Letters

What Canadians don’t know does hurt them

April 17 1978
Letters

What Canadians don’t know does hurt them

April 17 1978

What Canadians don’t know does hurt them

Letters

I feel upset that no mention is made of the fact that five Canadian films were nominated for the Oscars, in the cover story by David Cobb, They Have Faces Again!

(March 20). The National Film Board is recognized as one of the best short-film makers in the world, except perhaps by Canadians. Your failure to give national attention to their successes helps keep Canadians in the dark.

Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss, two of the ‘Faces’: help where it’s not needed?

David Cobb did an excellent job of outlining the many problems and contradictions that are, and probably always will be, part of the Hollywood milieu. I was amazed, however, that there was no mention of the rather odd position that Walt Disney Productions holds in the American

TOM SHOEBRIDGE, OTTAWA film industry. In the era of freewheeling content. Disney’s films have no sex, minimal violence, and a sentimentality of approach that regularly means that they are either ignored or panned by critics. Yet they consistently attract the most competent actors and they invariably make money.

PAUL CONSTABILE, TORONTO

Another opening, another show

1 thoroughly enjoyed the humor of Allan Fotheringham’s Thrice Is He Armed That Hath His Quarrel Just... (March 20) about the coming election. We can hardly wait to hear what Trudeau has in his overflowing bag of promises.

STELLA MILLS. WINDTHORST, SASK.

More things in heaven and earth...

As a person involved in researching and teaching a science, 1 become tired of being misrepresented in articles such as The Jehovah Factor (March 20). Terence Dickinson states: “If there is one belief, one incentive shared by scientists through the ages, it is this: nothing is unknowable, nothing can escape clarification by the scientific method.’’ This “belief’ is held by some scientists, not by all. The opposing point of view—the recognition that the scientific method cannot cope effectively with many unique or non-repetitive phenomena; that there is knowledge beyond the grasp of the human mind—is hardly something new. It has been with us since the late 1920s when Heisenberg stated the “Principle of Uncertainty.”

STUART J. BALDWIN,

DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, EDMONTON 1 very much enjoyed your excellent article. The Jehovah Factor. It is interestingly written, both profound and permeated with a light touch of humor. The comment made by the physicist—“We climb the highest mountain in science and we find the theologians have been sitting there for centuries”—was delicious to those of us who feel that both physicists and theologians are necessary. Here’s to the day when paleobiologists also approach the summit!

DALE A. RUSSELL, CHIEF.

PALEOBIOLOGY DIVISION, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCES,

OTTAWA

The joy of Joy

I read with interest your article on Greg Joy, Getting High (February 20). I believe you have presented a sensitive and accurate portrayal of Joy and his commitment to his track and field endeavours.

SHELDON S. WISEMAN, OTTAWA

Come see what you’ve been missing

In his column, Only In Canada, You Say? . . . (February 20), Allan Fotheringham trots out the well-worn line that it’s “cheaper to fly from Toronto to London than to visit Aunt Ermitrude in Vancouver.” What do we have to do to put that one to rest once and for all? It simply is not true. Furthermore, the Canadian airline industry has spent thousands of dollars on advertising campaigns emphatically proving that it is not true. To begin with, the current economy fare from Toronto to London (round trip) is $746, while the current economy fare from Toronto to Vancouver (round trip) is a little more than half of that at $382. It is quite true that one

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can travel to London for considerably less than $746. But it is also true that one can travel to Vancouver for considerably less than $382. Air Canada has also announced -its Nighthawk service across Canada. If Fotheringham reallywants to visit his aunt, he’ll be able to do so for as little as $202 return, with no advance booking necessary.

D. E. MCLEOD, VICE-PRESIDENT, PUBLIC AFFAIRS, AIR CANADA, MONTREAL

Allan Fotheringham further reinforces the myth that domestic air fares are higher than those available across the Atlantic and to southern resorts. That is simply not true. Air fares depend on the distance flown together with the type of fare applicable. 1 suggest that Canadians choose foreign destinations for purely selfish reasons. 1 prefer the beach at Waikiki in January over Shediac, New Brunswick, regardless of cost and distance. (Both, incidentally, are about the same.) Similarly, other Canadians fly south because of better climates and shorter distances.

P A. STRICKER, VANCOUVER

Still blowin’ in the wind

After reading the interview with Bob Dylan (March 20) I was struck by what seemed to be an apparent lack of understanding between him and Philip Fleish-

man. Fleishman’s attempt to understand Dylan in terms of his own value system appears to be futile, as well as frustrating. The ability to sing a verse with the songwriter does not indicate an understanding of who he is or what he represents.

RICHARD WILLSON, WATERLOO, ONT.

Being part of the generation that saw fit to elevate Bob Dylan to a mythological stature, I concluded in the early Seventies that Dylan had nothing to say. Maclean ’s interview with him in the late Seventies confirmed this.

FRAN SNYDER, WATERLOO, ONT.

You can’t tell a survey by its cover

I feel Mordecai Richler missed the point of the Calgary conference on the Canadian novel in his persnickety column, It’s A Great Honor. But You Shouldn’t Have Done It... (March 20). The novel was the centre of attention, not the writer. Contemporary standards, and modes of criticism were discussed, as well as regionalism, and cultural significance. The results of an opinion poll were distributed, which indicated nothing about the literature itself, but a great deal about the teaching of it. Malcolm Ross and others did point out the limitations of the list. It is essentially a provocative survey and a source of information; nothing more.

JOHN MOSS, DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, VANCOUVER

No riffraff need apply

As a relatively recent participant in curling I find Allan Fotheringham’s column, If These People Must Get Their Rocks Off\ Can’t They Do It Somewhere Else? (April 3), insulting and offensive. I will not quarrel with Fotheringham’s definition of sport or game—it is subjective. But let him try sweeping as lead on a rink for eight ends when the ice is a little tricky and then decide whether more physical effort is involved than that of pressing his channel selector. Curling requires skill, practice, concentration and judgment to be successful, and the aim of the sport is to win. It also holds the prime position as a gentlemanly game: a position once accorded to golf, which has sadly deteriorated in courtesy and good sportsmanship.

D R. LONEY, TORONTO

Or a bull moose chomping fleurs-de-lis?

As an English Canadian living in Paris I feel that instead of always insisting on promoting our own linguistic chauvinism, we should consider the richness that is ours in Canada. Perhaps we could see the vast potential of a truly multicultural society, a Confederation of equal regions that support each other in their differences. It is not just the job of our political leaders, but of every responsible Canadian to stand up and speak out. If we keep our silence now we may only come to realize too late what we have allowed to die.

W. RYAN, PARIS, FRANCE

In your article, Can’t We Be Friends? A Special Report (February 6), I notice that English Canada is represented by the beaver, a symbol of industry and durability to which I thought all Canadians could lay claim. French Canada is symbolized by a frog, an image which is derogatory, Frog Power buttons notwithstanding. A truly national magazine should insult everyone equally, so I would have suggested a caricature of an English Canadian as an overweight, pinstriped Britisher, the current favorite of Quebec cartoonists.

AIMEE LE GRIS, MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Western non-alienation

Reading Quebec: A Grand Design For A New Order has helped me to have a clearer idea of my own feelings on the situation in Quebec. Canadians should realize that we are in danger of minimizing our potential as a country through sheer pessimism and self-interest. I, like many Westerners, grow weary of hearing about the separatism question and I am tempted to sit back and say, “What will be, will be.” But the more I think about it, the more I feel threatened by the loss of the French culture. It is part of our joint Canadian heritage, and it helps to set us apart in the world by giving us a separate identity. It says, “We are not a melting pot.” I hope for Canada’s sake that we can look beyond our own fence lines and find a way to protect the French-Canadian cultural goals, and keep Canada as Canada. We are really protecting ourselves at the same time.

ERIC BEST, LANIGAN, SASK.

In his description of the “New Order” in Quebec, David Thomas states that “the Church’s weakening grip forced the state to take over the mission of ensuring the future of the language and traditions of the population.” A few months ago he interviewed Joan Dougherty, chairman of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. He asked Dougherty why, if Bill 101 is so dangerous, it is being accepted by francophones in Quebec with hardly any

protest. She replied that perhaps one reason is that French Quebeckers, with their long history of church domination, are more accustomed to accepting authority without question. Thomas commented that it is attitudes such as these that will keep Canada separated. Dougherty’s comments seem to have been lightly dismissed.

ANNE COX, MISSISSAUGA, ONT.

Maclean’s seems to be alarmed over Quebec’s white paper. I feel that unless the federal government enacts similar measures, we will be forever dominated by the American culture. The “New Order” is not only the answer for the preservation of Quebec

as a unique entity, but for the development of a Canadian identity, as well.

R. F. M. MCINNIS, CALGARY

St. John was a lousy speller

As a student at Victoria College, I was most interested to read your article on Professor Northrop Frye, Choice And Master Spirit (March 6). During Frye’s long tenure at the university he has become a most august institution, as well as one of North America’s most respected scholars. However, I cannot allow such solemnity to pass untouched. Surely anyone who has attended Victoria College remembers that the inscription carved over the main door is really meant to read “The Truth Shall Make You Frye.”

MICHAEL A. FOULK.ES, TORONTO

Why don’t they go home? They are home

The Sun Sets Slowly On Margaret Thatcher (February 20) accurately portrays the confusion surrounding the British immigration issue. Colored immigration may be declining—from 55,000 in 1976 to 44,000 in 1977—but the fear of the Yorkshireman, that all “his pie-and-peas shops have become hot curry takeout stands” is real. The overwhelming white majority in the chronically deprived inner city areas use the colored immigrants as scapegoats for larger problems of British society. The people who have been accepted into Great Britain during the past twenty years, and

who have made their homes here, have a right to be in this country. Enoch Powell’s statement that a million colored immigrants should be “persuaded” to go back to their former homes implies that these people do not belong in Great Britain. I believe that this attitude merely antagonizes an already tense situation.

PATRICIA NICOLL, MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Beautiful losers

I agree entirely with Arn Saba’s comments on For Appearance’s Sake (Letters, March 6). In the Sixties, men and women had the courage to talk to each other about social issues. But now, we’re back to the “good

old requirements”: if a man doesn’t have a car, a degree, or spend a fortune in fashion, but is very concerned about what is happening in the world, I am afraid that most women will turn their backs. We cannot permit ourselves the luxury of escaping the real priorities by living like peacocks 24 hours a day.

JEAN GAGNE. QUEBEC CITY

The less said, the better

I saw the event which you discuss in your article, The Final Days Of Francis Fox (February 20), on television. My sympathy for Fox at the moment of his resignation was total. His personal ordeal at that time must have been great, and should not, I feel, be a matter for discussion.

BARRY MACGREGOR. STRATFORD, ONT.

Don’t you agree that it is an appalling state of affairs that a minister of the government of particular value to his party had to resign for being gallant? Furthermore, isn’t it appalling that women in Canada cannot control their own bodies, but must prove themselves the possessions of their husbands since they must have their signatures to end an unwanted pregnancy?

LOUISE THOMPSON, NEW YORK