Letters: ’You smug and arrogant eastern Liberal elites’

Maclean’s readers write in about Donald Trump, Adam Capay, and, uh, Donald Trump
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to attendees at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio. Ty Wright/GETTY IMAGES
Adam Capay going into court in 2012. (Jeff Labine/DougallMedia/
Adam Capay going into court in 2012. (Jeff Labine/DougallMedia/

Stuck in solitary

I am more than disgusted by the facts revealed in “1,560 days” (National, Nov. 14) about the treatment of Adam Capay in our prison system, and the excessive use of solitary confinement. How can we be doing this? We wouldn’t treat dogs this way! It is reprehensible that the people responsible for this (who seem to all be passing the buck) are not being removed from their positions immediately. How can we call ourselves a progressive and humane country when this kind of thing is occurring? What we are doing is torture, plain and simple!

Karen Gamble, Brantford, Ont.

On a recent trip to Winnipeg I visited the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in which visitors are exposed to many of the human rights abuses for which Canadians have been responsible over time. As a result, I questioned what is going on right now that might be in a future exhibit. It did not take long to find one of the answers in your article about Adam Capay. Kudos to Ontario Human Rights Commission chief Renu Mandane and the media for giving the public a chance to be aware of what is presently being done within the system to deal with it—which is apparently not much.

Andy Lester, London, Ont.

Your report dealing with the horrendous treatment of Adam Capay by Ontario’s penal system is surely grounds for immediate action. Premier Kathleen Wynne and her colleagues should be outraged but instead all we hear are protestations of innocence, the usual promises to further study the situation and meanwhile, the minister for correctional services cannot even remember details of this most egregious case. We claim before no less than the United Nations that we do not practise solitary confinement in this great country but we admit we do use “administrative segregation”—what a mealy-mouthed evasion of the truth! The superintendent at the jail admits that Capay has spent more than 1,500 days in solitary and yet he must be aware that the UN has declared that 15 days should be considered a maximum period in solitary! What kind of a bureaucrat is this and why is he still in a position of authority? We have to face the fact that our penal systems are badly broken.

Eric Balkind, Gore Bay, Ont.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, in Springfield, Ohio on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP/CP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, in Springfield, Ohio on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP/CP)

It’s Trump time

Donald Trump effectively tapped into the same sentiment that supported Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, Brexit and Bernie Sanders (“The people for Donald Trump,” Election 2016, Nov. 21). Voters across Western democracies are frustrated, cynical, distrustful and angry at institutional elites. People may not understand how, but they sense those elites have been playing them for fools, and the cynicism and distrust grows. Voters, like drowning swimmers, seem willing to grasp at any “straw” that offers hope, even if they will drown in the process. Trump may be nothing more than that straw. Hopefully, America and the related societies in the Western world do not “drown” in the process.

Ian C. MacLeod, Richmond, B.C.

Shame on the white American religious right for going all out to elect Donald Trump: the devil incarnate, a racist, a misogynist, a bully, a tax evader, a welcher, a pathological liar, on trial for fraud, a promoter of violence, a repressor of freedom of speech, an adulterer and a cheat—someone who is totally devoid of civilized Christian values. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Now all the world will pay for such folly.

Brian W.A. MacKinnon, Winnipeg

The victory of demagogue Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race brings to mind the immortal words of William Butler Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

William Bedford, Newmarket, Ont.

Now that the U.S. election is over, are we going to get apologies from Scott Gilmore and Jonathon Gatehouse for all the stupidity and nonsense they’ve been spouting about Trump? Perhaps they’re too busy choking on all the crow they’ve been eating.

Ernie Wesolowski, Regina

Scott Gilmore confidently predicted that the U.S. presidential election was already over a couple of weeks ago and that Hillary had won. I am really going to enjoy knowing that you smug and arrogant eastern Liberal elites have egg all over your faces and are eating your humble pie.

Don Armitage, Duchess, Alta.

Reading much of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Trump campaign, I am reminded of the words of the late Charles Simmons: “Ridicule is the first and last argument of fools.”

Bob Lucier, Harrietsville, Ont.

As much as I don’t want to believe it, Donald Trump, a former WWE icon, is now president of the United States. It’s shocking to imagine that the United States is comprised of so many citizens that share Trump’s radical, backwards, racist, and intolerant sentiments. As a Canadian Muslim, I hope that Trump does not implement his far-fetched and poor policies, particularly against Muslims in the U.S. If he does, it could cripple the country and ultimately lead to civil war.

Jariullah Adnan, Toronto

Congratulations, America. You’ve just set fire to your own house; now you get to spend the next four years watching it burn. And I thought Ontario voters were dumb!

Mark Cosgrove, Ottawa

Anti-Trump Americans have increasingly said that they wish to move to Canada (“The rise of Donald Trump,” Election 2016, Nov. 21). Living in Canada is a privilege. Canada is a cultural mosaic that all are welcome to call “home.” It’s a place where the racial, ethnic, and religious barriers have been knocked down time and time again. It’s a place where our diversity is seen as a source of strength, rather than an obstacle. Fear-mongering politicians like Kellie Leitch and Steve Blaney need to know that they are out of touch with the majority of Canadians. The only real anti-Canadian sentiments that we need to worry about in this discussion are theirs.

Anser Daud, Maple, Ont.

Free trade can take a hike

In “Rough seas ahead for trade” (Economy, Nov. 14), Chris Sorensen writes about GDP numbers and IMF statistics with quotes from ivory tower professors and intellectuals making six-figure salaries on the back of students sinking deeper into debt. All you “experts” are scratching your heads about the trade slowdown, and yet no mention of the root cause? Everything is about trade deals that will circumvent national laws and regulations in order to protect fat cat investors and banksters. There is absolutely nothing about the impact on the average citizen or blue-collar worker whose job or decent wage has disappeared. This article is a perfect example of why Donald Trump won the presidential election, and why there is a free trade backlash. You won’t or can’t admit that globalization has benefited a few but has harmed a lot more regular people in the West.

Michal Sokolowski, Moncton, N.B.

Do we want more democracy?

Regarding the newly appointed senators (“Cream of the crop,” Good News,” Nov. 14), no, it’s not “too bad nobody voted for them.” Why do so many assume that election is always the best way to choose people for positions of power? Every method has its advantages and disadvantages: none is perfect. Choosing by popular vote requires candidates to run campaigns, and the downward spiral that can cause is exemplified by the current U.S. situation. Canada has the House of Commons, the members of which are elected, and a second chamber, the Senate. Surely, in order that the Senate can do more than just rubber-stamp, it makes sense that its members are chosen a different way? To invite applications, which are then reviewed by the government on the basis of experience and ability, seems to me an excellent method: far better than patronage, the system that led the Senate to the point where you describe it as “clunky and dysfunctional.”

Peter Jepson, Belleville, Ont.

The whole picture

Thank you for publishing Hosam Salem’s stunning photo essay on street workouts in Gaza (“Hanging tough,” Society, Oct. 31) . Most of the population of Gaza is very young (under 18 years of age) and never voted for any government. They are the victims of a 10-year blockade rightly described as collective punishment by many international observers, including most recently UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It is always illuminating to see how ordinary people live their lives despite the devastation of repeated military aggressions imposed on them through no choice of their own.

David Heap, London, Ont.

Your photo essay shows destruction, but fails to explain why there was “Israeli shelling” and “the Israeli-Gaza conflict that destroyed much of Beit Lahiya,” leaving the uninformed reader to draw conclusions that Israel attacked Gaza for no reason, leaving misery in its wake. The photo essay should have provided some context, and should have described Israel’s actions as a defensive war against thousands of rockets and dozens of tunnels aimed at Israeli civilians. Describing and showing the destruction without context merely reinforces the false narrative sold to the public that Israel is at fault.

David M. Sherman, Toronto

Franco education on the Prairies

The Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) takes issue with the claim that “post-secondary options for Franco-Manitobans have been poor to non-existent” (“The road to French lies east,” 2017 College and University Programs Guide). As the francophone university of Western Canada, USB has been attracting and educating Franco-Manitoban students for almost 200 years and its enrolments have never been higher than they are today. It is also important to know that USB is not simply a university primarily for arts and education students, as incorrectly asserted in the article. USB offers college and university programs in a range of disciplines, including at the graduate level. If some Franco-Manitobans leave the province to pursue post-secondary studies elsewhere, far more graduates from the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM) come to USB for their post-secondary education: one out of every three, actually. What’s more, just as many immersion students as DSFM graduates come to USB. It is also useful to know that eight per cent of USB’s students are from other provinces and another 19 per cent of our students come from abroad.

Peter Dorrington, Vice-President, Academic and Research, Université de Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg

Good point

Hillary Clinton’s biggest mistake was in choosing Tim Kaine instead of Bernie Sanders as a running mate (“The making of a president,” Election 2016, Nov. 21). Sanders was a popular opponent in the primaries and gave her a strong endorsement. I believe she would’ve won hands down with him. In 1960, John Kennedy chose as his running mate a strong opponent in the primaries, L.B. Johnson. They apparently disliked each other greatly but JFK was smart enough to overcome this and choose him as a running mate because of his popularity in the South and the fact he lived in Texas. JFK then won the election by a very narrow margin over Richard Nixon.George King, Victoria