Selling the snake oil
It should be obvious to everyone in the world by now that Donald Trump’s cult of personality is successful precisely because he has been telling many Americans what they want to hear (“Homegrown extremist,” International, June 27). Even though he has stated that he is not a politician, Trump is apparently an expert at selling snake oil to his own countrymen.
A.S. Cameron, Vancouver
I find it incredible that Donald Trump has been promoting stripping Muslims of their basic rights. Like me, many Ahmadi Muslims left their Third World countries of birth because of this very problem: being prohibited religious freedom of conscience and being ridiculed for our beliefs. Donald Trump has tried his best to brainwash American citizens and make this year’s elections a reality-TV show. The absurd concepts he has brought forth have left me truly appalled.
Sultan Ahmed, Saskatoon
Surely Orlando puts to rest the moronic myth that if everybody and their brother “packed heat” then the insane shooters would be dropped in their tracks (“ ‘I’m going to die,’ ” International, June 27). Even an armed security guard couldn’t stop this man from barging into the room and killing 49 people. Dirty Harry and John Wayne combined couldn’t draw down fast enough to neutralize somebody with a blazing AR-15-type gun. Sadly, the good folks in the U.S. are being deceived by those who mistakenly think a country’s internal security comes from guns. To a great degree, our international security depends on the weapons we are afraid to use. Shouldn’t we be instructed by this principle when we make decisions about the weapons we allow our citizens to have?
Robert Lawrence, North Bay, Ont.
My condolences go out to the victims of the recent attack in Orlando. As a species we are all unique and different, no matter the cultural, religious, political or economic factors holding us together. A glaring problem with associating this massacre with Islam, mental illness or the love of gun culture is that every single one of these explanations ignores that human behaviour is not influenced by ideology or personality as much as by situational factors.
Tayyab Pirzada, Mississauga, Ont.
Howe could you Trump that?
Your June 27 cover text, underneath a photo of Donald Trump, indicates in large yellow print that the U.S. now has a problem with homegrown extremists, as if this is something new. Hasn’t it had homegrown Republicans long before this?
Bill Jarrett, Cambridge, Ont.
I was very disturbed when I collected my issue from the mailbox. I do not want to look at Donald Trump all week. Why did you not put Gordie Howe, a symbol of decency and all that is best in the sporting world, on the cover? He deserves the tribute; Trump does not. I have ripped off the cover, torn it into little pieces and put it in the trash where it belongs.
Marianne Thompson, Kingston, Ont.
Your June 20 cover featured boxing great Muhammad Ali. Later that same week another sports great, Gordie Howe, died. Your choice for the next cover should have been easy and obvious. Sadly, you chose Donald Trump. That was an insult to Canadians. Your issue did contain a very interesting feature, but “Mr. Hockey” deserved the front cover.
Lorne Wells, Kingston, Ont.
I would have loved to have seen a Red Wing as the main picture on the cover, rather than a redneck.
Joseph Paluch, Hamilton
At first I was disgusted. Then I thought about your choice to put Donald Trump’s screaming puss on your cover under a banner entitled “Remembering Gordie Howe.” I get it: you decided to feature the personification of the Ugly American—loud, revolting and pusillanimous—as a foil for the personification of the Beautiful Canadian—quiet, decent and tough. Sorry, but I’m still disgusted. Canada’s prince deserves better. RIP Gordie.
Dermot P. Nolan, Hamilton
That gasbag Donald Trump does not deserve the cover. The Orlando victims do. But thanks for the new dartboard target.
Janet Pole, London, Ont.
Not so great
I couldn’t help but notice on the cover of the June 20 issue that Muhammad Ali was described as “the greatest athlete of all time.” Who decided this? I’ll agree that for a few years he was a successful boxer but suggest that, among many others, Gordie Howe was a far better athlete. In addition, with or without boxing gloves and with or without skates, I’d pick Howe in any kind of a fight. Most people would also select Howe as being a better person unless they value being brash, trash-talking and self-promoting over being approachable, humble and a dedicated and successful husband and father.
Mort White, Mooretown, Ont.
As good as he was, Gordie Howe was not the greatest hockey player ever. That honour belongs to Bobby Orr. A lot of Howe’s points were obtained due to the intimidation factor. No player was going to get too close to him, especially in the corners. The greatest? Compared to Orr? Not even close.
Richard Bouchard, Toronto
Tribute to ‘the Greatest’
This tribute to Muhammad Ali (“Ali and America,” Society, June 20) was balanced, poignant and beautifully written. As the boxing coach in Louisville, Ky., said in the piece, “You either lay down and get counted out, or you stand up and get counted on.” I would say Ali lives on.
Janet Seale, Ottawa
Again with the anthem
Evan Solomon’s statement that Robert Stanley Weir, who wrote the original English lyrics to O Canada, “changed his original line ‘Thou dost in us command’ to the now controversial ‘In all thy sons command’ ” is incorrect (“Anthem politics… and me,” June 20). The original version of O Canada, with original R.S. Weir text, was first published in 1907, not 1908 as widely reported in the press, in A. Cringan’s The New Educational Music Course. The 1907 edition of the music and text of O Canada clearly states the words “In all thy sons command.” “Thou dost in us command” is not present in the 1907 edition. As our nation approaches its 150th birthday, I do hope that the public can be made aware of the accurate history of the lyrics of O Canada. It is a national embarrassment that the facts are not widely known.
Stephen Chatman, Vancouver
Parliament might finally get around to ensuring that our national anthem is gender-neutralized (neutered?), and should not stop there (“Anthem politics… and me,” Evan Solomon, June 20). “Native land” is okay, as this has been recognized by different levels of government and affirmed by the courts, but “patriot love” and the stern “command” don’t reflect Canadians’ understated nationalism or politeness. Describing the North as free might encourage the Russians to drop their flag there. The reference to God does not represent our secular nature, and it could be offensive to atheists as well as those who refer to a higher power by a different name; and as for Him keeping our land free, have you seen the price of real estate these days? Does the repeated “we stand on guard” suggest that we might build walls or even rehash the dreaded conscription issue?
Joe Varesi, Williams Lake, B.C.
Keep the fringe out of PR
Congratulations for publishing an article explaining alternate election methods, (“Rebooting Canadian democracy,” National, June 20). It is a refreshing break from all the naysayers and critics of changes to our antiquated system of first-past-the-post. The criticism that proportional representation (PR) allows extremist parties to “gain a foothold” is invalid. Sure, they will get the number of seats that their share of the votes allows, but they will never be able to influence the policies of the ruling coalition. Many PR countries limit participation of parties with less than five per cent of the vote to avoid this difficulty.
Donald A. Fraser, Waterloo, Ont.
Not so altruistic
I understand Wal-Mart is testing the refusal of Visa credit cards in the hotbed of Canadian retailing, Thunder Bay, Ont. (“The price of convenience,” Good News, June 27). Be prepared, Thunder Bay shoppers, to be deluged by Wal-Martians wanting you to sign up for the Wal-Mart Mastercard. Every time I go into a store, I am asked if I want the Wal-Mart Mastercard. It drives me crazy. I suppose it is good news that someone is standing up to the epidemic of fees, but keep in mind companies like Wal-Mart are interested in one thing: the bottom line.
Murray Cluff, Beamsville, Ont.
Your most recent “Good News” column lauds Wal-Mart’s rejection of Visa cards as a “heartening stand on the epidemic of fees that serve to mask the true price of products and services,” as though Wal-Mart were motivated by altruism and its concern for poor people. The reality is, of course, that the few fractions of a penny that Wal-Mart would save on each Visa transaction will end up not in the pockets of the poor, but primarily in those of a handful of people named Walton and a few large institutional shareholders. Good news for them, of course, but meaningless to the average Wal-Mart shopper.
Brian Bjolin, Toronto
War is over
So Canada is contemplating spending billions of dollars on a fleet of fighter jets (“Pragmatism takes flight,” Good News, June 27). What for? Fighter jets to fight against whom? The days of the Messerschmitt, the Zero and the MiG-15 are long gone, so please spend my tax dollars on something more useful.
Jim Armstrong, Surrey, B.C.
Writing about Venezuela, Scott Gilmore says he believes that “the single biggest economic and political crisis in the Western hemisphere would warrant at least a comment from Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion.” (“When a nation collapses and nobody cares,” June 27.) My grandmother used to say, “If you cannot say anything helpful, say nothing at all.” Mr. Dion is following this maxim and he is right.
Don Phillipson, Carlsbad Springs, Ont.
I just read Scott Gilmore’s “The men who ruin politics for women” (International, June 20). You make me very proud to say that I am a Canadian, and one who served in the Canadian Forces. I only wish we could somehow transform the sexist thinking of the men around us.
Gregory A. Milne (Padre, Ret’d), Vernon, B.C.
In describing Mélanie Joly, what is meant by an “amateur public intellectual”? Is it something different from a “professional public intellectual” (whatever that is)? This seems to be yet another putdown that would not be directed at a man.
Robert H. Thomas, Kingston, Ont.