'There is a list of people who should feel deep guilt and sorrow at the loss of Katie Merkel'
HÉROUXVILLE AND BEYOND
IN THE LATE 1940s, when we political refugees from war-ravaged nations of Europe arrived in Canada, we were told of its laws (“Do immigrants need rules? The debate rages on,” Cover, March 5). We were told to keep our noses clean, fall in with the rest of the local population, and not rely on any social assistance. We had to wait for five years to be considered for citizenship. If we became a burden for Canada, we were assured of a reverse trip to the old country. Even though we did not wear our national garbs daily (we were aching to assimilate), we were still often sworn at or told to speak English. For Canada’s blessedly fortunate new immigrants, we need no epithets, but we do absolutely need rules. The first one should be, do not perpetuate the ways and hatreds of the countries they left behind.
Edmundas Petrauskas, London, Ont.
I can’t think of any other country in this world whose immigration policy is, “Welcome. Let us know how you can assimilate us.”
Eve Crandall, Toronto
I WAS SHOCKED that professor Mohamed Elmasry believes that supply and demand should be the rule of thumb regarding accommodation for immigrant communities. Does he not know about the Canadian human rights code? He says that if a “critical mass” of people demand male driver’s licence inspectors, then meet the need. Really? Hire more men because a segment of our society does not want to be served by women? Should the laws of supply and demand determine who will serve us at the bank, the post office or the hospital? What if a part of our society does not want to be served by someone black, Jewish, homosexual or disabled?
Catherine Beagan, Scarborough, Ont.
MANY PEOPLE INSIST that immigrants should abide by Canadian culture. How would one define that? New immigrants are flooded with rampant materialism, licentious living, immodest attire and claims about being Christian from people who have never opened a Bible or rolled out of bed to visit a church. Is this worth emulating? Furthermore, if immigrants are never invited to a Canadian house, how can they witness how we live? In order to understand immigrants, all one needs is Multiculturalism as part of a pantheon of achievements? Don’t make us laugh! Anyone who believes a nation can be strengthened by promoting ethnic difference is dangerously naive. The simple fact is that the silent majority in this country has been forced into that position through imposed government legislation, institutionalized academics, and the left-wing media. Any intelligent questioning of immigration levels, employment equity, or multiculturalism leads to the typical uninformed liberal backlash of name-calling and ostracization.
tolerance and sympathy, not rules meant for one group to follow, while the other group coldly observes them without making an effort to reach out.
Maria Jacob, Mississauga, Ont.
YES, IMMIGRANTS NEED RULES. And SO do we if we move to another country, or even go as tourists. We need to know what customs are acceptable and what aren’t in order to
avoid embarrassment or, in the extreme, arrest and jail. Asking for curtains at a community pool to shield women and altering a curriculum so pupils won’t have to draw
people are going too far. I believe the residents of Hérouxville have uncapped some strong feelings that are felt across Canada. Irene Stokes, Mississauga, Ont.
YOUR WRITERS Benoit Aubin and Jonathon Gatehouse say that the Hérouxville declaration has become a worldwide embarrassment. For whom? Certainly not for me. I say congratulations to the good people of Hérouxville for being clear in their expectations of the behaviour of newcomers. What is acceptable in one culture may not be here. Quite frankly, if you do not want to learn English or French or deal with women in authority, then perhaps you shouldn’t be here. So yes, our rules do need to be spelled out if only to ensure that everyone understands what is and what is not acceptable. Better to deal with it upfront.
Victor Kutcher, Burlington, Ont.
Jim Willis, Gananoque, Ont.
ASIMPLE RIDE HOME
THE TRAGEDY of Katherine Rose Merkel’s short life is caught in your headline (“She was a normally cautious teen who tried and tried to find a way to get home safely after a party,” The End, March 5). I was terribly saddened by the story. How did Katie manage to find herself at a party with no ride home at 1:30 a.m.? Fourteen years old, for goodness sake. Her parents thought she was bowling? Then, she was apparently abandoned by friends and refused safe harbour by another girl’s mother, only to have the fatal blow delivered by an allegedly drunken 23-year-old stranger who invited her into a car already full of teenagers. There would seem to be a long list of those who should feel deep guilt, as well as great sorrow, at the loss of Katie Merkel. Her tale should be read in every school and every home, and perhaps parents and friends, and perhaps strangers, will think of the consequences of complacency and thoughtlessness and abandonment of those who ask for something as simple as a ride home.
Susan Barrie, Rye, N.H.
STANDING AGAINST EVIL
JANE DOE’S ARTICLE (“Release and catch,” Justice, March 5) struck a terrifying chord. While I was a member of the RCMP in October 1973 I arrested a man in Nanaimo, B.C., for the rape of a 12-year-old girl. Two plainclothes officers took him away before I had even gotten the handcuffs on him. Some eight years later, I saw his picture in a newspaper: it was Clifford Olson. While he confessed to only 11 murders, I was told that over 100 files were closed when he was put away. The parallels between Olson and the so-called Balcony Rapist are significant. Olson
was known to the police. He was out on his second mandatory release. He was free with no meaningful restrictions. I can find no reasonable argument that our society should allow these kinds of people to roam free among us. We should have a prison city somewhere where they would spend the rest of their lives working at some productive occupation, permanently separated from the mainstream of society. What price do we pay by sacrificing the lives of innocent people on the altar of justice to maniacs and perverts? May God forgive us for our weak stance against evil.
Don Meister, Saskatoon
‘In a war, is it not expected that one will come across thousands of contusions? I’d rather be caught by Canadians than Afghan insurgents.’
SEAN M. MALONEY’S article about the alleged abuse of detainees in Afghanistan by the Canadian Forces fails to analyze the pertinent issues (“Proceed with caution,” National, Feb. 26). By criticizing a law enforcement oversight and accusing the media of drawing false conclusions, Maloney falls short of exposing the issue in an informative light. Even if this incident has been blown out of proportion, it does not preclude a search for the truth— Canadian citizens should always question the actions of the military and any other political body. In this case, the success of the mission in Afghanistan is dependent upon the perception of the Afghan populace. Selective oversight should not trump detainee treatment. Also caution should be incorporated into strategic planning.
Reginald Bishop, Jr., Kingston, Ont.
HOORAY for Sean M. Maloney. He tells of an Afghan attack on Canadian soldiers that left two with “their legs horribly mutilated,” yet he saw “more energy expended by Ottawa and the PRT over the welfare of those detainees than over the welfare of our wounded soldiers.” Fortunately, those soldiers are not among those who have lost their lives. As for Amir Attaran bringing to the world’s attention the contusions and abrasions on some Afghan detainees held by Canadians, in a war, is it not expected that one will come across thousands of contusions? If I were in that conflict, I would prefer to be caught by Canadians than Afghan insurgents.
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