THE MAIL

‘Long-term, intimate relationships are what being human is all about. These lady-killers will either grow up, or they will die lonely, cynical old men.’

Jim Robertson September 19 2005

THE MAIL

‘Long-term, intimate relationships are what being human is all about. These lady-killers will either grow up, or they will die lonely, cynical old men.’

Jim Robertson September 19 2005

THE MAIL

‘Long-term, intimate relationships are what being human is all about. These lady-killers will either grow up, or they will die lonely, cynical old men.’

Jim Robertson

Ending it all

It is the folly of humanity that we believe that any one of us has just cause to end the life of another human being (“A time to die,” Cover, Sept. 5). We can use all kinds of high-tech medical terms to justify it, we can listen to the profound grief of the people who believe that it is what they want, but it all boils down to respect for human life and humility in the face of the Almighty. I am sure that the doctors you interviewed feel that they are serving the greater good, especially in Holland, where euthanasia is legal, but the fact remains that it never ends there. Your article is on point in describing the move from terminal adults to infants to the possibility of euthanizing those who are depressed or old or lonely and who “suffer from life.” I am saddened beyond all measure to think that we have reduced life to a pain quotient. Humanity is becoming less humane as the years roll by. I just hope I live to see it change.

Nuala Reilly, Cambridge, Ont.

In order for life to be supported, there must be a meaningful existence at stake. The pain and suffering of all involved must be considered. If life can only be justified on the basis that life is always a right and must be sustained only for this reason, then I suggest that we are being irrationally defensive rather than truly good.

Michael Chessman, Toronto

When I was 16,1 helped my best friend die. What I mean is, after 2xk years of radiation and chemotherapy, my friend succumbed to a very uncomfortable death at the age of 17, and I was beside her as she took her last breath. Do I believe in euthanasia for our suffering children? Absolutely. My friend was scared to suffer through her last weeks. I think she would have chosen a much more peaceful death on her own terms.

Leigh Gonder, Hamilton

While the article was balanced and unbiased, your cover photo was not. Clearly the infant pictured on your cover does not have a life-

threatening illness. To ask whether this particular child should die is a bizarre question and misleads the reader about the morals of Dutch society. The Netherlands has a history of finding practical solutions to difficult social problems, something which North Americans have never been able to achieve. Our solutions to such issues as drugs, prostitution and euthanasia have been clouded by moral self-righteousness and special interest groups. We always seem to ignore reasonable solutions on the premise that they will lead to anarchy and social breakdown. We could learn something from the Dutch.

Ian Dobson, Chief, Department of Anesthesia,

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre,

Thunder Bay, Ont.

I watched my 20-year-old son die of cancer. He was deeply religious and was blessed and spared a lingering death. My mother also passed away from cancer. She was spared the pain only by massive doses of narcotics and spent the last three days in a coma. My son said goodbye, closed his eyes and slowly stopped breathing. Quite a difference. My religion says that euthanasia is not permissible. But it is a severe test of faith. Be thankful if you are never challenged.

Kim Scott, Medicine Hat, Alta.

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Not amused

As a Newfie, and proud of it, I didn’t find Mary Walsh’s TV show about a family that owns an ambulance service/wedding chapel/fimeral home, Hatching, Matching & Dispatching, to be a terrible blow to Newfoundlanders and our culture (“Rumble on the Rock,” Television, Sept. 5). I remember that Newfies used to have a great sense of humour. Maybe things have changed in the last few years, but I am glad that I still have mine. I prefer laughter over haughtiness. Lisa Critch, Brampton, Ont.

This show is crude, disgusting and in extremely bad taste. It is self-indulgence at its worst. Walsh is recycling many of the same characters she has been portraying for years on TV. It’s all about her. TV shows and TV characters have a shelf life, and Walsh’s has expired. Say good night, Mary.

Bernice Brennan, Vancouver

Frank opinions

Frank McKenna did wonderful things for New Brunswick and Canada would be very lucky to have him as prime minister (“Frank in front,” Politics, Aug. 29). While I am pleased to read that McKenna is the frontrunner in the eventual race for leader of the Liberal party, I take exception to one comment made matter-of-factly in your article, that McKenna is on the right wing of the party. Yes, he cut government spending. Yet every province in Canada made similar cuts. Moreover, his cuts were insignificant when compared to the loss of revenues from federal transfers and equalization over the same period. Yes, he supported free trade. So did a lot of other Liberals. Notwithstanding these arguments, there are also many accomplishments of the McKenna government that would fall under the leftwing column, such as the introduction of public kindergarten, and the administration of an expansive program called “extramural nursing,” something commonly known as homecare today.

Jordan O’Brien, Ottawa

McKenna, whose appointment as ambassador to the U.S. I originally opposed, appears to be doing an excellent job in Washington. I wish him well there. But he is not a liberal. Whatever his party affiliation may be, McKenna is a corporate-oriented

conservative, of the genre commonly referred to as “neo-con.” The next Liberal leader needs to be a genuine “small 1” liberal. Canadians will not accept much more duplicity from corporate pretenders masquerading as moderates. The party needs another Pierre Trudeau, or perhaps someone even a little further to the left. I hope McKenna chooses not to run. That would be his great gift to his country.

Wayne Burton, Ottawa

Advanced womanizing

Your article on pickup artists (“Lady-killers,” Life, Sept. 5) and the book excerpt of The Came were entertaining reading. Training definitely elevates the importance of men’s Social and practical skills. However, don’t you think that we women should have a chance for once? Why are these stories always about the guy picking up a girl? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to see how the reverse works? I’m sure there are women out there who are good at doing the same thing, but then I guess if they picked up a lot of guys, they would be called sluts.

Athena Lam, Vancouver

You devoted seven pages to so-called sci-

entifically trained male seducers in what can only be a pathetic attempt to titillate your readers. What possible journalistic benefit exists in this article? And what is “secret” about such immature behaviour? Worse, how inappropriate to call these pickup artists “scientifically” trained.

James P. Felstiner, Toronto

The CBC split

The CBC needs to be cherished and kept distinct from the rapacious economic forces that slowly liquidate our cultural valuables in Canada (“CBC’s split personality,” All Business, Sept. 5). The CBC, which I listened to for the years I was in Germany and else* where, gave me a sense of my country and that sense has, in part, drawn me home again. For people to not respect this aspect of it means to me that they cannot understand it or are not interested in their nationality or cultural family.

Michael Karassowitsch, Nelson, B.C.

Steve Maich’s otherwise incisive piece on my employer repeats an all-too-common fallacy that sports has nothing to do with culture. Sports is inescapably tied to culture. Who could argue that soccer is culturally irrelevant throughout Europe and Latin America? What about the role baseball and football have played in shaping American traditions and even history? And hockey’s influence on Canadian culture is so strong it has become cliché. It’s manifest in

That picture of Harper with his hat on backwards was worth 1,000 words. How could this man lead our country?

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many ways: Hockey Night in Canada binds Canadians from coast to coast to coast. So does the network’s commitment to the CFL and the role football plays, particularly in the West. Maich is right—CBC definitely suffers from a split personality. But its coverage of sports, including pro sports, isn’t one of the symptoms of that disease.

Andrew Lundy, Senior Producer, CBC Sports Online, Burlington, Ont.

High noon for Harper

Stephen Harper is tainted meat (“Riding to the rescue,” Politics, Sept. 5). How many images has the Conservative leader tried on in the past year, each as ill-fitting as that Village People cowboy outfit? Why not sell him as the policy wonk he is? Because that would focus on the Conservatives’ policies, which Canadians, in their good sense, already have rejected.

Bob Mercer, Vancouver

To me, and to thousands of hard-working Ontario taxpayers who like to meet their future leaders up close and personal, Harper has what it takes to lead. Ontarians like to measure the man eye to eye, not give him a fashion critique. The thing I like most about Harper is his open and honest attitude and his willingness to try and fit in, to get into our lives for a moment to better understand where we are coming from. Harper is quite articulate when he talks about the things he has planned for Canada’s future, a future he wants to make more prosperous for the kids of today and the generations to follow.

Mark-Alan Whittle, Hamilton

‘That picture of Harper with his hat on backwards was worth 1,000 words. How could a leader who can’t put his hat on properly ever be prime minister?’

L.L. Steele, Aurora, Ont.