I appreciate Jonathon Gatehouse’s piece trying to make sense of Donald Trump’s stateside popularity (“Crazy like a fox,” International, Feb. 1). While Trump may not give voice to the better angels of the natures of his supporters, those for and to whom he speaks need and deserve to be heard. If we think of Trump as a vent of the cauldron’s noxious gases, the whistle letting off steam, we may welcome him shaping the debate in the long months ahead, even if we personally deplore the man and what he says as he does so.
– John Dixon, Toronto
The Trump’s popularity is extremely easy to understand for anybody with a mere smidgen of a brain. The Trump says what most people wish they had the nerve to say, lest they be deemed politically incorrect. The Trump does not owe anybody a political favour. America, and the rest of the world, is crumbling because of indecisive politicians who all have to be oh-so-politically-correct that nothing gets done. The reasons that the Trump will win are the facts that he calls a spade a !*@# spade and he can make decisions! Go Trump, go!
– Hank Bangild, Port Colborne, Ont.
We received our copy in the mail, and the address label was placed across Mr. Trump’s mouth. If it was only that easy to shut him up. At least the Americans will finally have a female president.
– Mark Edlund, London, Ont.
I’m not happy with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees entering Canada. Does that make me an extremist too (“The angry, radical right,” National, Feb. 1)? Everyone knows that extremist language can be found all over the Internet, for and against any cause, from the right and the left (remember all the hate messages directed at Stephen Harper?). Maclean’s would do better to write a story exposing the apocalypse that the refugee story in Europe has become. What about an interview with one of the European women who have been raped by Muslim refugees?
– Ray Givens, Denfield, Ont
On social media, amongst friends, and even family, I ﬁnd myself constantly arguing against ignorance and racism regarding the Syrian refugee crisis and Canada’s role in it. “Saving family No. 417” (National, Jan. 25) lifted my spirits, and gave me a little hope. By sponsoring this family, the diverse group of people in Peterborough, Ont., restored my faith in humanity. Thank you for printing this good news story.
– Aric Dodd, Saskatoon
Refugees and responsibilities
Scott Gilmore’s column “Germany’s real problem with refugees” (International, Jan. 25) is one of the best most common-sense articles I’ve seen in a long time, regarding refugees and the kindness afforded them by host countries. While it may be ridiculous to criticize race, it is reasonable to criticize culture. He says: “New arrivals have a responsibility to live up to our social and cultural standards. If they can’t, we have a responsibility to send them away.” Being humble and grateful for a chance at a new life and to assimilate is key to success and harmony.
– Mary Powell-Perryment, Aurora, Ont.
Scott Gilmore is right in suggesting that we must put a certain amount of expectation on all refugees coming to Canada. But we should not be housing them in large groups. We should be distributing refugees around our great country, “one family to each parish,” as the Pope expressed it. We would then assimilate these newcomers to our Canadian culture quickly and effectively. They would soon learn that our social and cultural standards are the tenets of our legal freedoms and thus must be recognized as responsibilities by all newcomers. Failure to honour our laws should call for immediate expulsion with no exception allowed.
– Joan Y. Peters, Cartier, Man.
Spineless and standing alone
January 2015: Islamist terrorists murder 17 people in Paris; the French National Assembly votes 488 to one to step up attacks against ISIS. June 2015: 30 British tourists in Tunisia are killed by Islamic terrorists; in December, the British House of Commons votes 397 to 223 to bomb ISIS; bombing commences the next day. January 2016: Islamist terrorists slaughter eight Canadians in Burkina Faso, and the Canadian Parliament maintains plans to cease providing air support to our allies fighting ISIS (“Start your engines,” National, Feb. 1). How do you explain such different reactions? Have we really become such wimps?
– Murray Gibbs, Calgary
The simple life
Citizens’ dependence on technology for happiness and convenience pushes the bounds of common sense (“How dumb is your home?” Bazaar, Jan. 25). It’s actually easier to rake a lawn than use a leaf blower, sweep a floor instead of using an automatic vacuum, or open a window when the air feels stuffy than depend on gadgetry to tell you what you should already know. Promoters never tell you about the inconvenience of storing all their electronic junk or the cost of repairing or replacing it. They especially don’t tell you about the pleasure that a simpler life with fewer worries, fewer expenses and more exercise would bring.
– Donald A. Fraser, Waterloo, Ont.
Catching an STV
Michael Blythe scolds Maclean’s for not providing “accurate facts” (“Devoted to reform,” Letters, Jan. 25), a fault he shares. Yes, B.C. voters gave nearly 58 per cent support to the STV system in 2005—a result that was partly in reaction to the 2001 provincial election, which left the official Opposition with only two seats despite a 21.5 per cent share of the popular vote. A second referendum was held in May 2009: the opposing sides received government funding to help educate the public, yet the STV side’s intensive campaign resulted in a drop to 39 per cent support. Voters were not impressed with the idea of larger, multi-member ridings, which would mean weaker direct responsibility by those elected.
– Joe Varesi, Williams Lake, B.C.
We’ve got to move it
Everyone talks about pipelines and the environment (“Crude efforts,” Bad News, Jan. 25), but do we want hundreds or thousands of carloads of oil rolling through the downtowns of more than half the cities and towns of Canada, every day? Pipelines have long proven to be safer than rail and probably can be made still safer. The oil will be moved, no matter what we environmentalists say. It will take another 30 years to cure our addiction to oil and its benefits. Take a look at a map of the country’s rail system, running through the centre of hundreds of towns, villages and cities. Rail accidents happen almost daily. How many large and small Lac Mégantics will we suffer before people realize that pipelines are a hell of a lot safer than rail? I, for one, prefer to clean up a leak, than evacuate or die in a fire.
– Lyle Henderson, Brockville, Ont.
Don’t raise a glass
Having read your Feb. 1 editorial about alcohol consumption, I couldn’t help but be left with the impression that Britain’s chief medical officer is a puritanical prig, that Britain’s low-risk alcohol-consumption guidelines are parsimonious, that the World Health Organization is controlled by a bunch of hand-wringing wonks, that bacon and other processed meats are both nutritious and insignificant carcinogens, and that the increased risk of the eight cancers attributable to heavy alcohol use is trivial. None of these are true. There has been a 14 per cent per capita increase in Canadians’ alcohol consumption between 1996-2007. Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol. Overall, 5.1 per cent of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol. In the age group 20-39, approximately 25 per cent of total deaths are alcohol-attributable. Nearly 10 per cent of the adult population of Canada has, had or will develop an alcohol-use disorder. The potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption (one to two drinks a day) probably apply only to a subset of consumers. If you must drink, follow the guidelines.
– Desmond Colohan, M.D., Charlottetown