MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

November 5 2007
MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

November 5 2007

MAIL BAG

‘Dion has integrity, honesty, courage and wisdom. And he is a gentleman. Leave him alone! ’

THE ‘FUSS’ ABOUT BIGOTRY

MACLEAN’S AND WRITER Martin Patriquin have again managed to tackle the sensitive subjects of immigration, multiculturalism, religion and race in a forthright, balanced and sensitive manner (“Canada: A nation of bigots?” National, Oct. 22). Allow me to add some comments. Quebec is especially sensitive to social dilution by multiracial and multicultural immigration. The main reason stems from its unique singularity of having been a French-speaking, Catholic-dominated society for so long. Quebec also feels threatened, culturally, by other Canadians of the Englishspeaking variety and has expended much energy in the last 30 to 40 years creating a protective legal cocoon to shield itself from the pervasive influence of English-Canadian dominance. Having succeeded in this effort, it is not hard to imagine its resistance to other foreign influences, be they religious or cultural (which in many cases is the same thing), or other ethnocentric social pressures. As you allude to in your article, while Quebecers profess to be freed from the former stranglehold of the Catholic Church, religion and culture is so intertwined that it cannot be fully separated. Change takes time. Still, as an immigrant myself, I feel justified in saying that if you are an immigrant, you have no right to demand that your host province or country change its laws and practices to fit your needs. If you don’t like what you see, unless you truly are a refugee, there is always a road back whence you came.

Sigmund Roseth, Mississauga, Ont.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE that laws and regulations should apply equally to all with no favoured treatment given to any one group. Preferential treatment is not only inherently unfair, but it breeds widespread resentment and unrest. Patrick Tee, Westmount, Que.

CULTURAL ACCOMMODATION and the promotion of Canada as a mosaic were necessary to attract immigrants to a young country. The resultant politics of accommodation reached their definitive peak in the late 20th century, with liberal politics and the drafting of the Charter of Rights that allowed liberal judicial interpretations to accommodate various special-interest groups. Canada is becoming more confident in itself for many reasons, some purely evolutionary and some economic. Can-

adians of all cultural backgrounds want to assert themselves as Canadians as opposed to the historical hyphenated Canadians. The country is evolving past the liberal appeasers and conservative special-interest groups. We are now defining a new country and we expect loyalty and respect of laws and institutions as part of a dialogue that will determine the future of a confident and assertive new Canada. Larry Robinson, White Rock, B.C.

I WAS HORRIFIED at the reaction of people to the wearing of the hijab, which was originally meant as a protection for women from the lascivious glances of men. What is more outrageous, and should be desisted from, is the blatant exhibition of mammary glands

and thongs, which is shameful and immodest. The outpouring of anger over something so trivial is so startling and repugnant. Of what use is education, if we are unable to control our barbaric emotions? Is this an expression of a civilized people? Canada needs immigrants. Period. How would the housing market, banks and supermarkets flourish without their support? Even if immigrants conform to the rather nebulous Canadian culture, it will in no way alter the economic divide that exists, which is in turn responsible for the angst that currently prevails.

Maria Jacob, Mississauga, Ont.

AS A VISIBLE immigrant who has lived in Canada for 33 years, I think that you exaggerate a little. Yes, there are a few bigots and

coming across them is very hurtful. On the other hand, I go through life day after day, week after week without anyone noticing me. No one complains where I buy a home, where I shop, what I eat and where I send kids to school. No one asks if the doctor or the teacher or the accountant is an immigrant or not. If a tiny minority of immigrants who want to live in Canada as they lived at home were ready to adjust one-tenth as much as Canadians do for them, all this fuss would vanish as indeed it would if the media turned a blind eye to a few cases that do occur.

Sudhir Jain, Calgary

FROM THE EARLY YEARS of the 20th century when the government attempted to bar blacks, to the internment of Japanese Canadians, to the present-day treatment of religious minorities, we have been a nation of bigots. Racism and bigotry in Canada might not be as loud or as noticeable as it is in the U.S., but it is typical of people in this country to treat the grandsons of English immigrants as a truer sort of Canadian than the granddaughter of those who arrived here from Africa by way of the U.S. almost a generation earlier. In fact, this country has had a long history of being populated by people of different cultures, colours and faiths and it is about time that Canadians woke up and accepted the truth. The strength of this country comes from the diversity of its people and nothing else.

Thomas Glover, Edmonton

PLEASE TELL ME when you will stop using the word tolerance when you are discussing racism and multiculturalism. The word should be acceptance. Tolerance has a built-in negativity; it does not mean one welcomes someone, it means one puts up with them. Perhaps if Maclean’s started using the term acceptance, it would catch on. Why not try it? Allison May, Ottawa

WHY WOULD any breathing, cognitive immigrant settle in Quebec? Quebecers have been cultural and religious bigots for decades.

W. Jon McCormick, Lone Butte, B.C.

THE RECENT RULING by Elections Canada that allows Muslim women to cast a vote in an election without exposing their face for the purpose of identification is, in my opinion, an example of political correctness gone

berserk. Would anyone please explain the following? Before Muslim immigrants were admitted to Canada, they must have had a valid passport or some other acceptable identification document that showed their faces. It’s about time that those of us who love Canada begin screaming “enough is enough.” JerryJ. Kasanda, Ottawa

FIRST, I READ your editorial a few weeks back about how you clearly support Conservative Leader John Tory’s faith-based funding, which I and the majority of Ontario clearly disagreed with (“Equality in education,” From the Editors, Oct. l). Then, in this week’s magazine, which ironically arrived the day after the provincial election, your cover blares “Are we becoming a nation of bigots?” I had the eerie feeling of being scolded.

Tom Natale, Oakville, Ont.

IS THERE a nation of non-bigots somewhere? Denis Howarth, Coquitlam, B.C.

BELITTLING DION

I AM PROUD to be a Liberal. Is it not time to refrain from castigating and belittling Stéphane Dion (“Dion of the living dead,” National, Oct. 1; “Prime-time drama: was this Dion’s worst day ever?” Comment, Oct. 29). The media has been relentless in the pursuit of his demise. It all reminds me of the way in which Robert Stanfield and Joe Clark were made the butt of cruel and petty jokes. Those men showed integrity, honesty, courage and wisdom. Dion has integrity, honesty, courage and wisdom and is a gentleman. Leave him alone!

Dorothy Reynolds, Kingston, Ont.

FESCHUK’S CONTRASTS

A REASONED APPRAISAL and criticism of the policies and performances of an individual in public life is one thing; a vicious attack

on the intelligence, abilities, honesty and integrity of the Prime Minister of Canada is quite another (“Liberals+surplus=pinheads. Me+one=genius.” Comment, Oct. 15). The mean-spirited, ranting attack on Harper by Scott Feschuk was unjustified. Surely the practice of fair-mindedness and professionalism in reporting has not been abandoned by your editors?

Neil Manning, Lethbridge, Alta.

BRAVO FOR INTRODUCING your readers to the extrospective ramblings of Scott Feschuk. He takes us on a mystical mental journey each week he writes. His satirical and comedic bent on the world is in stark contrast to the depressing bookends that surround it. Let’s have less of the condescending, self-indulgent, introspective diatribes on the privileged existence of Barbara Amiel et al., and more explorations of the twisted mind of Scott Feschuk.

Keith Johnson, Kelowna, B.C.

THE UNION SIDE

WE WERE VERY interested in your story about our best places to work (“Canada’s Top 100 employers,” Special Report, Oct. 15). But you failed to point out an obvious and important fact. The benefits provided by many employers on the list are the result of a collective bargaining relationship that exists between the employer and their employees and their unions. We were pleased to see many employers on the list where we represent their employees. The Macleans list reinforces what numerous academic studies have concluded: unionized workplaces are among the most productive, healthy and rewarding in Canada. It’s disappointing that you failed to mention this fact.

Larry Brown, National Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees, Ottawa

J&r ‘My mind wandered to the

bottom five per cent of Canadians. Why is one considered better-off because there is another who is poorer?’

BUFFETT: Charity work makes him truly rich

THE SEE-SAW OF POVERTY

JUST BECAUSE Canada’s richest 25 per cent pays 36 per cent of the taxes, I see no cause for celebration (“Thank the rich,” Good News, Oct. 8). After all, the rich still get richer and the poor still get poorer. The rich have the wherewithal to continue increasing their wealth while the poor do not. That 25 per cent should perhaps be paying 38 per cent of the taxes. When the gap between rich and poor begins to slow to a crawl, then I will thank the rich.

Brian Melior, Picton, Ont.

MY MIND WANDERED to the bottom five per cent of the poorest Canadians. Why do we forget that one is considered better-off because there is another that is poorer? Mihaela Armat, Milton, Ont.

WEALTHY AND WISE

ONLY IN THE HANDS of wise men does money become a pure tool, not a representation of human corruption or supremacy. The thing I admire most about Warren Buffett is his concept of money as a social resource rather than his own property, an idea no one should deny (Interview, Oct, 15). In addition, this is not just a theory for this gentleman. Buffett achieved his idea through action—instead of passing his money down to his heirs, he has spent approximately 85 per cent of his fortune on charity, going far beyond the attempt for recognition and respect. It is always a relief to see people who are not only

rich in monetary terms, but more importantly, also rich in morality.

Kenny Wong, Fort Erie, Ont.

THE END, AGAIN

IT IS REFRESHING to see these articles each week. I wonder how you find these ordinary lives who represent the lifeblood of society. It is refreshing to get something other than celebrity trash coverage. Maclean’s is to be congratulated for honouring those who contributed to their communities and families without the glare of the spotlight. This coverage is newsworthy.

Betty Walling, Orem, Utah

NOT SO PICTURE PERFECT

IN THE LAST ISSUE, you ran a photo that was supposed to be Indian director Bhavna Talwar, but the woman pictured is actress Michelle Yeoh, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, who was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents (Newsmakers, Oct. 29). This mistake reminds me of an issue last year where Maclean’s put in the wrong photo for Chinese President Hu Jintao. I suggest next time you are about to publish a non-white person’s photo, you walk out of the office and confirm it with a pedestrian. Toronto has huge Indian and Chinese communities and we’d love to help.

Jian Pu, Toronto

IN PASSING

Deborah Kerr, 86, actress. Born in Scotland, she had her first screen role in the 1941 adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara. Often playing repressed Englishwomen, she broke out of the stereotype in From Here to Eternity, making love in a crashing surf with Burt Lancaster. She also played Anna Leonowens in The King and I.

Joey Bishop, 89, comic. He was the last surviving member of the Rat Pack, which also included Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and others. Known for his dry, unsmiling delivery, he mainly performed in nightclubs and on television, and when he appeared in films, such as the original Ocean’s Eleven, it was often with members of the Rat Pack.