As a former Olympian, I am very supportive of the Olympic movement and am happy to witness your interest as shown in the Feb. 3 cover package, “Striking Gold.” However, the founder of the modern Olympiad, Pierre de Coubertin, emphasized participation, international co-operation and spirit first—winning second. It is unfortunate and untrue to the Games’ original purpose that we now emphasize gold, and nationalism, first. Medal results are certainly part of the Olympics, both for the athletes and the countries they represent. But results should be secondary to the love of sport and international participation.
Sara Barber Jenkins, (Canadian swimming team, 1956 and 1960 Olympics), Orillia, Ont.
Your article on bobsledding, “Tension on the sledding track,” was interesting but not very informative. If there had been an explanation of exactly what it is these “athletes” do in their high-tech bullets while hurtling down a rollercoaster track, then maybe I could get rid of the notion that bobsledders may as well train on one of the death-defying rides in the West Edmonton Mall.
A. P. Berendse, Winnipeg
LOOKING FOR TROUBLE
I read with interest your report on the expulsion from China of MPs Svend Robinson, Geoffrey Scott and Beryl Gaffney—three Canadian trouble-seekers who found it (“Forbidden excursions,” World, Jan. 20). Can anybody explain why three individuals, who happen to be members of the Canadian Parliament, whose expenses for travel to China were paid for by an organization opposed to the government of China, who did everything in their power to interfere in the internal affairs of China, should express surprise at being expelled? Can you imagine Canada putting up with three visiting Chinese busybodies who attempted to interfere in our internal affairs? Surely we have enough problems without giving publicity to those who will go to any ends to get it.
John F. Fry, Halifax
ONE DUCHY, INDIVISIBLE
While your Letter from Fort Coulonge, Que., was well written, it left the impression that the Duchy of Pontiac is an Anglo alternative to a separate Quebec, which it is not (“ ‘There could be chaos,’ ” Canada, Jan. 27). Much of the francophone population of the
Pontiac region feels as alienated from and ignored by our governments as the Anglo population does. The Duchy is an attempt by a distinct—and “sandwiched”—region to reclaim its due prosperity from the metropolitan power centres of this country and province; it is not a secessionist movement. It is, at mini-
mum, a symbolic movement, a gesture to stake our claim as bona fide, autonomous and capable citizens: we do not want our future manipulated as has been our past by bureaucrats in Quebec City or in Hull, our regional centre.
Fred Ryan, Chairman,
Committee for the Duchy of Pontiac, Fort Coulonge, Que.
It is interesting to see the controversy aroused by Canadian-content regulations in the music industry (“Rock on a roll,” Cover, Jan. 27). This serves only to highlight the continuing dilemma that Canadians face with respect to their national identity. The debate pales in comparison with our present national crisis, which would suggest that Canadian content will no longer be an issue when Canada ceases to exist. When is the music industry going to come forth and meet the challenge, or is the Canadian way, “Me first and to hell with the rest”? It is embarrassing to see so much passion aroused over a government agency, the CRTC, while hardly a peep has been voiced with respect to the future of this great nation.
The Jeff Healey Band (Jeff Healey, Joe Rockman and Tom Stephen), Toronto
A WAKE-UP CALL
It seems that after years of ignoring his constituents, Alberta Premier Donald Getty suddenly woke up no longer believing in official bilingualism (“Turning back bilingualism,” Canada/Cover, Jan. 20). I am glad that supposedly credible citizens are finally showing the nerve to voice their beliefs. Democracy in this nation has been taking a beating at the hands of political correctness for too long.
Greg MacPherson, Toronto
I praise Donald Getty for having the guts and the foresight to demand an end to official bilingualism. It is an outmoded concept that has caused more trouble than it is worth. There are no Spanish-Americans or Idahoans anymore; there are just Americans. Why can we not be just Canadians who are proud of our nation?
Bryan Fennell, Cranbrook, B.C.
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s latest chief of staff, Hugh Segal, faces a spooky agenda indeed (“The new top gun,” Canada/ Cover, Jan. 20). According to your stories, Segal must not only work “near-miracles” and “bring spirits up” in the PMO, but, perhaps more scary, “save the Prime Minister’s ass.” Confronting such otherworldly tasks, he should listen to that adviser on matters supernatural, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (“A truly transcendental solution,” Opening Notes, Jan. 13). With options running out, the guru’s recommended Sidhic Yogic Flying may not work, but it cannot hurt. Unless, that is, the trance-like state involved is already government policy.
Jeff Barnard, Scarborough, Ont.
Fred Burning, by slamming director Oliver Stone’s new movie, JFK, appears to be part of the American media establishment that has tried to cover up the fact that a conspiracy existed to assassinate President John F. Kennedy (“A ticking bomb at the movies,” An American View, Jan. 13). Bruning would have us believe, through his defense of then-VicePresident Lyndon Johnson, that a man who used deceit and vote-rigging to advance his political career could not possibly be party to an action that would put him in the White House.
Martin R. Hasse, Chester, N.S.
Letters may be condensed. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.
Peter C. Newman has shed more commonsense observation and light upon the Canadian unity issue than anyone else I have read or heard (“The future is in English Canada’s court,” Business Watch, Jan. 20). His quote from Pierre Laurin, vice-chairman of Merill Lynch Canada, urging that “we fall in love again” seems like such an obvious formula. It boggles the mind that the concept has escaped our leaders.
Harold Nightingale, Dunrobin, Ont.
I would like to commend Peter Newman for his continuing weekly columns that support a united Canada. Newman is one of the few responsible media people who uses his influence for positive purposes, rather than opting for cheap, sensationalist, destructive stories. If more of the media in our country had the dignity of a Newman, we would not have the constitutional problems we now face.
David Punnett, Guelph, Ont.
A WAR OF WORDS
Having watched parts of the second episode in the CBC series The Valour and the Horror, which you reviewed in your Jan. 13 issue (“The hell of battle,” Television), I am astonished that you made no mention of the totally one-sided treatment of the bombing of German cities. The producer wallowed in a long, drawn-out apology for the Allied killing of German civilians, but never mentioned that the German bombing of London and other British cities preceded the bombing of Germany. The Germans eventually concluded that their bomber losses were too costly for them to continue. It was this, and not German restraint, that prevented the equivalent of the destruction of Hamburg on English soil—a fact that was overlooked in the documentary. Why the mea culpa?
John Laurence, North Vancouver
THE LAWS OF THE LAND
Apparently, black activist Dudley Laws has the respect and confidence of some people in Toronto’s black community (“Toronto’s firebrand,” Canada, Jan. 13). As a result, I would like to suggest that he direct his influence towards building bridges with other ethnic groups and the community at large. Peace and goodwill are not nurtured by racial antagonism. From the incidents quoted in the article, it is evident that the people involved with the police had been breaking the law. Policemen are often faced with desperate lawbreakers
who are armed with guns. We cannot expect them to wait until the first shot is fired.
Millen Davis, Agincourt, Ont.
In “Toronto’s firebrand,” you state that the Toronto police do not keep crime statistics based on race. They should. Some members of the visible-minority community will agree with this, but visible-minority organizations are a different matter, as they will undoubtedly condemn this worthwhile change as racist.
Ronald Grant, Brockville, Ont.
IN TENUOUS TASTE
Perhaps it was mildly interesting to tell us about the birth of a baby girl to actors Warren Beatty and Annette Bening (Passages, Jan. 20). But I do not think it was necessary to point out that they are unmarried. I am also disappointed that you felt it relevant to end the item by commenting on Beatty’s past romantic associations with Madonna and Julie Christie. I do not subscribe to the National Enquirer— and I do not expect to see that kind of rubbish in your magazine.
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