LETTERS

LETTERS

November 14 1988
LETTERS

LETTERS

November 14 1988

LETTERS

‘OUTRAGEOUS RED HERRING’

Your article on the Reichmann family (“Big dollar battle,” Cover, Oct. 24) appeared objective until the comparison between Canadian and U.S. libel laws. The contrast described, including the statement “. . . public figures in the United States are given less protection from libel...” is a red herring. This is a Canadian libel case, involving Canadian publications and a Canadian family. The inference drawn that the Reichmanns would be accorded less protection in a different country, in view of the libel laws of that country, is an outrage.

Allan DeYaeger, Revelstoke, B.C.

In your interesting feature on the Reichmann family, you omitted a rather amusing fact. One translation of the German name Reichmann is “rich man.”

Heinz Wolff, Vancouver

THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN?

I wish to draw attention to the photo portrayals of the three federal party leaders in your Canada/Cover of Oct. 10, profiling the current election campaign. Two sets of photos are included of each leader: why do you see fit to present Ed Broadbent as a man unable to afford a suit? Is this consistent with his “ordinary Canadian” image? I have to wonder if it isn’t Maclean’s way of “letting us know” this man isn’t a serious contender for the office of prime minister.

Jean-Pierre Forget, Guelph, Ont.

STRIKING OUT ON FACTS

As the wife of a Bell Canada employee, I was shocked to read “Slow phones” (National Notes, Sept. 26). Where have you people been? We were, at the time, entering our 14th week of legal strike, and you have us out for only eight weeks. Come on—wake up and show your support by reporting the correct facts.

Cindy Lillico, Kenora, Ont.

OFFENSIVE VIEWING

In your article and review of David Cronenberg’s film Dead Ringers (“A fatal obsession” and “Nightmares and double vision,” Films, Sept. 19), you neglect to warn readers that some scenes could be extremely offensive to viewers, especially women. Indeed, in three different reviews of this film printed recently, critics tout it as being boldly directed, brilliant-

ly acted and a departure from Cronenberg’s previous style in film-making. When critics agree that viewers should not expect this film to be typical of the science fiction/horror film Cronenberg has become known for, then surely they have some small responsibility to indicate just what one can expect in terms of potentially offensive material. Scenes such as a woman being given an internal examination by a deranged gynecologist with a large unsuit-

able instrument were seen as disgusting, disturbing and the epitome of bad taste by myself and those who attended the movie with me.

Elaine Anderson, Barrhead, Alta.

DIFFERENT HEAPS

The short article “A message on the medium” (Opening Notes, Oct. 10) touting the biodegradability of some polyethylenes is seriously flawed. It leaves the reader with the mistaken impression that all we have to do is mix starch and vegetable oil into all polyethylenes and, presto, all our plastic waste problems disappear in 40 days. While you may have made a true statement about one type of polyethylene under one set of very improbable conditions, the more realistic truth is that magazine wrappers and most other forms of plastic waste end up in municipal landfills, which are quite a radically different heap than your compost heap. Conditions such as soil content, bacteria and moisture, which play a vital role in biodegradability, are not present in municipal garbage dumps. I submit that your biodegradable plastic magazine wrappers will still be very much alive long after their 40-day death sentence.

Peter Nuk, Ardrossan, Alta.

LETTERS

DECISIONS, NOT FORTUNES

I really object to your article “Return engagement” (Canada, Oct. 24), where you refer to the outcome of the elections as something to “make or break political fortunes.” That is not what our elections are supposed to be about. Unfortunately, they seem to have developed into a spectator sport where individuals back a candidate in much the same way they back sports celebrities. We are not watching to see whose fortune will be made. I hope no one’s will. We are watching to see who will make the decisions. That’s not a fortunate position for anyone to be in.

Sandra Stephenson, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que.

PERVASIVE PROBLEMS

Your article “Defending the Amazon” (Environment, Sept. 19) detailed the plight of the indigenous peoples of Brazil in the face of widespread hydroelectric development. The comments that various dams “have been built with little regard for the native people” and that “Indians were forcibly relocated and thousands of acres of virgin forest were flooded” rings true in Canada as much as it does in Brazil. In rushing to construct these hydro

megaprojects, the rights of the Indian and Métis peoples have been consistently ignored. The hydroelectric movement has been a globally pervasive one, and Canadians must always look in their own backyard whenever the plights of indigenous peoples are detailed.

James Waldram, Saskatoon

THE CORRECT THING’

Regarding “Memories of shame” (Canada, Oct. 3), in 1942, Japan and Canada were far different countries than they are now. Japan

was a very powerful military force rapidly taking over the Pacific. Canada was very British, with a small population, a large coastline and little military strength with which to defend it. Our Japanese population were relatively recent immigrants with close family ties to Japan. At that time, moving them inland was the correct thing to do. The sad thing now is that the apology and settlement from Ottawa are obviously not a matter of righting a wrong but of political expediency before an election.

Albert Scarfe, La Ronge, Sask.

1 A RAZOR OF TRUTH

Allan Fotheringham’s “Quailing at the prospect of Dan” (Column, Oct. 24) is a masterful razor of truth and wit from a writer who, in my opinion, deserves a special award. Dan Quayle reminds me of a younger John Turner: a blunder ready and waiting to perform.

Mendelson Joe, Toronto

I am a great admirer of Allan Fotheringham and never miss his column. However, he slipped up in his article on Dan Quayle. Lincoln was not succeeded by Andrew Jackson, but by Andrew Johnson, who served one term. He was impeached and missed removal from office by one vote. Andrew Jackson (Old Hickory) was bom almost a century earlier (1767). He

erved as a boy in the Revolutionary War and as a general in the War of 1812. He became the seventh president of the United States in 1829.

Harriet Kosky, Winnipeg

REDUCED DEFICIT

Peter C. Newman writes that “Twenty-one years of Liberal rule left the national treasury $180 million in the hole, and the debt has been only slightly reduced by Mulroney” (“A watershed at the polls,” Canada, Oct. 10). What was slightly reduced by Mulroney was not the debt but the budgetary deficit, which is the amount by which the national debt increases each year. The national debt has continued to increase every year.

Warren Forrester, Ottawa

RELIGIOUS RELICS

Millions of pilgrims have not “prayed to the Shroud of Turin,” as you write in “Lifting the veil” (Religion, Oct. 24). Christians never pray to relics or supposed relics, but before them. Relics are cherished, preserved and respectfully displayed because of their associations, as are any great historical figure’s books, clothing, house or other possessions. The effect of being in the presence of the

relic is conducive to prayer that is directed to God and His saints, not to the object. If all historically or religiously venerated objects disappeared or proved fraudulent, the persons with whom they were associated would still be remembered, honored or invoked.

Barbara Saylor, Regina

The article concerning the Shroud of Turin was interesting in a historical sense, but in the final analysis—so what? If you are an atheist, mild amusement arises at the thought of all those poor, ignorant pilgrims praying to a dirty piece of cloth. It sort of justifies your unbelief, does it not?

Hank Baker, Edmonton

MOURNING A LOSS

After reading Peter C. Newman’s article on the condition of Canada’s Liberal party (“The cataclysms facing national politics,” Business Watch, Oct. 24), I can only mourn the loss of critical, informative journalism. If Newman had elaborated upon “the main reason the Liberals have plummeted to last place” further than with a featherlight quotation referring to “what is good and what is beautiful,” and had outlined the principles upon which Canadian liberalism was founded, we might have a bettereducated public with a basis on which to

criticize our dilemma in national politics. What has happened to the critical essay that states a position and supports it with clear evidence?

Alison Brooks, Guelph, Ont.

CANADA’S BACK DOOR

Regarding the line in Business Watch in the Oct. 3 issue (“How to keep real and imagined foes at bay”), which reads “Why Canada needs two front doors—one each on the Pacific and Atlantic—to be part of the Pacific Century,” is it not time that the author and the media Mafia on both coasts took note of Canada’s back door, Churchill, Man., which will be vital in the event of aggression? We just don’t get no respect.

Peter Warren, Winnipeg

LIBERAL PORTIONS

Sept. 19’s Letters devotes almost half the precious space to protests by John Turner and Warren Chippindale about alleged personal use of campaign funds, although this topic is prominently covered in the major article “Turner under fire” (Canada) a few pages later. That is overkill, assuming Maclean ’s is not trying to look like a Liberal house organ.

Stanley Redman, Midland, Ont.

A HALIGONIAN HERO

Canada won 10 medals in the Olympics. It was not many, so we should remember them all. One of the finest representatives of these winners, both in demeanor and sportsmanship, was bronze medallist Raymond Downey. In your article “A golden end to the Games” (Olympics, Oct. 10), you ignored him entirely. Fortunately, Haligonians have not. He has done us proud.

Jocelyn MacLean, Halifax

‘NORMAL’ MEN

Your article “Rape on campus” (Behavior, Oct. 31) touches on an important but often-ignored point. Rapists are not usually deeply disturbed misogynists on the rampage, as they are often portrayed. Most often they are acquaintances such as the fraternity members you described. The sooner people acknowledge that most rapists are supposedly “normal” men, the sooner steps can be taken to prevent their reprehensible behavior.

Kirsteen MacLeod, Toronto

A DUBIOUS MATTER

Peter Newman, in your Oct. 17 issue, describes Brian Mulroney’s promise to reduce the deficit to $3 billion by 1990 a “dubious” target (“Deficits, promises and credibility,” Business Watch). Surely Newman agrees with the target, and it is achieving it which he feels is dubious?

John Lynch-Staunton, Montreal

FULL MEMBERS OF SOCIETY

I read Allan Fotheringham’s Oct. 10 column with distaste (“The Johnson saga in perspective,” Column). His comments regarding drug use in sport and hypocrisy in government are, sadly, all too likely to be true. However, his assertion that Canadian national sports teams have been built “at the expense of imported talent” is both ill-conceived and unjust. Many Canadians were born in other lands, immigrated and found in Canada the opportunities they required to fully express their talents. Ben Johnson and other Canadian athletes may be immigrants, but they chose to live here and are now full participants in our society. It is their right to represent Canada, just as it would be Mr. Fotheringham’s. To suggest immigrants are not good representatives of Canada cheapens their contributions to our nation.

D. Mark Smith, Elora, Ont.

Letters are edited and may be condensed. Writers should supply name, address and telephone number. Mail correspondence to: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Munter Bldg., 777Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7.