Brickbats and BouQuets

September 1 1935

Brickbats and BouQuets

September 1 1935

Brickbats and BouQuets

Railway Jobs

Your magazine is most decidedly the best live cent publication in Canada or U.S. or Great Britain and I am just so loyal to it and so jealous of your reputation, particularly for accuracy, etc., that your editorial “Pull vs. Merit” in August 1st issue impels me to say you are wrong.

I worked for the C.P.R. for many years and right at this moment I know 95 per cent of the officers of this road, and 100 per cent of those in the Mechanical Department, and there is not one Who got his position by pull. Your first three paragraphs are absolutely wrong about both roads as they are now manned.

As to the old G.T.R. which was once manned by English, even then many good men were advanced, when their worth was proved. What about W. D. Robb?

Then as to G.T.P., the late “Ned” Brooks was promoted from a machinist to Superintendent of Motive Power before the Government took over the C.N.R. What about "Sam” Hungerford, now President, who was also a fitter first on C.P.R.? Would you dare say his rise came through pull, without merit? You except Davie McNicol and D. B. Hanna. Neither of these men was ever better than present men in VicePresident or General Manager positions on either road.

Then you say. “So we had to bring in the Van Hornes, Shaughnessys, Bosworths— Hayes and other U.S. men, when big practical jobs had to be done.” The biggest jobs the C.P.R. ever did were the spiral and Connaught Tunnels—after poor Van had quit smoking his big black cigars. Sir Thomas was never a builder, just a real good storekeeper who afterward developed into a financier.

I can call every man on both roads on this Western Region by his first name, and I don’t know one who is not a good 100 per cent railroad man or who did not get his present position absolutely on his merit. And this is true of the lines east.—L. E. W. Barley, Winnipeg.

Have We Anglophobia? Remember “Tell Britain?”

As wise government can only be postulated from an economic sense and as the British people are the heaviest taxed people on earth, is it not possible for you to forget your Anglophobia and see something good around you? This is suggested on account of the national character of your magazine. —James A. O’Donnell, a Vancouverite in England.

Horse Sense

W. Donaldson Smith writes, “a horse will instinctively make every effort to avoid stepping on a human being.” I can confirm that statement. Over sixty years ago, in England, six troops charged at a gallop, in close order, two ranks to a troop, column formation, and the belly-band on a horse in the leading troop slipped, throwing the trooper to the ground. He lay there while the following five troops galloped over him. None of the horses stepped on him.—James Elliott, Montreal.

Congratulations—and Sock!

Congratulations are decidedly in order when any magazine summons up that amount of true national patriotism as to run an editorial similar to “An Odd Dominion Day Piece.” in your July 1st issue. Another basis of congratulation is upon the disappearance of your feature (many hope the lapse will be made permanenti entitled ‘Matter of Fact,” by Henry Ashbery.— H. D., Montreal.

Claims Tax System Faulty

A wrong taxation system never produces correct results. A system that taxes less than half the adult population of our cities and expects financial results to cover that upkeep—-to say that this cannot be done is putting it mildly.

A system that taxes one investment held by less than half the people while all the rest go free—free to enjoy that which the other half pay for—is an inane system.

The value of an egg or a pound of butter is what you sell it for; the same egg or butter may be absolutely nil as to value later.

Real estate value is and will always be what we can sell it for, nothing more or less; but under our tax system, our assessors fix a value that is expected to stay put for the next twenty years.

A tax system that goes beyond the immediate possible sale or profit from real estate causes a piling up of debt.

If an egg or a pound of butter sells for ten cents and you tax it twenty cents, it is ten cents in debt.

This is where we get our municipal debt. This debt is covered by bonds and debentures each year—on and on until comes financial failure.

To me this is a colossal injustice—to tax above the real value and expect to come out even.—M. L. Gould, Bartonville, Ont.

Good Work

I don’t know how anyone can write a brickbat against any of the articles that Maclean's publishes. In my opinion, they are the best—morally, intellectually, and instructively—that can be procured anywhere. Take that article by Mr. Keightley, “What I Saw in Germany.” It is a splendid insight on the German side of it. Others are the three articles written by Mr. White. I only wish there were more of them. I enjoyed reading them, and I am sure everybody did.

I have read two or three of Edna Jaques’s poems in Maclean's since I wrote you last. I wish you would get some more.

I have been a reader of Maclean's for a long time, and I have yet to read a story in it without a moral. Keep up the good work. -—George Rae, Rosetown, Sask.

We’re Blushing

Your introduction of the several articles by Mr. Moore is to me very amusing, instructive and entertaining; and so beautifully written as to be a short story in itself, besides drawing particular attention to the original.—R. R. Anderson, Calgary.

Criticizes British Editor

We have learned to look forward to Maclean s for good reading. But for “If War Comes” in your Review of Reviews, I must take you to task. Of all your articles, this is the most childish and misleading. Vernon Bartlett had better go farther than a bootblack for information of the feeling of Canadians regarding our obligations as a member of the great and glorious British Empire, also of an understanding of our part in the League of Nations. If he does not know our relation to the Empire or to the United States, let him learn before he writes, or before you copy his infantile opinions.

He would have troops marching from Alaska to connect with the main United States. Has he ever marched that way? Are we to take a pattern of the United States ¡ way or are we to keep alone the ways of the past? How long were we getting troops away to South Africa? How long were we sending 33,000 men to aid the Mother Country in 1914? Two months. How long was America getting into the war, and how long between the declaration of war and actual participation? History tells. Please, editor, do not print any such articles. It causes a heartburn to all loyal citizens, especially the returned men who gladly went and suffered during 1914 to 1918.—A Returned Soldier.

Western Musical Appreciation

Having had the privilege of presenting a number of internationally known concert artists in the principal cities of Western Canada, the writer was more than casually interested in your story, “Song Recital,’’ It was a surprise, however, to learn that the standard of musical appreciation is lower in the West than in our larger Eastern centres, and that Western audiences are less familiar with the works of the great composers.

Great artists do not discriminate between Eastern and Western audiences in the matter of programme building, unless they are unfortunate enough to be influenced by Eastern advisers who are not sufficiently acquainted with Western musical conditions. On the

contrary, the identical programme is pre-1 sented in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary,1 Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria—the same programme that is given in Aeolian or Carnegie Halls in New York.

Western Canada has had the privilege of hearing many of the great artists, the cities referred to above having regular concert ; seasons, with organized series under competent management.

“Song Recital” was particularly interesting to anyone familiar with concert direction, but the unfortunate reference to what the author terms, “less important places than Toronto,” is not likely to be well received by Western music lovers. It would be interesting to know what Alberta town was referred to, when the author, through the medium of his Hedda Martin, recalls that “not one tenth” of the audience understood what a certain song was about.

Appreciating the latitude allowed a writer of fiction, it is none the less to be regretted that a note of provincialism crept into an otherwise appealing story.—Kenneth A. Ross, Fort William, Ont.