‘Sending raw sewage directly into the Pacific! Even my three-year-old twins know how important it is for waste to go to a sewage treatment plant.’

Barbara Frensch October 31 2005


‘Sending raw sewage directly into the Pacific! Even my three-year-old twins know how important it is for waste to go to a sewage treatment plant.’

Barbara Frensch October 31 2005


‘Sending raw sewage directly into the Pacific! Even my three-year-old twins know how important it is for waste to go to a sewage treatment plant.’

Barbara Frensch

What lies beneath

Some of the people you interviewed for your story on Canadian cities pumping raw sewage into oceans and rivers appear to attach more importance to the next fiscal year than they do to the stewardship of the world around us (“From sea to stinking sea,” Cover, Oct. 17). This is an appallingly short-sighted approach. We have a responsibility to those who follow us to leave this world the way we found it, except where we act to reverse the damage done by others. If you dump enough garbage into a pond, its ecosystem eventually degrades to the point of collapse. The only difference with the oceans is that their collapse will not occur during any fiscal year in my life. We cannot continue to treat the oceans as a vast, unlimited resource on one hand and the sump of the planet on the other. Keep making a stink, Mr. Floatie! John Nicks, Ottawa

It’s ironic that Mr. Floatie’s crude humour is probably the most powerful argument that the pro-sewage treatment side can muster, because their scientists are nothing more than shills for those businesses, unions and consultants who expect to reap a fortune if Victoria is forced into a useless sewage treatment monstrosity.

John Newcomb, Victoria

Victoria’s citizens should be embarrassed that they are dumping raw sewage into the Juan de Fuca Strait. They are just hiding behind scientific studies that present the story they want to hear. The fact is the citizens of Victoria do not want to pay for a sewage treatment plant and willingly fund more studies to support that position. Here in Calgary my children happily play in the Bow River on a hot summer day. I would not allow them to play in the waters off Victoria. But the Bow is clean. “Fecal coliform count” is a term that should remain foreign to my family as long as we live in Calgary. Eva Eaton, Calgary

It’s time to cut the environmentalist crap about Victoria’s sewage and look at the sei-

200 billion litres of raw sewage dumped into our waterways every year-it’s a national disgrace

WAITING FOR A HIP? j SCOTT FESCHUK: Bypass your doctor. ! On Hollywood's di Go to Google. 1 filthy habits

entific facts. Numerous studies have been done over a number of years and scientists have consistently told us the tidal currents in Juan de Fuca Strait are a natural and environmentally safe way to deal with effluent, and treatment plants are unnecessary. Rickie Boothman, Victoria

Most Victorians want sewage treatment, but it always gets sidelined politically. Many of us may end up voting for Mr. Floatie. Consider also the source of that garbage on our beaches. For years the Canadian navy has thrown garbage overboard. So have our ferries, visiting cruise ships, foreign fishing vessels, oil tankers, and our local fishers. We have become the world’s garbage dump. And people wonder why whales throw themselves on beaches to get out of the mess they live in.

Diane Hill, Victoria

Diaper-free at last

I grew up in the backwoods of Manitoba where elimination communication and respectful parenting was a given, so your article on diapering caught my interest (“Googoo-gotta-go!” Life, Oct. 17). Actually EC is not a new idea. Our Canadian pioneers practised this style of toilet training. Often they had three or four children under the age of five, no automatic washers or dryers, and a

limited supply of diapers, so they were pressed to have their babies diaper-free as soon as they could. Back then, early training was a sign of good parenting. Then mothers went off to work, leaving their sitters with an easy supply of disposable diapers and, after two or three generations, the idea of EC faded. Now trendy mothers have read a few good books and simply rediscovered the joy of having clean, dry children. Blink!

Ada Grier, Coquitlam, B.C.

No birdbrains here

Yes, crows, are smarter than we think (“Birds of a feather,” Books, Oct. 17). Your example of them getting drivers in Japan to crack walnuts for them by placing the nuts in front of their car tires is marvellous, although dangerous. An Australian told me another story of crow behaviour that is even more dangerous. To combat sugar cane beetles, Australia introduced poisonous cane toads from South America. The toads, not having any natural predators, multiplied rapidly. Crows died when they tried to eat the toads; at least initially. However, it didn’t take long before they learned to turn over the toads, kill them, and eat their bellies without ill effects.

Fred Veuger, Vancouver

Close quarters

Steve Maich’s article on the new poll by Ottawa’s SES Research and the University at Buffalo says Canadians think a lot like Americans (“Closer than you think,” Canada-U.S. Relations, Oct. 17). But I could not help but reflect on how easy it is to read too much into the answers given to a multiple-choice questionnaire. Furthermore, one will often have the tendency to draw conclusions that will fit his/her own way of thinking. What does the designation “somewhat closer” mean? What is implied by the question, “Should the United States and Canada be moving toward greater and closer co-operation on border security”? I will move toward greater co-operation with my neighbours in sharing the cost of removing snow. Yet my values will remain very different than theirs.

Nicole Ferguson, Plantagenet, Ont.

Isn’t it true that surveys, as a research tool, are only as valuable as the answers are honest? Who would say aloud that any countries anywhere in the world need to co-operate less? Here is what the survey really shows: generally speaking, Canadians


and Americans value co-operation. It’s sort of like saying we love our mothers, or we’re breathing—it’s not really news, and it doesn’t really mean a whole lot. For example, “wanting closer co-operation” doesn’t mean that we define national security, border security, anti-terrorism or energy policy in the same way or that we would take similar approaches to pursuing any of these problems, even if we could agree on the goal. The border is there for a reason. Of course we have common interests, but they’re not identical, and they’re not supposed to be.

Marion Agnew, Thunder Bay, Ont.

We are not close enough. For national security, economic development and a prosperous economy, Canada and the U.S. must form a tighter bond. North American perimeter security will open our borders, enhancing free trade. Signing on to the U.S. missile defence program will create Canadian jobs in manufacturing as well as R & D. The economy in both countries relies on free trade of goods and services including energy. Canadian exports far exceed our imports and we must maintain or increase that imbalance to maintain a sound economy. In the simplest of terms, if a family spends more than it earns, it will fail financially. This holds true of a country as well.

Keith G. Sutcliffe, Dartmouth, N.S.

So Canada and the U.S. value co-operation? That’s like saying we love our mothers; it’s not news.

The wisdom of the absurd

Thank you for the excellent columns by three of my favourite writers: Barbara Amiel on bad drivers and lipstick-fumbling (“Step away from the car,” Oct. 17); Paul Wells on the PM and “shrinking ice coverage” leading to “a commercially viable Northwest Passage” (“Much ado about nothing,” Oct. 17); and Scott Feschuk on the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine concluding that the film business plays up promiscuity (“Hollywood’s filthy habits,” Oct. 17). I’m still laughing over the bits about multi-tasking while driving; Wells’s observation, “So we’re against global warming but we suspect it might come in handy”; and lab researchers being “up to

their elbows in pancreas.” Brilliant! Amiel, Wells and Feschuk are providing great material for a book on the wisdom of the absurd. Julie Brock, Toronto

I have never been a fan of Barbara Amiel. I find her to be very self-serving and cruel. This week, however, I cannot sit by and not comment on her column about bad drivers. How dare she generalize about the driving skills of complete races, sexes and ages. I do not fit any of her categories but I am still outraged. Why in the world do you continue to print her column when it is clear she cares nothing about the readers, your readers, whom she routinely offends?

Michelle Matthews, Angus, Ont.

The dark side of gender-testing

I agree with your writer that the at-home gender-testing kit, Baby Gender Mentor, while satisfying a mother’s curiosity, has a dark side (“Fears of sex selection,” Health, Oct. 3). Sex-selection is one more reason to justify abortion on demand. Abortion because of sex selection is discrimination against an unborn human life. This disrespect encourages the frivolous misuse of the gift of procreation. It is irresponsible for a company to reap financial gain from a product that has so much potential for abuse.

Jane Richard, Kitchener, Ont.

Flying right

As a travel agent reading your story about WestJet CEO Clive Beddoe (“Pulling Westjet out of its dive,” Th e Maclean’s Interview, Oct. 3), my only comment is, “way to go, Clive!” Westjet has continued to support us in a tangible way. While our other large airline in Canada has cut out our commissions entirely, Westjet has not only continued to pay us for putting bums in seats but increased that commission recently. That’s a good deal for the consumer as well, because I don’t have to charge my clients a fee when I book Westjet. Cathy Gotfried, Calgary

There is much discontent at Westjet. First officers take home $800 every two weeks. And they are based in Calgary, so they are living at the YMCA. Happy at Westjet? No. Beddoe may be laughing along with the top employees, but the ones at the bottom of the pyramid certainly are not.

Robert W. Ferguson, Markham, Ont.