Stress: no spur for students / Who’s to blame if Canada “goes under”? / Lament for a river

December 1 1965


Stress: no spur for students / Who’s to blame if Canada “goes under”? / Lament for a river

December 1 1965


Stress: no spur for students / Who’s to blame if Canada “goes under”? / Lament for a river

PROFESSOR C. F. J. Whebell's Argument in favor of university education by frustration and fear (Of Course We Give Our Students The Jitters—That’s What University Teachers Are Supposed To Do) recalls Stephen Leacock’s satire on North American university education as a series of hurdles set up by the professor so that he can drive his flock of sheep (students) over them. By contrast, he described the Oxford University tutorial system of those days as a group of students in the tutor's study having education smoked at them in the hope that some would catch fire. In these days the tutorial system is out of the question, but the principle of education by inspiring remains. All students know that from the inspired and inspiring teacher they derive the greatest benefit and stimulation. The driving types are usually insecure and unable to communicate effectively. “Thinking for oneself" is a desirable objective, but how often is this a mere shibboleth? The frustrated and hard-driven student has no time to think for himself; he just plays safe and regurgitates.— A. J. GOODMAN, CALGARY

* Professor Whebell has, I believe, done his colleagues and his university a disservice in suggesting that the creation among students of stress verging on mental disintegration is an inevitable and even a desirable adjunct of university education. He implies that the assignment of. intolerable work loads is a spur to the development of abstract thought. Such is not the case, for, if one is to believe the historians, most of the world's great scientific and philosophical ideas have developed in quiet, leisurely environments. It is even harder for me to understand how Prof. Whebell can find anything commendable in an educational process that produces individuals alienated from society and incapable of communicating with their less-privileged fellows. This, it seems to me, is the very antithesis of what should be one of the primary aims of any educational system. If the current crop of university graduates is to find itself “no longer a part of your world anymore,” perhaps a space-colonization program should be inaugurated to find a suitable place for these terrestrial misfits. On second thought, it might be less expensive to accept their professors as suitable candidates for such a mission. Are you ready Prof. Whebell? “Five, four, three, two, one ...”


The Canadian record: dismal

The brush-off accorded to Peter Kilburn when he made inquiries in French at the Ottawa Tourist Bureau (French “Sensitivity” r.v. English Boorishness, Editorial) is one more example of the appalling and very dismal record of Canadian failure to create a nation. The Frenchspeaking and English-speaking races of Canada should have, long ago, set an example to the world in tolerance and mature co-operation. Each has much to contribute to the nation as a whole, yet regional differences are allowed to create dissension. Deliberate misunderstanding and bigotry are fostered to sow discord where unity should prevail. One would have thought that, at last, Canada was of

sufficient stature that civilized attitudes and the charitable viewpoint would hold sway, rather than the insular forces calculated to destroy the country. Neither area of Canada can exist long without its partner. If Canada does, eventually, “go under" then the blame can only be attached to those directly responsible: the Canadians. Canada is neither French nor English, but both, plus all other races, too. Keep it that way. and a place of sanity.


Get ready now for parts banks

I read with interest your Background report on medical transplants (HowHospitals Are Building Up Banks Of Human Parts For The Approaching Era Of The Rebuilt Man). True, there arc some ethical problems to be resolved, but meanwhile could we not start a scheme to organize volunteers who wish to donate to "banks of human parts”? I suggest that this new group be called LIFO (Life For Others) and. when the proper legal forms have been signed, the donors be given metal identification discs to wear.


Books he knows, but children . . .

In his review of Austin C. Clarke's book Among Thistles And Thorns (Reviews), James Bannerman shows he has much to learn about children, if he really believes “no child of that age could be so articulate.” Indeed, at that age. and younger, they can be exquisitely, devastatingly articulate.


“Folly” at Mactaquac

Re Last Days Of Happy Valley, describing the building of the Mactaquac power dam. which will result in the flooding of a historic section of the St. John River in New Brunswick: As the thoughtful citizen gazes out into the future, he sees nothing but folly in the Mactaquac development. He knows nuclear power will be the answer to electricity. The island in Woodstock, with the playground for children, the recreational site for adults, this precious birthright is submerged forever. To live a few yards from the St. John River, and awaken to admire the beauty and grandeur. is to be born afresh each morning —this transcends economic values. The beauty of the river nourishes the spirit and helps sustain us. Have we no vision, or can it be the unconquerable destructive compulsion of MAN?-DR. W. O.


* Writer Ian Sclanders says the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission estimates that three hundred and twentyfive dwellings will be flooded out by the Mactaquac Dam being built on the St. John River, and that fewer than a thousand inhabitants will be affected. However, on January 25. 1964, the Daily

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The leg-watchers / Peril in pills / Take care—or it’s good-by Niagara / Foreign MDs go home

Gleaner of Fredericton asked officials of the power commission. “How many will have to leave their homes?” The reply was: "Nine hundred farms or families are affected. Approximately one thousand properties.” On January 27. 1964. the Telegraph-Journal of Saint John said the flooding will “possibly displace as many as three thousand (inhabitants). nine hundred and eighty rural and sixty urban buildings, six schools, nine churches, sixteen cemeteries.” The above estimates of the power commission were given before it decided to raise the height of the dam another five feet, when, although a revised report said thirty-one cemeteries would be affected, it failed to revise the number of inhabitants that would be flooded out! The power commission, adept as it is in the art of equivocation, cannot equivocate consistently even when its own interests are CONCERNED.-GEORGE


* Not mentioned in Schinders" article is the fact that an official study of the architecture of the St. John Valley has been made in the area to be affected by the Mactaquac power project. This was done not only to record types of early buildings of the valley, but to find

out if there were any that merited preservation. The study revealed a rich architectural heritage. The Ellegood house mentioned in the article was not the only eighteenth-century structure discovered. Among the early buildings, a number have survived that are not only in excellent physical condition, but so complete in original features as to require only minimum restoration. The New Brunswick Power Commission in its publications referring to the “multi-purpose" aspect of the power project indicates that worthy early buildings will be preserved and a museum village established in a parklike setting. The power commission has taken the trouble to prepare a brief history of the area, to co-operate with architectural and archaeological surveys, and their publication containing reference to plans for a museum village is now in the hands of many Canadians and Americans from coast to coast who eagerly await such development.


After shorts, skintight pants?

In Quebec's New Crime Wave: Bare Thighs (Reports) you describe the crackdown on women wearing shorts, by Que-

bec City’s new police chief. What a wonderful town where the chief of police has no other worries than to chase girls in shorts! I guess Chief Gérard Girard will next declare war on skintight pants (in my modest opinion, more offending —if at all—than shapely legs), hair curlers. Beatle mops, and anti-baby pills! There is so much to do for a police force looking for work. I refrain from further comments on what I think a police force should do!—w. SCHULZE, TORONTO

Welcome to Canada?

In view of the recent article, The Builtin Lie Behind Our Search For Immigration I thought you might be interested in the following case. Year: 1959. A couple about to retire bought land in the Maritimes to build a house and settle there. Husband: born in England; lived in British Columbia twelve years, three U. S. A.; graduate of UBC; clean of col-

lege of business administration at large university in United States, listed in Who’s Who. Wife: born and lived in Maritimes nineteen years; trained as nurse, artist. Both were naturalized citizens of U. S. With application made for immigration to Canada, family physician gave excellent health report to Canadian Immigration, Ottawa. Result: owing to scar on husband’s lung of long standing), Canadians ruled must wait additional three months and take tests for TB. This done and skin and sputum tests showed negative. Wife had had a nervous breakdown some years previously. Immigration wanted a full detailed report from family doctor. Meanwhile, wife’s mother critically ill (dies that summer) in Canada and so wrote asking for privileges of visiting indefinitely. Then comes the climax in the following letter: “This will refer to your inquiry as to whether you or Mrs. . . . would be free to enter Canada as visitors this summer as you had done previously. We regret

that we will not be in a position to consider you and Mrs. . . . either as immigrants or nonimmigrants until such time as we have further medical reports. (Signed: Officer in Charge.)” Final result: Couple decided to stay in their adopted land, which had welcomed them. Underscoring of letter mine to show how ridiculous you can get when in summertime practically any “bum” can cross the border. Before final X rays of husband had been analyzed in Ottawa. Canadian government said in July we could enter Canada as immigrants. Befuddled is right. WILLIAM G. SUTCLIFFE, CAMDEN, MAINE

Strong man

I enjoyed When Canada Built The Strongest Men In The World, but feel you left out a very important strong man — Arthur Dandurand, who once trundled a wheel-barrow filled with forty-one hundred pounds of rock for about twenty-

six feet. I think the strength contests referred to are still in vogue in The Pas, Man., where they see how far a man can walk or run with six hundred pounds loaded on him.


Canada: peacemaker

Mrs. F. O. Bradley, of Honolulu, speaking of efforts to preserve freedom throughout the world, says, “I feel that this responsibility should not be left to the United States alone” (Mailbag). As a proud Canadian,” she should be aware of the part her country has played in the fight for freedom and democracy since 1914. As a Canadian, I am proud of the fact that the men of our armed services are sent to many unhappy spots of his troubled world to maintain the peace under the United Nations banner. (And we pick up the tab.) With great restraint they have honorably discharged their duties without bloodshed to the defenseless civilian population. This may not be the most spectacular way, but some day maybe common sense and reason will take over and prove it is the right way.


Foreign doctors: troublemakers?

Your sob-sister article on certain Indian, Turkish and Egyptian doctors not being allowed to practise in Ontario is nauseating (Foreign Doctors Who “Aren’t Good Enough,” Reports). There is too much of this big-heart, soft-head propaganda aimed at lessening respect for authority. There is no divine law saying these doctors must practise in Ontario. Why don’t they go somewhere else where they will be permitted to practise, instead of making trouble here?


Coffee cream: dangerous detour?

You report that Dr. J. M. Glenroy, who is responsible for inspecting cafés in Toronto, says his department has never run bacteria counts on restaurant cream, adding that hot coffee pasteurizes the cream anyway (The Storm Brewing In Café Coffee, Reports). Whether or not this is true is immaterial, as very often diet-conscious parents in restaurants let their children drink the cream from the “cute little bottles.”


From highbrows to small fry

I was very interested in your article on Norman McLaren (Secrets Of A HomeGrown Film Genius, Reviews). It is true that intellectuals and highbrows like his films. But — and to me this is the most interesting group of all — children too simply love them. As with any abstracts, children are able to respond with joy and imagination. Canadians should be proud of McLaren for what he has done for the Canadian film industry all over the world. — KATHLEEN M. GAW, FILM


Menace of the comfort pills

I would like to express my gratitude for your article. My Long Desolate Journey To Hell And Back, and for your Editorial, Our Shabby Treatment Of The Goofball Addict. Taking drugs to achieve comfort seems to be an increasing problem. I feel it may be a problem greater in extent than that of the overuse or the

pathological use of alcohol. I have been very concerned to discover that people are very careless in their use of medication or barbiturates or drugs; that there is a certain carelessness on the part of the medical profession in prescribing medication without knowing the possibilities of allergy or the extent to which a given person may be an addictive personality. I would wonder whether or not we are going to find ourselves in a deeper mess through the overuse of comfort pills, than we ever were through the overuse of alcohol. — REV. GORDON


Canadian example to the world

Although L. L. Ball, of Yorkton, Sask., sharply criticizes the Canadian Wheat Board (Mailbag), the fact remains that the joint efforts of the board and our four great grain-handling co-operatives, in saving our grain industry as well as our prairie farmers is an example to the world of what can be done by men of courage and conviction. Long live the wheat board. Prairie farmers will not again be enslaved under the guise and pretext of freedom and independence of a “beneficent” grain trade.


Eliminate the negative

A recent Forecasts item in Maclean’s Reports began: “Safety authorities, who've apparently decided we haven’t enough signs and symbols to memorize already, are preparing yet another to watch out for.” This kind of reporting displays a lack of appreciation for the extensive research and hours of planning required in choosing and adopting a universal sign for the rear of slow-moving vehicles. Surely such a negative introduction does much to offset the good that can be done by helping the public to be aware of and to accept this special safety sign. WM. A. SCOTT, CEDAR FALLS, IOWA

Requiem for a natural wonder

1 could not agree more with the stand the government has taken in regard to national parks ( Unspoiled Parks Or Neon Jungles?). I only wish there had been a similar clamp-down on the hucksters who made a Coney Island out of Niagara Falls. After an absence of eighteen years,

I revisited this natural wonder this summer, only to find it filled with garish overpriced motels and trashy gift shops. Nothing was free, not even a peek at" the Whirlpool Rapids, and it would not surprise me at all if some enterprising corporation found a way to screen off the mighty Niagara so that we would have to pay for the privilege of watching it fall! — MRS. LORRAINE ASHFORD, ST. EUSTACHE, QUE.

Cheating: words won’t stop it

Your Editorial, Cheating — A “Luxury” We Can No Longer Afford, sounds great, noble, saintly and good. Although I cannot agree more with what you say, I cannot defend the naïveté of your saying it. The Ontario Hospital Commission, like the PSI plan, is doomed to rising costs because of people’s basic tendency to enjoy the “luxury” of “cheating,” and I don’t think you can write enough words or embarrass enough people to stop up the dike against human behavior. In my opinion, the OHSC plan, and the PSI plan, should be administered so that the patient must pay a deductable amount, like car insurance, or a variable percentage of the total cost

based on a means test, one’s ability to pay or one’s income status. This was tried in the States at one welfare medical centre and the resulting savings were amazing; yet the service was still adequately beneficial.


Nothing to grumble at in Gimli

Hannes Kristjanson was no “impoverished immigrant,” as you report, when all his PhD sons were growing up

(Most Wanted Men In Cañad:!: Six Brains Named Kristjanson, Reports). He was a successful, community-minded businessman—Gknli’s number-one citizen. The Kristjanson boys had no disadvantages in their background. They had everything going for them and they made the most of it all. Nor is Gimli an “improbable base” for intellectual talent. Icelanders as a people have a notable respect for the educated mind. Why. Iceland, please remember, had the first parliament!


The better battleground

Re Michael Bliss Says: Sure, Our History’s Dull — That’s Why We Should Be Proud Of It, Argument. This statement is so true. Let’s hope and pray Canadians will continue to battle around the table verbally instead of around the corner with a gun. Let’s hope Canadians continue solving their problems with reason and understanding instead of believing they must get emotional with every decision. - ERNIE SCHMIDT, LONG BEACH,