‘As a blue-collar worker, I hope Wal-Mart wins the war and continues to offer good products at great prices for the average Canadian family.’

Victoria Burlingham August 22 2005


‘As a blue-collar worker, I hope Wal-Mart wins the war and continues to offer good products at great prices for the average Canadian family.’

Victoria Burlingham August 22 2005


‘As a blue-collar worker, I hope Wal-Mart wins the war and continues to offer good products at great prices for the average Canadian family.’

Victoria Burlingham

Good to go... slow

I just read Brian Bethune’s article about the slow movement (“Don’t hurry, be happy,” Cover, Aug. l)—twice. The first time I read it so quickly that, when I was finished, I thought, “What did I just read?” I paused, reread it carefully and really enjoyed it. And I got it: I have to slow down. Being fastpaced has even affected my reading, something I used to love to do.

Marcelle Chisholm, Vernon, B.C.

As an associate dentist in Toronto in the late eighties, I found that the more I worked, the more I was taxed, not just by the government, but by the constant pressure to produce. I noted that one of my bosses made over $350,000 a year before taxes and still wasn’t satisfied. I guess I lacked the killer instinct, because I moved to the country and planted a garden and, working three days a week, I was able to pursue another love and business: stained glass by commission. Since then, I have been director of the local art gallery, a trustee in a local church, and a writer of articles for a stained glass journal. People do not need to whiten their teeth or fill gaps or have implants. Neither do they need luxury cars or five-bedroom homes. There is lots more to life than trying to have the things you cannot afford. Thanks for a great story. David Wilde, Durham, Ont.

Thoughtful praise

The whole Aug. 1 issue was awesome. I particularly appreciated Paul Wells’s thoughtful piece about the European Union and what he calls the “new, new” Europe (“Out with the old,” Economics). We get so caught up with domestic and U.S. issues that the rest of the world is crowded out. Perhaps Canada can learn some best practices and postures from the success stories of countries such as Estonia instead of just dithering away our own advantages and resources. Paul Fevens, Dartmouth, N.S.

My wife and I have subscribed to Maclean’s (and a U.S. newsmagazine to get American input) for over 25 years. Both periodicals sent

renewal notices this past week. We both started writing cheques for Maclean’s and then, in pondering the American magazine, we each asked the other for input in deciding its fate. This started a who-is-reading-what comparison. This objective bit of research revealed one thing: we both have read the last six issues of Maclean’s cover to cover and are thrilled with the new contents. You also provide a renewal envelope with free mailing for subscribers. Now we both look forward to reaching the mailbox first when Maclean’s is delivered and, as for that U.S. mag, let’s just say we will have less recycling to handle. Keep up the great work. We are very impressed with the consistendy high-quality articles. Bill Stilwell and Cheryl Pinder, Calgary

Fostering a precious gift

Thank you for publishing Florence McKie’s article about her daughter Heather, who was born blind and hydrocephalic (“Have we done enough?” Over to You, July 18). What strikes me most is Heather’s gift for relationship—a precious one that many people who have developmental disabilities offer. It is a gift that is very often missed in our busy society. McKie’s recognition of her daughter’s often loving communication, and her efforts to assist others in Heather’s life to recognize it, represents the kind of modelling that is incredibly important. Those


willing to take the time and risk to develop a relationship with someone who has a developmental disability are usually surprised by the mutuality that emerges. They often declare themselves enriched in ways they never expected—indeed, profoundly changed. Beth Porter, Director of Educational Initiatives, L’Arche Canada, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Heather is blessed to have such a caring, loving and supportive family, and she will certainly have memories of her parents that will be with her always. Florence’s love for Heather is a testament to what family is all about—love and respect—and I am hoping, too, that Heather is treated with those qualities throughout her life.

Michelle Stiebelman, Guelph, Ont.

In defence of Henry Morgentaler

I was horrified by the letters protesting Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s honorary doctorate at the University of Western Ontario (“Wellloved children,” The Mail, Aug.l). Morgentaler has contributed hugely to Canadian

society. It is terrifying to me that some people honestly believe that bringing a child into a world where he or she is not wanted is the right thing to do. If you are opposed to abortion, fine, do not have one. Please don’t try to make it impossible for thousands of other women to choose what is right for them.

Caitlin Ottenbreit, Quesnel, B.C.

More Wal-Mart ruckus

Steve Maich missed a crucial issue in the great Wal-Mart debate—the cultural effect (“Why Wal-Mart is good,” Cover, July 25). Wal-Mart infects small towns with a generic cancer that destroys their character, and potentially their history. He completely ignored the one trait Wal-Mart opposers share—good taste. Cameron MacKay, Winnipeg

When I walk into a Wal-Mart, I encounter friendly, polite, helpful staff. The stores are clean and well-stocked. When I leave, a cheery cashier processes my transaction, and a greeter wishes me a good day. When


I go into a comparable Canadian retailer, I encounter unfriendly, unhelpful staff. The selection is not as good and merchandise is damaged and dirty. I want to shop Canadian, but until they show me they care, I’ll continue to give Wal-Mart my business. John Fraresso, Guelph, Ont.

Muslim introspection

Irshad Manji articulates perspectives that many in the Muslim world dare not even ponder: that certain Koranic passages are being manipulated and that they couldn’t be exploited if they didn’t exist. (“The ‘sins of scripture’,” Terror, Aug. 1). Undeniably, the Muslim community needs to engage more actively in the hard job of introspection. However, I encourage Manji to be brave enough to speak about the side of this complex faith that she holds dear—the side that lends her the motivation to continue struggling for its emancipation.

Suzanne Lim, Toronto

I would renounce my religion at once if, for a moment, I thought the scripture I venerate

could be sinful. People like Manji are the real trouble; not because they ask questions, but because they think they know the answers. Syed Hussain, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Shakespeare revisited

I am writing on behalf of Clare Asquith, the author of Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare (“Will, the secret rebel,” Books, Aug. l). The author, and we, as her publisher, are gratified by the many thoughtful and flattering things Robert Mason Lee said about the book. We do, however, wish to log one factual correction. After visiting Melis Manor, the distinguished Shakespeare scholar E.A.J. Honigmann actually conceded that Mrs. Asquith had persuaded him to change his position on King Lear. He did not, in fact, concede that she had persuaded him to apply her argument to Shakespeare’s entire oeuvre.

Kasey Pfaff, Publicity Manager, Public Affairs, LLC, New York, N.Y.

With reference to the article about Clare Asquith’s book, it needs to be pointed out

that Elizabeth I would have preferred to leave English Roman Catholics free to practise their religion. The problem was not Roman Catholicism per se but its affiliation with Spain. Just as Communists during the Cold War were seen as a “fifth column” in the service of the Soviet Union, Catholics in Elizabethan England were regarded as working at the behest of Spain’s ruler, Philip II. Indeed, there were at least three assassination plots against Elizabeth, and the Spanish Armada did attempt to invade England in 1588. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Elizabeth’s government was ruthless in pursuing those regarded as agents of Spain— primarily spies, secular priests and Jesuits. Lewis Abbott, associate professor (retired), University of Guelph, Moffat, Ont.

High-end kids and sappy parents

Your story about the expensive hobbies of children—and the doting parents who pay for them—really blew me away (“Pleeease, daddy,” Children, Aug. l). While I want the best for my 13-year-old daughter, she has to earn the privilege of having a hobby, especially one that costs a lot of money. Children today take so much for granted and it’s up to us to set a good example by not giving them everything their little hearts desire. If they truly want something, they will earn it. Boomers, I think it’s time to get a backbone. Remember that Stones song You Can’t Always Get What You Want? Sing it to them next time they whine.

Maureen Roach, Toronto

Thanks for this story. You made our daughter’s competitive dance, at $5,000 to $8,000 a year, seem really cheap. You have opened my eyes to how lucky we are that she has (for the time being anyway) chosen it, and not flying, sailing, or riding show horses. Carolyn Stiles, London,Ont.

Luck vs. divine intervention

In your Aug. 15 issue, Danylo Hawaleshka sees the survival of all 309 people aboard Air France Flight 358 as “plain lucky” (“A packed airliner crashes, and everyone lives,” Up Front, Aug. 15). Without denigrating the work of the cabin crew, Peter Mansbridge sees the survival of all as a “miracle” (“Twominute marvel,” Mansbridge on the Record). Frankly, I’m with Peter.

H. Lome Broughton, Victoria