Thank you for such a wonderful Canada Day edition (July 1). From John Wallace’s funny and heartwarming reminisce about the “Flag Flap” (To Stand On Guard) to Jocelyn Létourneau’s thoughtful reflection on the recrafting of our national identity (Reconstructing The Canadian Identity), to the “Best of Canada” picks by prominent Canadians featured in each section; to The Essay (Warming To The Great White North – Life & Arts) and much more besides. You covered all the bases with just the right tone of modesty-tempered pride.
I was struck by how the voices of our “prominent” Canadians – Chris Hadfield, Stephen Lewis, Kathleen Wynne, Roméo Dallaire, et al – are so absent any rarefied celebrity or distance. Instead, they speak to us like respected friends at ease in our living rooms. O Canada!
Lesley Watson, Victoria
Prof. Létourneau, Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Quebec History at Laval University, praises Prime Minister Stephen Harper for trying to reclaim “Canada’s elemental Britishness” by restoring royal symbols and giving fresh importance to the War of 1812.
I’m uncertain just how much “reclaiming” we need. New citizens pledge their loyalty to the British monarch, represented here by an unelected governor-general who has great power over Parliament in certain matters. Our provincial flags are rife with Union Jacks and lions; “Courts of the Queen’s Bench” are our superior courts in some provinces.
I suppose we should keep O Canada just as to remind people where they are, but we could ditch the Maple Leaf and return to the Red Ensign, and Mr. Harper would address us only from the Speaker’s chair in the Senate – renamed the House of Lords, of course – and wearing a crown.
Bill Boyd, Lakefield, Ont.
Prof. Létourneau’s comments remind me of a skeptical observation once made by a wise and distinguished editor of your newspaper, Sir John Willison. “Laurier,” he wrote, “thought of Canada as a nation. He made Canada a nation according to his panegyrists. Indeed with every change of government, Canada is made a nation over again. But the new pattern much resembles the old, however the artificers may labour to remold and rebuild.”
Thankfully, there is hope for us yet.
Ramsay Cook, Toronto
A graphic on the “average Canadian” may make for laid-back Canada Day reading, but it actually doesn’t tell us much about Canada or ourselves (The National Average – Life & Arts).
Canada is a country of diverse incomes, cultures and lifestyles. As a result, most of us probably don’t recognize ourselves in the portrait because the average actually represents a distorted reality, as the following definition of a statistician demonstrates: Someone who has one foot in a bucket of ice water and the other in a fire, and claims to be, on the average, quite comfortable.
Dale Hildebrand, Toronto
In your lead editorial (Canada Day Sets The Thames On Fire), I was impressed but saddened at the creative distortion required for “putting partisanism aside.” For many years, “partisanship” has served us well, and may continue to do so outside of your editorial board. Unleashing those improvisionally inclined staffers could be calamitous.
Laurie Johnston, Winnipeg
Thank you, Elizabeth Renzetti, for your spirited defence of people who are prepared to step up to the plate and serve as politicians for their country (For Canada Day, I’ll Take Civic Engagement, Medium Rare – June 29).
Thank goodness some people are still motivated to make a contribution, rather than just whining about “they” who do it all wrong. Where would we be if everyone was so put off by the terrible cynicism about their motives from both media and public, that no-one was prepared to take on the responsibility to govern? Let’s give the good politicians the credit and gratitude they deserve, and maybe more responsible and public-spirited people will run for office.
Nichola Hall, Vancouver
In Roy MacGregor’s story about a cross-country canoe trip while starting a family (An Incredible, Daunting, Exhausting Voyage – June 29), paddlers Geoff and Pam MacDonald say they are cautious to the extreme, yet in the photo, only their toddler appears to be wearing a life jacket. The infant is strapped into some car seat that looks like it would sink, while the parents don’t appear to be wearing any safety gear whatsoever.
If this is them being cautious, I hate to think what reckless would look like.
Karen Lajoie, Yellowknife
If the MacDonalds have proved one thing, it’s that you CAN make love in a canoe.
Jane McCall, Delta, B.C.
The RCMP did the correct thing in removing guns from premises that were not secured properly in accordance with the law (PMO Rebukes Mounties For Seizing Guns – June 29). To leave these weapons behind in a house that now had even less security and had to be abandoned in a situation where the whole community had fewer security resources (including the lack of residents of the area) would be irresponsible.
Ken Newman, Calgary
Imagine the outcry and criticism if the RCMP had ignored these same firearms and someone was killed or injured as a result! The officers would be neglecting their duty by leaving them where they were.
The PMO should focus on more important tasks, such as supporting the police and other first responders in the difficult tasks before them in the flooded areas. Stick to your knitting, PMO.
John Eldridge, Richmond, B.C.
A real Nensh
If there were an election today, I have no doubt Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi (Action Figure – Focus, June 29) would win any office he chose.
Esmail Jiwaji, Edmonton
Mores and morality
Re Bob Morris’s letter (I Thee Wed … – July 1):
Social, sexual or other mores are very different than the “morality” of choices that people make. Homosexuality is no more a “moral” choice than is heterosexuality. People are born as they are. Restricting sexual activity outside of marriage, gay or not, is a choice of morality. Loving and being attracted to who you are, particularly when it hurts no one, is simply biology.
Like it or not, the equation of homosexuality with immorality is, in itself, homophobic. And this false comparison is used by many to discriminate.
Mike Ford, Whitby, Ont.
I mourn the loss of the Social Studies feature (July 1). I always thought it was the most entertaining part of the paper – except, of course, on those rare days when you published one of my letters.
Teri Jane Bryant, Calgary