Left behind in the future

You did a wonderful job in your Oct. 22 issue presenting the many aspects of the modern technological revolution. You did not, however, discuss the displacement of jobs that has resulted. We must once again let middle-class workers share in the benefits of modern technological improvements. That is, after all, what contributed to the booming economy, the low unemployment rate and the powerful middle class after the Second World War.

Otto Hafeli, Redcliff, Alta.

Let’s keep it down to earth

Judging from the competence of the average automobile driver, I do not think that letting them pilot flying cars is such a good idea (“Back to the future,” Bazaar, Oct. 15).

Robert Roaldi, Ottawa

Peak oil is no myth

In “Awash in oil” (International, Oct. 22), Colby Cosh places emphasis on fossil fuels and less on green energy. Sure there are lots of hydrocarbon fuels locked up in coal reserves, shale, and deep under the ocean, including the fragile Arctic ecosystem. We cannot keep extracting fossil fuels forever. We have the ability and technology now, to replace fossil fuels in the near future with green energy as the main energy source to drive our civilization.

Franklin Thompson, Cornwall, Ont.

Colby Cosh makes a big deal about peak oil panic. Anyone with two sticks to rub together knows instinctively that, being a finite commodity, it’s bound to run out sooner or later.

David Boese, St. Catharines, Ont.

Colby Cosh characterizes the work of a knowledgeable scientist, Marion King Hubbert, as alarmist and useless. Hubbert stated that oil extraction by conventional means on continental U.S. would peak (not the end) in the early 1970s—and it did. As a lead scientist at Shell oil, he was well aware of the potential (though yet untapped) for oil to fill the void from offshore sources. His company was already involved in work to extend the life of oil wells and to develop unconventional oil extraction methods. Even though oil production is not going to end soon, we should be doing all we can to reduce the wasteful use of the most valuable commodity we have on Earth.

Vern Piper, New Westminster, B.C.

Lawless abortion

Although it’s true that MP Stephen Woodworth’s private member’s bill could ultimately have led to some legislation regarding abortion (“A system of selective mercy,” Opinion, Oct. 15), I find it counterproductive when women’s rights advocates shut down any and all discussion on the matter whatsoever. I applaud Rona Ambrose for independent thinking. Do women’s rights advocates believe we should not think for ourselves? I agree with MP Brent Rathgeber’s comments: although I am in principle pro-life, I do not believe we can deny a woman who wants an abortion in the earlier stages of pregnancy. In practicality, then, I am reluctantly pro-choice. However, I think we need to discuss the implications when a woman can legally walk into a clinic and ask for an abortion right up to the day she is due to deliver.

K.R. Cooper, West Kelowna, B.C.

Ironically, Emma Teitel thinks a woman’s choice is “having dominion” over her own body. Might I suggest that protecting oneself from all unnecessary medical procedures would be the wise woman’s means of having self-dominion. Aside from rape, most abortions indicate the woman’s own primary failure to have dominion over both her mind and body, leaving abortion, instead, as an alternative. Abortion for sex selection is entirely another matter and this procedure hearkens back to the historical belief in the inherent inferiority of women. From ancient times, many considered the birth of a girl to be a curse and newborn females were subsequently left out in the elements to die of exposure and starvation, often under the father’s orders. We can’t have it both ways, folks.

Judy Schuett, Cobourg, Ont.

Justin time

While reading “On his terms” (National, Oct. 15) I was expecting to learn more about Justin Trudeau’s political platform. However, Canadian citizens seem to have more interest in speculating on his future success based on heritage. I would never want to be assessed on my father’s reputation. So why have we chosen to place these restrictions on Justin? I hope that merit influences the decision of voters, not a family name, so that results are not linked to a desire for gossip, but for the betterment of our country.

Maureen Forrester, Innisfil, Ont.

I cannot see what would be wrong with having a young family man as prime minister of this great country. It wouldn’t matter how much or how little experience he has. Even Robert Stanfield missed getting the chance as PM not because of his lack of experience, but because it finally came down to the fact he couldn’t catch a football. Keep playing with your kids, Justin; that is about all most people expect from a PM these days.

Oscar Van Dongen, Vermilion, Alta.

On your website on June 27, John Geddes wrote, “Deborah Coyne, the Toronto-based lawyer and policy consultant, and mother of the late Pierre Trudeau’s only daughter, launched a surprise bid for the federal Liberal leadership.” That was followed by a 1,000-word interview with her. Contrast that to the 26-page spread for Justin Trudeau in the print edition when he announced his candidacy, with no mention that he will be running against the mother of his half-sister. Is this not news?

Annie Palovcik, Saltspring Island, B.C.

Children’s crusade

Omar Khadr was 15 years old (“Into the unknown,” National, Oct. 15) when he was arrested in Afghanistan. That has to take precedence in our decisions in his case, or we sacrifice humanity for political principle. I was a 15-year-old boy once; I remember how I behaved and why. I raised two sons and in my long career as a high school teacher I taught more than a thousand 15-year-old boys. I understand their levels of emotional control, depth of experience, motivation, and judgment. They are not grown men! We don’t trust them to drive unsupervised. They cannot sign binding contracts. Our society assumes that boys of this age will do what the adults in their family tell them to do.

C.R. Tompkins, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

Can’t put a price on a great set of kidneys

I was greatly disheartened by the article “How much is that kidney in your body?” (National, Oct. 22). The idea of paying for organs raises hairs on the back of my neck. Maybe if the money had to be given to the donor’s favourite charity, I could get rid of this knot in my gut. Payment of any kind, or even tax breaks, cheapens what is one of the greatest gifts we can contribute to our fellow humankind.

Cheryl Burchell, Yarmouth, N.S.

We are awesome . . .

Over the years I have allowed my subscription to Maclean’s to lapse a few times. A month ago, I felt like saying to heck with it. But you caught me unawares with some delightful, interesting, thought-provoking excerpts from a couple of books. So now I remain a Maclean’s subscriber and I bought Michael Petrou’s Is This Your First War? (“My Middle East,” International, Oct. 1) and Russell Wangersky’s Whirl Away (“Out of the blue, a rusty bolt,” Society, Oct. 15), both of which are must-reads. Keep those book excerpts coming!

Frank Martens, Summerland, B.C.

. . . and we’re not going anywhere

I have subscribed to Maclean’s and Newsweek for over 30 years. Originally I thought Newsweek was better than Maclean’s, but over the years Maclean’s had the better format and much more interesting articles. Newsweek became thinner and thinner in the last two years, and now they’ve announced they will no longer have a print edition as of December. In spite of my getting more news on the Internet every year, I very much enjoy the arrival of Maclean’s, which has more analysis and info than I find elsewhere. I like a thick magazine I can enjoy reading throughout the week, and I hope you don’t go the way of Newsweek.

Thomas Wright, Collingwood, Ont.

Name that artist

In your Good News section of Oct. 15, the artist being embraced by Michaelle Jean in thanks for her official portrait was not named in the caption. Artists suffer from this inadvertent neglect all the time and it is neither fair nor deserved. The artist’s name is Karen Bailey; she is my wife. I am honoured to be her husband.

Iain Main, Ottawa


A story on increasing life expectancy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (“Getting a new lease on life,” National, Oct. 22) misidentified a co-founder of the Portland Hotel Society. Her correct name is Liz Evans.