies of a book with literary qualities less than that of the Lee Valley catalogue have been sold (“Cracking the Da Vinci code,” Cover, Dec. 20). It is a piece of shoddy writing, poor scholarship and superstitious nonsense.

T.G. Hanson, Calgary

I think that all this fuss around cracking the code makes no sense. Isn’t the point of

fiction to entertain? Doesn’t Dan Brown do just that with a book that draws on things that are both real and make-believe to spin a yarn that some 17 million people want to read? Your essay by Brian Bethune, commenting on all the falsities, does nothing more than add to the existing hoopla and makes more people wonder if there may be some truth to the story. Or maybe Bethune wants us all to read it. The plot thickens. Rajesh Kanhai, Markham, Ont.

Class acts

I want to thank Jeff Harris for the tasteful, sensitive, gentle story regarding the downfall of teachers who made an impact on his life and gave him an awareness of his possibilities (“Innocence betrayed,” Essay, Dec. 20). He did not preach or condemn. He acknowledged what his former teachers gave him and how they helped make him the person he is today. I am a teacher. And as a teacher, I want to let you know that his profound words, insight and remembrances touched me. My career came late, at the age of 42. I went to high school and college during the time that Harris described. I have been there and done that. But, unlike students at Upper Canada College, we

The best thing that could happen to Bombardier would be for government funding to be cut completely

did not get called “Wally Walrus” when a teacher became upset with us, unfortunately. We were punched, quite hard, in the face, and a detention was thrown in for dessert. Patrice Bédard, Windsor, Ont.

Newfoundland tsunami

As the geoscientist who wrote the Emergency Preparedness Canada study of the Nov. 18,1929 earthquake and tsunami that hit Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, let me correct two small errors (“A tidal wave for the ages,” History, Nov. 15). The height of the tsunami wave ranged from two to seven metres, not two to 27 metres. Also, a tsunami is not ever correctly referred to as a tidal wave as its earthquake origin is quite unrelated to lunar or solar tides.

Alan Ruffman, president, Geomarine Associates Ltd., Halifax

Let’s mean business!

I agree with John Intini 100 per cent (“Did you wear that to work?,” On style, Dec. 20) that casual dress has gone too far. I recently had a meeting with my stockbroker to go over my portfolio and expressed my displeasure over her jeans, oversized bulky sweater and lack of makeup, and was met with arguments. My confidence is greatly eroded when I go to a bank or financial institution and I am met by people attired more for backcountry hiking than handling my financial affairs. Keep up the cufflinks! No one was ever criticized for looking good.

Maureen Morris, Calgary