Letters: 'Hang tough, Motor City'

Maclean's readers weigh in on Detroit, the royal baby hoopla and men's rights


Eric Thayer/Reuters

Baby talk

John Fraser’s “Ordinary but magical” (The Royal Baby, Aug. 12), about the Crown’s role in Canada, is the most beautiful and poignant essay of our time. It must be required reading for every intended immigrant and aspiring citizen.

Bill Gruenthal, Burnaby, B.C.

Although I think Kate and William are a lovely young couple with a beautiful healthy baby (“Long live the future king,” The Royal Baby, Aug. 12), all the fuss shows a real sense of misplaced values. All babies are special and to be celebrated, not just those of the rich and privileged. It is important to remember that the British aristocracy no longer reigns over us.

James Colley, Hemmingford, Que.

People should understand that the fortune and the wealth of all royals of this world is tainted with blood and was obtained through wars, stolen money, taxing the poor and the colonization of rich but uneducated countries. All royals are parasites.

Pierre Duquette, Preissac, Que.

What’s intolerable about having to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, the editors ask (“Long to reign over us,” From the Editors, Aug. 12). A better question would be: What’s wrong with swearing allegiance to our own great nation? The claim that the monarchy is the reason for the stability of our democracy would be disputed by the Americans, who have done just fine without it. Britain is a foreign nation.

Bill Paul, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Your editorial says, “The concept of a hereditary monarchy inevitably produces a few cranky complainers.” Cranky we may be, especially after reading this editorial, but few, we are not. Support for the monarchy, according to polls, depends somewhat on the wording of the question, but is at least 50 per cent. The editorial states that “all political power in this country ultimately resides in the Crown.” That statement is foolishness. Canada is a parliamentary democracy, and our elected representatives hold the real political power. Canada is now a proud, grown-up nation, with no need of vestiges of colonialism. We need a head of state who is Canadian.

Hugh Gillis, Antigonish, N.S.

Bravo to Scott Feschuk for his tips on raising the royal heir (“Do cover all electrical outlets and moats,” Feschuk, Aug. 12).Finally, something about the royal comic-opera that I can read without the usual attack of nausea. It was like a lifeboat to the rest of us out here, drowning in a sea of monarchist grovelling.

Carol Poole, Surrey, B.C.

Anger vs. hate

Following the death of men’s-rights advocate Earl Silverman, Mika Rekai wrote that “any meaningful consideration of the issues was quickly drowned out by the deafening noise of what was quickly becoming a wall of hate” (“Angry young men,” National, Aug. 12). Anger isn’t hatred. Anger is a legitimate part of useful discussion, especially when those who’ve tried the not-angry way faced years of marginalization, ridicule and false allegations. Silverman had spent 20 years trying to get support from government professionals in the domestic-violence industry, most of them avowed feminists who, to this day, continue to minimize the problem of female-on-male violence. Rekai mistakenly quotes me as saying, about people I believed to be direct contributors to Silverman’s death, “We’re coming for you”—which I clearly did not write; that was John Hembling, editor-in-chief of A Voice For Men (at which I am managing editor). Anyone with more than a cursory familiarity with our publication knows what we mean by “we’re coming for you”—and that it isn’t violence we intend, it’s exposure of the hateful ideologues for who and what they are. There were certainly not any threats of violence in A Voice for Men, nor would any be allowed, since our non-violence policy is zero-tolerance and written in stone.

Dean Esmay, Detroit

When anyone uses inclusive statements that target all women, or seeks to discriminate further by labelling them all misandrists and feminists, what you have is pure prejudice. It is individuals who are often the targets, individuals who manifest the problems described in this article—not races, sexes, classes or any other labels.

William David, Gabriola Island, B.C.

We have argued in vain for decades that equality is a two-way street and that old injustices cannot be righted by creating new ones. We have done so largely in vain. The situation is scarcely improved by the poisonous, sometimes violent misandry that the women’s movement has allowed to lurk in plain view within itself, uncensured, since its inception. The vast majority of men want nothing more than to engage in a mutually respectful conversation about our various needs and aspirations. And that, after all, was the very purpose of establishing modern, egalitarian gender relations, was it not?

Charles A. Bogue, Stoneham- et-Tewkesbury, Que.

Detroit is all of us

I’m empathetic with Paul Wells’s nostalgia for a vibrant Detroit (“Detroit runs out of gas,” International, Aug. 12), but the city’s existential disaster didn’t just “happen.” The union-leftist complex got exactly what their hearts desired: control. Detroit has had decades of unfettered leftist policies (its last Republican mayor left office in 1962), union protectionism and some of the stiffest gun-control measures in the country. The result couldn’t be anything but devastating unemployment, corruption and violence within a crumbling urban dystopia. Welcome to Michigan’s “workers’ paradise.”

Collin Sawatzky, Kelowna, B.C.

I was born and raised in Detroit; I left the state in 1970. I still have friends and family there. Most, if not all, of the media coverage of Detroit’s problems rely on photos and descriptors that make the city look like a devastated war zone. Get away from the city’s core, and the outlying neighbourhoods look like almost any other North American suburb. Streets are busy, people are walking around shopping, homes and lawns are well-cared-for and kids and families are playing in the parks. What the media have been showing is giving their viewers false impressions. Hang tough, Motor City.

Fred Pishalski, Victoria

How many times have Canadians looked at tragic events south of the border, only to find we have them here, too? Thousands of people have lost manufacturing jobs across Canada. We just had the good fortune to have them spread apart; placed together, we could easily look as bad. Detroit was killed by all of us. We need to embrace the companies that strive to remain in North America, welcome the new ones that come here and support projects that ensure our future. Our parents, pensions and infrastructures still survive by riding on the coattails of these glory days. We have to replace them.

Don Ahrens, Stratford, Ont.

Smooth cruisin’

You make a couple of excellent points in your article about cruise ships (“Troubled waters,” Business, July 29). However, as someone who has cruised seven times, all outside U.S. waters, I have never felt unsafe. On three of our cruises, there were outbreaks of norovirus, either just before or during our voyage, and it was handled efficiently; only a very small number of people actually became ill. As to the wages of the staff, this industry offers workers from all over the globe opportunities they could not enjoy in their countries of birth. I have talked to many staff members and none seemed disgruntled or upset with the wages; in fact, quite the opposite, and that is why they sign up for contract after contract. If you speak with a ship’s crew, you may get a totally different perspective than the one expressed in the article.

Jeff Brisbois, Port Williams, N.S.

For the historical record

It is very interesting to read of the discourse among the various factions wanting representation in the Canadian Museum of Civilization and how they want the representation spun (“Written by the victors,” National, Aug. 12). Stepping back, that discourse itself is worthy of an exhibit, as it is a real part of current Canadian history. I am reminded of the old saw: “History is but the lies men choose to believe.”

William J. Keller, Winnipeg

In the past decade, invading and stripping half the Museum of Civilization became a vital mission to a handful of nationalist historians, and their choice of a Trojan Horse is the federal government. Those traditionalists aim at replacing virtually all the main history galleries, which now feature ordinary people and everyday life in Canada in the last thousand years, with displays of landmark political events, episodes or people. In short, the museum would jettison its broad social-history narrative for past parables stitched together with timelines, pictures and labels covering the walls. Textbooks, anyone? Between 1984 and 2002, when the Canada Hall permanent history exhibits took shape, upwards of $50 million was spent on researching, designing, building and outfitting them. Annually, more than one million visitors tour these displays. Amortized over a half-century, that’s about $1 a head. And given both their forthright chronological theme structure and regional storylines, those galleries, upgraded slightly as new knowledge warrants, could easily stand high in public understanding and acceptance for even 100 years. One cannot claim such loyalty or longevity for narrowly focused, easily contested political history accounts.

Dan Gallacher, Curator emeritus, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Kelowna, B.C.

Acting like grown ups

The idea that divorced parents should visit their kids at camp on different days is not a solution, nor do I agree that visiting should be mandated by already exhaustive legal agreements (“You, your kids, your ex, his lover,” Help, July 29). However, Tina Tessina’s comment that couples should simply “deal” understates the challenge. My divorced parents both have their Ph.D.s in social work and still only communicate with one-line texts. Better advice for them would be to think of peaceful encountering as a skill they will need for their kids’ recitals, graduations or—heaven forbid—weddings. And if an argument should break out, camp isn’t the worse place for them to be. After all, outdoor voices are expected.

Meagan Campbell, Halifax