October 23 2006


October 23 2006

‘Too much emphasis is put on breast exams and research. Meanwhile, women keep dying.’



DID ANYONE catch the fact that Belinda Stronach was on the cover of Maclean’s magazine yet again (“Reversal of Fortune,” Cover, Oct.9)? How many times is that in the past two years? It seems it is now a fairly common occurrence that either Stronach or Paris Hilton graces the cover of “Canada’s Magazine of the Year.” What seems to be becoming clear is that beyond the constant media hype, there aren’t principles, substance or education to back Stronach up. It is sad that Canadians are being duped by all this attention because the only thing worse in politics than being talked about is not being talked about. While I’m sure that some Canadians are convinced Stronach’s “accomplishments” in politics rival those of other great female politicians, such as Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher or Condoleezza Rice, it’s even sadder that others will support her every mistake for no reason other than she is a female politician. Robert Miller, Halifax

WHEN CHOOSING our leaders, be they political or otherwise, since when should a person’s general character be irrelevant? Belinda Stronach clearly has aspirations to lead this country—fair enough. However, considering her willingness to forgo some fairly significant virtues with spectacular flair, all while remaining a political neophyte, I cringe thinking of what level she’s capable of stooping to should her quest for the top job persist. Dr. Phil’s “if they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you” general rule applies for both backstabbing and screwing around, and should serve as an apt warning for Canadians to stay out of Belinda’s bed.

Shannon Bunkowsky, Winnipeg

THE AUTHOR of the article on Belinda not only shows her ignorance of what constitutes “a quick, sharp sense of humour,” but reveals the same in her subject. The comeback Belinda makes regarding having a “rectal exam” indicates an insensitivity unrevealed thus far: rectal exams are an unpleasant necessity in the prevention of prostate cancer, and should not be made fun of, particularly by one who moves and works in the public eye. Belinda is one of my least favourite politicians, and reading this comment has edged her even further downward in my estimation. Kristyn Chepelsky, Toronto


BARBARA AMIEL sees Christianity in a much more benign light than it deserves (“Finally, someone who cares about Christians,” Opinion, Oct. 9). She refers to it as “a faith that has reconciled itself with reason,” and yet the Pope, whom she applauds, believes that Canada has turned its back on God (evidenced by its low birth rate) and that the use of condoms to prevent AIDS is a sin. He is also about to reject the science of evolution for the pseudo-science of intelligent design. To a large degree, President Bush’s policies are shaped by his Christianity, and it will take decades for the world to recover from these. Both the Muslim and Christian religions have a lot to be ashamed of, and it was stupid for the Pope to be “throwing stones.” How about caring about humanity rather than just Christians?

Jack Uetrecht, Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto

KUDOS TO MS. AMIEL. I don’t always agree with her opinions, but she does call a spade a spade. I really appreciate her calling out how secular Western societies are bowing down to militant Islamists. How many of our rights and freedoms are we non-Muslims and secular Muslims expected to give up so that these extremists can have what they want? How much longer until we find ourselves in the situation of Pakistani Christians? You and your spouse come home from work to find your children in police custody. By having accepted a gift from a Muslim, your children

have “chosen” to convert to Islam, are being adopted to a Muslim family, and there is nothing you can do about it.

JeffPacey, Edmonton

FREQUENTLY I DISAGREE with Barbara Amiel, but this time she hit the nail right on the head. All the Pope was doing was reading script, they were not his words, and look how the Muslims reacted. I hope they never get to rule the world. It’s about time people realized what Muslims mean by “infidels.” Jim Nicholson, Princeton, B.C.


WHAT A RELIEF to finally hear someone else speak out about this pink-ribbon fashion trend (Interview, Oct. 9)-1 have attended many breast cancer events over the years, and I have never once heard any conversation about what individual women can do to prevent this disease. How better spent could this money be than by informing women of how to care for their bodies and keep them healthy? Too much emphasis has been placed on promoting endless breast exams and questionably useful research. Meanwhile, women keep dying. Early detection is not prevention!

Molly Duggan, Ottawa

LET ME get this straight. You buy a tub of yogourt, take the lid, spend 51 cents plus GST to send it to the manufacturer so that they can send 10 cents to a breast cancer charity, someone writes a book about it, and you use two pages to discuss it? Amazing. Why not give the postage to the charity?

Sam Hisey, Don Mills, Ont.


AS THE SUBJECT of Mark Steyn’s article “Call me crazy. I blame terrorists.” (Books, Sept. 4), I thought it would be only fair to allow the correction of a few errors. First, Steyn neglected the main thrust of the investigative work of our panel of 35 scientists, engineers, highranking military personnel, intelligence officers and other experts. That work involves no “theories” of any kind. It can only be described as forensic analysis. The attacks of Sept. 11 simply did not happen as described by the Bush White House. Steyn repeats the ridiculous assertion that the 16-foot hole in the Pentagon was made by the landing gear of the

incoming aircraft. Excuse me, but that was the only hole in the Pentagon. Where did the rest of the gigantic 757 go in? No better illustration could be found of the “unthink” that characterizes media criticism of our work. There is a very simple reason why 36 per cent of Americans believe that Bush was complicit in the attacks: it’s the evidence. Those who wish to remain inside the box would be better off not visiting—or they could visit as Steyn did and simply avoid examining the evidence too closely.

A K. Dewdney, Professor of Computer Science, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.


PAUL WELLS’S remarks regarding Stéphane Dion’s inability to express himself adequately in English (“Can the best man win?” National, Oct. 9) raises the head of hypocrisy as it relates to our so-called bilingual country. Proficiency in both official languages has long been considered mandatory in order for one to become prime minister. Why not in Dion’s case?

Tim Tubbs, Blackfalds, Alta.


BEING A VEGETARIAN, I’m all for restaurants listing certain menu items (“Would you like some info with that?” Health, Oct. 9). However, I feel that making it mandatory for restaurants to list the exact nutritional breakdown of their food is a little excessive. Maybe if we didn’t live in a work-obsessed society, people would have more time to get outside, move their bodies and make brown bag lunches, instead of being stuck at their desks all day, only allowing themselves enough time to go and grab a Big Mac. The only person responsible for what you eat is you—why not instead make it mandatory for restaurants to have the information available to those who request it, that way making it more proactive on the diner’s part? I look at eating out as one of the rare occasions where I can ease up slightly, indulge, and thoroughly enjoy myself. I’d like to keep my few guilty pleasures guilty.

Erica McMaster, Toronto


YOUR BLIP on the Ricky Williams affair (Good News, Oct. 9) was so upsetting, I was shocked by it. As a factual source, your statement regarding the Argos’ chances of a playoff run was argumentative at best. It read like a sports opinion page, not a newsmagazine. How is a playoff run doubtful if the Argos are currently tied for first in the East? Even more disturbing was how you villainized Ricky Williams. Here is a man who is trying his best

‘I’ll tell you about the Taliban. They’re cowards. We dealt death upon them. We stayed at that school all day and kept killing the enemy.’

to perform in a league with rules that make it strategically different from the NFL, where he’s one of the best. He does this for the Canadian fans who accepted him as someone who was unworthy of prosecution. For this, you wish that the “circus will soon move back to Florida”? The circus will leave when you take your tent down. I hope Ricky stays.

Go Argos! Go Ricky!

Robert Brewer, Toronto


I WAS INVOLVED during the Aug. 3 battle (“The view from ambush alley,” World, Sept. Il) as a member of the 1st Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, when four of my friends were killed. Let me tell you about the Taliban! They are cowards. They did not ambush us at all. In fact, we destroyed one of their ambushes at 4:20 a.m., and at least 12 Taliban with rocket-propelled grenades three hours later. During the major engagement, we dealt more death upon them. If the Taliban think they did so well against us, look at the numbers. Two hundred-plus Taliban, 39 Canadians. They never made us retreat. We stayed at that school all day and we kept killing the enemy. You should print how amazing the men of the 9 platoon and reconnaisance platoon are. The next time you want to talk about how the enemy is kicking our asses, talk to the actual ones doing the ass-kicking. The Aug. 3 battle was a battle, not an ambush.

Matthew Parsons, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.


WHY NOT have actors play the instruments (“The case of the missing orchestra,” Stage, Oct. 9)? If music allows us to feel the changing moods in a play, who better to play that music than the people experiencing the emotions? And if this is musical theatre we’re talking about, the richness does not come from the number of instruments being played by the orchestra, but from how that music is incorporated in the performance. Why does it matter if there are only five or eight people in the orchestra? Ifjonathan Tuniek loves the Encores! series so much, he should go watch an orchestra play onstage for an hour and a half instead of watching a play.

Diana Lombardi, Hamilton


“A WEEK IN THE LIFE of Osama Bin Laden” (Seven Days, Oct. 9) notes that, dead or alive, bin Laden remains the world’s most wanted man. Pray tell, what do we do with him if he is caught alive? They caught Saddam Hussein alive, and the result is an extremely expensive and farcical trial, in which embarrassing evidence of U.S. aid to the accused while he was their “friend” is inadmissible. How convenient it would have been if the GI who opened Saddam’s funk-hole had simply tossed in a hand grenade. It is to be hoped that all U.S. forces have been instructed of the preferred action to be taken should they come across bin Laden, alive in his lair.

S.W. Clay, Charlottetown