How would you feel?
As a French Canadian living in Ontario, I am neither a Québécois nor a separatist. And by no stretch of the imagination am I a fan of PQ Leader Pauline Marois.
However, I would like to invite those who criticize her for her recent comments about the monarchy to think about how they would feel if it was a French monarch who was head of state of Canada (Pauline Marois Should Learn Her Province’s History – Aug. 10).
How would you really feel, as a citizen of a nation with the English language and culture, if you were constantly told that this person of a different nationality and culture represented you and your culture, and that you had to swear allegiance to him (or her) to get a job in the army, or to sit in the legislature?
There is much to criticize about Ms. Marois. When it comes to the monarchy, however, she is essentially right: It does not represent, or fit in with, the French culture in Canada.
Gilles Coughlan, Ottawa
Pot, kettle, oil
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent says the oil and gas industry wants “an aspirational goal” to reduce oil sands emissions so they are comparable to conventional crude (The Path To A Smaller Carbon Footprint – Report on Business, Aug. 10). Isn’t that sort of like the pot calling the kettle black?
Chris Gates, Pickering, Ont.
That’s soccer …
So Canada’s women’s soccer team lost a game they should have won – and won a game they should have lost (Matheson Plays The Hero In Canada’s Last-Minute Win – Aug. 10). That’s soccer. Still, congrats are due all around.
J.R. Léveillé, Winnipeg
… and that’s beach volley
No one doubts that the women in beach volleyball are tremendous athletes, given their strength, endurance and dedication to the sport.
But further to the discussion that Eric Reguly started (Beach Volleyball Brings Rousing Levity To The Olympics – Aug. 4) and Paul Hamann commented on (Fuss About Flesh – letters, Aug. 8), one needs to consider the following: If the women playing the sport wish to be considered as serious an athlete as the men, why not dress in similar uniforms? And if they did, how many men would fill the bleachers then?
M. Knechtel, Halifax
Our loss, their gain?
The French are perhaps cynical in saying “Le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres” or roughly: Your loss, my gain. But that looks like the result in 2012-13 for European hockey fans (Lockout Looms As Bettman Says No Season Without Contract – Sports, Aug. 10).
The impending lockout would likely mean boom time again for Swiss pro hockey, as it did in 2004-05, with the sudden arrival here of Joe Thornton, Rick Nash, Daniel Brière, Dany Heatley, Martin St. Louis and many other NHL stars.
The fastest NHL skaters take full advantage of the wider ice surface to open up their game, while the relative lack of bump and grind leads to more on-ice flourishes. And best of all, no Don Cherry.
There will be on-ice hockey drama this season, but it likely won’t happen in North America. Keep in touch: We will try to keep you updated!
David Winch, Geneva, Switzerland
A neighbour’s ways
Your authors, including two former Canadian diplomats, are convinced that “Canada never had a friend in the White House greater than Ronald Reagan” (This Good Neighbour Has To Work The System – Aug. 8). I’m reminded of the saying, “with friends like that, who needs enemies.”
Campbell W. Robinson, Vancouver
The U.S. Constitution clearly specifies checks that each branch can use upon the others; studying the U.S. system is a fascinating exercise in the dance of powers leveraged and withheld. It is incorrect to characterize one branch as focused on one area, domestic versus foreign – each branch has different clauses it can trot out to be active in foreign or domestic policy.
While it is tempting for those lobbying the U.S. system to characterize one branch, or indeed the entire system, as focused on one policy area or another, the reality is that the U.S. system (like the Canadian) is far more nuanced, and policy emphases and instruments change over time. That, in a nutshell is the argument for studying the U.S. in a comparative fashion.
Melissa Haussman, associate professor, political science, Carleton University
Since the earliest days of the HIV epidemic, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has been a vital resource for those concerned with ensuring that law does not impede HIV prevention efforts, and that the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS are respected. Its research and policy output has set an international benchmark of quality that is unparalleled.
That its work is used by advocates to reform laws and legal practices based on ignorance and misunderstanding is, I would have hoped, something the government of a mature democracy might acknowledge as important and worthwhile (Fearing Advocacy, Ottawa Nixes Funding Bids – Aug. 7).
Many of us in the U.K. have looked to Canada as an example of what is possible when a country supports rights not only in principle, but in practice. To allow the network to go under for the sake of a relatively small amount of money would be one of the most retrograde and damaging acts in the history of the HIV epidemic.
Matthew Weait, professor of law and policy, Birkbeck College, University of London
In a killer’s sights
As a psychiatrist, I would say that the killings at a Sikh temple and a Colorado movie theatre, and a narrowly averted me-too crime at an Ohio theatre, not to mention the Tucson massacre, do indeed change the American experience, and not just for Sikhs and other minorities who might get targeted (Shooting Changes The American Experience – Aug 8).
There’s a saying that whatever happens in the U.S. eventually comes to Canada. I wonder how many Canadians understand that Bill C-69, now the law of the land, includes an unnecessary, sweet deal for assault rifles such as the Ruger Mini, Steyr and Tavor Tar-21 – weapons whose sale no longer will generate any kind of paper trail.
Another angle to all this gun madness is that it worsens the stigma problem for the mentally ill, who too often get portrayed as violent and unpredictable. Delusions by themselves rarely kill, but a deluded man outfitted with a firearm suitable for a SWAT team is another matter entirely.
Ron Charach, MD, Toronto
Re What Should I Do About My Cheap Friend’s Present? (Damage Control, Aug. 9): Chocolates have an expiry date? Who knew!
Ann Timonin, Winnipeg