June 18 2007


June 18 2007

‘Most pharmaceuticals come from plant extracts. Nobody invented anything.’



TO BRING an innocent child into a web of horror is incredibly selfish (“Is Karla fit to be a mother,” Society, June 4). What kind of a role model will Karla Homolka (a.k.a. Leanne Teale) be to her son? While the psychologists say she is unlikely to reoffend so long as she’s not exposed to controlling people, she herself is a controlling person. How does this bode for her son or other future children?

Debi Sereda, Barrhaven, Ont.

WHEN KARLA’S SON goes to school, he will realize that he is getting unusual attention. He will realize that he is considered different from his playmates. Sooner or later he will find out why. Even if his father turns out to be a fantastically strong, morally unerring saint of a man, most people will doubt this boy’s moral stability. Would you want your children or grandchildren to be among his closest friends? Poor, innocent kid.

Bill Pearce, Ottawa

IT’S UNLIKELY that this evil, eerie, morally vacuous woman would finally feel remorse. However, I hope that after holding her son for the first time, she grasped what she had viciously taken from her own family, the Frenches, and the Mahaffys.

Michelle Wysocki, Brights Grove, Ont.

IF YOU REALLY feel that it is necessary to perpetuate Homolka’s story, you could do so without plastering her face on the cover. You are just feeding her vanity and sick mind. I strongly feel that the media should totally ignore her.

Lynn Sawatsky, Wiarton, Ont.

AUTHOR STEPHEN WILLIAMS’ quote says it all: “The people that really scare me are the people who gave her a future.” The election of Crown attorneys and judges is long overdue. We, the people they are supposed to protect, need a direct say.

Bill Sinclair, Mississauga, Ont.

REMEMBER “JUDGE NOT, that ye be not judged” in the Book of Matthew? I suggest you take it to heart. Whatever she’s done in the past, Karla is building a new life for herself. Your unsympathetic approach fits the same category as her past crimes: negative

and reprehensible.

Chris Wright, South Surrey, B.C.


Your article on the so-called dangers of Mexican vacations lacks the perspective needed to grasp the issue of the safety of Canadian tourists abroad, consequently rendering it not only uninformed, but tendentious (“Guns in the sun,” National, June 4). Every year Mexico receives more than 21 million visitors from all over the world, roughly one million of whom come from Canada. Despite a few unfortunate

incidents, most notably two in 2006 and two this year, they all return home safe and sound. While this is still a matter of deep concern among Mexico’s government and society, these few cases should not be used to incite unfair judgments about a country that welcomes international tourists with open arms. Let us not forget the very unusual circumstances surrounding the untimely deaths of these four Canadian nationals. They have involved either the likely participation of international mafias or the immoderate consumption of alcohol and drugs, as the toxicological exams conducted in both Mexico and Canada have shown. None of them have been the result of a robbery or assault of any kind. It must also be made clear that in all four cases, local and federal authorities from both countries have co-operated thoroughly. Due to their bilateral nature, the solving of the pending cases takes time, but I can assure you that authorities from both countries have been working diligently

on their respective lines of investigation.

The article also repeats figures on the number of Canadians “assaulted” abroad that should be broadened for further interpretation. Mexico is among the three destinations most visited by Canadian tourists. Mexico hosts as many Canadians as all the islands of the Caribbean and twice as many as all Asian countries. Furthermore, you would certainly agree with me that a destination becomes more or less dangerous depending not only on its general safety conditions but also on the behaviour of tourists. A reality must be faced and fought: tourists sometimes behave differently away from home. No place can guarantee safety for people willing to take incautious risks. Mexico offers many privileges, but expects some obligations: common sense, respect for local rules and customs and, above all, moderation. Mexico has indeed decided to crack down on organized crime once and for all. Combatting the problem will require time, resources and probably many human lives, but it is yielding positive results for the societies of the North American region in the fight against international crime and terrorism. So far this fight has not claimed any civilian’s life. I find it highly unfair to Mexico to draw general conclusions from isolated events that could happen anywhere in the world. I find it petty and disappointing that poor-spirited interests are attempting to build a negative image of a nation that is friendly to Canadians and a strategic, economic and political partner for Canadian interests. Emilio Goicoechea, Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada, Ottawa


WHILE JOHN GEDDES draws attention to the problems of regulating natural health products in Canada, he ignores the fact that mankind has been using plants to treat illnesses for ages (“A natural remedy?” National, June 4). My mother gave me licorice for constipation, strawberry extract for diarrhea, and mustard plasters for bronchitis. Such treatments covered everything except mumps, measles and chicken pox. Surely Geddes knows that most of the pharmaceuticals on the market today came from plant extracts. Nobody has invented anything.

Phillip Nance, Mississauga, Ont.

TO TAKE THE Natural Health Products Directorate to task is one thing. However, to

take the natural health products industry to task with no attempt made to get the other side of the story does a disservice to that sector and to the more than 40 per cent of Canadians who consume natural health products daily. As Canada’s largest manufacturer and distributor of natural health products, Jamieson Laboratories Ltd. has long advocated that consumers complement their natural supplement usage with regular exercise and a proper diet, as well as consult with their health practitioner before establishing a regimen of regular usage, particularly if they are ill and are taking medication. All product claims we make are fully supported by clinical studies and approved by NHPD. We look forward to a discussion with your writers the next time an opportunity avails itself.

John B. Challinor II, Director of Communications, Jamieson Laboratories, Toronto


WHEN I SAW the letters about artist Deb Wiles and her bronze vulva castings, I had to say something (“Casting aspersions,” Mail Bag, June 4)-1 thought that the castings were lovely in their own strange way, and it saddens me that some people would consider them to be “garbage.” It is not Wiles who should be held in contempt, but the angry letter-writers: they are the ones promulgating a social attitude that teaches young girls to view their genitals as something shameful. As for those who are concerned that their children will be harmed by looking at bronze vulvas: assuming that they are able to recognize the castings, isn’t an artistic exhibit a better way to open a dialogue than adult magazines? Catherine Prickett, Nepean, Ont.

THE PEOPLE who are protesting likely thought The Vagina Monologues was distasteful too. Thanks again for the creative Canadiana. Lawrence Mew, Courtenay, B.C.


ALTHOUGH Jaime J. Weinman makes some good points about Shrek’s appeal to teenagers (“Big green money machine,” Film, May 2l), he didn’t mention a vital hook: the music track, which features many current leadingedge artists. Teenagers are more plugged into music nowadays, with iPods and downloaded tunes, and the choice of music sets Dreamworks’ executive Jeffrey Katzenberg miles ahead of his old days at Disney with cheesy movie tracks that made teens roll their eyes. Also, there is the idea that teens may actually identify with the misanthropic, hideous ogre, a parallel to their own hormonally driven angst and self-loathing.

Peter Probst, Erin, Ont.


Peter Simpson, 64, producer. With 35 feature films to his credit, including the popular Prom Night horror series of the 1980s and 1990s, he was one of Canada’s most prolific movie producers. Before that he created the world’s first mediabuying service to buy and place advertisements. He also advised the Mulroney government on film policy.

Huangju, 68, politician. One of China’s most powerful leaders, as vice-premier of the State Council he modernized the nation’s banking system. Closely associated with former president Jiang Zemin, Huang may be replaced by someone chosen by the current president, Hu Jintao, in a bid to consolidate his power.