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Letters to the Editor July 31: Destination Canada, and other letters to the editor

Banff National Park. Today’s topics: Destination Canada; pipeline politicking; the United Church’s challenges; Olympic outfits … and more

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Destination Canada

Your editorial on tourism (Canada, The Brand, Needs Some Polish – July 30) has me asking: Do you really believe that more money from the federal government is what it will take for us to compete with U.S. tourism?

I love Canada. I can't imagine living anywhere else. I was born born in Europe but Canada is my country by choice; I'm so very proud to be Canadian. Having lived in several Canadian cities (Vancouver, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Banff, Montreal and others), and having spent considerable years travelling here on business and pleasure trips, I know our many outstanding and gorgeous features.

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But, when it comes to choosing a vacation spot, I can't find a "Canadian" equivalent for Las Vegas, New York and the many Florida "winter" getaways. Plus, it feels so much more grown up in the U.S. – for example, wine and groceries in the same store!

So please, get real.

Johanna Renay, Oakville, Ont.

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Pipeline politicking

Re Only Harper Can End Pipeline Politicking (July 30): On the other coast, Newfoundland has not been able to secure a hydroelectric corridor through Quebec under anything resembling reasonable terms. B.C. Premier Christy Clark is adhering to long-established Canadian precedent as far as her opposition to the Northern Gateway project is concerned.

George Haeh, Turner Valley, Alta.

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B.C. Premier Christy Clark's demands for a portion of the profit from the Northern Gateway pipeline speak to the subtle art of politicking (Development, But Not At Any Price – July 28).

Ms. Clark faces a tough election in the near future. By creating excessive demands that ultimately enable her to reject the project, she will appeal to both the environmentalists in her province (by not allowing the pipeline), and the pro-pipeline residents (by appearing to want what's best for the province).

This isn't about getting revenue commensurate with the risk to B.C., but about Ms. Clark preparing for an election.

Gregory Sawisky, Red Deer, Alta.

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A church's challenges

The United Church of Canada is facing the same challenges as many community-minded liberal organizations. But it is not dead (The Collapse Of The Liberal Church – July 28).

As a former UCC moderator, I am privileged to speak and lead workshops in United Churches from New Brunswick to Victoria. They are alive, faithful, spiritual and engaged with their communities. They are in our biggest cities and smallest towns. They are welcoming and inclusive of all who seek a personal spirituality and social justice. I attend one in Calgary that is growing and vibrant, inviting people on a faith journey relevant to our times.

Any Christian church that does not address the economic, political, and social issues people face every day is not rooted in the Bible and its traditions. A spirituality detached from real contemporary life is detached from the biblical tradition.

Bill Phipps, moderator (1997-2000), United Church of Canada, Calgary

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I would like Margaret Wente to meet some folks in my congregation who find their connection with the divine through service to the world God loves.

Bill encounters God in the young punk-alt musicians who stage their concerts in an all-ages, alcohol-free venue (our church). Ken sees God in a Somali refugee family he is working with. Barbara-Ann, Diane, Elizabeth and others not only feed the poor but befriend them at a United Church inner-city ministry.

A team of four women stands on holy ground as it supports an older, single woman in her battle with an aggressive cancer. Dianne is working for justice in Palestine/Israel, deeply listening to the voices of Palestinian Christians who long for peace.

All of these folks encounter the living God who so loved the world, and invites us to love one another. Whether the denomination lives or dies is not the question. The question is, are we being faithful to the God who loves the world?

Rev. Barb M. Janes, Crescent Fort Rouge United Church,Winnipeg

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My husband is a retired UCC minister, and we are sick at heart about the direction the church has taken in recent years. Yes, it is dying, and it needs to die. As Margaret Wente wrote, "With so little spiritual nourishment to offer, it's no wonder the liberal churches have collapsed."

Good for Rev. David Ewart, spending time these days hanging out with evangelicals – folk who actually talk about loving Jesus. I hang out with them, too.

There are still UCC ministers who are Jesus-centred, Bible-believing; I believe their churches will thrive, even as their denomination collapses around them.

Carole Burton, Clarke's Beach, Nfld.

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Those who know about the United Church only through the media might be forgiven for thinking that the main topic on the agenda for the 41st General Council of the United Church of Canada is the report about Israel and Palestine. That is one topic, but there is also a wide range of theological and social justice discussions to be had. Perhaps the most important decision will be the selection of a new Moderator, from an unprecedented group of 15 exceptional leaders who have been nominated.

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The United Church is first and foremost a church. We will be gathering to worship, pray and discern God's directions for us.

Nora Sanders, general secretary, general council, United Church of Canada

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So what happened?

Craig Christie writes that the immigrants of the 1970s and early 1980s "bear little resemblance to the majority of new immigrants and Canadian-born Jamaicans of today" (We Make Our Own Social Programs – July 28).

While Mr. Christie's account is enlightening, it also raises a fundamental question: What happened to transform the society he experienced into the dysfunctional one he describes, replete with young baby mamas, thugs and lazy students?

Lorne Hicks, Keswick, Ont.

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We, collectively, have tiptoed around so many issues in the attempt at being politically correct that we have failed to address the reality of why our social and political programs do not meet the expectations of segments of our society. Craig Christie wrote: "My mother played both [parental] roles effectively, but more importantly, I found the will within myself. There are no shortcuts or substitutes for hard work and success."

How do we bottle that and pass it on?

Sandra Bradley, Picton, Ont.

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What they wore

Elizabeth Renzetti is quite right in drawing attention to the sexism that persists at the Olympics, particularly with regard to the bikinis worn by the women from the beach volleyball teams (For Female Olympians, It's 1960 All Over Again – July 28).

Perhaps, to level the playing field among all athletes (male and female), the IOC should revert to the tradition in ancient Greece where Olympians competed naked. (Of course, that was before they had events like the hurdles.)

Mike Kirby, Orleans, Ont.

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