I would like to compliment you on your article in your November issue entitled Mister Clean Is A Canadian. This is the most accurate article that has been written on Maurice Strong. Alan Phillips is to be congratulated. I am Maurice Strong’s sister and this is the first article I have read where his true personality comes through.
JOYCE E. WINTER, DRUMHELLER, ALTA.
The noble savage
Having played organized football for more than 10 years, I find that many of John McMurtry’s qualms — Kill ’Em, Crush ’Em, Eat ’Em Raw (October) — are similar to those I have occasionally felt. I, too, have been appalled by the sadistic exhortations of the fans and players, bordering at times on hysteria. I have wondered at the inhumanity displayed by people who jeer a seriously injured player.
There is, however, another dimension to football which may be unknown to those who read McMurtry’s article and who have never played the game. Football represents one of the few activities in our society that does not permit compromise or token effort. There is a rare dignity involved in the knowledge that anything less than maximum performance will result in personal humiliation and possibly team defeat. I think particularly of the underestimated skill and personal pride involved in playing the line when I say that, beyond the false bravado and ballyhoo, there exists a tough nobility which is the essence of the game of football.
BRUCE MACGREGOR, OTTAWA
Play it again, Sam
I am (or was) a CUSO volunteer recently returned from Guyana, South America, where I taught for three years. Naturally in such circumstances there is the desire to know what is going on at home, and I would like to express my thanks to Maclean s for doing this so well.
Since Maclean’s has adopted its
new format with Peter C. Newman as editor it has become one of the finest, if not the finest, publication of its type in the world. So keep up the good work. There are a few people out there depending on you.
ROBERT SCHMITT, KITCHENER, ONT.
* Having just returned from a summer in Europe and boldly attempting to identify as a true Canadian while I was there, it makes me want to fight harder as I get home to convince my fellow men that there is more to building a country than mere economics (and someone else’s economics, at that). We not only need things Canadian, but ideas, songs, stories, films, magazines and people Canadian. I am thrilled that Maclean’s has emerged as such a meritorious publication, worthy of a strong following of Canadians eager for expression of Canadian ideas and opinions. I am eager to read future issues which reflect the real culture of Canada. I congratulate you on a true accomplishment long awaited by Canadians.
MICHAEL M. JAMISON, FREDERICTON
Everybody loves a lover
Illegal border crossings, hookah pipes with pot traces, mescaline trips, speed, sleeping with just anyone, using Canadian taxpayers’ money for legal defense of someone who is here illegally anyway. Shame on Maclean’s, a Canadian magazine, for publishing the article by Penney Kome — Voices From Gothic Avenue (November) — and presumably paying good Canadian money for it. The only good it does is to show up the draft dodgers as the human scum they are, no good to any country, least of all to Canada. Ship them all back to the U.S. and make them sort themselves out there, say I.
BILL BUDACHS, TORONTO
Our sun also rises
Donald Creighton asserts that internationalism and regionalism are the two millstones that grind down the new nationalism — Watching The Sun Quietly Set On Canada (November). The point is extremely well taken. But, let me add a further reason why the independence movement is faltering. Canadians are not sure whether they wish to emulate the American dream of ever-increasing consumption and luxury, or whether they wish to choose a slower, less materialistic but adequate way of life without the attendant evils of organized crime, ex-
ploitation and pollution. Too many people are worried by a possible drop in our standard of living. What is more likely is that the cost of independence and national self-respect would be a slower rate of economic growth. All we would have to renounce is the American ideal of color television, electric can openers and self-propelled golf carts.
DAVID R. PEARCE, EDMONTON
T Donald Creighton casts a romantic aura around “the highest achievement” of national unity at Confederation forgetting his own writings which document the manipulation, bludgeoning double-dealing and bribery which brought the shaky structure into being. He implies but does not state that the Anglo-Canadian alliance on which he places such value was an imperialistic economic empire with goals no different than those of the Yankees to the south — with the identical ideas of “progress” which he so admirably defines. Little wonder, then, the rise of provincialism and localism, his “lower millstone.” To the Westerner or Maritimer colonialism looked like colonialism whether the economic dynasty happened to be in Toronto or New York. Cre'ighton is obsessed with the need for centralization which blinds him to legitimate parochial concerns.
When he turns his attention to French Canada, Creighton’s perception again leads him to see bad guys in every effort which challenged the centralizing authority of Ottawa. His one-sentence analysis of the “so-called Quiet Revolution” ignores a whole aspect of the unrest among many of Quebec’s intellectual leaders. Les maudits Anglais were not hated so much for themselves as for what they stood for, the mindless technological progressivism which Creighton deplores. They recognized its dehumanizing effects not only in the rape of Quebec’s resources but in the destruction of their language and culture as well. Creighton sees the villain as Americanism or continentalism. Les Québécois saw it as English and related to centralization of power in Ottawa.
Creighton sees only two dimensions of internationalism, transAtlantic (which really means a relationship with Britain and a British Commonwealth) or continental. This has traditionally been so, but are there not other vistas? Are we not also a Pacific nation? An Arctic nation? A member of Francophonie?
All of which does not dispute the problem of / continued on page 12
Your View continued J American power and our seemingly ambivalent attitude in coming to grips with it. The point is that an historical perspective when it is biased does not help very much in looking for fresh solutions. The Canada beloved by Creighton may well be a setting sun. Facing a different way, could it be a rising one?
ARTHUR STINSON, OTTAWA
* Donald Creighton having upset my dear old mother in Edmonton by charging me with being censorious and sanctimonious, I feel I should respond. He objects to my conclusion, in reviewing his book Canada’s First Century for the International Journal, Winter 1970-71, that notwithstanding his notable contribution to Canadian history “many more interpretations and approaches are needed, including one that will help Canadians to rise above the parochial proclivities reflected in these two books [Creighton’s and Kenneth McNaught’s The Pelican History Of Canada] and to see themselves in the broader context of international society.” Creighton retorts: “Dale Thomson ... is at present resident in Washington, the capital of the United States of America; and from that vantage point it is easy and natural for him to comprehend the whole of North America in a truly imperial vision. The Canadian advocates of internationalism are not really talking about internationalism at all, they are talking about North American continentalisnr” Actually, I criticized Creighton’s book (after duly recording my admiration for its many fine qualities) on two scores: his passionate Toryism that detracts from his objectivity, and his “unproven assertions and sweeping generalizations.” After reading his article in Maclean’s, and particularly his reference to me, I’ll stand on both those points.
DALE C. THOMSON, DIRECTOR, CENTRE OF CANADIAN STUDIES, THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Heather Robertson’s television column (November) is a damned silly bit of fatuous and arrogant posturing, pandering to the darker side of the Canadian penchant for self-abasement.
Miss Robertson would prefer a bit of “nose-picking” and “burping.” These would rescue CBC from the sterile void of objectivity, she says; from elitist exploitation of the masses, she says. Apparently, she has never watched Hockey Night In Canada. Or
perhaps, she has watched only HN1C. In any case, the basics — belching, burps, shouts, etc. — are available for those who seek their metaphysics stealthily and their humanistics raw; they are there indeed.
If Miss Robertson wants tabloid presentation, she must expect tabloid content. If she wants “real people,” she should not object to “real” professionals, and Canadian television has a good number of these. But if she wants “real people” who are amateurs, she must expect amateur television, and that would be a devastating bore, even to Miss Robertson. If it is “folks” she wants, and to hell with content, then perhaps she would prefer Hee Haw to The National.
JOHN G. MOSS, FREDERICTON
Kings of the road
Richard L. Lotreck, the truck-hater from Natick, Mass., is in dire need of having his eyes opened — Your View (November). I cannot speak with authority about the economics of highway financing in the U.S.A. or in Eastern Canada, but I can surely teach him a few facts of British Columbia highway life, both from an economic standpoint and from the point of view of one who has spent a good number of years dodging the jerks of the road to keep myself alive and to keep them alive.
First the economics: In BC the owner of an average tandem (if Lotreck knows what that means) tractor pulling an average tandem trailer pays roughly $1,000 for his primary license plates. Then he pays trailer license and municipal license and, if he owns the trucking company, a business license. The total is enough to put plates on well over 50 Pontiac Parisiennes. On top of this he pays, for odd loads, over-width, over-length, over-height and overweight permits. If Lotreck travels through one of our fine national parks, he gets a two-dollar sticker which entitles him to go through any park for a whole year. A trucker pays two dollars for his truck, one dollar for his trailer every trip. When Joe Tourist bought his glorious Mercury Montego he paid about $250 in provincial sales tax. When a friend of mine bought a cab-over Mack last week he paid $1,700 in provincial sales tax.
If the average motorist drives his average car an average of 12,000 average miles in an average year, he may average 15 miles per gallon of gas. If he does, in BC he’ll pay $120 in road tax on his gasoline. If our truck owner keeps his truck busy
enough to keep the finance company off his back, he’ll pay $5,100 in fuel tax (which is two cents a gallon higher than gas tax).
I see our friend Lotreck objects to the smell of diesel fumes. I, too, am an anti-pollutionist. If Lotreck does a bit of research, he’ll compare the pollutants from a large internal combustion engine (provided it’s modern and well maintained) to the pollutants from a normal car engine. The results of this comparison will astonish him.
I’m not boasting, but I rather suspect that I’ve skidded more miles backward than Lotreck has driven forward, and I can assure him I have encountered infinitely more difficulty getting past motoring morons pulling camper trailers than I’ve had passing trucks. I find it significant that in car-truck accidents, it’s seldom the trucker who is at fault; and interesting that I’ve often arrived at my destination ahead of some maniac who has passed me in dangerous places three or four times en route, then stopped within a few miles.
I’m sure sorry to hear that the truckers are depriving the railroads of their high-profit freight. I have two questions: 1) Could it be that the railroads have persisted in utilizing antediluvian methods of moving freight, thereby losing their clientele to a more progressive branch of the transportation industry? 2) Who the hell does this guy think has been buying up all the major North American trucking lines for the past 10 years or so?
One pertinent closing point I must make. We, in the trucking industry, recognize that there are inconsiderate, drinking, happy-pill-eating people in our profession. Yes, dammit, it’s a profession, and if you don’t believe it, try it. We know we aren’t all good skinners or “knights of the road.” We know we must continue to try hard to control this, through various trade organizations, but you, average driver, make it pretty discouraging to be a courteous trucker.
KENNETH W. J. GILLIS, PRESIDENT, GILLIS TOWING LTD., KAMLOOPS, BC
Right, E« P.
“Governments have been spending too much money,” says millionaire E. P. Taylor — The Table Talk of E. P. Taylor (November). Right, of course. But his pious concern would be more convincing if he were to refuse that $25,000 per annum he accepts from the Canadian government to help finance his horse-racing activities.
E. G. SPILLER, EDMONTON
With cheese or without
Anthony Leaning is, of course, quite correct in his observations regarding the true British nationality of apple pie — Your View (November). The question of whether the Canadian and American pies, which are identical in the pale flabbiness of their pastry and the tasteless mush of their interiors, are appropriate national symbols I shall leave for others to decide. WILLIAM PASS, TORONTO
Oh, what the heck
I write because I believe Maclean's could have a great influence in halting the widespread use of profanity and blasphemy in the media and in the daily speech of our citizens.
I spent 43 years teaching boys and girls from kindergarten to university. My last years were as principal of a Toronto high school. I always believed in a cardinal principle in practising my profession — I sought to teach by precept and example. I am appalled at what is thrust in front of our young people in coarse speech, coarse writing, coarse scenes and violent action. Why can we not have more of the kind of clear and proper writing as is portrayed in the November issue in Peter C. Newman’s The View From Here, or of Donald Creighton’s admirable article Watching The Sun Quietly Set On Canada.
But I regret Gordie Howe’s lapse into blasphemy — Eulogies For Each Other — and the first sentence of Mavor Moore’s Canada, which contains the phrase “what the hell.” Mavor is an old student of mine. He is quite articulate and doesn’t ever need to exhibit any bankruptcy in his handling of the English language. I regret the reference in Voices From Gothic Avenue to “getting-the-hellout.” I regret “all hell broke loose” in the article Prairie Chickens.
But profanity and blasphemy exist far beyond your good magazine. About two weeks ago, during the question period in the House of Commons, a former cabinet minister was guilty of an outburst of profanity and blasphemy. He was apparently unchecked by the Speaker. A few nights ago on CBC National News, an Indian being interviewed could not express himself without a “what-thehell.” Some sports writers, coaches and players are often guilty of sloppy, slangy, profane speech.
Enough to show you my concern. Can you and your editors show the way to “purification”?
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