Maclean’s letters: The victims of a ‘victimless’ crime

‘Why does Maclean’s insist on portraying the outrageous housing costs in our major cities as something to celebrate?’ Our readers write in


From coast to coast

How refreshing to read a happy story about a Canadian whose family chose Canada and their son, P.K. Subban, who is now a great Canadian hockey player for the Habs (“Why it’s great to be us,” Canada Day Special, July 7)! One of the happiest cover pictures for a while, and may the force be with you next year, P.K.!

Karen Barteaux, Brandon, Man.

I was disappointed to see that in the photo section “Canada from above” (Canada Day Special, July 7), of 14 selections, the only two images of the Prairie provinces were of the oil sands in northern Alberta. The city of Ottawa, by contrast, had two images: a beach volleyball tournament and a suburb. There is a lot more to Alberta than the energy industry. Instead, look at an aerial shot of Edmonton’s River Valley, the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America. At 7,400 hectares, it is 5.5 times the size of Vancouver’s municipal parks combined.

Joanne Pattison-Levine, Edmonton

In the section “We’re No. 1” (Canada Day Special, July 7), you forgot to mention our ranking on environmental protection, according to the Center for Global Development: dead last out of 27 wealthy nations.

L.W. Bevan, Collingwood, Ont.

So the most disproportionate way to die in Quebec is Alzheimer’s (“Putting Canada on the map,” Canada Day Special, July 7)? Perhaps their motto should change to “Je me souviens rien.”

Mike Rodgers, Bath, Ont.

“CanLit writ large” (Canada Day Special, July 7) omitted mention of Jon Klassen, a young Canadian living in L.A., who won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for Children’s Literature in 2013. Closer to home, Jon also won a Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s illustration in 2010. Kudos to you, Jon!

Susan Collins, London, Ont.

“CanLit writ large” contained some unnecessary cattiness. Margaret Atwood is “too divisive” because she’s not as soft and fuzzy as, say, Alice Munro? Munro unites the country, apparently, while Atwood, even if she cured cancer, would still not break into the “patriotic love-fest” category. In the same piece, we learn that young Eitan Amos won the International Youth Bible Contest in Jerusalem. This contest, we are told, is “the only book contest that really matters.” Really?

Ian Howarth, Montreal

The differences between the U.S. and Canada can also be attributed to the relative strength in the union movement between the two (“Middle-class thousandaires,” Canada Day Special, July 7). As unions have lost power in the U.S., so has the number of good-paying jobs that belonging to a union can provide.

Marie MacKay, North Vancouver, B.C.

Why does Maclean’s insist on portraying the outrageous housing costs in our major cities as something to celebrate (“Houses like hotcakes,” Canada Day Special, July 7)—even while acknowledging that these are driven largely by foreign investors looking for a safe haven? Million-dollar “starters” may be good news for real estate agents, and certainly are for the banks writing mortgages for twice what they might have a decade ago. But it’s hardly good news for young Canadians who are either shut out of the market completely, or forced to take on the kind of mortgage loads that will keep them in debt for most of their working lives. A lot is said about the financial challenges facing young families compared to their parents’ generation. Much of this can be attributed to the high cost of housing, and the failure of governments to deal with this problem is a national disgrace.

Ronald McCaig, Port Alberni, B.C.

What Wynne’s win means

I’m still not sure how Ontario’s Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne won a majority (Interview, July 7), but now we are subjected to four more years of monumental mismanagement. Urban voters opted to “forget” about the costly scandals and investigations in our bankrupt, have-not province and ask for more, especially when the most costly and deceitful scandal still flourishes: the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, dominated by the wind-turbine debacle, which has hog-tied rural municipalities and residents alike. Wynne speaks about her progressive vision for Ontario, but those living outside of her golden zone know it doesn’t include them as fundamental health and environmental protections and precautions have vaporized.

Barbara Ashbee, Mulmur, Ont.

I have admired Kathleen Wynne from the moment she won the leadership. She is personable and intelligent, a mix of positivity and pragmatism. She is a class act through and through. I wish we had more politicians like her.

Lisa Hamilton, Whitby, Ont.

Everyone needs to chill out

As a long-term sufferer of anxiety and depression, I enjoyed “Schooled in meditation” (Society, June 23). I had been on and off antidepressants for the whole of my thirties before enrolling in a mindfulness program more than two years ago, and I have not suffered a single lapse since. These skills have proved invaluable, making me a better human being. For those who shut down a program by complaining about “perceived overtones of Eastern religion,” I have no respect whatsoever. If they would like to deprive their own children of valuable coping techniques and choose medication over meditation in the modern Western tradition then that is bad enough, but to deprive an entire group of such an opportunity is extremely destructive.

Greg Cameron, Kingston, Ont.

The victims of a ‘victimless’ crime

Jason Kirby doesn’t understand the mathematics of investing if he thinks insider trading is a victimless crime (“The problem with insider obsession,” Economy, July 7). Investors buy a diversified portfolio of stocks with the expectation that some will go up and some will go down. If all the gains are captured by traders with inside knowledge, other investors are left with only the losses. Suppose somebody with advance knowledge of tomorrow’s lottery numbers went around buying all the winning tickets at face value. Would this still be considered a “victimless crime,” even though it is now impossible to win the lottery? I’m not saying other forms of corporate wrongdoing should be ignored or are less important. But insider trading is an excellent example of why people are angry at current inequality: not because some are richer than others, but because there’s one set of rules for those with connections, and another set of rules for everyone else.

Thomas Awad, Montreal

Sharing the road

Studies show that it is much safer to mix cyclists and pedestrians than cyclists with motorized traffic, even with the provision of bike lanes (The Editorial, July 7). Permitting cyclists on well-maintained sidewalks, as is allowed in Florida, can work just fine for the casual cyclists who want to do a short trip around town for recreation. In many small communities or city suburbs you’ll hardly see a pedestrian using a particular sidewalk most times of day; there is usually space for sidewalk widening. Yet the risks of cycling in a bike lane beside fast-flowing traffic are often quite high, especially with so many distracted drivers. Converting some sidewalks to multi-use paths should not be costly and will make better use of existing infrastructure.

Brian Dexter, Georgetown, Ont.

Don’t be cruel

I commend Mercy for Animals for their investigations and the media for providing coverage of events at Chilliwack Cattle Co., in order for Canadians to understand the reality of factory farming (“Gone undercover,” National, July 7). The industry can no longer hide behind closed doors, nor argue that these are isolated incidents. One needs only to look south, where many states are trying to pass bills making undercover investigations a criminal offence, to realize how urgent real transparency and change is needed. It’s time for the industry to accept that they no longer can defend the indefensible.

Gail Kreutzer, Arnes, Man.

I have no respect for Mercy for Animals nor the people behind them. They are worse than the worker who mistreated the cows. This person not only misled his employer, he showed no responsibility at all by not informing the owners at the first signs of mistreatment. He didn’t stop the cruelty; instead he allowed and accepted the continuing of cruelty for his own selfish purpose to capture everything on camera.

Dorothée Beier, Saint-Cyrille-de-Wendover, Que.

Having spent 57 years so far in the animal industry, mostly cattle, I know that there is no way to justify the type of plain evil behaviour seen at Chilliwack Cattle Co. How could that have been going on without someone knowing?

Lore Bruder, Pincher Creek, Alta.

There is an ever-increasing gap between what it costs to feed animals and the price one gets for these animals (and their products, such as milk). Farmers turn to confinement systems (“Gone undercover,” National, July 7) not because they are animal-hating sadists, but because they must if they are to be able to afford to produce milk and meat at the unrealistically low prices demanded by the consumers. Atrocities happen at huge farms like the Chilliwack Cattle Co. because the slim profit margins tempt the owners into hiring cheap, unscreened labour instead of trained, skilled hands. Any real farmer knows that contented animals give more milk, and well-treated turkeys grow better than mistreated, unhappy ones.

Willi Boepple, Saanich Peninsula, B.C.

Gay and grey

I take exception to the statements made by Rinaldo Walcott, who said “queer people tend to view themselves, and their culture, as eternally youthful, without considering the possibility that growing old may mean ‘coming out again and again in old-folks homes’ ” (“Coming out again,” Society, July 7). That is a crass generalization of LGBT people. Many of us, in middle age, have spent years planning and agonizing over pensions, retirement income and insurance. We do worry about our aging, because we know housing may pose uncomfortable issues for us. I know many aging LGBT folks. None of them would check into any place under the title “queer”! Most of us don’t even think in labels. We leave that to the younger generations.

Alison Dennis, Dawson Creek, B.C.

Why is the incident where a gay man was asked not to talk loudly about his sex life in a hospital being cited as an example of homophobia? Isn’t it just possible that the patient who complained was an unwell person in need of peace and quiet? Isn’t it just possible that the nurse was justifiably concerned about the well-being of her other patients?

C.M. Wilcox, Hamilton

In 25 years or so, when I’m eking out my existence warehoused in some seniors’ facility, I hope that all my roommates have the common decency to not loudly brag with their buddies about how many 18-year-olds—of either gender—they poked in their good old days.

Chuck Laidlaw, Victoria

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