COMMENT

MAILBAG

How professors frustrate their students / Why our economy is still in trouble

November 18 1961
COMMENT

MAILBAG

How professors frustrate their students / Why our economy is still in trouble

November 18 1961

MAILBAG

How professors frustrate their students / Why our economy is still in trouble

In The Anxious Years of an Undergraduate (Oct. 21) most of the onus is placed on the student. In fact, most student problems arise from university methods and teaching personnel. I base my conclusions on numerous discussions with students of applied science during the past 30 years. Most of the applied science students were at university for the sole purpose of getting a ticket of entrance to a profession. To provide sufficient instruction for the vast crowds seeking entrance to university it has been necessary to admit to the teaching staffs some of the bright boys who won all the scholarships and, goaded along by parents and teachers, cut themselves off from human contacts as much as possible in order to load themselves with academic honors. Then, afraid of the big cruel world, they returned to university to continue their scholarly

progress. They were then up against the problem of teaching — a problem demanding all the practical and theoretical knowledge of humanity it is possible to get. These are the people who lecture from the text book and expect regurgitation at exam time. In some universities it is considered good training to load students to their full capacity even though the load has little educational value. The result is that students are starved of inspiration from their teachers and also deprived of the necessary time to bolster their enthusiasm in the

library. Is it surprising that they develop frustration problems? — A. J.

GOODMAN, CALGARY.

The true drama of university life lies in the desire of some students to do what has never been done, to know what has never been known. Everything else about the universities and their people, graduates and undergraduates alike, is secondary and of little importance. — HUGH MYERS, QUEBEC CITY.

The boom that isn’t

I say pooh to Peter C. Newman (A new kind of boom — with still more unemployment: Oct. 21) and pooh also to Ottawa economists, if Newman really consulted any of them, and if they really provided him with his misinformation. For example: our tentative recovery has a long way to go before it deserves to be called a “boom.” Neither recovery in the United States (by no means strong so far) nor deficit spending has played more than a minor part in stimulating our current upturn. The real basis for our recovery is precisely the change that Newman minimizes — the “devaluation” of the Canadian dollar. The essential task of devaluation is not, and never was, to push up exports, but to cut down imports. More exports simply result in more imports that drive more Canadians out of employment. The gains in employment from a lower exchange rate will be primarily in industries producing for the home market. Certainly we need a marked increase in investment (including easier “easiermoney”) and certainly one of the quick ways is by government stimulation of investment. But a billion dollars of government money invested in dams, steel mills on the St. Lawrence, or potato chip factories in P.E.I., would not only bring as much economic benefit as a billion spent on armaments. They would bring a lot more. About the only economic advantage of military spending is that the people who usually stop

us from taking the steps needed to restore prosperity by calling them “government interference,” keep their mouths shut about armaments, because they favor that particular kind of government interference. — H. c. RENTLAND, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS AND SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA.

That old gang of Julie’s

In Julie, Portrait of a Royal Mistress (Sept. 9), McKenzie Porter mentions that she had as classmate in Martinique the Josephine who was to become the wife of Napoleon. Were there not some other remarkable young ladies in early Martinique: Madame de Maintenon,

morganatic wife of Louis XIV, and Aimee Dubucq de Rivery who became the Sultana Valideh of Turkey and mother of Sultan Mahmoud II. “The Reformer”? — w. A. IRONSIDE, ABADAN,

SOUTH IRAN.

As I was brought up one block from the Duke of Kent House at 25 St. Louis Street in Quebec City, I was very interested in McKenzie Porter’s article on Julie de St. Laurent, mistress of Edward, Duke of Kent, who lived in that house, with her, in 1791. This house was always a mystery, to a certain extent. and I doubt if any Quebeckers know who this Duke of Kent was. —

L. P. GRENIER, NEUVILLE, P.Q.

The had effects of good works

Imagine anyone going around doing things for people for nothing. (Mistreated? Now you’ve got a champion: Oct. 21) You are doing Canada and

our great system of free enterprise a disservice by giving publicity to such Communist types. - .». MCMAHON,

KI NORA, ONT.

^ I cannot give you my name for obvious reasons but I want to tell you what Underdog did for me. My husband was foolish enough to get himself in trouble with the law and went to prison. Because of this my son, who is 10, was not permitted to join a youth club he had put his heart on. I tried several authorities, but the doors were always closed to me. I wrote to Underdog and Mr. Cowlishaw came out to see me. He was the first man to listen to me all the w?y through. Six days later my son was granted membership in the club. He is still there. Mr. Cowlishaw refused a donation for this and would not even let me pay his own expenses to Orillia. “We advertise that there is no charge and we mean just that,” he said. 1 thought, there is a man of goodness. — ANONYMOUS

A mari usque ad Alaskam

I wish to add another to the many suggestions for the Canadian centennial celebrations (Preview, Sept 23). The Alaska Panhandle, while it is U. S. territory, disfigures the western map of Canada. In view of the harmonious relationship between the two countries 1 believe that we might quite successfully negotiate for its acquisition. — CROSUIE

MCNAUGHT, YELLOWKNIFE. NWT.

One road to peace

I very much enjoyed your article entitled Beginners Guide to the Canadian Nuclear Disarmers (Oct. 7) . . . Maybe if enough of us “nuclear disarmers” could get together, we could put enough pressure on our governments to actually bring about nationwide disarmament. — DIANA WALKEY, TIMMINS, ONT.

MORE MAILBAG ON PAGE 8

IVI A I L B A G continued from page 2

The medieval evils of modern, suburban falconry European life for our military innocents abroad

Frank Beebe still has much to learn about the hunting tactics of falcons. (Falconry in the suburbs, Oct. 7). True they do their best work in open terrain, but the peregrine is not above adopting the hunting style of the goshawk and concealing itself in the bushes to execute low-range attacks at its intended prey. I have seen the noble peregrine fly from cover of the forest at pigeons returning to their loft and dispatch them in the open. It is truly a sad sight to sec a helpless bird being carried off by a predator. The law of nature demands and adheres to the principle that only the fittest shall survive. But this continual struggle takes on an ugly perspective when the human element enters the picture and plays a deliberate role in this cycle — capturing and training birds of prey to fly them at will at small, defenseless creatures to appease selfish interests and desires and reveling in the cheap thrills of terror, suffering, and death that the so-called sport of falconry affords. — CHARLES PINEAU,

FERNWOOD, P.E.I.

^ I read Falconry In The Suburbs with a feeling of revulsion. Why the emotional tie to the falcon and indifference to the quarry? Because it satiates the sadistic temperament of the falconers? Falconry, a relic of medieval darkness, should have no place in Canada. —

MARY ELLEN MACINTYRE. ST. CATHARINES, ONT.

r* . . . Hawking is not a whit better than bull baiting, bear baiting, cock fighting and other brutal sports. Our feathered world has a hard enough struggle to survive without more difficulties and enemies than it already has. - MRS.

E. FRANCIS. SAANICH, H.C.

Postscript to the charity game

Rev. Harold Martin states (Mailbag, Sept. 23) that I wanted to board my children so that my wife as well as myself could work in order to accumulate enough money to buy a house. Nothing could be more false. My wife had left me and I did not even know where she had gone. This fact can be vouched for by my neighbors. As the children were too young to be left alone while I was at work. I had to find a place where they would be taken care of. I offered Mr. Martin 50% more than he says — in his printed circulars begging for contributions — is ample to keep a child for a week. My offer of $15.00 per week for each of two children was one half of my $60.00 weekly salary. For the two children he demanded $70.00 per week. It would appear to me that Rev. Martin’s main interest is contributions.

W. G. MCCARTNEY, ST F ANNE DE

HELLEVUE, QUE.

Onward the war canoes!

Paddling and rowing, too often overlooked in this era of emphasis on professional sports (Charge of the war canoes. Sept. 23), have a most important part to play in modern Canadian athletics. - CRAIG SVVAYZE, SI.

CATHARINES, ONT.

* Wc own a summer home on Cultus Lake near Sardis. B.C., and every year war canoe races are held and the teams are all real live Indians from Sardis. One team is made up of brothers from one family. This year there were about

17 canoes and the winners go on to race in Victoria, Seattle and Oregon. —

ELSIE PI RKINS, VANCOUVER.

Kind words for I)r. Atlee

My compliments to Dr. Benge Atlee for writing Why Surgeons Operate (Sept. 23) and my compliments to Maclean’s magazine for publishing it. Your service to humanity could never be measured in dollars and cents. - MRS. C. C.

AEEXANDI R. PRINCE GEORGE., II.C.

Why military travel is broadening

I take exception to Leslie Hannon’s snide remark that we will go home “unmarked" by exposure to European culture. ( I he cokl war is still cool for Canada’s NATO forces, Sept. 23). We

are not all illiterate clods who fail to realize that a tour of duty here is a heaven-sent opportunity to add to our education. Every few months there is an exodus of families loaded with camping gear, or pulling a trailer, heading for unfamiliar places from John O’Groats to Gibraltar and from Narvik to Naples. True some of these travelers may not appreciate all they see, but they are trying to gain something from the experience. It is true, to a degree, that our children do not spend a great deal of time with their German counterparts. but perhaps there is also a reluctance on the part of the Germans to encourage this. They do get together quite often nevertheless, and a lot of this is arranged by the guide and scout leaders in the brigade areas. Men, who work with German civilians, often form friendships with them and family visiting follows. I do not attempt to deny that there arc plenty of exceptions who would prefer to be back in Canada and should never have come here in the first place. But please don’t tar us all with the same brush. - MRS. N. FUNK.

SOEST, (¡I RM ANY.

Underseas report

Your article (To oblivion and back with a new record, Oct. 21 ) was well done and well photographed and our compliments for the way in which it was presented. However, we of the Underwater Society of America are entirely opposed to the basic concept of record setting by amateurs. Diving can be an extremely dangerous sport and it is the constant concern of this society to make every effort through its member councils and clubs to provide proper instruction for all novice divers. — c. n. DAVIS. DIRECTOR OF SAFETY, UNDERWATER SOCIETY OF AMERICA.

Continued on page 10

M A I L B A G continued from page 8

Who corrupted customs men during prohibition?

A veteran member defends home and school clubs

How Kuiiiriiiming Corrupted Canada (Aug. 26) interested me because, as a customs officer, I was right in the middle of it. I can assure you it was not the rumrunners who corrupted us, but the Canadian politicians, federal, provincial, and municipal. Canadian law required that a bonded hauler take the liquor from the export house to the border. This law was not enforced because of pressure from above. Had it been, no liquor could have crossed the line in my area because it would have been confiscated immediately by the American officers directly across the line from me. The Canadian officer at the next port west of mine was an honest man. He knew he couldn’t enforce the law but he wanted to keep his nose clean. So he wrote Ottawa explaining the situation. I read the reply he got. It said that if he was satisfied the liquor was going into the States it would be okay for him to accept the export papers, then let the driver turn back into Canada, and cross the border wherever he wanted to. I spent my last four years in the service in Vancouver, so I knowa little of what happened on the coast in those days. I know boats would leave Vancouver with liquor bound for some port in Mexico. It would be back within three days with clearance from Mexico. The officer who accepted those papers knew perfectly well the papers were forged, but he couldn't do anything about it. The papers were forwarded to Ottawa. —

C. I’. HOWELL, VANCOUVI R.

Home is where the kids are

Jessica Swail (Latest teenage fad: shoplifting; Preview, Oct. 21 ) quotes MaryJane Holmes as saying that the mothers of these children don’t even know where their children are. “They.” and I quote, “are too interested in P.T.A. or holding down a job.” In twenty-five years in the Home and School Association I have found that the membership invariably consists of parents who know' where their children are and what they arc doing. One of the aims of our organization is to help people to be better parents, better informed about school and more concerned about the community influences affecting their children. - MYRA HARSHMAN. REGIONAL

DIRECTOR, ALBERTA FEDERATION OF USA, CALGARY.

T he good work of UNESCO

The Canadian National Commission for UNESCO, very casually treated in the article, UNESCO: The Hope of the World—on Paper (Sept. 9), was established four years ago. and serves as a co-ordinating link between UNESCO and about seventy Canadian organizations in education, science and culture. With some, the contact is slight but with others it has become a significant part of their annual program. The distribution and the sale of UNESCO literature in Canada has risen sharply through the efforts of the commission to bring it to wider attention. Several national conferences have been held, and full reports subsequently distributed, designed to promote a sympathetic understanding of Asian and African cultural institutions, something as yet little appreciated in Canada. The opinion or the assistance of the staff of the commission is daily sought in dealing with problems. To mention only a few: the selection of Canadian experts to go

to Africa or Latin America, advice for UNESCO fellows wishing to come to Canada, helpful UNESCO literature on special topics, the critical evaluation (for Canadian officials) of some proposal for inclusion in future UNESCO programs.—j. F. LEDDY, UNIVERSITY OF

SASKATCHEWAN, SASKATOON.

The sheltered life in Laos

I thoroughly enjoyed the article by Cathie Breslin (Tom Dooley's left-hand man, Sept. 23) but it illustrates one of my favorite complaints. Miss 'Breslin says one corner of the room was. “screened off for visiting females with heavy blue and silver Thai silk.” I find

it difficult to visualize this type of female. I also find offensive the loose grammatical construction of this sentence. I believe that an error of this type could be condoned in the informality of the spoken word but surely it should be censured in the irrevocability of the written word. — MARY SUTHI R

LAND. VANCOUVER.

Shocks from Japan

The fetuses of Osaka (Japan’s tragic solution to the population crisis, Oct. 7) do not shock me. But I am still shocked by the corpses of Hiroshima. - NINA GREEN, OTTAWA.

Vivent les différences

I read with interest Lea Pétrin’s article on the differences between English and French Canadians and how to spot them (Oct. 21 ). I personally pride myself on being Canadian first and Einglish second but would like to point out these facts: English Canadians do not necessarih wear tailored clothes from choice; it is a matter of putting first things first when on a budget and even if one would like to (and I dearly would), it becomes expensive when one has to change one’s entire wardrobe at Paris' behest. The average Erench-Canadian woman does not wear a cocktail dress to the office because she is going to a cocktail party immediately afterward. She wears a skin - tight dress, much make-up and evening style earrings because she likes lo be in the limelight as much as possible and does not consider, as most English-Canadian girls do, that there is one type of dress one wears to work and another type in which one only appears on gala occasions. In Montreal another way one can spot the difference is that a five-foot ErenchCanadian girl will wear accessories — large handbag, huge stole and enormous shawl collar, originally intended for sixfoot models only, while her EnglishCanadian counterpart has enough fashion sense to know that on her they would look ridiculous. — PAMELA A. FUDGLR, LASALLE, QUEBEC.

Continued on page 69

Continued from page 10

Last words, and figures, on the Berlin editorial

After reading all the letters in Mailbag since Blair Fraser’s editorial on Berlin (The crisis that propaganda built, Aug. 26) I was surprised at the number of Canadians who have gone soft over Berlin. Berlin is still the danger spot of the world, and we are all hoping that a peaceful settlement can be reached through negotiation. If one is reached, it won't be because of Blair Fraser's propaganda report. It will be because the western powers moved fast enough to reinforce their garrisons in West Berlin, thus telling Mr. Khrushchov in the only language that he can understand. that the West had no intention of running away from Berlin. — u.

CUB ITT. WINNIPEG.

^ I should like to add my belated commendation to those you have already received for Blair Fraser’s lucid editorial on Berlin. What we need from our leaders is the clear thinking and sane approach which he so ably expressed. —CHARLES A. WHITE. DON Mil ES. ONT.

^ Thank heaven for a magazine that dares to express the Canadian point of

view.-CATHARINE M. BONNER. CHRISS

DOUGI.AS. ROSEMARY HAMILTON, DOROTHY PENNEY. LILLY HALLBERG. K. MOTREERKE. VICTORIA.

* F.vents, prior to and since, your article on Berlin prove you to be wrong

. . . —GORDON R. CLARK. MEDICINE

HAT. ALTA.

v Isn’t it strange how all those who malign your stand react in the same way as do the Communists to any threat to their fixed ideas — by namecalling. implying you are “red" and a general attempt to obscure the issue in a fog of emotionalism and self-righteous hysteria ... — JIM LOT/. OTTAWA.

*■" It may well be that the greatest enemies of freedom are those who most flauntingly wave its banners. Their outcry about the freedom of those who so recently ravaged the freedom of all within their grasp is absurd ... —

CROSBIE MCNAUGMT. YEEEOWKNIFE, NWT.

^ I don’t think there is anything (much less the grossly exaggerated and propagandized Berlin issue) that could possibly excuse the launching of a nuclear war. All of us with a concern for humanity — and particularly for the world’s children — should be raising our voices against the madness of this rush toward self-destruction. - D. W. WARD, SUDBURY. ONT.

^ I would like to add my voice to those who congratulate you on your Berlin editorial. Recently I decided to join the Voice of Women members on Parliament Hill when they presented their petition for a Peace Year to Mr. Diefenbaker. In trying to explain this to my son I told him that we wanted to stop the men from fighting. He looked at me in frank incredulity for a moment and then laughed. "Oh mother.” he said, “men don’t fight. Only boys fight.” - THELMA HOPWOOD. OTTAWA.

You may add another reader to those on the side of Maclean’s in the matter of the Berlin crisis EDITORIAL.-R. CUNNINGHAM, TORONTO.

* I don’t always see everything your way, but this time you fulfilled a need as fundamental to our comprehension of the Berlin issue as a drink of fresh water is to a thirst-ravaged desert wanderer. - ARTHUR KOFMAN, TORONTO.

^ It is a good thing that there are a few cool and sober heads around, with the guts to speak up before those damn Yankees get us all blown up. Keep up the good work. - MARK MOSHER,

AI BERNE B.C.

^ One cannot help wondering about the quality of your editors and their capabilities of judging this international crisis. I certainly prefer the pages of Life (magazine) which are not half as biased and on a much higher level. — INGO F. JAESCHKE, RED DEER. ALTA.

^ When were we “persuaded by our experience . . . that a divided and unreconciled Germany is more dangerous to peace than a united one?” In 1870? In 1914? In 1939?-KENNETH FONCAR,

MONTREAL.

^ This momentous article should be required reading for every member of the United States government as well as our own. — G. A. W'EAVER. TRENTON. ONT.

^ It was refreshing to have a journalist speak out with such clarity on such a confused issue. — H. P. WHITE, EDMONTON. if

To date Maclean's has received 122 letters on the Berlin issue; 100 in agreement. 22 in protest. - THE EDITORS