Need to know

Letters: 'Thank you to the women for their courage'

Maclean's readers write in

Agony and empathy

“It could have been me” (National, June 15) was one of the most thought-provoking and emotional articles I have ever read. What these incredible women and countless others went through— and are currently going through— is sickening. But the fact that they all have somehow become stronger from their experiences is inspirational. The sharing of their personal experiences will aid in the process through thoughtful reflection and reconciliation. One can only hope that these letters reach the darkest corners of our country, where the abuse is happening, to provide hope to those who need it most. Kudos to Maclean’s for continuing to publish articles like these and addressing one of the biggest travesties of our generation head-on.
Chris Taylor, Victoria

Bravo and thank you to Nancy Macdonald for the 13 interviews with Aboriginal women. At first my curiosity was piqued because I realized I knew one of the women: we used to ride the bus together and chat every morning. I was shocked to my core to read her story. A day later I went back to read the others. Who knows what wounds people are carrying inside while they go about their daily lives? And who can guess the amazing strength of their courage? An excellent and very moving piece, handled just right.
R.M. Johnson, Ottawa

This article brought tears to my eyes, as these brave women told their stories. I grew up with an alcoholic mother, my older sister was mentally challenged and mentally ill, there was a lot of violence in my home. I was raped at 19 by my roommate’s brother. This was in 1973 and I did not go to the police; we had been drinking and snogging earlier in the evening. I did not deserve the violence, pain, shame or bruises. I blamed myself for the next 20 years. But I do not consider myself special, unique or extraordinary. I do have a problem with the ongoing pity party. My message to all women: let us rise above it and get on with our lives. Our history is not defined by men or our families. Ask any adult, regardless of race, economic status or gender: Have you, a family member or a friend ever experienced abuse, mental health problems or substance abuse? If someone says no, they are either in denial or have no family or friends. This is pandemic, not exclusive to our First Nations people or any group.
D.R. Low, Victoria

OK, OK: Nancy Macdonald has relentless points to make regarding Aboriginals. We get it, those of us with liberal white guilt who’ve doled out billions of taxpayer dollars to cushion the blows. However, is there now going to be an endless parade of women of all types with sad stories who want to be congratulated for “surviving”?
Daryl Moad, Winnipeg

This article is the most important thing Maclean’s has ever done. Thank you to the women for their courage.
Emanuella Enenajor, New York City, N.Y.

This was indeed truly heart-wrenching. I am embarrassed to say that as a Canadian with 10 years of post-secondary education, this essential knowledge was unfortunately absent in my educational system and daily life. It provides the required clarity to the issue and highlights the terminology “cultural genocide.”
Christopher Patey, St. John’s, N.L.

I am in the military. I know courage where I see it. These women are courageous. I cried. I felt shame. We must act, and it must start from the top.
Chris Bowen, Courtenay, B.C.

After reading the article of 13 women who have endured abuse and rape, how can you even print an article about a comedian later in the magazine with the headline: “A rape joke it’s okay to laugh at” (TV, June 15)? That demonstrates a lack of respect and judgment.
N.P. Lalonde, Ottawa

Teach your children good

The teacher in the photo accompanying the article “Teaching teachers to teach” is pointing to a list of adjectives, the first being the word “slowly.” Perhaps this teacher could benefit from a course in remedial English, as the word “slowly” is actually an adverb.
J. Douglas Gardner, Peachland, B.C.

Give it away, don’t throw it away

Kudos to Paris city councillor Arash Derambarsh for getting a new law requiring larger grocery stores to give charities food that’s close to its expiration date (Newsmaker, June 8). Sending perfectly good food to landfills proves we live in a wasteful world and have no regard for humanity. Extra edible food should be given to the hungry and only real food waste—inedible food, banana peels, orange rinds, apple cores—should be composted. Food waste in landfills creates methane gas, which is 30 times more harmful than carbon dioxide, but composting it does not. Besides improving air quality, it also makes nutrient-rich compost and saves taxpayer money by extending the life of landfills. All of these health, ecological and economic benefits should be enough for all governments to ban organics from landfills.
Barbara Frensch, Burlington, Ont.

Touchy about terrorism

Adil Charkaoui (“The angriest man in Montreal,” National, June 8) challenged Radio-Canada journalist Anne-Marie Dussault for asking him to condemn Islamic State, saying she wouldn’t ask someone from a Catholic school to do the same. Yet there does seem to be a double standard when it comes to these matters. No one forces Quebec nationalists to account for their ties to the FLQ, and there seems to be a reluctance to refer to the FLQ as terrorists at all. Yet Charakoui, who—unlike some members of the FLQ, has never killed anyone for his political beliefs—is the one who gets grilled for his links to terrorism. It’s hard not to think that this has something to do with the fact that he’s Muslim, and not a Québécois de souche.
David Franklin, Montreal

Make something of yourself

Your interview with Brian Mulroney (The Interview, June 1) profiles the former prime minister’s association with the Horatio Alger Association of Canada. That organization offers scholarships to young people who have overcome adversity in their lives. People have the unfortunate tendency to use terms like “children at risk” to describe youth who come from unfortunate or disadvantaged backgrounds, as if to suggest that they are somehow destined to become “problem people.” Maybe it’s time we recognize that while nurture and nature are important, success in life, regardless of how one defines it, tends to be a matter of choices. Many people from adverse backgrounds, at one point or another, decide that they are sick and tired of the way that they are living, and are going to make something of their lives. Congratulations to Mulroney for giving them a hand.
Joseph Kenneth Malone, Charlottetown

Adieu, M. Parizeau

Oh please! Why must our media rush to lionize such people after they’ve died, in some weak attempt to make them someone other than what they clearly were. Jacques Parizeau was a poisonous individual, filled with the glorious dreams of his own empire (“ ‘So close to having a country,’ ” National, June 15). Undoubtedly he had his robes of office designed, if not waiting in a closet. He would sneer at any concept of a Canada that included Quebec, and was never loath to belittle and insult anyone he judged to have a lesser intellect incapable of understanding the truth—which was just about everybody other than himself. He freely admitted his push for sovereignty was simply going to be a legal ruse to allow establishment of a proper Parizeau regime. And he was fully ready to deceive Quebecers about his intent—not just ready to do so, but he already had. Let him go, and let his sleazy politics go with him.
D.A. Noble, Ottawa

CSR starts with a living wage

I am very glad to see the extent to which the idea of corporate social responsibility has become accepted in Canada and happy that Maclean’s had been highlighting this trend for the past seven years (“The bottom line: be good,” Special Report, June 15). However, it is troubling that a commitment to pay a living wage is not included in the indices tracked by Sustainalytics for your magazine. Without a fair wage metric included, Canadians don’t have a clear picture of which firms truly care about the communities they operate within, and thus these lists risk losing their credibility.
Vincent Puhakka, Edmonton

Private Swiss accounts

I have never met Mike Duffy—although we exchanged smiles once at the Swiss Chalet in Brockville, Ont.—but I think I would like him (“The Duffy diaries,” National, June 8). I know I would like him more than I would the Prime Minister, who recruited Duffy (not that he wasn’t willing), used him and then washed his hands of him.
Charles Boyle, Prescott, Ont.

Your article “The Duffy diaries” removed from court documents diary entries of a personal nature with no connection to Sen. Duffy’s alleged offences. Sen. Duffy’s loss of income, influence and prestige together with a possible criminal conviction are punishment enough without private diary entries being reported in your magazine.
David Scott, Gabriola Island, B.C.

Closer to their art

I am so proud to be a long-time Rush fan (“Oh, what a Rush!” Music, June 15). From the very first time I saw them from nosebleed seats in Maple Leaf Gardens, in the winter of 1977 during their Farewell to Kings tour, I was smitten. I have since seen the band some 20 times. Rush have never come across as spoiled, rude rock stars. They are down-to-earth, intelligent and refined. They’ve given away plenty to various charities, and been acknowledged with an honorary Juno for doing so. In our day and age, where so many things are disposable, where we don’t often stay where we were raised, who truly among us doesn’t long for the sustaining power of deep, fulfilling, long-term friendships? Each has had long-standing marriages. As a band, they still enjoy one another’s company after all these years. That Geddy and Alex are best friends, furthermore, and still love hanging and playing together, is something I’m sure that many fans admire on a fundamental level.
J.W. Collins, Ottawa

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