September 1 1971


September 1 1971


For some reason I got the urge to write to you. This is the first time I ever carried out what I really wanted to do. Other times, like when I wanted to write to Elvis Presley, I chickened out and besides who’d want to read a long boring letter, especially when famous people tend to be so busy. You're probably ready to take this letter, crumple it up, and throw it away. Oh, well, go right ahead, this is only for my own personal satisfaction.

Here’s how it all happened.

I got up this morning, quite tired. I sat on the couch in the living room. There on the magazine rack I saw Maclean’s magazine and I thought I might as well run through it again. The first time was Wednesday when we received it through the mail. I came home Wednesday night from picking strawberries and I saw the magazine on the kitchen table. I sat myself down, grabbed it, and ran through it, only looking at the pictures and skimming through the headings. 1 threw it down on the kitchen table again and went on with my own business, like taking a nice cool shower after working all day in the field.

Well, this morning I felt like reading, or looking over what I missed. I read the title The Greening Of Erich Segal and I was curious. I wanted to know what Catherine Breslin meant by that, so I started reading. There was another reason though . . . anything written about Love Story interests me. I think a lot of the book because it’s a short, sensitive and straightforward book. It reaches the hearts of many, young and old, that I know of. Maybe this was not the way Erich Segal intended the book to end up like, but that is the way it hit many people, I think. I know it hit me like that! After reading the book and wiping off my tears it made me think and for some reason I felt as if I knew Jenny and Oliver personally. It’s the best book I ever read and it’s one I’ve been looking for for a long time. It’s something everyone wants to read. A simple everyday story. Not too complicated and deep and not something you have to look further beyond to get the meaning of.

Well, anyway, back to what I was

saying before. After reading the first couple of paragraphs, I wanted to know more about Mr. Segal, since he was being cut up into little pieces. I read and read and, believe it or not, I finished the first article ever. Usually I read the first paragraph of any magazine or newspaper article, but this time I finished it right through and I was astonished at myself. While reading I sympathized with poor Mr. Segal. My impression is that he is mixed up and doesn't make sense. He’s afraid to say anything ’cause it might sound wrong and yet it might be right. No one knows how the public will take it, and therefore you have to watch what you’re saying, especially a popular guy like himself. The reason the article was interesting was, not because he was being “cut up” and I wanted to hear it. No. It was because the way Catherine Breslin wrote it. The honest to goodness truth. She wrote what she felt and didn’t hide anything, whether good or bad. She told us everything that happened and expressed her inner feelings, mostly a dislike for Mr. Segal.

Oh, well. She has a right. But maybe if someone else interviewed him she or he would’ve thought differently of him. The picture of him in Maclean’s makes him look like a happygo-lucky guy, but it seems like he’s trying very hard to hide something, for the public’s sake. He’s smiling, or trying to even though he doesn’t feel like smiling. He’s a man that wants to express himself and not to be what others want him to be. I know that if I were him I’d tell everyone to lay off and let me lead my own life and stay out of my own private world. It’s his business when he takes holidays and who he visits in France, or anything else about his social life. He’s like everybody else, an individual. Well there’s my beef.

You know it really surprised me to find out that the press is really that nosy. I know one thing, and that is that I’d never like to be an actress or anyone famous. I’m happy now, with simple pleasures, leading an everyday life, with my family and friends. Going through problems every teen-ager does, even though I think mine are greater. I do like small successes, but then who doesn’t, and I do take failures, but they’re small compared to Erich Segal’s or anybody else’s (a publicly known person). It’s okay to take small disappointments every once in a while, but once you’re famous they get larger and it takes more out of a person to accept it or them.

Right now I might not be making sense to you but it does to me. I’m no professor or anything, but I have feelings of my own like everyone else.

Well thanks for letting me bore you and I hope there is room for me in the wastepaper basket, and if there is I’ll still feel happy inside and say to myself, “Well, you did it, Way’d a go, Nerina.”


The PhD invasion

In her Class of ’71: A National Report (June) Barbara Frum omitted a significant aspect of the current academic employment crisis in Canada: the constantly accelerating influx of U.S. scholars into this country. In some areas, such as Russian and East European history, there is hardly a surplus of Canadian PhDs; but almost every vacancy in that field here results in more than 100 applications — at least 95% of which are from U.S. citizens. While U.S. professors now face no restrictions on their entry into Canada (and are even granted a two-year tax-free holiday), the junior Canadian scholar is virtually barred from taking up employment in the United States, due both to the recent immigration restrictions, applicable to Canadians, and the acute academic employment crisis experienced south of the border (which seems to be even worse than that in Canada).

I say all this on the basis of personal experience. A vacancy in Russian and East European history recently occurred at both Erindale College (University of Toronto) and Atkinson College (York); in each case a U.S. citizen was hired notwithstanding the availability of qualified Canadians like myself.


* The statements of the six graduate students you published intrigued me, particularly those of Cameron Beck. The problem with Cameron Beck's solution — to farm, to return to nature — is that it fails to take into account that this is the 20th century, the age of technology. You cannot reverse the clock. Certainly the simple virtues of love, kindness, dignity, etc., have to be incorporated into the system, but the actual system is not going to disappear even if it is ignored. Beck thinks that within the system it is impossible to work meaningful changes, or to live a full life, simply because you are part of a system that is in itself corrupt. But it isn’t possible for 20 million people to return to nature; he himself says that land is hard to come by.

We have a system by which large numbers of people can live and work together, and it is up to us to humanize that system. The problem of re-

sources, of consumerism, of pollution, etc., are controlled by that system, and must be worked out from within it. Yes, we do have to return to personal values, but that does not mean that politics, social agencies, mass organizations do not and cannot make a contribution. To say this is to ignore the facts.

One of Beck’s last statements — “that in the future people’s needs won't be defined by themselves, but by others” — illustrates the vagueness of his position. In the society he rejects, the mass media, advertising and various social controls already play a large part in defining the needs of the individual. Would he merely substitute his set of values for another?


Stamp it Canadian

One important reason why so much of Canada is of foreign ownership is that Canadians prefer to invest abroad rather than in Canada. Just as the American government bans Americans from owning gold, Ottawa should prohibit Canadians from buying foreign securities and should require Canadians to sell all foreign securities that they hold within, say, five years. Equity securities now owned by Canadians should be stamped “Canadian owned” and the transfer of such securities to other than Canadian buyers should also be prohibited. Once Canadians can no longer invest abroad they might begin to buy Canadian shares and land with the same eagerness that we Americans do. This might be the first step in returning Canada to Canadian ownership.

One comment in Steven Langdon’s column The View From Ottawa (June) confuses me. He speaks of the need to establish a Canadian ownership and control bureau to compel outsider corporations to meet domestic needs. Should not Canadian companies be supervised by this department as well? I find no evidence to suggest that native capitalists are ever less concerned for profits and more concerned with social needs than the outside owner.


Back to the Calendar

Because we have been so impressed with your outstanding coverage and encouragement of in-Canada travel in recent editions, I regret having to point out that there were inaccuracies in your Back To The Country Calendar (July). I expect you obtained your information from the Canadian Government Travel Bureau’s Canada

Events, which goes to press very early in the year. At the time of its compilation, many dates were still tentative, and later changed.


The shy ladies

Elizabeth Calhoun — Your View (July) — appears to share with the members of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women some unhappiness with the fact that there is only one woman member in the House of Commons.

No one can quarrel with the idea of starting at the top; it’s very nice if you can do it. Most people have to start nearer the bottom of the ladder.

In our town there has been only one woman nominated for Town Council in the past 25 years; she was elected. I can’t recall even one woman offering her services on the Municipal Council in the same period. Usually, but not always, one of the six members of the School Board is a woman.

The situation seems to be much the same in other towns and cities; very few women will run for office. Women’s Lib advocates will likely suggest as a cause “male chauvinism” — whatever that is supposed to mean. I suggest the real reason is simply lack of interest.

Membership on town and rural councils and school boards, besides being a useful public service, is an excellent training for elected public office at a higher level. It also involves hard work, sacrifice of time and acceptance of a great deal of criticism. I don’t blame women for passing this up, but do think it a little bit silly to complain of lack of women MPs in these circumstances.


Baby, you were right

Congratulations for presenting your July issue, a most interesting publication, and particularly the article on Eric Kierans.

The lasting impression of this article, coupled with what is being otherwise reported, is that Trudeau may become the Father of de-Confederation. Quebec doesn’t want Canada; the other half of Canada (English and all the rest) are increasingly annoyed with emotionalism from that province. Let us allow Quebec a referendum re confederation; if they want out, we can repeat Mr. Kierans’ statement on already-implemented Cabinet decisions, “Then what in the name of God are we debating here?”


* Re: Baby, It Was Cold Inside, sorry to see you go, Eric. You were our last hope in the Liberal Cabinet. Now an unchampioned Canada will apathetically proceed further down the American economic drainpipe. Wish you had stayed for the infighting, or do you have something more positive in mind than isolated thinking, writing and speechifying? I hear that Walter Gordon is still raring to go.


* I came to Canada in the early part of World War II, where I joined the RCAF. I must say that I was treated nicely and learned to love the Canadian people. Since then they seem to spend more time blaming the U S. of A. for all their troubles than they do trying to solve them — you remind me of a flock of small children. Canadians are a tough and brainy race; with due attention, most of their problems could be solved as stated by Kierans in his article.


Count ’em again

No it isn’t so, your census man — Family Album (July) — is wrong. My income for 1971 is $1,560, not $3,000.

In the Thirties I bought butter on the homestead for 15 cents not 20. And I traded in three-cent oats bundles for pork at three cents a pound not 15.


Little Big Gyp

Re: Dan George’s Last Stand (July), $16,000 for a red man and $300,000 for a white? Paradoxically, the producers of Little Big Man, in exposing the slaughter of the Indian in the 19th century, still brandish the sword of Custer in the 20th.


Black is bad?

I am distressed about the blackness of Maclean’s. I have bought it for many years to keep abreast of government affairs. Red and black are destructive colors — red denotes anger and danger, black denotes failure and death. Your magazine can be a more lifting force to the people and the nation, if there could be less of those colors. The June magazine was so black. We all need to do everything possible to keep America strong and pure and wholesome, to benefit those who will follow us to take up the battle.