October 1 1971


October 1 1971


I started my subscription to Maclean's when Peter Newman took over and turned Maclean’s from a radical ragsheet to a first-class Canadian publication. But I am afraid. The August edition was a classic. The illustration of Christina Newman’s article was sheer genius; her reporting of that trip a masterpiece of journalism reminiscent of Dorothy Parker at her best. Farley Mowat the best Canadian wit of our century and Flugh MacLennan uttering more well-written common sense about our national problem than has been written in the past three years! You have cast too many pearls in front of us at one time and that standard of excellence is impossible to maintain. I hope I am wrong.


* I am confident that Canada will respond creatively to the stimulating dialogue, free of Canadian cultural clichés, initiated by Peter Newman. Personally, I am delighted with the results thus far.


* 1 read the August 1971 issue from cover to cover with a mounting, incredulous delight. This is an integrated masterpiece of a magazine just as good, or even better perhaps, than the old Maclean’s. The purpose of this letter is to offer you my most warm and sincere congratulations on this particular issue and on what you have achieved as editor. The transformation of the magazine took place in a few short months; I hope you will remain as editor for many years and ensure that Maclean’s continues not only as “Canada’s National Magazine” but as one of the best in the world.


The new fidelity

I am aghast at Dr. Elizabeth Brodie’s article, The dangers of the new promiscuity (August). Although I would agree with her that promiscuity is using other people for sexual gratification without emotional involvement, the article seems to carry the message that this is essentially what any extramarital sex is about these days. My

own research suggests a major error in Dr. Brodie’s interpretation. She suggests that “if people can’t continue to live together with a measure of happiness, then it is better to divorce and try to find the intimate personal relationship with someone else.” And yet, the cultural forces that shape our expectations in marriage may be so ubiquitous and pervasive that we simply repeat the same set of stupidities in going from one spouse to another. There are lots of people who are not strengthened by getting rid of one spouse and finding another — people who, by expecting a bit less from their spouse, may be able to expand their circle of friendships and intimates, some of which might be sexual, all the while increasing the quality of sharing and love at home. This is called an “open-ended” marriage, one in which no one “owns” the other, in which full love and respect is coupled with full freedom to be oneself. Dr. Brodie might do better to get her head above the couch and see what is happening in the real world to real people, not all of whom talk to psychiatrists.


• ••if you believed in me

In one surprisingly short paragraph Bruce Hutchison — An Open Letter to Pierre Elliott Trudeau (July) — writes off the dedicated internationalists “who erect a world government on paper and preach the brotherhood of man but promise to exempt Canada from his agonies by means unknown.”

Where has Mr. Hutchison been living these past few years? It is true that dedicated internationalists erected such a government on paper after 1945 because they saw that the newly created United Nations did not have the teeth or the tools to do the job. In recent years, however, the thrust of the world federalist movement has been to strengthen the United Nations, to develop a climate for world law, and to stress that global problems demand global solutions.

Most dedicated internationalists (“world citizens” might be a better term) are more aware than anyone of the agonies ahead — the very opposite of what Mr. Hutchison implies. What constructive proposals does he make regarding the arms race, pollution of the oceans, the population explosion, and the growing gap between rich and poor? We have sought out answers but the difficulty appears to be in the will to implement them.

It appears by present trends that mankind may approach the very brink of disaster in the lifetime of

most of us, unless we modify drastically present international law which places the sovereignty of the nationstate ahead of basic human rights and the all-encompassing community of man.


In praise of the trolley

The Municipal Railway of San Francisco is still managed by former employees of the much larger private streetcar company it absorbed in 1944. Assured of their positions and awaiting retirement, their common characteristic is a tendency not to make decisions. The “Muni” never got around to following the worldwide trend of replacing trolley coaches with diesel buses and, for once, its indecisiveness was beneficial. Only when most of San Francisco’s trolley-coach system was 22 years old was there any serious noise about scrapping it, and by that time, two years ago, the public had discovered ecology.

Environmentalists, transportation students, trolley buffs — and the electrical workers, with jobs at stake — prevailed upon San Francisco’s public utilities commissioners to resolve that the smog-free, quiet, reliable trolley coaches would be retained. But, durable as they are, these venerable coaches needed to be replaced by this time and where, in the 1970s, do you buy a trolley coach? Cities from Halifax to Auckland have asked the same question. Such wellknown but unlikely sources as General Motors haven’t given the answer, and the wires have come down. Many cities have discovered too late that residents don’t like the noisy, smoggy, smelly replacements.

The answer comes, of all places, from the middle of Canada, from Winnipeg, where Western Flyer Coach Limited is doing just that unheard-of thing — building trolley coaches. Even people who know the somewhat specialized field of bus manufacture would not have picked Western Flyer as the likeliest source for trolley-coach revival. And in fact, it didn’t begin there but with the often forwardminded Toronto Transportation Commission. The TTC has long shown an awareness of the benefits of electric transportation. It built Canada’s first subway. By the late 1960s it had the largest of North America’s few remaining streetcar systems, fully equipped with modern streamlined cars. It also had a trolley-coach network typical, except for possibly superior maintenance, of those remaining on the continent: vehicles close to 20 years old / continued on page 6

Your View continued / and beginning to need replacement.

The TTC commissioned a study by Canadian General Electric Company of the mechanical and electrical components of its coaches. These unseen but essential pieces of machinery, for all their 20-year use, turned out to be good for many more years with either minor refurbishing or no work at all. All that remained was to find a manufacturer that, for a price, would turn out new, modern coach bodies into which those components could be fitted. The manufacturer chosen was Western Flyer. In mid-1970 the first new trolley coach rolled into Toronto on a railway flatcar, and within a few months others began to appear, as more of the old coaches gave way to their shiny replacements.

One of the refurbished coaches, No. 9123, took to the railways again and rode to a transit operators’ convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The U.S. “beer city” has been without electric transportation for years and the new trolley coach drew an enthusiastic response from officials who never thought they would ever see such an animal.

San Franciscans interested in maintaining the largest trolley-coach network in the United States — as well as the famous cable cars and an electric streetcar system that, in a few years, will have new equipment running downtown in a subway now being built — have detected, in the almost unfathomable workings of the Muni, evidence that a decision has been made to do business with Western Flyer. At least 240 of the 333 aging trolley coaches are expected to take the long trip to Winnipeg, where whatever is usable in them will be fitted to new coaches. When that happens, some of San Francisco’s most environment-minded citizens will take great amusement in having achieved leadership in ecologically sound transportation by having gone nowhere at all for 20 years.

And with trolley coaches still operating in Thunder Bay and Vancouver, and in several cities in the United States, Western Flyer may just find a unique Canadian place in the history of urban transportation.


The ugly Canadian

Our Heroes on the Russian Front (August) — some heroes! One on a crying jag over his homeland and it was his first step on that soil. Another imbibing overgenerously at lunch until he “passed out.” Typical of the bourgeois Canadian tourist. I have seen them while abroad and been

ashamed to be connected with my fellow countrymen. Christina Newman is to be congratulated and admired for her candid criticism of this fiasco.


* I presume Our Heroes on the Russian Front refers to the journalistic anti-heroes who accompanied the Prime Minister. What the author and her confreres seem to have missed completely is the fact that Canadians are not looking for Prime Ministerial coups or sleight-of-hand productions of massive foreign deals.

As an average Canadian (I believe there are many) I am tired of rhetoric, unthinking following of old hardline postures and hopeless international attitudes. Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to the USSR, therefore, was an encouraging step in the right direction. Similarly, his initiative in our Chinese relationship.

Those who consider these ventures useless have short memories indeed. We English-speaking Montrealers are acutely aware of how little our two Canadian cultures really understand each other. How much more difficult, then, the task of understanding the cultures of the Soviet and China. I would have been much more interested in a few more details about the Russian landscape that “went by” or the Palace of Young Pioneers.


Incident at Quang Ngai

I wish I could be as charitable in my assessment of Mitchell Sharp’s blandishments, following the exposé of the Pentagon’s dispatch of J. B. Seaborn as the messenger of threats to Hanoi, as Peter C. Newman is — The Perils Of Democracy By Good Faith (August). I wish our actions, which provided President Johnson with the urgent image of a peace seeker, could be disposed of as “blind confidence” or “muddling through,” but how is it possible to glide so delicately over the real truth?

In addition to utilizing our position on the International Control Commission to provide efficient messenger service, it is conceivable that we may also be providing facilities for the “stay-behind operation” and the “sleeper operation” of the CIA as it plans its many “operation phoenixes” calculated to eliminate hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians, by massacre when necessary. F. Barton Osborn (U.S. Army, military intelligence), whom I met as we both testified before the recent International Enquiry into U.S. Crimes in Indochina (Oslo, June, 1971), carefully explained

to me how: “ . . . friendly third countries are used, wittingly or unwittingly, to support the agent [by providing access] to denied areas following eventual withdrawal of American forces ...” Perhaps that explains why the Canadian TB Hospital in Quang Ngai, with its 80 beds and full radiological and laboratory equipment, is today sitting empty. Patients have all been transferred to the old provincial hospital while a small staff of Vietnamese are carrying out vaccinations.

Was it ever really intended “to meet the needs of the Vietnamese” or is there some relevance to Barton Osborn’s admission above that “friendly third countries” have roles to play in Vietnam other than humanitarian, by just providing a convenient nonAmerican facade? Dr. John Hannah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development in Laos, admitted in June, 1970, that “AID is a cover for CIA activities.”

Perhaps by now, the evidence is sufficiently damning to rouse enough concerned Canadians to demand a full investigation into Canada’s role in Vietnam.


A Husky is a Husky

Regarding G. Foty’s statement — That’s a nyet-nyet (August) — that “the terms Russian and Soviet are not interchangeable,” I should like to disagree. All important decisions affecting the constituent members of the USSR are made in Moscow, Russian is the language of the nation, and the expansion of any other language and culture at the expense of this Russian primary is inconceivable and impermissible. Russians resident in the other sovereign republics are not required to learn the local languages, though all the “brother nations” are expected to know Russian. If the terms Soviet and Russian are not synonymous in theory, their interchangeability is justified by the reality of the situation. JOHN SOKOLOWSKI, EDMONTON

Because we taste good

I have been watching your Maclean’s toothpaste commercial (She’s back with Mac) on television and must say that it is very catchy and original. I noticed the super-big, inflatable tubes the girls had and was wondering if there is any way to obtain one. I would also like to say that your toothpaste does a fantastic job at whitening teeth and has a very delicious taste. LORRAINE SCHILLEMORE, ELLIOT LAKE, ONT. ■