Letters

Peter Bregg for Maclean’s

The son also rises

For the sake of the federal Liberals I sincerely hope Justin Trudeau is thick-skinned, Teflon-coated and has several ounces of the same charisma that catapulted his father Pierre Trudeau not only as the Liberal leader, but indeed as a world leader on the international stage (“On his terms,” National, Oct. 15). Anything short of these political ingredients shall spell catastrophic disaster, dismay and disillusion for the aimlessly wandering and waning Liberals.

Chodu Ostrovaski, Mississauga, Ont.

When I opened my Oct. 15 copy of Maclean’s, all these silver spoons fell out of it. Why is that?

A.J. Comstock, Toronto

Any doubt as to whether the next Liberal leadership convention would be a legitimate race or a coronation has certainly been settled with Maclean’s characteristic lucidity. Thanks for the 26-page spread on Prince Justin. If that ain’t royal treatment, I don’t know what is!

Pat Gracey, Dundas, Ont.

Justin Trudeau has only been an MP for three years; before that he was a schoolteacher. Remember Barack Obama also came from a whole three years in the U.S. Senate, and before that was a community social worker; his performance as President has been disappointing to even his most ardent supporters. Since Trudeau’s appearance as a politician, your magazine has dedicated a substantial amount of coverage to him. While other potential Liberal leaders languish in the background despite having achieved substantially more during their careers, it seems that Maclean’s is eagerly holding the crown up over Trudeau’s head in anticipation of his coronation next April.

Allan Garber, Markham, Ont.

Conservatives should all stand up and support Justin Trudeau in his run for the leadership of the Liberals. If an impuissant environmentalist like Stéphane Dion, or an American academic like Michael Ignatieff didn’t fire up the Conservative base in opposition, just wait until the spawn of Canada’s greatest spender takes the helm of Canada’s greatest-spending party.

Mischa Popoff, Osoyoos, B.C.

I look forward to more 26-page spreads should Marc Garneau or Mark Carney decide to run for the Liberal leadership (“The right contender,” National, Oct. 15).

Alan Wainwright, Ottawa

Unchain your daughters

Pat Brown’s book How to Save Your Daughter’s Life (“Lock up your daughters,” Help, Oct. 15) is another manifestation of victim-blaming culture that plagues girls and women across the globe. Victim blaming promotes the idea that a girl should be held partially or fully responsible for a sexual assault or abuse committed against her. Proposing ways to regulate a girl’s behaviour—whether it be disguised as parenting advice or not—to keep her “safe from perverts and psychopaths” is absolutely no different. To shift the focus onto what a girl should do only serves to chastise the victims while condoning the criminal behaviour. Really, “never allow your daughter to be alone with a controlling boy”? Perhaps our sons cannot be trusted and should not be permitted out of the house. As a criminal profiler, Brown should stick to patrolling the behaviour and minds of bad people—not our daughters.

Özlem Eskicioglu, Ottawa

Both Pat Brown’s book and the article about it are based on unresearched, fear-mongering drivel for parents who are just trying to do the right thing.

Dr. Trina E. Read, Calgary

Pat Brown’s “advice” supports the notion of overbearing and oppressive helicopter parents. These parents are raising incapable, completely dependent young adults, while society berates a generation that is babied and is unready for the world at large. She suggests oppression of girls to fight the evils of the world, rather than empowerment, engagement and proper parenting. Home schooling, knitting and stamp collecting completely demean the skills that truly protect daughters: problem solving, assertiveness and self-confidence in social settings. Brown’s tips create girls unprepared for the real world, which neither begins nor ends at the age of 18. If Brown wants to protect a generation of young women, she should influence attitudes away from oppression and toward empowerment.

Megan Beretta, Ottawa

As a teenage girl reading the article about Pat Brown’s new book on raising daughters to be safe from “perverts, psychopaths, drugs and depression,” I was completely horrified by her views on parenting. Maybe I have been too privileged being raised by parents who trust my judgment and common sense enough to let me have basic freedoms boys my own age are allowed, like learning to drive or choosing who I want to date. Instead of locking up your daughters, teach your sons not to hate and rape women.

Monica Mason, Toronto

Not so, Ed Fast

Ed Fast, our minister for international trade (Interview, Oct. 15), claims net 19 per cent improvement in trade with China in 2011. But look at Industry Canada’s manufactured-goods data. Trade deficit with China 2007 to 2011: net 22.4 per cent increase since Stephen Harper took office. In same time period, the manufacturing trade deficit with all foreign countries almost tripled. The only possible conclusion? Harper’s trade record is dismal. How can we believe claims of benefits in proposed new trade deals with the EU and the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Our manufactured goods trade deficit in 2011 was $92.4 billion, $2,679 for each Canadian. If we kept this money working in Canada, rather than hemorrhaging out to foreign countries, we would have plenty of money for investment.

Edward J. Farkas, Toronto

Such innocuous words: “non-tariff trade barriers.” What Minister Fast fails to mention is that those barriers can include environmental regulations, labour laws and food safety practices. That is why Canadians should keep an eye on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. We must demand details be made public before we sign on the bottom line. I am neither anti-trade nor anti-investment, but I do want to know exactly what I am paying for before I buy it.

Kevin Conway, Ottawa

Corporate tax cuts, public pain

Lower taxes on corporations bring more investment to Canada—that’s pretty much a no-brainer (“A few kind words for corporate tax cuts,” From the Editors, Oct. 8). But what’s the end result? Are people in general better off, or just the corporate heads and their investors? And please, don’t tell me this is about jobs—there are good jobs and awful jobs. Are people able to put decent food on the table? To look after their children and their own health? Have a decent place to live? I’m much more interested in those statistics than in how much investment there is in Canada, or how many jobs there are.

Chris Purton, Farleigh Lake, B.C.

All-or-nothing stance on abortion

It seems the reasoning behind choices to terminate female fetuses or ones with Down’s syndrome has less to do with “selection” than Emma Teitel opines (“A system of selective mercy,” Opinion, Oct. 15), and are more about cultural values, socio-economics and survival. If female fetuses grew up to be higher-income wage earners like male fetuses, and adequate funding went into care and support for children with special needs, many women would likely choose differently. It’s money at the root of this “evil,” not a medical procedure.

Danica Loncar, Toronto

Emma Teitel is right to point out that our current utilitarian calculus for defining personhood is illogical and impossible to apply without morally repugnant results. She continues to reason validly to the conclusion that “abortion is an all-or-none paradigm.” Her next statement about how the debate must be framed, however, begs the question, in that it accepts as a premise the tired formulation that abortion is principally about a woman’s “right to dominion over her own body.” Respectfully, that is not the question at the heart of either Stephen Woodworth’s bill or the larger abortion debate. The critical issue is instead whether the fetus is human. If it is, it is by definition a (human) body of its own, not part of its mother’s.

Dr. Philip Toman, New Hamburg, Ont.

Rushdie was right all along

Having just finished Salman Rushdie’s new book, Joseph Anton, I would like to congratulate Brian Bethune on his review (Books, Oct. 15). As Bethune points out, its publication is unfortunately timely, given the recent violence over an anti-Muslim film. But there is another coincidence even more relevant to us now: the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Canada. Joseph Anton is full with moments when Iranian embassy officials were linked to threats to the author and to some of the nastiest press he received in Britain. We should not be naive about the pressures that may be exerted on émigrés here, or the propaganda aimed at media or at university groups. The weak-kneed responses of some among the liberal-left are already notorious, as is their excuse of cultural relativism.

Eve Schnitzer, Ottawa

Service with a smile

I was thrilled to read your article on dentists providing Botox (“Brush, floss and Botox,” Society, Sept. 10). My patients are grateful for this welcome addition to my practice. Administering Botox couldn’t be a more natural extension of my dental school training, which involved rigorous anatomy courses, including dissecting a cadaver with emphasis on neural pathways and muscle groups, all key to understanding this procedure and achieving the desired results. Dentists are extremely comfortable with injections; we give upwards of 10 or 20 or more per day. My profits from Botox are no more than what I make otherwise per unit time. I find it extremely rewarding that I can contribute to making my patients look and feel their best.

Dr. Rebecca Booker, D.D.S., Nanaimo, B.C.

Baby gadgets

I was flabbergasted after reading “Tablets for toddlers” (Business, Oct. 15). Obviously, for technology companies this is a great niche, as there are plenty of parents begging for more products to entertain their kids and keep them quiet. Why do these parents decide to have kids just to have them vegetating with those little screens all the time? I would at least expect them to not complain later when their kids show ADHD-type syndromes or inability for social interaction, let alone negligent, violent behaviour toward others.

Miguel Flores, Mississauga, Ont.




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