‘Maclean's, is that you? Your story on Stephen Harper was not condescending or insulting. One can go so far as to Say you put him in a positive light.'-Desmond Burton-Williams,Toronto

May 23 2005


‘Maclean's, is that you? Your story on Stephen Harper was not condescending or insulting. One can go so far as to Say you put him in a positive light.'-Desmond Burton-Williams,Toronto

May 23 2005


‘Maclean's, is that you? Your story on Stephen Harper was not condescending or insulting. One can go so far as to Say you put him in a positive light.'-Desmond Burton-Williams,Toronto

Letters to the Editor:

Harper's Bazaar

Canada’s national magazine is becoming (Stephen) Harper’s Bazaar. I have voted Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative in the past, but I certainly won’t be voting for Harper despite your electioneering. John Geddes’ article on the Conservative leader (“Meet the real Stephen Harper,” Cover, May 9) stopped just short of dressing him up in a teddy bear suit. His piece portrayed Harper as someone committed to fiscal solvency while it glossed over his social conservatism. Geddes does at least acknowledge that the National Citizens Coalition, which Harper headed before returning to politics, is a right-wing lobby group, but neglects to mention it was founded in 1967 to quash our newly minted public health care system.

Trevor Jenkins, Toronto

It is obvious to me that the thing Stephen Harper is the most passionate about is obtaining power at all costs. There is a selfishness to Harper that was borne out in the past by his derogatory comments about his poorer cousins in the Atlantic provinces. Harper should run for premier of Alberta rather than prime minister of Canada. Octavio Ribeiro, Saint John, N.B.

Stephen Harper sells himself as a crusader for the Canadian taxpayer, something I admire him for. However, an early election hurts the Canadian taxpayer. I urge him to re-examine the virtue of patience. If there is a summer election, I will spoil my ballot in protest. Bradley Parkes, Calgary

As a Canadian living in the United States, I am greatly concerned by Stephen Harper’s political tactics and policies. After all, this is the man who co-authored (with Stockwell Day) a column in the Wall Street Journal to apologize on behalf of all Canadians for our government not sending troops to fight in Iraq. While I do not condone the actions of Liberal party members in regard to the sponsorship scandal, Paul Martin’s government is, at least, not a

lapdog of George W. Bush and the neoconservative movement. I would rather

have a government that misplaces a few million dollars than one that supports the killing of thousands of Iraqi people, as well as the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars in the process.

Johan de Zoete, Grand Rapids, Mich.

How the West was (already) won

I enjoyed Peter C. Newman’s April 18 column, “Fresh wind from the West,” about Western Financial Group, but I was surprised to read his comment that “the West may be in the process of getting a big bank.” I am the manager of commercial banking for a Schedule A, Western-based, chartered financial institution, which just celebrated its 20th successful year in 2004. Canadian Western Bank was born out of the merger of the B.C.-based Western & Pacific Bank and the Edmonton-based Bank of Alberta, and has grown to $5 billion in assets, 25 times the size of Western Financial. CWB has some 1,000 employees, 30 full-service branches, three banking satellite offices, insurance and trust operations, a head office in Edmonton and branches spread across the four western provinces. I applaud the subject of Newman’s story, Scott Tannas, and wish him well in his “big, hairy, audacious goal” to be the strongest financial institution

in the West by 2020. More choice for customers is always a good thing.

Greg Noga, Vancouver

Readers may have been left with the incorrect impression that there is an asset threshold below which banks are allowed to sell insurance in their branch offices. In fact, the Bank Act prohibits all banks, regardless of their size, from selling insurance products or promoting insurance companies and their products, agents or brokers in any bank branch office. Because there are no similar regulations in the Insurance Companies Act, banking products and services can be promoted and sold in insurance offices. Margaret Pearcy, director, communications and public affairs, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Ottawa

That mess on the rug

Let’s face it, Jean Chrétien made a mess on the rug and now Paul Martin has to clean it up (“The incredible sinking Prime Minister,” Cover, April 25). I understand that voters are angry at the Liberals over this whole Adscam business, and I am not an exception. Still, I ask my fellow Canadians not to judge Martin by the size of the mess, but his ability to scrub the rug and move on.

Garin Kilpatrick, Innisfil, Ont.

Why rush an election? Let Paul Martin’s Liberals develop their ideas and hold themselves accountable for past wrongs. Also, let the new leadership in the NDP and Conservative party develop their own visions more fully. I’ve got to believe that many of our politicians have altruistic motives and genuinely want to do what’s best for their constituencies. To them I say, worry about popular opinion less and govern more. Henry Lammers, London Ont.

Some Canadians are being taken in by the Liberal promise to call an election 30 days after the release of the Gomery report. Have these trusting people forgotten other Liberal promises: cancel the GST, abrogate the free-trade agreement, name an independent ethics councillor, bring integrity back into government?

J.G. Boulet, Ottawa

Don’t judge Paul Martin by the mess Jean Chrétien made on the rug, but by his ability to scrub it up and move on

War: what is it good for?

I am among the children of the generation that was born just before or during the First World War, grew up during the Great Depression and fought or endured the Second World War. Their bitter education in the necessity to look out for each other and to unite against evil led them to make mine the most blessed generation in the history of the world. They were determined we would never have to go through what they did. Desmond Morton (“The VE-Day revolution,” History, May 9) sounds the crucial warning that, as we get farther from those terrible events, we are forgetting that generation’s hard-earned wisdom. We are forgetting that, unless all of us are safe, none of us is safe. To truly honour and remember members of this generation, we must gratefully rededicate ourselves to their generous spirit.

David Cadogan, Miramichi, N.B.

I am appalled at the lack of recognition Canadian veterans receive here in Canada. Why is it that Dutch schoolchildren, who are two generations removed from the Second World War, show more appreciation of our veterans than Canadian children (“From the heart,” Mansbridge on the Record, May 9)? Certainly, our part in the Second World War has never been overly emphasized in my 20 years of experience as a student. Yet the Dutch hail our vets for liberating a country that was thousands of miles from their Canadian home.

Brett Tyre, Delta, B.C.

A school friend is buried in the Canadian War Cemetery at Groesbeek, Netherlands. He was 19 when he died, four months before VE-Day. A Dutch family tends his grave and keeps in touch with his Canadian family. The ultimate sacrifice by our troops, the courage of those who survived and the heartwarming gratitude of the Dutch deserve far more recognition than evidenced by the current government in Ottawa. VE-Day was a time for Canada to shine and our leaders blew it. Our military personnel, past, present and future, and their families should not take the lukewarm involvement of our government as a reflection of the deep respect and appreciation of the Canadian public. Evelyn Lawrence, Powell River, B.C.

Let them walk to work

I am frustrated to read that the majority of Canadians feel they are victims of rising gasoline prices (“The tank offensive, Business, April 25). People need to realize that rising prices are a good thing: financial incentives to drive less are exactly what we need. Cars impose on society so many health, safety and environmental costs which drivers do not pay for at the pump. If people refuse to take public transit, move closer to work, walk or carpool, they should pay the full cost of their choice.

Andrea Grant, Ottawa

I work for myself in carpentry. I cannot use mass transit to get to work and cannot use a smaller vehicle than the one I have (a Honda Civic, with a trailer for my tools).

My fill price when I bought the vehicle four years ago was about $30. Now it is nearly $50. I am at the mercy of the gas companies if I want to continue working at what I know best. Richard Weatherill, Victoria

Doing the math

In your May 2 issue, a reader has demonstrated Liberal party mathematics regarding the cost of the sponsorship scandal to Canadian taxpayers (“Bring on the dirt,” The Mail). He says that despite all the fuss over Adscam, the actual cost to every single Canadian would be a mere three cents. By his calculation, the fraud by the Liberals is established at $100 million divided by 33 million people. That would be $3 per Canadian, not three cents. But whether it is three cents, $3, $100 million or whatever, theft and corruption are simply not acceptable, no matter what new math the Liberals may wish to use.

George Temple, Bolton, Ont.