As much as I admire Ian Urquhart’s writing, I am concerned about his handling of the constitutional conference in Talking a Good Game (Feb. 19). He uses such words as “feuding” in relation to the transfer of the BNA Act, “squawked” in reference to a remark of Trudeau’s. Surely such words are more appropriate for the cockpit or farmyard. The revision of the BNA Act is too serious a matter to be handled lightly by writers or politicians. Canadians do care about what happens to their country.
ROY CADWELL, TWEED, ONT.
Black and white in color
As a former president of a black college in Mississippi, I object to the unduly negative review Bigger is Just Not Better (Feb. 26) of Roots: The Next Generations. While nothing could equal the stark drama of Kunta Kinte and his descendants in Roots I, the current ABC show contained profound insights into the life of black people, the magnificent obsession of Alex Haley in pursuit of his origins and an understanding of the often forgotten black intellectuals who suffered in ways known to only a handful of whites. Above all, Roots II was another revelation of the indomitable courage of the human spirit in the face of oppression.
DONOVAN E. SMUCKER, CONRAD GREBEL COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO, WATERLOO, ONT.
Year of the Power Play (March 5) was one of the most superficial treatments of the labor scene I have encountered in a long time. Most offensive was the categorical statement that “the federal grant of $2 million a year for five years
for CLC educational purposes will no doubt be used for political organizing.” The members of our union benefit directly from that grant and have been able to receive training in occupational health and safety as a result. The programs established with the grant are subject to scrutiny by federal labor department officials. Surely you don’t believe they would be party to any partisan use of the grant.
JOHN L. FRYER, GENERAL SECRETARY, B.C. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES’ UNION, BURNABY, B.C.
Fire sales in the sunset
While reading Robert Plaskin’s Red Seals in the Sunset (March 19), I was puzzled by his assertion that “for landsmen— local fishermen — the hunt is worth an average of $25,000 ...” I assume he is referring to the total value of the catch taken by the small vessels engaged in the landsmen hunt. According to a report on the 1976 hunt, prepared by fisheries economist David Dunn, it was shown that land-based
hunters reported an average income of $232 for 19 days work. Hunters from small vessels each earned $1,256 for 29 days work (a far cry from $25,000). These figures have not changed a great deal since 1976.
DAVID B. FLEMMING, HALIFAX
The short arm of the law
Having read Seeking a Court of Last Resort (March 5), I would say that Ron Gay has a good reason to be bitter. Even after getting himself deliberately arrested so he could get his case heard in
court and avoid legal costs, he still needs a lawyer to prove he's the owner of the property. I feel it is unfair that anyone should not have a case heard in court simply because he cannot afford a lawyer. Surely our legal system can find a solution.
SANDRA WENTZELL, NEW GERMANY, N.S.
Games people praise
The article Playing Games in Lyon's Den (March 5), on the Jeux Canada Winter Games, made no mention of the wonderful work by the chairman, Alex Matheson, and the thousands of volunteers. Instead you chose to stress two incidents which had little effect on the over-all success of the games.
HUGH PATTON, BRANDON, MAN.
One hand clapping
I heartily agree with William Casselman’s Blood, Flesh and Tears a Perfect News Story Make, but Where's the Brains? (March 19). I have always found it distasteful that the media feel it necessary to rely on human grief, pain or terror to capture an audience. It is sad to think that in a society like ours, sensationalism sells.
DAWNA HENRY, TORONTO
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Might vs. plight I read A Heartless Change of Heart (Feb. 19), on UIC overpayments, with interest. Ethel Cunningham prides herself on being “a righteous person” yet maintains that she is not “doing anything wrong” in refusing to refund money to which she is not entitled. True, she and her fellow debtors did not
err in accepting the money, but they are wrong now. We can’t define righteous to suit our own purposes. I am sure if the situation was reversed and the government was refusing to make payments due to a clerical error, these people would be demanding their money, and rightly too. It is unfortunate that this should happen to those who can probably ill afford to repay the money, but that does not change the fact that these people are not legally, or morally, entitled to this money.
B. SALKELD, HALIFAX
All in the family
Before assuming my present position as an MP’s assistant, I was a television reporter-writer. During that time I was often made aware of the fact that many, if not most, politicians have a dislike and a mistrust of the media. Your profile on the minister of state for federalprovincial relations, John Reid: Man on the Move, Finally (Feb. 26), was the epitome of why this dislike and mistrust exists. I have never found Mr. Reid to be arrogant or conceited. I do find him friendly, knowledgeable, hardworking and trustworthy. The only part of the article that rings true is the thought that Mr. Reid should have been in cabinet earlier.
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