The best of times? The worst of times? Certainly one of the most exciting

January 10 1977


The best of times? The worst of times? Certainly one of the most exciting

January 10 1977


The best of times? The worst of times? Certainly one of the most exciting

What in the name of national imagination can it all mean? The debate that has fueled the passions of Canadians since before there were Canadians has suddenly become real as you note in Time To Start Thinking The Unthinkable (November 29). The tempest of two-Canada discussion is now spilling out of our teacups. What is amusing is that no one, least of all Prime Minister Trudeau, is even slightly upset. We all relish this new injection of life into our intellectual fantasies. Everyone with the slightest interest in the nature of this country now has the opportunity to observe the most exciting cultural episode in our history.


Out here we think that British Columbia is just as important as Quebec. This idea may help you to regain your perspective.


You will permit me to vehemently protest against “and champagne flowed in the newsroom of Montreal’s largest daily. La Presse'' as Graham Fraser states in Time To Start Thinking The Unthinkable. 1 was myself managing, in the newsroom, the election edition from 3 p.m. on the fifteenth until 5 a.m. on the sixteenth. Not being blind, I would have seen such a “flow of champagne”! I saw none—nor did four of the assistant managing editors on duty at that time.


The editors of La Presse may have been concentrating so much on the results of the vote that they didn’t notice, but Fraser was offered—and drank—champagne with report-

ers when he visited the newsroom on election night.

Your Script For Separation being “open to revisions,” I would like to point out that Quebec could in fact become a country through a unilateral declaration of independence even if “a sufficient number of foreign countries” did not “immediately recognize the Republic of Quebec.” You quote me as saying that “illegality can become legality”: that is, an illegal factual situation such as the foregoing can be legitimized when it is accepted, either expressly or tacitly, by a certain number of foreign countries or by certain foreign countries.

Actually, as my 800-page book on L’accession à la souveraineté et le cas du Québec shows quite clearly, I consider legal and negotiated procedures as being the only civilized, reasonable and efficient ones for achieving state sovereignty in the best interests of all parties concerned. Besides, I consider such state sovereignties as being steps only, however necessary in many cases, toward interdependence and, later on, world federalism.

While my book bears on self-determination and state succession as applied to the case of Quebec and Canada, I would not say that I am “an expert on separation procedures,” as you describe me. I prefer l’union libre between equal partners!



Ah, how quickly they forget

While we applaud and celebrate the new opening, and admire the work John Ne-

ville is doing, let us not follow the old Canadian custom of “new is best” and “forget the contributions of the past.” To describe the past at Citadel in Smell Of The Greasepaint (November 29) as stagnant and politically troubled, is to ignore the fact that at that time even your own magazine was calling it “a remarkable success story,” the only theatre in Canada sold out on subscriptions. The contribution of Sean Mulcahy as the previous artistic director must not be ignored or forgotten at this time of celebration. Neville inherited an established and thriving organization with waiting lists of people anxious to get in on the obvious success—he has grown splendidly from there—but to ignore what Mulcahy did is an insult to all pioneers.




More than lip service must be paid

Kevin Doyle’s Foul Wind For Jamaica (December 13) left me with the impression that Marcus Garvey tried to“raise the consciousness of the ghettos in America, and in 1927 U.S. authorities sent him packing to Jamaica.” If anyone is going to introduce Garvey into discussions of Black society in the Americas, then he is obliged to reckon with the now established historical fact that Garvey’s accomplishments, especially in the U.S., were of mammoth proportions, even by modern standards. Not only did he succeed, like no other Black leader before or since, in raising money for Black cultural projects, but he also succeeded in creating the largest mass movement among New World Blacks.


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How to read your Expiry Date

1. Circle the last five digits in the top codeline of the address label on the cover.

2. The first 2 digits indicate the year of expiry,

i.e. 77 means 1977.

3. The next 2 digits indicate the issue of expiry,

i.e. 26 is the 26th issue. (The fifth digit is not used) Thus, this sample subscription expires with the 26th issue of 1977.

A mlnorrty-wtthln-a-minortty opinion

Peter Brimelow writes in Separation May Scare Businessmen (November 29): “the English of Montreal feel they are faced with the long-term possibility of the same fate that has left in the hands of strangers the Georgian mansions of the Anglo-Irish, the White Highlands of Kenya and, across the world, the artifacts of a vanished supremacy.” This is an insensitive and uncomprehending attitude toward the plight of the English-speaking community in Quebec that, except for the absurd insertion of “feel,” could have been lifted from a PQ propaganda piece—complete with its bit of tar—“supremacy.”

There are more than a million Englishspeaking people in the province of Quebec; the vast majority of us are neither rich, nor powerful, nor English, but Canadians of every ethnic extraction represented in Canada, whose common language is English. It is these people who are facing “the long-term possibility” that Brimelow speaks of, not some mythical English supremacists of the PQ propaganda.


Writers work in mysterious ways

I have received Maclean’s for some time and one of the better articles was The Holy Roman Rollers (November 15). It concerned the work of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic church. It’s a wonderful work, and your reporter, Suzanne Zwarun, told it like it is.


Portrait of an artist as a participant

It is interesting that in her review of The Face Of Battle (November 29) Barbara Amiel states that George Orwell went to the Spanish Civil War “with Morality and The New Statesman on his side.” Wrong both times. When Orwell escaped from Spain in June, 1937, with the Communists hot on his heels, he wrote a commissioned article for The New Statesman on the suppression of his revolutionary militia group, the Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). The New Statesman refused to print the article and later suppressed a book review on the war they had also commissioned. Second, Orwell did not go to Spain as a popular crusade. He went there as he went to the slums of London and Paris or to industrial northern England— to gain firsthand knowledge and experience for his writing.


Angus Ricker’s account of how George Orwell left Spain is correct. So is Amiel’s account of how he came to be there. Orwell never denied his commitment to the struggle against fascism in Spain. Admirers do him no service by picturing him merely as an artist in search of experience.

It’s nice to know where we stand—tall!

I want to express my appreciation for Opposite Numbers (November 15) by Walter

Stewart. The description of Canadian/American relations was clear, concise and without the commonly known Canadian inferiority complex.


One law for the rich, another for aliens

The People Who Don’t Belong Here (November 29) on illegal immigrants has aroused some emotions in me. Being an immigrant myself, arriving when I was two, I know the difficulties of a newcomer: the dirty jobs no Canadian will touch and the low pay no Canadian will consider. What angered me was not that these illegal immigrants are “stealing” jobs from righteous Canadians such as ourselves but the people who exploited the illegals—the Forest Hill matron who worked “Gloria” like a slave only to cheat her out of her pay, knowing “Gloria” had no recourse to law.

If the illegals are deported, then the exploiters should be imprisoned. God knows we need the working spirit of the immigrants far more than we need the callous greed of the Forest Hill parasites.


If you want truth, go to the source

The problem of pollution in Sudbury, as in Hamilton, Toronto, Saint John and Trail, is a very real one. The environment has been badly affected by many Canadian companies, INCO among them. The invidious inaccuracy, however, to put it mildly, propagated by Gloria Ménard in What Goes Up Must Come Down (November 29) is the kind of southern Ontario superioficiality (superior plus superficiality) that annoys Sudburians (again to put it mildly).

Ménard says that before INCO built the so-called superstack at Copper Cliff, near Sudbury, the “emission of sulfur dioxide had virtually destroyed . . . vegetation within a 50-mile radius of the company’s smelters.” I have been in Sudbury every summer for the past 30 years. Our camp, some 10 miles outside Sudbury, is right in this Death Valley devastation. Because I have actually lived there I can only conclude that Ménard has never been to Sudbury or does not understand the language she uses or both.


It’s for us to know, you to find out

I was astounded when I read in Canada And Israel—Loving Cousins In The Nuclear Family (November 15) of the truly miraculous Israeli achievement of accelerating a particle “to near-infinite speed.” Perhaps your science writer could put a percentage and miles per hour value on the speed the particle reached, then we could all calculate just how fast infinite speed is.



Touché! In fact, the particle reaches a speed of31,000 miles per second, about one sixth the speed of light.