It seemed like a good Idea at the time, and it was

April 5 1976

It seemed like a good Idea at the time, and it was

April 5 1976

It seemed like a good Idea at the time, and it was


We are now in our sixtieth year of marriage and ready for a retirement home. I came across the article we read in a 1934 issue of Maclean’s that has been responsible for our very wonderful life.

We had been living in Kapuskasing, Ontario, when we read Why Live In A City? (February 1, 1934) one winter night when it was 60 below. At once we decided we were going to live in wonderful British Columbia. We had four children at the time

and no money so we moved to a log cabin up the river from Kapuskasing where we grew our own garden, cut wood for the winter, etc., and saved all our money. The following spring we went to Toronto and bought a used Chev for $450, a tent and camping supplies, and we started out. As we had never been west, nor did we know anyone, it was quite an adventure. The Depression was still on but we were determined to make our home where we could

see snow on the mountains but not have to fight it nine months of the year. We sold the car for $400 cash and with the money we bought a cow and 100 chickens, so we were assured of food, and though there wasn’t much work for a while we managed.

Our children grew and were educated. They now all have fine jobs and homes and we have Maclean’s to thank for our wonderful life. Thank you from all of us—four children, 13 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.


Opinion works best when based on facts

I would like to set a few facts straight concerning Adele Freedman’s review of my book, The Lost Salt Gift Of Blood (February 23). While I do not wish to quibble with Freedman’s overall judgment, I am somewhat concerned with her distortions and inaccuracies. It is simply not true that of the stories in the collection “all but one is recounted in the first person by sons trying to sort out their feelings for their parents and their plans for the future.” One has only to be able to read and to count to find out the actual truth.

Then of the four “quotations” Freedman uses from the text, three are misquoted. While I am quite willing to stand behind my own words, I do not particularly like to see them twisted about to suit whatever may be Freedman’s purpose. It does not seem that the accurate copying of four quotations should be such a killer for a reviewer in a national magazine.

I am also mildly concerned by what critics might call “the biographical fallacy” at the end of the second last paragraph of the review. However, since we are having such

a tough time counting and copying, there is no need to be “sanctimonious” about that.


Who speaks for the west? Not Ritchie!

In The Passage Of Time (March 8) Ian Urquhart quotes Gordon Ritchie (PC-Dauphin) as saying: “Maclean’s writes about Toronto, about Bloor and Jarvis Streets, and about the lakefront. This is as uninteresting to most western Canadians as it is uninteresting to Quebeckers. Many of its articles seem quite risqué. Sometimes I think the magazine should be sold under the counter as other pornographic and risqué magazines are.” What kind of a closed mind does Ritchie have? He seems to be quite Victorian. How does he know what western Canadians like to read about? If they weren’t interested in the rest of Canada (thank you Suzanne Zwarun for your article on Yellowknife) they might as well stick to local newspapers. There is nothing more important, in my mind, than for Canadians in this vast country to get to know each other and to meet through the articles written by Canadian journalists.


When Joe said, ‘I’ll call you’, he meant it

In Happiness Is Just A Guy Named Joe (March 8) Allan Fotheringham suggested that Clark said “Don’t phone us, we’ll phone you,” regarding an interview with him. In fact Clark’s office phoned and I had an interview with him at some length on the Monday afternoon after his election. I am always nice to the copy person!


Not under the Ottawa influence

I consider How Big Oil Provides For Its Friends In High Places (February 9) to be an unfortunate example of the seemingly prevalent use of innuendo—discrediting both irldividuals and corporations. I feel this kind of journalism reflects unfavorably on Maclean’s.

I am particularly concerned by the inference in the penultimate paragraph that the presence of Louis Rasminsky and A. Davidson Dunton on Shell Canada’s board of directors is related to corporate influence on Ottawa. Rasminsky and Dunton were invited to join Shell Canada’s board because of the contribution they could make to the corporate decision process from the vantage point of their broad experience in Canadian economic and cultural affairs. At no time have either of the two been asked by their board colleagues, nor have

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they volunteered to provide, any liaison with politicians or government officials. Inclusion of Rasminsky’s and Durrton’s names in a paragraph dealing with “oil influence on Ottawa” does a real injustice to these two distinguished Canadians.

Without intending to dilute my central point, I must also point out that the law requiring that political donations in excess of $100 must be disclosed had no bearing whatsoever on Shell’s decision (laken about mid-1974) to cease making political donations. Also Shell does not have a “lobbyist” in Ottawa. Thirdly, use of the series of generally unrelated events that are recited in the last paragraph, and in particu-

lar the reference to the inquiry under the Combines Investigation Act to obliquely support inferential premises of influence of an “oil lobby” and “oil clout,” can only be described as naive.


There’s less to this than met the eye

As a professional involved in the peaceful application of space technology, I strongly disagree with the cloak-and-dagger tone of the short article, Keeping An “Eye” On The Crops (February 23).

The author alludes to a “secret” meeting of Canada-U.S. scientists to share data col-

lected from U.S. satellites. Throughout the article, including the well-worn “spy-inthe-sky” cliché, a veil of hazy statements and associations suggests that spying is indeed taking place and that commercial advantage is to be had at the expense of an unsuspecting grain importing country.

Let us have a little light and fresh air, please! The said satellites actually belong to NASA’s LANDSAT series and the data they collect are widely available. Canada for one operates a readout station for Canadian data in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and thousands of images of Canada have been sold to those responsible or just interested in our renewable resources and environment. The Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (a branch of the federal government) maintains a mailing list of 3,700 people in this country and abroad. They receive a free quarterly newsletter describing the Canadian national program involving the provinces, universities, industry, interested individuals, etc. Hardly a secretive environment. World data are also available to all from U.S. government outlets. There is little doubt that major wheat producing and importing countries are regularly obtaining these images.

The meeting referred to in the article was certainly not secret. The project in question is the Spring Wheat Project. Its purpose is to find out if crop estimates can indeed be made using a mix of satellite imagery, airborne sensors and ground observations. At this time participants in the project include Canada and the United States, and should scientists from other countries wish to join the project on an open and reciprocal basis their proposal would certainly be considered with a lot of interest.




But at least they’re both in the Big Ten

To state, as Walter Stewart does in The Town That Runs America (March 9), that Michigan State University is in Ann Arbor, is to risk enraging both alumni of the University of Michigan, which is in Ann Arbor, and alumni of Michigan State University, which is in East Lansing. The two schools are traditional rivals and do not care to be confused. Which one did Gerald Ford attend?

ANNE QUICK, TORONTO President Ford attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The ‘Fear of Dying’ is a legitimate one

Although it is a long time since Fear Of Dying (August) was published, I’d like to place on record the concern about this article of the Canadian Cancer Society and the National Institute of Canada.

A major portion of Fear Of Dying was devoted to the theme: does smoking really cause cancer? The author, W. GiffordJones, MD, revived arguments that were current 25 years ago when the relationship between smoking and lung cancer was still controversial. But the only controversy that still persists is the one promoted by the tobacco industry and perhaps by uninformed persons such as “Gifford-Jones” which, I understand, is the nom de plume of a general practitioner with no special background that would qualify him as an expert.

Since lung cancer accounts for 16% of all cancer deaths in Canada and since it is one of the few really preventable cancers, an article such as this can only be hurtful to the efforts of those who are concerned with cancer control. It’s unfortunate that the opinions of a person as poorly informed as “Gifford-Jones” should receive such prominence.



Cuba — in the eye of another beholder

As a Canadian who has lived in the United States and Latin America for the past several years, I was delighted with the prospect of an alternative news source to the glib newsweeklies available here in the States. That delight was considerably cooled by Robert Lewis’ treatment of the Trudeau visit to Cuba in The Cuban Connection (February 9).

As Ottawa bureau chief he must certainly realize the responsibilities incurred when reporting a story of such transcendent importance for Canadian international relations. But instead of giving us enlightening observations about the original approach to Latin American social and political problems that the Castro regime has forged, Lewis gives us tired clichés about “the customary signs of herd mentality” and a truly inadequate comparison with the Soviet Union. If he had briefed himself on Latin American history, he would have discovered that Cuba’s “truly infuriating bureaucracy” is an endemic feature of Latin American life. While mentioning that “everything except eggs is rationed,” Lewis does Cuba the injustice of forgetting four and a half centuries of impoverishment for the working class. I want to remind Lewis that a journalist’s job is not only to present the news as it happens but to put it in a meaningful context.


The last rail has not been ridden yet

On looking over Dealers In Profit And Loss Ambush The National Dream (February 9)' I felt that the illustrations chosen for this anticipated “demise” of passenger trains on Canadian railways were so out-dated as to suggest a forgotten era—especially that snapshot of a steam train going down a street in Skagway, Alaska (of all places).

Actually we Westerners are going to fight for daily train service through both our national parks in the Rockies as many of the younger and older people want to travel on the surface of Canada to see it.