Philpott deserves better from us
Re: “Put not your trust in ‘princesses’ ” letter, Sept. 26, page 10.
I am irritated when the press and the public berate our government ministers for spending money on hotel rooms and taxis.
I have travelled for my work and, in my experience, it gets old very quickly. I have gone to cities for my work and never left the hotel where we had our meetings. I have been on flights where I tried to work on my laptop, only to have the person in front of me lean his seat back so I couldn’t work, not to mention having the person next to me snoop on my spreadsheets.
The press and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation went after Minister of Health Jane Philpott for the money she spent on taxis/limos to get around in Toronto. She is in charge of a federal ministry with a budget of nearly $4 billion and more than 10,000 employees. I don’t want her working on sensitive documents in coach class when she is on an airplane or in dirty old taxis.
I was also annoyed when former cabinet minister Bev Oda was condemned for the infamous $16 orange juice. I can remember after a day of travel arriving at a hotel late in the evening craving something more than just water, but with no convenience store in sight I drank a cola from the room’s bar fridge at a cost of $10. When work and meetings fill the day, saving money on orange juice isn’t exactly the primary focus.
I firmly believe that, as Christians and citizens, it is our duty to treat our elected government leaders with respect and dignity, and to give them the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
Ernie Engbrecht, Lethbridge, Alta.
Ukrainian survivors rebut ‘Aryan’ claims
Re: “Becoming Aryan,” July 4, page 12.
As Second World War Mennonite refugees from Ukraine, we would like to offer more information on the dissertation outlined in Ben Goossen’s Viewpoint column. We find his research to be imbalanced, as it includes some historical facts and details but ignores other relevant information.
Yes, Mennonites in Ukraine made choices such as retreating with the German army and, for the most part, becoming German citizens from 1943 to 1944. The historical context of these decisions is, however, not included. The entire backdrop of a World War with opposing totalitarian regimes forcing survivalist decisions is not referenced.
The choices we made in Ukraine were not motivated by Aryan, National Socialist or racist theories, but, rather, were based on the Stalinist extermination of Mennonites from 1937 to 1940. This oppression and persecution was not unlike that which our religious group faced in earlier historic times.
Further, we confirm that we had not heard of Aryanism and other racial theories until well after the conclusion of the war. Many of us remember Litzmannstadt. We were X-rayed for tuberculosis purposes, but we cannot recall any blood work done there. It was a simple and relatively quick process.
Goossen’s research has been based upon previously written primary sources. However, oral history is central to the multifaceted complexities of any historic topic such as this. He does not cite any personal interviews conducted with those who actually lived through the upheaval in Ukraine when decisions were made.
Therefore, we would invite Mr. Goossen to travel to Leamington to hear our history and relevant facts.
Johanna Dyck, Leamington, Ont.
On behalf of Second World War Mennonite refugees and survivors.