The Mail

The Mail

July 7 1997
The Mail

The Mail

July 7 1997

The Mail

Newfoundland's party

I was pleased to see the article on Newfoundland (“A sense of place,” Cover/Essay, June 23) by Sandra Gwyn, and especially her praise for the late George Story. Still, all writers should beware of phrases such as “almost single-handedly.” If he were still alive, Story would be the first to give due credit to the co-editors of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, J. D. A. Widdowson and William Kirwin. Even more than Story, the latter in particular devoted his life to the dictionary. It takes many hands to bring a fine ship to port.

Terry Goldie, North York, Ont. HI

Your cover story “Rediscovering Newfoundland” and the celebration of the voyage of John Cabot 500 years later is just another slap in the face to all aboriginals. Cabot and his kind brought untold hardships to native Canadians. “If you white, you right” is the same old motto used today as it was centuries ago when it comes to re-

pressing minorities. Cabot’s arrival may be a party to the descendants of settlers who stole the land from the First Nations people, but it is no party or joke to any aboriginal.

Robert Losee, Sudbury, Ont. HI

Left-wing

nostalgia

I disagree with Peter C. Newman’s recent column, “Why Jean Chrétien must make a left turn” I (The Nation’s Business, June 23). te He uses the NDP gain in seats to I imply that there is a fundamental Ë political shift from the right to the I centre in Canada. That gain in * seats by the NDP happened mainly in one region—Atlantic Canada. This can be interpreted as little more than a plea from voters of that region for more taxpayer money to stop the erosion of their living standards. In other words, it was a vote of self-interest. If there really was a turn in a left direction, people from more prosperous provinces would have voted NDP to express their will to fork over tax dollars to the struggling provinces. This did not happen. Ontario endorsed draconian Liberal cuts to health care by voting Liberals into 101 of 103 seats, and British Columbia and Alberta voted almost exclusively Reform. It is interesting how Newman describes at length how the Liberals’ implementation of social polices led to the party’s political success. He does not bother mentioning how Liberal rule also left severe economic problems like a $600-billion debt, a confiscatory progressive taxation system and a sheltered economy that took more than five years to properly adjust to free trade. Maybe that was why former liberal leftists like Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were forced to abandon their cherished ideologies in the first place. To imply that the NDP gains mean a fundamental shift towards old-style government spending programs is the wishful thinking of a left-wing Liberal feeling nostalgia for the good old days.

Louis Brown, Guelph, Ont. HI

Peter C. Newman’s advice to Chrétien is dangerous. In effect, Newman is advising Chrétien to play to the few seats he lost,

Driven to succeed

During a recent trip to Europe, when I was asked about my nationality people immediately associated Canada with [Formula One racing car driver] Jacques Villeneuve (“Eyes on the prize,” Cover, June 16). It makes one awfully proud when there is a fellow named Villeneuve crossing the finish line in first place, and then well in excess of 300 million people around the world listening to the Canadian anthem. The sad part is that Canadians do not realize this. The even more depressing part is the number of highly talented Canadian drivers sitting on the sidelines because of the lack of support from corporate Canada. The future of Canadian drivers should not rest on the laurels of a tobacco company’s support alone.

Brendan A. Kerin, Port Hope, Ont. HI

rather than to the many he won. Fiscal responsibility is the one thing that this government has—arguably—achieved. Those who understand the arithmetic of federal finance know that we are not out of the woods and should err, if we must, on the side of caution. Newman’s call for compassion is laudable, but balancing the books is the best thing this country can do, for rich and for poor.

Don Carr, Brantford, Ont. HI

Election reflection

Numerous mentions have been made of retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie’s bid to be elected as the Conservative candidate for Parry Sound/Muskoka. Unfortunately, the post-election comments by Anthony Wilson-Smith report that the PCs’ “brightest hope after [Jean] Charest was defeated in his first bid for elected office” (“Distinct societies,” Cover, June 9). Canada doesn’t have a lot of heroes. MacKenzie became one while leading the first UN Peacekeeping Force in the former Yugoslavia. He earned the respect of the international community, personifying the best in Canadian military leadership. I had the privilege of serving in the same headquarters, in 1984-1985, with the then-relatively unknown Col. MacKenzie. I saw an officer who exemplified the definition of leadership, someone respected by superiors and subordinates alike. He put the needs of his people first. An 80-year-old lady, a staunch supporter and campaigner for MacKenzie, said to me that it is not just the

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

should be addressed to:

Maclean’s Magazine Letters

777 Bay St.,Toronto, Ont. M5W IA7

Fax: (416) 596-7730

HI E-mail: letters@macleans.ca

or: 76702.2247@compuserve.com

Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number.

Submissions may appear in Maclean’s electronic sites.

residents of Parry Sound/Muskoka who lost out, it is all Canadians. Mom, I couldn’t agree with you more.

Janet E. Martinsen, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

Jean Chrétien and the Liberal party received twice as many votes and elected 2 V2 times more members than their nearest opponent, yet the media declare the Liberals the losers of the election. Duh!

Al Rupert, London, Ont.

In “Sovereignty’s stumbling bloc” (Cover, June 9), you noted that about 25 per cent of English-Canadians support Reform. It would be sad, and incorrect, if Quebecers believe that 25 per cent of English-Canadians are anti-Quebec. Many Reform votes were cast in support of other Reform policies such as changes to the Young Offenders Act and no tax cuts until the budget is balanced, not necessarily due to Reform’s stand on equality for all Canadians.

Edda Matzen, Madeira Park, B.C.

Bragging rights

In typical fashion, Esther Wilson of Victoria brags that unlike the rest of the shivering country this May, “our roses were in bloom and the rhododendrons were almost over” (“Forget-me-not,” The Mail, July 1). My relatives there confirmed that before a couple of warm weeks in May arrived, they suffered through four months of relentlessly grey skies and rain. As I write this letter, southern Ontario has already enjoyed nearly a month of hot summer weather—temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s. I understand southwestern British Columbia has enjoyed typical June weather: grey, rainy days with temperatures rarely reaching the high teens.

David Glenn, Toronto

Revisiting Expo 67

Laurels should go to Maclean’s for reminding us of a great episode in our past, one full of idealism and goodwill (“The country is strong,” From The Editor, June 23). I am referring to the 30th anniversary of Expo 67. As Editor-in-chief Robert Lewis says: “The spirit of Expo lives on in the memories of those over 40—and, too infrequently, is rekindled in the hearts of all Canadians.” Expo was an idealistic collaboration of French and English Canada. It was a world-centred educational and cultural exhibition in Montreal; unique in many ways as a material and spiritual human resource, the jewel in Canada’s centennial crown. It was a national display of our worldliness, unity, tolerance and elegance of thought and style. Thus, Expo merits revisiting not only in memory, but for its good works.

David F. Ritchie, Whitby, Ont.

Knowles tribute

You quote former prime minister Joe Clark as remembering Stanley Knowles as having an attitude “more Christian than socialist” (“Death of a legend,” Obituary, June 23). In the last of more than 50 interviews I conducted with Knowles for broadcast and print, I asked him point-blank how he managed to dovetail his religious and political faiths, particularly in the early years of five o’clock mornings at the factory gate. His old eyes sparkled again, he grinned at me, winked, and answered: “God, sir, is a New Democrat!”

Peter Warren, CJOB Radio, Winnipeg

Your tribute to Stanley Knowles was very touching and tasteful. But anyone with more than a passing interest in Manitoba will know that Brandon is the province’s secondlargest city and is 200 km west of Winnipeg. The “Brandon College” that Knowles attended is there, not in Winnipeg, and since 1967 it has been a full-fledged university.

Roger Currie, Winnipeg

Separatist mind-set

I find it disappointing that Maclean’s should play into the hands of the separatist campaign of misinformation by printing “A winwin situation for Quebecers,” (The Road Ahead, June 23). While Catherine Blake may be attempting to make a tongue-incheek point, she seems to believe her assumptions and they are misguided at best. She contends that a post-Quebec version of Canada cannot revoke the Canadian citizenship of Quebecers. Canada allows its citi-

zens to hold a dual nationality, but it can afford to do so because a very small percentage take advantage of this option. Surely one cannot expect Canada to extend this privilege to an independent Quebec. She also seems to believe that an independent Quebec will continue to send MPs to Ottawa. But to sit in the House of Commons, you must represent the constituents of a specific Canadian territory. As for Quebec gaining a financial advantage in not paying taxes to Canada, it is an uncontestable fact that as a have-not province, Quebec gains more than its contribution to the federal system. Imagine Quebec trying to pay its share of the debt without the assistance of the wealthy provinces, while trying, at the same time, to fill the infrastructure void created by the absence of the federal presence and the flight of private capital. While I believe that Quebec should stay within Canada because we feel it is part of us and see it as our home, I also believe that it would be a mistake not to make clear to Quebecers that with a loss of membership comes a loss of privilege.

Denis G. Labossiere, Aylmer, Que.

The fact that the Allaire Report mysteriously arose out of a “win-win” sovereignty mindset always puzzled my ESL students who

used to examine the report for illogical thinking. Now we know that this apparently widespread thinking of both federalists and sovereigntists within Quebec is actually premised on existing laws within Canada and goes a long way to relieving the anxieties of those Quebecers who are worried about any minor inconveniences that may exist after separation. Darn. Now I have to apologize to my students and Quebecers for even hinting that such thinking in la belle province was illogical. Besides, how could it be, for the citizens of Ontario, the fount of all wisdom and eternal knowledge, voted in a ton of Liberals who see nothing wrong in all this. Would someone please explain this to me, just another dumb bigot and racist from the West who is confused by it all?

Bruce M. Watson, Vancouver

Language of sexism

The Internet Network for the rights of children and fathers informed us that the June 23 issue contains an article “The cyber snoops” (Technology) that uses offensive phrases such as “deadbeat dads” and “stalkers and spouse abusers.” Our network of associations and support groups in France promotes a strict equality between men and women on all accounts and is sorry

to witness the present “war of sexes” that is detrimental to everyone, children most of all. May we hope that the language of Maclean’s will become more respectful?

B. Giraud,

Honorary president, L’Enfant et son droit,

Paris HI

Public exposure

So what if women decide to go topless?

(“Topless in Ontario,” Life, June 23.) North Americans have been so conditioned to seeing most of the female body in a purely sexual way. This ruling will allow us (men) to prove ourselves more than simply beerswilling, sports-loving Neanderthals. If toplessness can be accepted in Europe, why can’t we be mature enough to accept it here, too? Take away the media hype and this issue will fizzle out.

C. Read, Collingwood, Ont.

Your article seems based on sensationalism and a cheap thrill, rather than examining the real question: is there anything wrong with female breasts? Based on visiting beaches outside “staid Ontario,” I would have to conclude that chest-covering bathing suits make about as much sense for women as they do for men. Where is it appropriate for women to go topless? Why, the same places it’s appropriate for men to go topless, and it sure isn’t a legal question. No shirt, no shoes, no service.

Rick Sellens, Kingston, Ont. HI

Maclean’s has swallowed the hype about bare breasts hook, line and sinker. That it has nothing to do with stopping the exploitation of women’s bodies should be apparent just by the photograph you printed. The first to bare their breasts were hookers and exotic dancers, people who are actively involved in the commercialization of their bodies. Why should we allow our parks and

swimming pools to be hijacked by a few exhibitionists? It seems odd that we can tell people when and where to smoke, but can’t tell them to keep from making a public nuisance of themselves.

Reimer Clausen, Winnipeg JH

Populist

politics

Barbara Amiel says that in 1944 “the Progressive Party merged with the Conservatives to form the improbable Progressive Conservatives” (“Our five Monty Python political leaders,” Column, June 16). Actually, the oxymoron was created in 1942, not 1944, when John Bracken, the nominally Progressive premier of Manitoba, said he would accept an invitation to become national Conservative leader only if the party would start calling itself Progressive Conservative.

Richard M. Campbell, Lunenburg, N.S.

Barbara Amiel must hone her listening skills. Reform Leader Preston Manning has never denied that Quebec is a distinct society. The position of the Reform party, and its supporters, is that all Canadians must be treated equally under the law. Until the courts decide that the words “distinct society” do not bestow special powers and privileges on some Canadians that are denied to others, Reformers will be reluctant to have these words, or any like them, embedded in the Constitution.

M. L. Dolan, Edmonton

Surprisingly, and unusually, Barbara Amiel seems to have recovered the full use of her intellect in the Monty Python column. One doesn’t have to agree with everything she says, but some things can’t be ignored for being so true. The five parties are well placed in the new Parliament. One of Amiel’s observations reveals Reform to be the expulsionist party that is a natural consort to the separatist party. Another is the idea that Red Tories are really social democrats in disguise. Most telling of all, however, is the observation on sovereigntyassociation for Quebec, a goal exposed in the Allaire Report as something to which all provincial federalist parties aspire. This truth gets ignored by the media. Consequently, Canadians outside Quebec display

good instincts when they reject distinct society for what it is, a cover for sovereigntyassociation by gradualism. Taking all of Amiel’s observations together, right or wrong, it becomes clear that for Canada now is the time for something completely different.

Francis M. Macri, Toronto

Narrow crossing

Well, big deal, so now we have a concrete road to New Brunswick and what a make-work project it was for a few years (“The Island’s new link,” Canada, June 2). As an Islander, I can tell you that a lot of Islanders don’t want the link. Your readers may find it interesting to know that there is only one traffic lane and one narrow trouble lane—about the width of two bicycles—in each direction. Also, you can’t see over the side when crossing, so don’t expect to have a beautiful view of the water and the red shores when you are coming to Prince Edward Island.

Janet Gordon Gaudet, St. Catherines, P.E.I.

Many people in Prince Edward Island are concerned about the newly opened Confederation Bridge. They feel it will destroy their lifestyle. Well, it is going to have some serious side-effects. Consider the current Island lifestyle: low population, low income, and 16per-cent unemployment. With the bridge now open, these aspects of Island life will simply not be able to persist. Because there will no longer be a ferry lineup to discourage visitors, tourists will begin pouring into the province, bringing their reprehensible money with them. These tourists will be an extreme inconvenience. New services will have to be built to support the influx and unfortunately some of those unemployed might have to get a job to help bear the awful load tourist dollars will be placing on the province.

Benjamin Warrington, Wainwright, Alta.

Magazine protection

As a Canadian now immersed in American culture, I think I have a good idea of what it would be like if Canadian magazines were pushed out by American giants (“Publish or perish,” Business, June 2). My only non-American worldview comes from the Maclean’s I receive weekly. While the Canadian government will try to legislate protection for the magazine industry, it is unlikely that it will be very successful in today’s world trade climate. It then falls to the Canadian people to act. Canadian advertisers

must realize that some things are more important than money, and thus should continue to support Canadian magazines. And the rest of us must step in with some incentive. We should clearly state that as Canadians we don’t find it acceptable for Canadian businesses not to support our magazines. We can do this by informing companies seen to advertise in split-runs that we do not approve, and that we will not use their products or services as a result. Even one message will show that there are people to whom this is important. I realize that this could take some effort, but I think that supporting our Canadian identity is worth a few minutes of our time.

Ivar Christopher, Iowa City, Iowa HI

Unforgivable

After years of watching and listening to the message of Reform, the symbolism of Preston Manning deciding to move into Stornoway after all has not been lost on me (“The perks of office,” Canada Notes, July 1). Mr. Manning, did you steal my vote? A priceless opportunity to walk the talk has been passed over with this simple act of selfindulgence. Any progress the Reform party

has made with people such as myself who take their vote seriously has been compromised. Sure, your advisers talked you into the move, but they are wrong.

Terrance Quaid, Sherwood Park, Alta. HI

What a bunch of pettifogging, whining little people we Canadians are truly showing ourselves to be. A funny-looking fellow with a funny-sounding voice began a Canadian political party. From scratch, the Reform party has risen to the status of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. More importantly, and a fact for which all Canadians should be eternally grateful, Reform replaced a “Loyal Opposition” so treacherous, hypocritical, and treasonous that its reason for being was and is the destruction of Canada. Do we cheer this leader? No, we heap scorn on him. Did he break a promise on the GST? No. Did he feel the heat over Somalia and have Doug the Thug pull the plug? No. Did he give away a billion tax dollars over the Pearson fiasco? No. Much worse, he changed his mind about an ill-advised unrealistic comment, a comment probably made for stupidly idealistic reasons. He changed his mind about where he should live. And of course, no governing party has ever misled us about anything as serious as this.

Lawrence Mitoff, Mississauga, Ont. HI