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Major-General Isaac Brock.
Major-General Isaac Brock.

What readers think

Oct. 15: Letters to the editor Add to ...

Seat revamp

It was a bit shocking and extremely disappointing to open the paper and see this idea that Quebec’s “special” interests should trump the interests of the rest of federation (Ottawa Delays Seat Revamp Over Quebec Fears – Oct. 14). Why don’t the citizens of Alberta or B.C. or Ontario get a reasonably equal say in the running of Canada? Quebec has its constitutionally guaranteed 75 seats, so why can’t the rest of us be treated fairly? Shame on Stephen Harper for even considering this.

Graham Adria, Edmonton


While businesses and other organizations are cutting back in order to live within their means, the government is still talking about growing. It is time they reduced the number of seats in Parliament, not increased them. Yes, some members would be out of a job, but so are thousands of others who have been “right sized.” If it was decided to reduce to, say, 250 seats (still too many), then it would be a matter of how many seats each province gave up, and we could have a true and meaningful redistribution.

Bob Child, Sarnia, Ont.


Homage to Quebec is the rock on which Canadian liberalism is founded, and Stephen Harper is proving himself as true a believer as Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chrétien before him.

Scott Gardiner, Toronto


RIM and compensation

RIM’s downtime may have been big enough to be front-page news, but the question of compensation for downtime is problematic (Contrite RIM Co-CEOs Offer Mea Culpas Over Failure – Report on Business, Oct. 14). All computers go down because of either hardware or software problems. If RIM is forced to compensate users or service providers for downtime, then get out your stopwatch and track downtime on your smart phone, TV, pager and office or home phone and demand credits. Do they really want to go down that road?

Philip Russel, Toronto


Legal lessons

It is ridiculous to free someone charged in the fatal shooting of her husband just to teach everyone else a lesson (Quebec Woman’s Rights Violated In Murder Case, Supreme Court Rules – Oct. 14). A better way to approach this is to have the two issues – police conduct and the murder charge – dealt with separately. A murder charge clearly outweighs a violation of rights. Just because certain evidence was obtained by the police without permission, does not mean that it is false. Just as we were all taught in grade school: Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Bethany Kuntz, Kitchener, Ont.


Canada’s model

If Sweden hopes to emulate Canada’s success in integrating immigrants into society (Swedes Look To Canada As A Model For Immigration – Oct. 14), there is one important step the Swedes must take: Triple the number of taxi licences in their cities to accommodate foreign-trained professionals.

Bob Kotyk, Toronto


Grounded logic

Your editorial on the Air Canada flight attendants’ dispute (Interventionist Non Sequitur – Oct. 14) ends with the comment that the Harper government’s decrees occasionally resemble those of a state-socialist regime. On the premise that what is good for the goose is good for Air Canada, the pay and perquisites of the Air Canada CEO and his fellow executives should be sent for binding review and imposition to a committee earning the median Canadian remuneration. Perhaps Sid Ryan would volunteer as a dollar-a-day chairman of such a committee.

Glen Tolhurst, Guelph, Ont.


The safest place for an airplane and its passengers is on the ground. Should not, therefore, this government, by its own reasoning, support a strike by the Air Canada flight attendants on the grounds of the health and safety of Canadians?

Ivor Barlow, Oakville, Ont.


1812 revisited

The reasons for the lofty status given to Major-General Isaac Brock are, in my mind, unclear (1812 Thoughts – letters, Oct. 14). Brock had mixed success in preparing Upper Canada for war, while the British victory at Detroit was attributable to his subordinates and native allies rather than his leadership. The charge that led to his death at Queenston Heights in October, 1812, nearly lost the battle; the British victory is attributable to Major-General Roger Sheaffe.

Simply put, the Americans were incapable of defeating the British in 1812; their armies were unprepared for war while Britain controlled the inland seas. It was only in 1813, following improvements to their army and more importantly, their navy on the inland seas, that the Americans offered a serious challenge and nearly achieved a decisive victory. By 1814, any chance of an American victory was gone.

On another point, the comical account from a soldier’s perspective in the song, The Battle of New Orleans, lies more within the realm of mythology than teaching good history. I suppose if we tried the same thing in Canada, we might soon believe that Isaac Brock was a brilliant general, the seizure of Vimy Ridge changed the course of the Great War and that journalism and historiography are the same thing.

Major John R. Grodzinski, department of history, Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ont.


Letter writer Rita Orchard recalls the hit song The Battle of New Orleans and asks, “Wouldn’t it be great if somebody injected a similar degree of fun and ease into learning Canadian history?” As it turns out, her request has been historically granted. I hate to admit I remember this, but in 1959 the record The Battle of Queenston Heights was released as a Canadian response to The Battle of New Orleans. It was recorded by Mike Darow and the Chums.

Some lyrics:

You’ve heard about the battle that was fought in New Orleans When the British had some trouble with their ranks. Now I’d like to tell you all about the war at Queenston Heights Where the British chased 4,000 frightened Yanks.

Ralph Shay, Toronto


Further to Rita Orchard’s lament about the lack of a catchy Canadian patriotic song celebrating the War of 1812, I remember a parody of the Johnny Horton hit record from high school in Montreal in the late fifties titled The IODE Marching Song. If memory serves, the lyrics were:

Well in eighteen-fourteen we took a little walk Down to Upper Canada with good old General Brock. We took our Laura Secord chocolate delights And we caught the bloody Yankees in the town of Queenston Heights.

We fired our guns and the Yankees kept a-comin’ There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago. We fired once more and they commenced a-runnin’ Down Niagara River to Lake Ontario.

Richard Fisher, Toronto


It’s been great to see so many letters about the War of 1812. For me, it brought to mind the occasion former prime minister John Diefenbaker got into the 1812 groove. In 1961, after a visit to the Kennedy White House, Dief was ruffled by the fact that there were no paintings to be seen of British victories from that war. “If I had that picture, I’d put it up,” the president said.

Diefenbaker put national librarian Kaye Lamb on the task, and when JFK returned to Ottawa later that year, he sat down to meet with Dief. Prominently displayed was a print of the British capture of the American ship, Chesapeake.

J.D.M. Stewart, Toronto

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