MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

May 21 2007
MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

May 21 2007

'Are we to assume that for years stay-at-home mothers have risked their children’s futures?’

MAILBAG

GREEN WITH SKEPTICISM

I AM DISMAYED and appalled that nuclear power is even being mentioned after the disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl (“Harper Embraces the Nuclear Future,” National, May 7). There are still vast tracts of Ukraine that are deserted and will remain uninhabitable for generations due to the radioactive fallout. Your article skirted around the issue of waste disposal. A nuclear accident seems to me a far greater environmental threat than the buildup of greenhouse gases. Nuclear power generation is not a solution. It is trading one set of serious problems for another. The cost of a couple of nuclear reactors—and their waste fuel storage facility— would go a long way toward the costs of pursuing other clean, renewable energy. Kenneth Yates, Boltoti, Ont.

WITH THE OMINOUS reports of the catastrophic effects of climate change, I wonder how much service environmental groups are truly doing their causes if they have now moved to attacking CANDU reactors. A small amount of radioactive waste is a small price to pay compared to a wrecked economy or more global warming.

Farooq Jahan, Surrey, B.C.

CANADA’S CURRENT Green Plan is a pitiful start in addressing humanity’s very survival. In 1964, on behalf of Canada’s electrical utilities sector, I helped present arguments to a federal cabinet committee to conserve Canada’s energy resources for future generations. Our recommendations went into oblivion. Many times, I watched similar efforts go the same route. This is a tiresome old game politicians play. Sadly, the present crowd will be long gone when the sky is falling and we, yet again, will have no one to hold accountable for such lacklustre leadership.

Dave J. Anderson, former employee of SaskPower and NB Power, Victoria

I AM NOT SURE which is scarier, your cover of Prime Minister Harper with terrifying green eyes, or his solution to Canada’s environmental “crisis.” But changing his eye colour suits him well. He has changed his tune on the environment to suit his surrounding political climate as fast as a chameleon changes colours to adapt to its surrounding climate! Dr. Jonathan Ross, Calgary

TO THE AUTO SECTOR and electricity providers: suck it up! You lined your pockets for decades getting us to the point where drastic environmental measures would be required. Mother Nature sent the invoice long ago. You can’t expect us to shed a tear when the collection agency shows up at your door.

David McLaughlin, London, Ont.

MOTHERHOOD PAYS

I’VE JUST FINISHED reading Kate Fillion’s interview with Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake (Interview, May ~j\ Finally some common sense in this frustrating debate between the stay-at-home mothers and working women. Our most important objective as parents is to provide for our children. What good is a destitute parent?

Alexandra Mendès, Sainte-Catherine, Que.

HOW SAD that this pitiful old lady, in the declining years of her life, should have stored up so much bitterness, bile and hostility. To have that amount of frustration, cynicism, spite and hopelessness crammed into one mind is really sad. The only thing sadder is that some young, well-intentioned mothers will read this book and incorrectly assume that there is actual substance to it, and will make misinformed, illogical mistakes, which they will rue the rest of their lives.

H. David Goldsmith, Chatham, Ont.

IT’S ABOUT TIME someone finally spoke the truth, no matter how politically incorrect. Yes, stay-at-home mothers should get real

jobs. The suffrage and women’s liberation movements worked darn hard to make sure women would not have to be dependent on men and the state for their well-being. Robin Coates, Ottawa

LESLIE BENNETTS has reinforced the idea that men are smarter and better than women, who cannot function as productive members of society if we are married or have children. Does she not know what year this is? I am a 28-year-old mother. Women of my generation are self-sufficient, educated, and independent. Has she ever heard of stay-at-home fathers, self-employment and home business? There are far more options for women now than there were in my mother’s generation. Alaynee Waskahat, Hobbema, Alta.

I PROBABLY COULD waste some time searching for and quoting statistics on how staying at home positively affects children, but I’m going outside to play hockey with my boys. Enjoy sitting on your throne Leslie, I’m sure it’s got a great view—but so does the top of the slide at the playground.

Carly Koop, Prince George, B.C.

ARE WE TO ASSUME that for generations mothers have been risking their children’s futures by staying at home and having the father be the primary breadwinner?

Greg Carr, Ottawa

A CRIMINAL CONVICTION

IT WAS WITH GREAT sorrow I find out that John Inglis inflicted such harm on young men (“The Master Seducer,” Crime, May 7)-1 was a student at Crescent School and remember vividly that Mr. Inglis would often have the “cool” boys up to his cottage. I recall feeling excluded from this special group of elites and wondered what was wrong with me. Ironically, I was very fortunate not to have been considered part of his prey. I wish my old friends well in their recovery.

Murray Snyder, Minneapolis

I DON’T KNOW what’s more outrageous, knowing that John Inglis sexually abused boys in his trust or that Mr. Justice Vaillancourt coddled Inglis by sending him home with a pat on the tush to sit in his backyard. As the mother of three young boys, I have only one wish for John Inglis and Mr. Justice

Vaillancourt—may you both rot in hell for the lives you have each destroyed.

Sandra R Kennerson, Erin, Ont.

I AM HORRIFIED at Mr. Justice Vaillancourt’s logic in his house arrest sentence for Inglis. Where is the justice for all the young boys he abused? If I were a victim, or the family of one of his victims, I would be outraged. Anne Legge, Calgary

I WAS CLENCHING Maclean’s so tightly when I read about John Inglis’s sentencing. I am ashamed of and appalled by our legal system and especially Mr. Justice Vaillancourt for failing the boys whom Inglis molested. Why are we so lenient convicting these demons of society? Words cannot describe my disgust.

Melissa Jones, Brampton, Ont.

RIGHTS OF WAR

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE that it is ludicrous to say that Taliban fighters captured by Canadian troops be given rights under the Charter (“Protect the Taliban?,” From the Editors, May 7). Having almost lost my own son to a suicide bomber in Kandahar, I personally take offence to this proposal. This is another attempt by misguided groups to undermine the efforts and progress being made by the our military in Afghanistan. Peter Loewen, Mackenzie, B.C.

CANADA DID NOT GO to Afghanistan to change its customs but to help get the country back on its feet. In this nation-building process, it is logical that the government of Afghanistan assume responsibility for all its people, hence the transfer of prisoners to Afghan authorities. Their methods of interrogation may differ from ours, but if they are sufficiently effective to elicit crucial information from the enemy, it might save Canadian

lives. The Taliban are not combatants and do not deserve prisoner-of-war status.

J.G. Boulet, Ottawa

YOUR EDITORIAL succinctly destroys the inane arguments proffered by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Amnesty International that our Charter can confer rights on Afghan citizens captured fighting against their own government. Our troops should turn over captured Taliban fighters to the freely elected sovereign nation of Afghanistan. If these groups have concerns, they should bring them to the Afghan government and not use our Charter as a back door for furthering their specious arguments. Thomas Linning, Penticton, B.C.

YOUR EDITORIAL completely misses the point. What is at stake here is not protecting the Taliban, but protecting universal human rights principles such as the ban on torture. Canada has played a leading role in developing these principles and cannot stand by when they are disregarded. It is true that we have relied on the Charter to make our case. Canadian law does not allow international human rights treaties, ratified by Canada, to be directly enforced in court. The means for doing so is through the Charter. It is our hope and expectation that the Federal Court will agree that the Charter applies to the actions of Canadian troops overseas, deployed according to a Canadian government decision and operating under Canadian law—and that the Charter doesn’t allow any complicity in torture. Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada, Ottawa

HOT IN IRAQ

I WAS STRUCK by your photos of American soldiers and the images they’ve hung on their walls in Baghdad (“How to Pass the (War) Time,” Week in Pictures, May 7). In particu-

‘More women in politics is critical to healthy public discourse’

lar, I was shocked by the contrasting pictures of nearly naked women in provocative poses next to those of a soldier’s beautiful new baby girl. I wonder how his wife or girlfriend—having just given birth to his daughter—feels knowing that he’s enjoying an eyeful of female flesh. And how will he be feeling in 20 years or so if some lad is leering at his little girl in a similar fashion?

Shannon Matthews, Toronto

LADIES IN THE HOUSE

IT WAS ODD that Aaron Wherry’s piece on the state of women in politics (“Endangered Species Alert,” National, April 30) should begin with the question, “Where are all the powerful women?” but not interview any of the MPs in the New Democratic Party caucus of which 41 per cent are women—the highest percentage of any party in the House of Commons. We have a long way to go to reach equality for women in politics. Many things need to change. The first is our electoral system. Parties also need to change. But in the end, attitudes need to change, too. Having more women in politics isn’t just laudable idealism, it’s critical to the health of public discourse and the viability of public policy.

Irene Mathyssen, MP, London—Fanshawe, NDP Status of Women Critic

IN PASSING

Wally Schirra, 84, astronaut. The only astronaut to fly in NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, he had been a Korean war veteran and a test pilot. His first space mission was orbiting the earth six times in the Mercury program. He was also on the Apollo 7 mission, in which his crew orbited the moon but didn’t touch down.

Gordon Scott, 80, actor. Spotted by a Hollywood producer while working as a lifeguard, he played Tarzan in six movies in the late 1950s. Briefly married to Vera Miles (sparking rumoured jealousy in director Alfred Hitchcock, who had Miles under contract and was said to be infatuated with her), he later became a fixture in Italian-made gladiator movies during the 1960s.