With the Toronto Sun about to close its doors, or rather, Postmedia, its new owners, will shutter the Sun, I thought it time I reprint an earlier column of my own.
From April 12, 2016:
A Letter to the Editor: Toronto Sun
I can't believe it was seven years ago that I had the following letter published in the "Letters" page of the Toronto Sun (March 24th, 2009). The years know only Warp Factor 9; there's no other setting, apparently.
When I pressed "send" I had a gut feeling the paper would print it, even though the piece is almost 300 words in length -- double what they usually accept.
My letter, along with another writer's, was given its own space away from the pack. Kudos to the Toronto Sun "Letters" editor for keeping it intact, with just a couple of small edits (which I think improved the flow of my piece in those places).
The subject: There was a funny guy by the name of Greg Gutfeld who worked for Fox News. He thought he was being cute by slagging Canada and its outstanding military. I doubt Gutfeld knows much about Canada over and above the stereotypes; he probably thinks we're all Leafs fans up here.
To paraphrase the great Elwy Yost: Dim the houselights, and cue the Rózsa trumpets!
THOSE IN THE KNOW GET IT
Like many Canadians I am rather disturbed by the ridiculous, caustic, and childish comments from Fox News Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld and his merry band of oblivious panelists.
But when Gutfeld mocks Canadian Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie's name by saying "an unusual name for a man," then you know he is not to be taken seriously. And certainly not as a satirist as he claims to be. U.S. servicemen and women know the score.
While in England a few years ago I was travelling on a train and a group of American F-15 fighter pilots were in the particular car where I was sitting. Almost immediately several of them introduced themselves and welcomed me aboard. One particular pilot and his weapons officer took me under their wing and we struck up a pleasant conversation. I told them my own father was in the Canadian air force and this seemed to give us a connection. The young fly-boy said, "you guys have great pilots ... we fly with you all the time." Another chap, a cool customer who ignored a drunk who tried several times to ruffle his feathers, told me he had recently been on a pilots' exchange program in Goose Bay and had a lot of fun flying with Canadians.
When we disembarked, the Americans helped with my luggage and wished me a pleasant trip.
My point? Well, we Canadians are understood by those who are in the know. Gentlemen like those I met have the utmost respect for our military and what it represents.
It is an argument or concept not understood by Gutfeld and only helps undermine his whole ignorant and feeble rant.
SIMON ST. LAURENT
(Our military: Underfunded, under-equipped and just outstanding)
Postmedia's National Post will continue on; for a right-wing paper it's not too bad.
From April 13, 2016:
An F-35 Lighting II Strike in Letters
Yesterday I posted a piece about a letter of mine that was published in the Toronto Sun "Letters" page back in 2009. I was excited when it was printed and I'm excited now even thinking about it.
The excitement continues: Some folk in Ottawa and the RCAF want the Lockheed Martin F-35 "Lightning II" fighter jet really badly; so much so that they're willing to pay for it. "Pay" is about it. This military aviation enthusiast, one who admits he has not actually flown the aircraft, thinks the ever escalating price-tag is insane and that Canada should pull out of the F-35 program. (Keep in mind that whatever quantity of aircraft Canada may settle on in the end does not mean those machines will all be up and running at any one time. Key term: "Hangar Queens." Yeah, kinda like that smartphone you bought that one time. Except this one flies a little better.)
To validate my feelings on the matter, here is a letter I had published in the National Post back on April 13th, 2012.
Cue the jug band. And don't forget to pass the hat around....
Re: Good Aircraft Are Worth The Cost, letter to the editor, April 11.
While I appreciate Major Charles Hooker’s opinion on the subject of Canada possibly acquiring the F-35, I have a big question: How do we know the F-35 is “the best aircraft available (in the procurement time frame)”?
The fact is, the F-35 is unproven. Give me a wad of cash and some dice and I’ll decide for you — the difference being, I won’t charge to toss the dice. Huge savings, guaranteed.
Simon St. Laurent, Toronto.