‘Embryo donation is not equivalent to donating babies’

Children’s language

In October, Joanna Long shared the story of her family’s experience with embryo donation.

Perhaps an editor can explain the tabloid headline on the cover of the October issue (“Take take my baby”, October 2021). I wonder how the families featured in the article will feel, given such a disrespectful headline. Embryo donation is not equivalent to donating babies. This ridiculous language only serves to further inflame questions about reproductive rights in Canada. I wonder if your cover language will result in fewer embryo donors, certainly not a goal of the families who opened their lives to your magazine. Joanna Long’s actual article is comprehensive and thoughtful and does an outstanding job of addressing the rewards and challenges of embryo donation and adoption. In fact, the article makes it clear that embryo donors do not perceive themselves as “parents” of the children who grew up from those embryos.

—Amy Witt, Salmon Arm, BC

I had to think about how to comment on this cover several times, because it is so infuriating. So all my fury aside, here it is: the cover is inaccurate, misleading, and surprisingly dull, given the renewed battle for women’s right to choose, especially in the United States. The wonderful people who donated something to a childless couple were very generous, considerate, and kind. Everything seems to have gone well, and congratulations to both couples and others like them. And ill stop Maclean’s for messing this up. What was donated was not a “baby.” It wasn’t even a fetus. It was an embryo. I’ve been active in the women’s movement since the mid-1970s and what got me involved in the first place was Otto Lang’s statement about “this silly slogan that a woman has the right to control her own body.” And we are still fighting people who want to have arbitrary control over the choice of a woman, a woman’s body, all these years later. This is not a battle for values, opinions, or beliefs. Believe what you want. It is a battle for rights. Our Rights. Do not pollute the waters more than they already have been, Maclean’s.

—Kathleen Kilburn, Redbridge, Ontario.

Where you deserve the credit

After the federal elections in September, Paul Wells wrote about Justin Trudeau’s broken triumph.

I’m not sure we can judge the solvency and worthiness of a country and its leader during a global pandemic, but in Paul Wells’s article, he writes that the campaigns “discourage serious work as it looms” (“Justin’s triumph Trudeau, ”November 2021) Considering the last 19 months of this never-ending pandemic, I doubt that any of us would blame the Prime Minister and his team for procuring large quantities of vaccines and personal protective equipment, and for providing continued financial support. the jobless, told to stay at home, and the overextended provinces. These months have demanded a governance and strategic approach on the ground despite the impending election. In my opinion, Justin Trudeau was able to do both Election campaigns keep democracies on track by reminding candidates what is important to the soul of the country, but I agree with Mr. Wells that l next time it will be too soon.

—Catherine Hammill, Kincardine, Ontario.

Proletarian blues

Shannon Proudfoot wrote about how the working class, a group that was once undervalued and ignored, is fighting back.

When are the media and unions going to stop referring only to union members and underpaid people as “the working class” (“The working class has had enough,” October 2021)? Didn’t the rest of us who weren’t members of the union work and we weren’t badly paid but we had jobs? It is time to change the terminology.

—Alistair Shearer, Toronto

Waning winter

Yukon minister and climate scientist John Streicker dived up to his neck in icy waters in October to show rising water levels.

Good article on climate change (“John Streicker on Rapid Thaw and Why He Got Up to His Neck in It”, The Moment, November 2021). This kind of thing is happening everywhere, but our politicians are doing nothing about it. I live in Simcoe County Ontario and I love cross country skiing. Fifteen years ago, my average ski season ran from the second week of December to the second week of April (it takes a while for the snow to melt on the mountain). Now, it is from the first week of January to the last week of March. Local resort owners have complained that the seasons are so short now that it is not worth continuing their business. It’s ironic that our governments are so business-oriented and yet willing to see a large part collapse.

—Clayton Donoghue, Barrie, Ontario.

Narwhals and noise

In October, Bill Donahue told the story of how the Arctic narwhal is being threatened by the sound of passing ships.

Another endangered arctic species to add to a growing list (“The Sound of Too Much Noise”, October 2021). Does anyone think that there is hope for wildlife on this planet when humans exploit any area to extract minerals, oil and other assorted products to continue living a life of excessive consumption?

—John Orange, Barrie, Ontario.

Technology is available to eliminate ship noise that annoys narwhals. Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessels built in the late 1990s have electric propellers; The batteries are recharged by small diesel engines above the water level. The boats are quiet enough that dolphins regularly join them to surf their bow waves. Time to restrict Canadian waters to electric powered boats?

—Ardell Ramage, Nanaimo, BC

Jumping lizards

In September, Anthony A. Davis delved into the wall lizard invasion of Vancouver Island.

About 10 years ago, I tried to warn people that invasive lizards were extirpating the native field cricket on the Saanich Peninsula, where I had moved my herd of dairy goats in 2008 (“Climbing the Walls,” Bearings, October 2021 ). As a lifelong naturalist, as well as a farmer for decades, I noticed that as the number of lizards increased, the crickets decreased. Every summer fewer and fewer crickets chirped in the dry grass. Finally this year, the hill fell silent as the last cricket disappeared. At that time, the lizard population was really phenomenal; Walking through a field in the afternoon, one felt as if Moses parted the Red Sea as the waves of lizards fled. I started asking anyone who told me they had lizards in their area when they last heard a field cricket chirp, and they all told me they couldn’t remember. The wild voices are falling silent, and the people, inside their particle board houses with their televisions and electronics blaring, are unaware.

—Willi Boepple, Victoria

I was surprised to see our little wall lizards in Maclean’s. I love mine, with the ants now completely eradicated from my property in Greater Victoria. My wall lizards are wonderful listeners as long as you don’t make any sudden moves. Once a friend and I sat on my patio talking, and a wall lizard came along and perched on the nearby step and cocked its head, listening intently. “God,” said my friend, “I hope you don’t try to sell me insurance.”

—Toni Blodgett, Victoria

Daylight blight

In October, Shannon Proudfoot laid out the pros and cons of daylight saving time.

In the list of “cons” cited in the article on daylight saving time, the only dangerous negative mentioned is the increase in car accidents (“Daylight Saving Time”, The Debate, October 2021). There are other dangers. A study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported in the Northmew England Journal of Medicine in 2008 it found that there was a five percent increase in heart attacks in the week following the change. In 2009, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that on the Monday after the spring change, mine workers suffered more and more serious injuries. Clearly, daylight saving time has passed its expiration date.

—Morley Lertzman, North Vancouver, BC


Bicycle detective

The November issue featured the story of Canada’s only bicycle theft detective.

Poor guy. All of Canada can only pool resources for one full-time officer. It must feel like a losing battle.

—Gray Staniforth on Facebook

It just shows that one person can make a difference. Just think outside the box, push yourself a little harder, and collaborate with others where you’re weak.

—Zerah Smith on Facebook


Shannon Proudfoot, in our last issue, gave voice to a frustrated country that was unimpressed by an untimely election. Not everyone shared that opinion.

The public never broke down, mostly marching and voting as usual, a bit grumpy. But if they were broken, you would have a new government.

– @ EDenhoff on Twitter

I have seen several articles that tell me how crazy I am. My friends and I haven’t talked about the election or Trudeau in weeks. We talk about the trips we want to do.

—Teri Jones on Facebook


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