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Today’s topics: Canada Day coverage deconstructed, ticking trinkets … and more (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Today’s topics: Canada Day coverage deconstructed, ticking trinkets … and more (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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July 3: Canada Day coverage deconstructed, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Red and white and read all over

Bruce Kirkby’s invitation to the Prime Minister (Mr. Harper, Come Camping With Me – July 2) is worth a try. However, people often only stand up for nature when their piece of paradise is threatened. How about proposing a pipeline through Harrington Lake and the summer cottages of cabinet ministers?

Mark Butler, Halifax


I was intrigued to see your Canada Day editorial (An Abundance Of Anniversaries – June 30), to see what other events should be recognized. Your list is broad but it left out the most poignant anniversary of all: the near-destruction of the Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel during the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.

Growing up in St. John’s, this was always the day that had the greatest spectrum: Canada Day joy at sunrise, Memorial Day reflection during the morning, then back to the celebration of our great country with night-time fireworks and concerts at the harbour.

David Keegan, Calgary


I couldn’t immediately figure out why Drew Hayden Taylor’s rant (White People, Here’s Your One-Time Canada Day Special: Native People Apologize Back! – June 30) seemed so remarkably different from other such rants. Then it struck me: Everything he said is true.

Yes, the piece cites white men, apology, Europeans, religion, ownership, police, junk food and the government among the New World innovations responsible for the plight of this land’s original – or at least earlier – inhabitants. The piece is vitriolic indeed, but factual, and we latter-day Canadians clearly have much for which to atone.

It just as clearly points out the failure of the official apology as an effective tool for conveying anything close to contrition. As such it should be abandoned in favour of political and historical acknowledgement of past wrongs and a commitment never to repeat them. That way we can all move forward, see each other as Canadians first and leave pieces like Mr. Taylor’s behind.

Dan Tanner, Hammonds Plains, N.S.


Becoming a Canadian should not be easy. Jason Kenney has it right (Stumbling On Brink Of Becoming Canadians – June 30). Canadian citizenship has value, a lot of value. Things of value need to be earned and with that comes appreciation. Making it easy cheapens it, lessens its value.

Brian Mellor, Picton, Ont.


My dad arrived in Canada from Croatia in 1927, my mother in 1939. With their five years of elementary schooling, they had no opportunity to learn English before arriving, and the English teacher hired by their small Croatian community in Cooksville, Ont., absconded with the funds.

Did my parents’ lack of language proficiency preclude them from working hard, voting in elections, being good neighbours, raising two well-educated children and generally contributing to building a democratic, multicultural Canada? Like Prof. Triadafilopoulos’s parents, they could call themselves “Canadians” before being proficient in an official language. No past or current citizenship test will accurately assess desire to contribute, work toward goals and endure hardship.

Mary Valentich, Calgary


It is a little hard to fathom where Jeffrey Simpson (This Country Has An Unhealthy Superiority Complex – June 30) wants us to go. There’s no question Canadians have a tendency to be smug when it comes to our achievements we see or imagine as superior to those of other countries, particularly the United States. Whether what the U.S. is cobbling together as a health-care system will measure up to ours is still a long way off, and that is just the point. We have enjoyed a better system for many decades. Between us neighbours, we got there firstest with the mostest and that surely is something to be proud of.

Hal Hartmann, West Vancouver


“It was said of [Jean] Chrétien that he could go to any backyard barbecue in the country, unannounced, and people would be completely at ease with him,” says Sir John A. Macdonald in his interview from the beyond, as channelled by Richard Gwyn (What Would Sir John A. Think Of Canada Today? – June 30).

It is reassuring to know that politicians in the days of Confederation were just as delusional as they are today.

John Clench, Vancouver


Erin Anderssen concludes her excellent article on recipients of the Order of Canada (An Accolade That Demonstrates Why Waving The Flag Just Isn’t Enough – June 30) by asserting that there is only one right answer to the question, “If I had been there, what would I have done?”

The assumption that taking the high road, caring for the other, is the right thing to do comes only from individuals and societies exposed to compassionate action. Human beings are by nature selfish. It is our default position. It is Darwinian. When taught compassion, the importance of reaching out to others, taking a stand is a compulsion. Sadly, we are becoming a culture focused on individual rights – caring for oneself without thinking that each action we take has a ripple effect on all those around us.

Canada Day is an excellent time for all of us to reflect on the type of country we want to bequeath to all of those who come after us.

Diane Weber Bederman, Caledon, Ont.


Something will give

Re News Alert! No One Has It All (June 30): The same old story has lulled many of my generation of educated women into the notion that we could get educated, knocked up and have the career of our dreams because 1970s feminism burned bras and bridges for us. Yet, one of the first cruel realities of life is that a woman (or man) can’t have it all – not without sacrifice.

It’s that latter point that our culture of entitlement has a problem with. We don’t want to sacrifice anything. And so women find themselves at the helm of a great career, having put in their 10 years after university, only to discover themselves in their 30s and panicking about tumbling fertility percentages and a husband or partner who isn’t as perfect as she thought he or she might be.

Ladies, you can’t have it all. Something will give.

Catherine Brennan, Toronto


Yes, it’s important to have flexible work schedules, locations and leaves, and to encourage more women in government. But it won’t happen much until there’s a big change in attitude about work and its supporting taxation. They must recognize that what mothers do is not only real work but massively important, from pregnancy on. “It’ll cost too much” is no longer acceptable. The alternative is costing more by the day.

Paul Rapoport, Ancaster, Ont.


Ticking trinkets

What’s the problem here? (That Bulgari Watch Cost How Much? – June 30) When MPs and civil servants visit a foreign country, gifts from the host country are obviously gifts to Canada. When the delegates return home, all such gifts should be turned over to the proper authority here for evaluation, and if deemed suitable, “trinkets” could be returned to the person who received them.

I do wonder how our representatives can be so unaware of the value of watches that are advertised in many media and then believe that they are sufficiently au courant to make laws and policies on our behalf.

Frankly, 90 per cent of these jaunts could be handled as conference calls using the Internet. Then everyone could just stay home.

Dorothy Madge, Windsor, Ont.

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