I was angered to read that a member of Quebec's National Assembly felt it necessary to refer to the upcoming Royal tour as "all this to welcome these parasites" (Quebec MNA Bristles At Cost Of Welcoming 'Parasites' Will and Kate - May 31). Amir Khadir ought to be truly ashamed of himself.
Prince William is a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force. As a helicopter pilot, he undertakes dangerous missions to rescue people in distress. In short, he has "a day job" and is in no way a parasite. Having been a flight lieutenant navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force, I can attest to the very high standards he had to meet to win his pilot's wings. It's too bad being a politician in the National Assembly doesn't require the same standards.
Allan E. Jones, chairman, Ottawa branch, Monarchist League of Canada
Quebeckers, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum, reject the politics of personal insults. They are a polite people who will never embarrass the Royal couple with millions of eyes watching.
G. DeWolf Shaw, Montreal
The extension of Canada's mission for "training" purposes is doomed to the same failures as the military mission has experienced, and for the same reasons (It's Little Wonder Canada Has Lost Its Stomach - June 1). Despite Stephen Harper's rosy assessment of the situation in Afghanistan during his recent visit there, the fact is that NATO troops are viewed by most Afghans as occupiers, not liberators. The notion that our "trainers" - itself a euphemism for continued military presence - will turn around this perception in the next three years is misguided.
Vinit Khosla, Vancouver
Be they ever so 'umble
Addressing his 166-person caucus, Stephen Harper said his majority win is a "sign that Canadians of all regions and backgrounds have found a home in our Conservative Party, that Conservative values are Canadian values and that the Conservative Party is Canada's party" (Harper Welcomes New Majority Caucus - June 1). Mr. Harper also urged the members to be "humble."
With this modest speech, how could they not? To claim, based on earning 40 per cent of the popular vote, that Canada now belongs to the Conservatives, that Canada and they are One, is simply not true. The plain fact is that 60 per cent of us turned our backs on Mr. Harper but our first-past-the-post voting system failed to reflect that fact - because it couldn't.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Surely not? Surely yes
As Ian Buruma (In the Shadows of Nuremberg - May 31) notes, the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such." Systematically killing thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys indeed constitutes the intentional partial destruction of the national/ethnic group in question (Bosnian Muslims), as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia found in 2004 in its historic appeal judgment against Radislav Kristic.
In a similar vein, Prof. Buruma argues that Mao Zedong's regime "murdered up to 40 million Chinese, but did he intend to destroy them as a group? Surely not." Therefore, he contends, it wasn't genocide. Most genocide scholars - including myself - consider Mao's actions (like Stalin's and Pol Pot's) to constitute the intentional, albeit partial, destruction of the national group or groups in question.
Adam Jones, associate professor, political science, UBC Okanagan
Ian Buruma writes that the term "genocide" does not properly describe the alleged killing of roughly 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica. His twofold argument is that this trivializes more heinous mass killings of an identified group (such as the Holocaust) and also encourages dangerous and possibly useless military intervention where genocide might be predicted.
Srebrenica is probably the worst case to support this thesis. For the three-plus years of the Bosnian war, Muslims were relentlessly uprooted or killed, a process the perpetrators called "cleansing." Srebrenica was the terrible end point of a long genocidal campaign. There is no other term for it. Had the UN and NATO intervened, thousands of Muslim lives could have been saved.
Joseph Dzananovic, Toronto
Lattes and Canucks
Milan Lucic, being "the son of immigrants from the non-latte part of town," is presented as the quintessential East Vancouverite (Milan Lucic: Villain And Hero - May 31).
Your knowledge of latte history must be challenged. The only latte available in town in the early '70s was in the East End on Commercial Drive. The non-latte part of town was everywhere but the East End. So for all those folks who didn't know, a pilgrimage to the site of the original Vancouver lattes is in order. Go, Canucks, go!
Nancy and Pat Crawshaw, Burnaby, B.C.
Nukes and cukes
With a seamless flow of electricity now essential to personal and economic well-being (Getting Nervous About Nuclear - May 31), Germans should be more nervous about an energy future that depends on wind and solar. Sweden's Environment Minister correctly summed up Germany's somewhat hypocritical position: More coal will be burned and nuclear energy generated in France will still be part of the mix.
John R. McClement, Regina
If Germany is really interested in saving lives, it should be banning cucumbers, not nuclear power (Toll Climbs In European E. Coli Outbreak - May 31).
Bill Gilmour, Coldstream, B.C.
If "the people" want the Jets name (A Rebirth In Winnipeg - June 1), then why not the "Manitoba Jets"?
Ronald McIsaac, Saint John
I suggest the new NHL team in Winnipeg be called the "Winnies" - and nicknamed "The Poohs." A.A. Milne would be very pleased.
Phillip S. Utting, Uxbridge, Ont.
True North should name the franchise the "Manitoba Flood." "Manitoba" to cast a much broader appeal than its major city and "Flood" since, if history repeats itself, the team will, like its host city, regularly be trying to keep itself above water. Let's hope this time around enough things have changed to keep it on solid ground.
Mark Roberts, Calgary
Considering how Bennie's team is coming to town (Hockey Town - letters, June 1), maybe she should be humming Bennie and the Jettisoned.
Malcolm Desjardins, Montreal
I have the perfect name for the new team: the "Winnipeg (or Manitoba) Black Flies." Pesky, persistent and no matter how hard you try to prevent them from biting you, they always win.
Ellen Gerber, Vancouver