Quebec: don’t quit—or good riddance?

February 1 1968

Quebec: don’t quit—or good riddance?

February 1 1968

Quebec: don’t quit—or good riddance?


In The Day Quebec Quit Canada, Alexander Ross made fiction read like fact. Very clever indeed! But he missed one point. At secession, what share of the national debt did Quebec underwrite?


* Bravo! for printing Ross’s semi-fictional history. I am sure this thoughtful consideration of the potential inclinations of our French-speaking confrères will contribute much to the struggle for mutual understanding and sympathy. Permit me to suggest another attempt at “friendship building” — this time with our neighbors to the south. Have Ross write on The Day The U.S. Quit Vietnam. DENNIS GIBSON. QUEBEC Cil Y

* Out west we arc tired of this Quebec business, and wish they would split completely away from Canada. We fear Quebec more than we feared Germany, maybe because we had an army to protect us from Germany, but we have nobody to protect us from the French.


* The possibility that Canada itself is essentially a colony was rather overlooked. Your presentation of the Quebec issue was mainly in terms of “they cannot get along economically without us.” Please, who are you? Isn't there someone you cannot get along without? Maybe Quebec cannot get along without the North American economy. But one doubts if Quebec separatists have any such intention. Does Quebec have to have an Anglo-Canadian middle man to share in the North American economy? ALBION ROSS. MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

* Blair Fraser counters Ross’s The Day Quebec Quit Canada with Why It Can't Happen. As a recent English immigrant, I would like to comment that it is one man’s ambition that it shall happen. General de Gaulle wishes to rebuild the French Colonial Empire, as he has “rebuilt" France — and start with Quebec. He is currently trying to embarrass the dollar and to raise the price of gold. If he succeeds, this ambitious old man will be able to finance Quebec bonds from Paris, and thus go down in history as the man who created a colony without firing a shot.


* I have been so impressed by Alexander Ross’s science-fiction story on Quebec that I am sending right now my contribution to René Lévesque’s political party, soon to be formed.


* It is hard to imagine a more patronizing. hysterical and wishful-thinking approach to the Quebec problem than the pieces written by Blair Fraser and Ross, and the Editorial in the same issue. Patronizing because they assume FrenchCanadian statesmen would act in a panicky. irrational and self-defeating manner. Hysterical because they assume hotheads like Grégoire. Bourgault and Tremblay would be in charge, instead of cool heads like Lévesque. Drapeau and Bourassa. Wishful thinking because they base their entire argument on the economic consequences that ‘might" follow. Notwithstanding cherished illusions to the contrary held by Canadian WASPs. French

Canadians are better known and better liked by Americans than their Englishspeaking counterparts. If English-speaking Canada wants to cut off its nose to spite its face by taking economic revenge on Quebec, should it claim its sovereignty, let it do so. There are other ways for Quebec to ensure its economic wellbeing. Economic union with the United States would be one answer. English Canada had better get one thing straight: French Canada is not only determined to preserve its language and culture from drowning in the English-language massmedia ocean, hut it is determined to have the Erench-Canadian way of life come to full bloom.


* Now that I've controlled my fury and rescued my Maclean's from the wastepaper basket where I had hurled it. may I suggest that you not attribute attitudes to western Canadians that we do not hold — such as the ridiculous headline ascribed to a Winnipeg newspaper: QUEBEC QUITS - THANK GOD. Western Canadians are as deeply concerned about national unity as people who seem to think Canada ends at Bloor and Yonge Streets, and for Maclean's to suggest that we Canadians in western Canada would wish Quebec out of Canada is completely ASININE.-D. AIRTH, EDMONTON

* If such an article had appeared in a Erench-Canadian magazine of national scope. I would not feel very proud. As it is. I am simply sorry for both of us. F. X. GIASSON, RIMOUSKI, QUE.

Cold on a cool school

I would like to know why the Company of Young Canadians is entitled even to offer to spend the taxpayers’ money to underwrite five teachers for a group of privileged Vancouver students who. rather than attend a school provided for them, wish to attend a school approved by them (As A Cool School, There's No Place Like Know-place, Reports). In my opinion there are many areas of far more importance to spend the taxpayers’ money than to supply teachers for a hunch of very spoiled children who think they can go through life doing just whatever they want to do.



The Beautiful People

I read The Beautiful People of Detroit from start to finish. There aren't enough words in my vocabulary to express my appreciation for this superb and understanding piece of journalism. The only nagging disappointment left in my mind is the fact that so much is said, so much is photographed, so much is written about the American civil-rights issue — and so little about our own. We have not progressed to the stage of boiling anger and street battles that has been experienced in the U.S., hut mast we, before something is clearly set forth in our magazines about our own "white problem”?


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MAILBAG continued from page 10

* People who aren’t afraid to be people have been “taking it" from white power for years. Now I suppose the time has come to give the other cheek to be just as viciously slapped by black power, which, like white power, is simply hate power. I’m for rainbow power. If people want to sort out their associates and marriage partners by uni-color, that is their privilege, but they have no right to discriminate against the golden children of people who have married across former color barriers. Beauty doesn't depend on skin color, but skin color of any hue can be part of human beauty.


Car insurance: who pays?

In the course of defending present carinsurance rates (Argument). Russell A. Plumley admits that it requires a large group of contributors to make any insurance plan work. This is the very point of having a government-administered plan, such as Saskatchewan has. in which everyone who licenses a car pays his share. Everyone involved in an accident is covered: there is no delay and the plan is nonprofit. How could some hundreds of private companies offer these advantages while maintaining offices all over the place and still show the profit they must have, without charging much higher rates? — w. A. WRIGHT. BIBLE HILL

( IRURO ). N.S.

Deaf babies

On reading Don Bell's report on McGill University's Project for Deaf Children [Now: A Heller Break For Deaf Babies. Reports), 1 realized that he had missed what we regard as an enormously important point. The Project was launched by a community - minded group of young women — the Junior League of Montreal. Inc. They raised $28.000 for the first two years' work and have supplied 30 volunteers, who work weekly in various areas of the study. Dr. Hollie H. McHugh. Chairman of the Institute of Otolaryngology at McGill, dreamed up the McGill Project and persuaded the Junior League to adopt it as their Centennial venture. Dr. McHugh and I have been enormously impressed with the Junior League's efforts. - DANIEL LING.


The better way

There’s a good point to be made in respect to Why Liberals Almost Wish Dief Was Back (Reports). Although Dief could make the Grits squirm with his revealing questions, the ministers remained in office. But Bob Stanfield's reasonable attitude will give him what Canada needs, the prime ministership. REID PEARCE, BRANTFORD, ONT.

* Blair Fraser dismisses each of the four Liberal premiers as a possible successor to Prime Minister Pearson. As a New Brunswicker. I think he is tm) hasty in dismissing our Louis. Premier Robichaud possesses many of the attributes of a successful leader. He is a winner. having just won a record third term for his party in this province. He is not afraid of new ideas. He is fluently bilingual. He is of French descent which, according to precedent, the next Liberal leader should be: but he is fearless in opposing the radicalism of so many of the Quebec French. He is young enough to attract the younger votéis but old

MAILBAG continued

Universities: is “big” good enough? / Where did the VC go?

enough to have had plenty of political experience.


"Education is not a gift”

Professor C. Wellington Webb’s article, A Consumer's Report on Canada's Top Universities, does not always recognize

that the traditional function of educating the young, one by one, is at least as important as that of promoting the more expensive advance in research, which leads him seriously to underestimate the worth of small liberal - arts colleges in relation to that of larger teaching - and - research universities. He also fails to take into account the vital principle that education is not a gift that

a student finds waiting for him in huge libraries and “prestigious” faculty lists, but rather a process which the student must direct for himself with the assistance of good men and good facilities.


* Quantity is an uncertain and unsound yardstick for measuring such things as

education and personal enlightenment. It seems to me that the worth of a university library lies in the intelligent and purposeful design of its collections and not in the sheer number of books it may be able to accumulate — many of which may be duplicate copies, as in the case of Toronto. A better method of evaluation would have been to acknowledge the different aspirations of universities. Bishop's and many other Canadian universities are not ambitious to become octopi of Canadian higher education, and it is valueless to judge them by such standards. - WILLIAM PROUTY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK, SAINT JOHN

* While the main conclusions and listings in Webb’s article seem quite plausible, there is one important factor that he has neglected in his ratings. That is the ratio in honors and graduate courses of the number of students to each professor, or, on the department level, the number of post-graduate degrees granted per year in relation to the size of particular departments. Some well - rated universities operate like mills and their degrees are mere prizes for endurance. F. A. GUNTER, ALGONQUIN COMPOSITE SCHOOL, NORTH BAY, ONT.

* Two factors make the size of a university’s library holdings somewhat irrelevant in the difficult task of evaluating that university. First, holdings are cumulative, so the number of books may tell you more about how old a university is than about how good it is. Second, the provision of interlibrary borrowing gives any student access to all the holdings of virtually any libraiv ip the world.


* Webb’s criteria reflect a belief that education is little more than an excursion to the library. We. at the University of Western Ontario, were particularly disturbed by his failure to measure such factors as faculty-student ratios or the use of tutorials to promote greater involvement in subject matter. Obviously, he regards education of undergraduates as worthy of little mention when compared to the “real purpose” of getting graduate STUDENTS.-JOHN R. PARIKHAL,


Viet Cong revisited

Your report on the visit to Quebec bythree students from the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (The Campus War Over the Viet Cong, Reports) concludes by saying that “they quietly slipped away [from Sir George Williams University] to the Cuban and Russian pavilions at Expo.” This could not be further from the truth. The trio spoke not only at Sir George Williams and McGill. as you noted, but went on to address enthusiastic audiences in Quebec City. Jonquicre. Chicoutimi and Montreal. Between public appearances they sandwiched in countless meetings with student leaders from smaller schools, with journalists, labor leaders (both CNTU and QFL) and even with two specially organized student groups from the U.S. The visit, as far as we are concerned, was an unqualified success.


Writer Don Bell replies: ‘7 did not mean to suggest that the three students were inactive during the remainder of their 15-day visit to Quebec. Faced with a deadline, Maclean’s wasn’t able to cover the latter part of the visit.” ★