Volume 94, Issue 77

Thursday, February 8, 2001


OPINIONS

Letters to the Editor

Reality TV: At least it's not live killing

Letters to the Editor

Leave it alone, Jean


Re: Stars are aligned for Chrétien to start constitutional talks, Feb. 2.

To the Editor:

At least one star is out of alignment if Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wants to solve Canada's constitutional quandary.

It's one of the same problems that faced the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Québec is governed by separatists, who can't agree to a constitutional settlement without violating their dream of removing Québec from Canada.

What's that, the Parti Québecois is unpopular? They have a record to defend? They'll be defeated by a popular Liberal opposition leader? Wait . . . aren't those the same arguments that convinced Jean Charest to jump to provincial politics in the first place? And the Liberals lost the last time when Charest was much more popular.

Even if the Liberals can regain control of Québec, what will Chrétien be faced with? Making a deal with the very man Sean Maraj calls "perhaps his greatest adversary."

Imagine Chrétien's legacy of making Charest into a political hero, the saviour of Canada, and allowing him to return to federal politics and lead revitalized Conservatives back to government. I can see Trudeau, Pearson and St. Laurent rolling over in their graves.

But on a more important note, there are clear political reasons why leaving the constitution alone is a much better call for Canadians.

The first reason is the cost of failure. The failure of another round of constitutional talks will create another upsurge in support for sovereignty, and may drive Québec out of the country.

There is very good reason to believe that failure will result. There are many fundamental questions about Canada for which there are no clear answers. Perhaps the best example is the conflict between a vision of Canada as a compact between the French and English as two founding nations, and the view of Canada as a federation of 10 equal provinces.

Attempts to address issues like this are both explosive and divisive. Yet, if they are let to lie in abeyance, our country works quite well and to the practical satisfaction of both sides.

It's best that these questions be left alone, because Canada works better without bringing them out into the open. We don't need to answer them to make our country work, and it is doubtful that constitutional talks will do anything more than inflame the wounds they can create.

As for Chrétien, I can see just enough arrogance that he might destroy the country for the sake of his own legacy. Let's hope he doesn't try.

Andrew Sadler
MA Political Science I




No hooray for the CIA?


Re: Down with the Reds! Up with big words! Feb. 1.

To the Editor:

In response to Mike Davidson's letter, it's not just communists who use violence to produce goods. Western economies create wealth in some sinister ways. Countless labour leaders, human rights activists and farmers are murdered each year to maintain starvation wages in most poor countries.

The reward for terror is foreign investment. This means low production costs for your Tommy Jeans and your Nike shoes. It also means cheap commodities, such as bananas and coffee. Can I hear UWO students saying hooray for imperialism?

Training for death squads is provided courtesy of the "democratic" world, especially by the CIA. Fascists have long been assisted by Western governments and billionaires who share common interests.

Benito Mussolini was the darling of business leaders for effectively breaking unions and running an "efficient" economy. Afraid that leftist governments might reduce trade and profits, the US has interfered with numerous national elections, especially in Latin America.

The one-sided perspective of so many university students is disturbing. Politically-left people want more government and corporate accountability, not Stalinism. Corporate power undermining democratically elected governments poses a threat to freedom everywhere.

Elgin Bunston
DHS Sociology




Girls, apathy and you


Re: USC needs Girl Power ASAP! Feb. 6.

To the Editor:

Why is it up to the male candidates running for University Students' Council president to 'foster an environment that's friendly for female leadership?' They just want to win.

If women aren't running for the position, maybe it's not due to any patriarchy or patronizing attitudes, but good old apathy.

Jennifer Steers
Honours Psychology IV




Confessions from a non-USC junkie


To the Editor:

I have a confession to make: I am not a University Students' Council junkie. I have never sought office, volunteered, or attended many of their functions outside of first-year.

My involvement has been limited to picking up my bus pass, opting out of the health plan, and voting. I also admit that I do not know USC president Dave Braun. I have, however, exchanged hellos with him in the University Community Centre on several occasions, and he appears friendly and competent.

While I am not involved directly with the USC, I believe I am of the masses that quietly complain about high student fees and how this money could be better spent.

Does anyone need to be reminded of the financial boondoggle that was Operation: Massive? Losing over $30,000 on a video dance party was unacceptable, and should make us question how out of touch this proposition really was.

Did they really think we wanted to re-live grade nine?

This in no way implies that I believe this year's USC performed poorly. I am not in the position to make such a judgment, and I know the council consists of highly dedicated students who want the best for Western.

However, when mistakes are made, someone needs to be held accountable. As the president represents the entire executive, responsibility ultimately falls into his lap.

As Braun was one of the legions of student politicians who campaigned last year on greater accountability, it is time we hold a student representative accountable. I applaud him and view his seeking a second term as a positive step for presidential accountability.

For once the students of Western have the opportunity to tell a former USC president we do not appreciate them wasting our money.

Is it not time to make accountability more than just a powder puff campaign promise?

Rob Borland
Hons. English Literature & Political Science IV




Will Western volunteers go postal?


Re: Prez hopefuls visit Saugeen, Feb. 6.



To the Editor:

I was overwhelmingly pleased to see the Off-Campus Dons mentioned in Tuesday's issue of The Gazette, as we are a relatively unrecognized group on campus outside of the realm of first-year student issues.

After I read the article about the presidential debate at Saugeen, I was mystified about the question regarding "student apathy in the form of volunteering and municipal voting."

I will give Western a low grade when it comes to student voting issues, but I don't understand why our presidential candidates are being questioned about apathy in volunteerism on campus.

It is a huge surprise to me that this is an issue. Let us not forget that there are over 800 students who volunteer their time during Orientation Week. These people we call 'sophs' (or in our case OC Dons) dedicate an enormous amount of energy, blood, sweat and tears just to make life easier for new students coming to campus.

In the process of that main function, these volunteers raise an enormous amount of money for both cancer research and cystic fibrosis.

With this kind of enthusiasm and sacrifice displayed on a yearly basis, it is discouraging for me to think that people on campus believe apathy in volunteering exists.

Don't underestimate the generosity of your fellow students – volunteers are the last people to demand attention and 'thanks' – so you may not hear about everything they do.

I would like to send out a huge thank you to every volunteer on campus. I know you are out there and now others do too.

Amie Daurio
Student Co-ordinator/Head Soph
Off-Campus Dons Program 2000/2001
Hons. English and Literature III



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