Jolly good expensive show (Canadians Revel In London’s Wild Finale – Aug. 13)! But as the old London cockneys used to say, “After the Lord Mayor’s show comes the dung cart.” A great clean-up must begin, maybe not while euphoria grips the land, but soon. There are piles of bills waiting to be paid, and the pockets of London are very shallow.
The best closing ceremony – will it ever happen? – would be the burning of the mortgage.
William Emigh, Victoria
Canada’s Olympic medal total in London is 18, the same as the Beijing Games. However, our gold/silver medal total was cut in half. Our summer medal haul will stay roughly the same in the years ahead unless something changes.
According to Statistics Canada, 25 per cent of Canada’s young people are overweight or obese. We need to develop major national and provincial plans to alter this situation. Our schools need to make physical education, to include substantial classroom instruction, serious accredited courses.
Corporate contributions need to be greatly expanded and we will require several national training centres, as is the case in Australia, which nearly doubled our medal total with about 60 per cent of our population.
Can we do better? Can we become a healthier sporting nation? Yes we can!
John Merriam, Berwick, N.S.
So Canada’s tallest Olympic athlete was 2.05 centimetres (Know Your Olympians: Canadian Medalists By The Numbers – Aug. 13). What were we doing? Fielding a team of leprechauns and hoping fairy dust would bring in the medals?
Peter Weinrich, Victoria
Re The Greek Language Deserves A Medal (Aug. 10):
I read with euphoria (Greek) Howard Richler’s encomium (Greek) of the Greek language. The plethora (Greek) of choleric (Greek) polemics (Greek) written about Greek economic (Greek) policies (Greek), that may lead to the catastrophic (Greek) and perhaps seismic (Greek) dialysis (Greek), of Europe (Greek), has induced a chorus (Greek) of threnodic (Greek) lament among diaspora (Greek) Greeks. Kudos (Greek) to Mr. Richler for lifting our spirits.
Merlie Papadopoulos, Montreal
The argument that the War of 1812 precipitated a North American security community is plausible but jibes awkwardly with history (Why We Just Get Along – Aug. 13). After the Treaty of Ghent, there was a widespread assumption that conflict would be resumed between Britain and the United States. The building of the Rideau Canal, a major addition to the defences of Upper and Lower Canada, was carried out some years after the war.
As Alan Taylor recounts in The Civil War of 1812, others preferred trade over conflict but that went back to before the war and was particularly manifested during it. The immediate consequence of the war was to entrench loyalism in what was to be Ontario and make the international border more significant than it had been. A regional security community did emerge but not because of the war.
Gerald Wright, Ottawa
Peter Jones’s assessment is probably right, but why, at the same time, take a gratuitous swipe at the monarchy? Canada’s current government, he writes, is reinventing the past “around a 1950s ideal of deference to the monarchy.”
Canada’s current government is merely recognizing – and bringing out of the shadows – the reality of Canada’s constitutional monarchy, a reality that works exceptionally well and would tie the country in knots if the government should set out to change it (as Mr. Jones, a scholar on government, should know well).
Michael Valpy, senior fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto
Try free licence
Re Saudis’ Women-Only City Aims To Give Female Workers Free Rein (Aug. 13):
Great. But who’s going to drive the cars, taxis and buses?
Ron Freedman, Toronto
Mr. Nice Guy
If Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird believes that the tenets of liberal internationalism are no longer in Canada’s best interests, he is sadly mistaken (No More Mr. Nice Guy – Focus, Aug. 11). Indeed, the calling cards of this middle-power internationalism – peacekeeping, multilateralism, conflict resolution, poverty reduction and coalition-building – are as relevant today as they were 60 years ago.
What could be more in Canada’s national interest than war-avoidance, global stability and international order? These were the optimal conditions that allowed Canada’s economy to flourish, to limit costly military expenditures and to create a world in which Canada could have a voice and influence.
Yes, Mr. Baird is correct in asserting that an obsessive focus on trade policy is in Canada’s commercial interests, but it is not an effective foreign-policy posture.
Peter McKenna, professor and chair, political science department, University of Prince Edward Island
Get over it
Gilles Coughlan asserts that the monarchy “does not represent, or fit in with, the French culture in Canada” (How Would You Feel? – letters, Aug. 11).
Then let’s deinstitutionalize both the monarchy and the French culture and see, at last, where everyday Canadians “fit in,” sans fiats. Or, is this country really nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with whose feelings are being hurt?
Douglas Martin, Hamilton
As a Canadian living in Quebec of bilineal Germanic heritage, I care not a whit if the monarch speaks with a British or French accent, or whether she chooses to live mostly in or outside Canada. She is constitutionally the Queen of Canada and it is my conviction that constitutional monarchy is the ne plus ultra form of government in the history of mankind.
Monsieur Coughlan should get over the fact that the parliamentary British Imperial forces defeated the French Imperial forces of an absolutist King of France on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. And for all Canadians, I say we have all been the better for the British victory and the concomitant liberal democratic traditions and institutions that are our legacy.
John Boehmer, Gatineau, Que.
Elizabeth Renzetti describes her confusion decoding English in England (You Think You Can Speak English – Until You Arrive in London – Aug. 11). It cuts both ways. After immigrating here from the U.K., I volunteered at the local school. I arrived one day wearing the sort of knee-length garment once seen on golfers (it was the 1970s). The teacher greeted me with the words, “The children said you were here, and that you were wearing knickers today.” I’m still gobsmacked!
Jackie Norris Dean, Dundas, Ont.
Bambi was a faun (A Moment In Time – Aug. 13)? Oh deer!
Carla Hagstrom, Toronto