MAIL BAG

‘Rona Ambrose tells the truth in Ottawa. That will doubtless lead to better air.’

June 19 2006
MAIL BAG

‘Rona Ambrose tells the truth in Ottawa. That will doubtless lead to better air.’

June 19 2006

‘Rona Ambrose tells the truth in Ottawa. That will doubtless lead to better air.’

MAIL BAG

ALLERGIC REACTIONS

I WANT TO THANK you for running a story on allergies (“The allergy epidemic,” Cover, June 5). The reality is that anaphylactic allergies are now a manageable chronic medical condition. As someone who has had anaphylactic allergies to nuts and other foods all my life, I am sympathetic to the stress that little Bridget Wadden’s parents face today. However, it was much more challenging 30 years ago when there was limited food labelling, very few people in restaurants or schools who were aware of allergy issues, and no easy-to-use EpiPen or Twinject adrenalin injection kits. Also, writer Danylo Hawaleshka says “little Bridget is severely allergic to eggs and many nuts, including peanuts, almonds and cashews.” Please do not add to the confusion over the difference between tree nuts such as almonds, and peanuts. The peanut or groundnut is a species in the pea family.

Frances Norlen, Fergus, Ont.

THE ONE THING your article missed was the injection of hormones into the animals we eat and the pesticides and other chemicals also pumped into our food chain. These substances contribute more to our problems than anything else.

Jane Murray, Mississauga, Ont.

I WAS SURPRISED that your story didn’t mention the likely link between childhood vaccinations and allergies. Health magazines have been writing about it for years, but I’m sure that the mainstream medical profession doesn’t want to consider it as a possibility.

Kristin Saunders, Kamloops, B.C.

HOW IRONIC that a magazine with a cover story about allergies arrived with a perfumed insert. There is no excuse for imposing scented products on anyone. Sure, I can tear out the offending page, but the scent has permeated the whole magazine. The issue is not whether or not the scent is pleasant. Even one that I like can cause discomfort. Cathy Duncan, Kanata, Ont.

CLEARING THE AIR

STEVE MAICH criticizes the Kyoto Protocol because “Canada’s promise to do its ‘fair share’ implied a gut-wrenching cost in jobs

and public spending” (“Breaking faith with the cult ofKyoto,” Business, June 5). Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels will cause a loss of jobs in that industry, but it will create jobs in other industries. Currently, the government spends over $1 billion per year on indirect subsidies to the oil and gas industry. These subsidies could be phased out and transferred to other areas that focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability, at no extra cost to the taxpayer. What is clear is that we need to take action to reduce greenhouse gases. All of this rhetoric over the Kyoto Protocol versus the AsiaPacific Partnership on Clean Development, and voluntary versus mandatory targets, is just a waste of time.

Jeanette Dietrich, Kingston, Ont.

THE ENVIRONMENT MINISTER has Stated many times that it is impossible for us to meet our Kyoto commitments, but has offered no evidence to prove it. Similarly, the pro-Kyoto side has not explained how exactly we will achieve our target. We need a realistic plan designed with input from all levels of government, industry and individuals. This plan should then be put to a binding referendum because this issue is too big and too important to be left to the politicians alone.

Stuart Hahn, Tottenhatn, Ont.

IT’S HIGH TIME that the Liberals and other head-in-the-sand opponents end their hypocrisy concerning Kyoto. The Liberal

governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin did practically nothing except to plan to buy credits from Russia and perhaps other countries. Meanwhile, the Canadian situation worsened steadily. Exactly how would Canadian achievement be enhanced, and global warming abated, if we would pay billions of dollars merely to raise our ceiling of acceptable emissions? Are these critics blind to reality? With the difficult truth acknowledged, we can now move ahead with realistic plans for some actual achievement. Canadians have had enough of the Kyoto mantra as the reality worsened. At last Canada has an environment minister, Rona Ambrose, who tells the truth in Ottawa, at the UN, and elsewhere. That will doubtless lead to better air. John H. Redekop, Abbotsford, B.C.

BLAME FOR MENTAL ILLNESS

READING ABOUT Dr. Gordon Warme’s outdated ideas on mental illness has thrown me back to the era of the ’60s when R.D. Laing was trying to convince everyone that mental illness was not really a brain disease or disorder but rather another way of experiencing the world (“Still ‘crazy’ after all these years,” Science, June 5)This was accompanied by the belief that parents’ attitudes and actions were responsible for their children’s schizophrenia. There was also a tendency to see schizophrenia as an opportunity for creative thought in line with the use of hallucinogens. It is so damned hard to expunge the idea that mental illness is not a personal fault or a personality trait acquired through bad parenting. I think that the idea that mental illness lies in the malfunction of our physical brain is both liberating and helpful, and we now have a large body of information indicating that the brains of schizophrenic patients are abnormal in their function and their anatomy.

Dr. Claude Messier, Assistant Director, School of Psychology, Behavioural Neuroscience Specialization, University of Ottawa

BEING ANDERSON COOPER

ANDERSON COOPER likes to make much of his concern for people in the Katrina disaster, and Cooper and other celebrities use their status to ask the common working folk to contribute to relief efforts, but how much are they giving back to a country that made them rich (“Anderson Cooper feels your

‘Good news for Steyn. The Trudeau book is now available in English. He could even try, here’s a thought, reading it.’

pain,” Media, June 5)? Also, Cooper may have borrowed a Hi-8 camera in 1991 and flown to Thailand to document the struggles of Burmese refugees, but he had the means to do that. Some of us have actually struggled our entire lives. We sacrificed to be educated. We forged careers without impressive familial connections, and continue to scrape out a living within the class structure Cooper embodies. Please spare us the selfmade-man stories of the outrageously famous and wealthy. Angela St. Michéal, London, Ont.

I WAS HAPPY to recall Cooper’s interruption of Senator Mary Landrieu during the aftermath of Katrina. I didn’t feel his comments were directed strictly at her, but rather at the larger incapacity of politicians to deal with the situation. Amusement (or was it bewilderment?) reached a peak, for me, when TV viewers were presented with footage of a cigar-chomping army general directing traffic on a street corner in New Orleans. I was feeling exactly as Anderson put it, angered and frustrated at all the pats on the back that seemed to be the order of the day for politicians, all while we were witnessing the endless pictures of what was not happening to help people. Kudos to Cooper for telling it the way it was. E. Donald Lahaise, Hammonds Plains, N.S.

READING AND REVIEWING

MARK STEYN’S book reviews are always unorthodox, but his review of Young Trudeau:

1919-1944 by Max and Monique Nemni shatters all of his proud previous records (“O come on all you Trudeau faithful,” Books, June 5). So keen is he to attack Pierre Trudeau, and all of the people who have written kindly about him, that his “review” of the Nemnis’ book is about reading about the book somewhat, then about buying it in the store. Good news: the book that he complains of finding on sale only in French—which does indeed reveal appalling secrets about the young Trudeau that will impress even the omniscient Mr. Steyn—is now available in English. He could even try—here’s a thought-reading it and then reviewing it.

Douglas M. Gibson, Publisher, Douglas Gibson Books, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto

SMEAR TACTICS

WHAT PERPLEXES ME about politicians and their respective supporters is how they dismiss dissent and disagreement as partisan (“The real Gwyn Morgan,” From the Editors, May 29). I submit that such tactics are a subjective matter—purely. It all depends on where you stand on the issues, as well as who the object of the derisive remarks happens to be. The thing that disturbed me about the Gwyn Morgan matter is that the position he was supposed to fill was as head of the public appointments commission set up to vet candidates for federal postings. But Morgan is a staunch Conservative and a longtime fundraiser. Just how objective would he have been at this job? I mean, who vetted him? You say he’s exemplary and honest, but that’s your assessment, which, by the way, omitted any mention of his political loyalties and prior activities. Did you endorse him because you thought he would do a good job or because you happen to like his political stripes and thought processes? AndyJ.S. Decepida, Toronto

A MAN OF GREAT VISION who suffers from the malady of extreme honesty was going to chair a commission Canadians are in dire need of. And he was only going to charge $1 a year. Seems many in Parliament are scared to have a man who might tell them how things ought to be done, a man who doesn’t beat around the bush. A smart man. So these wimpy nincompoops rejected him because they felt threatened. What a waste.

Judy Vetro, Edmonton