A gentleman and a scholar and a judge of fair practice

November 28 1977

A gentleman and a scholar and a judge of fair practice

November 28 1977

A gentleman and a scholar and a judge of fair practice


After reading A Gentleman Of The Old School (October 17) I am in complete agreement with Dr. John Godfrey regarding his sympathies for the Québécois and his insistance on bilingualism at King’s College. As a Scot and an ardent supporter of Scottish nationalism for many years, I can fully understand the frustrations and problems the Québécois have to put up with from the English-Canadian majority. If, in the past, English-speaking Canadians had treated their French counterparts as equals instead of as second-rate citizens, there would not be this feeling of resentment and distrust which exists today. Dr. Godfrey has my utmost respect and admiration as a fair-minded and just man.


Glancing through Maclean’s I was startled by a stately figure of dignity; ’twas definitely a “gentleman of the old school.” Alas, before mine eyes was but a familiar

face. Not recognizable as a college president perhaps, but behold it was a professor with whom I was once acquainted. “Sir” John Godfrey was the bold master of history who taught me three years of the worldly past. I thank you for an extremely accurate account of the “notorious” one and his recent exploits at King’s College.


completely ridiculous. It shows just one more time that some Ontarians “want” to ignore the history of their cares for the francophone minority. In a well-documented book, Robert Choquette shows that the intentions of Bishop Fallon and of some Conservative leaders were precisely to “protect” the majority from a possible domination of the French people. Mason Wade, one of Canada’s greatest historians, writes in Choquette’s Language And Religion: A History Of English-French Conflict In Ontario that the “paranoiac Bishop Fallon, defender of the Irish faith against French encroachment,” was the leading force toward the implementation of Regulation 17. Our paper was founded to fight the ignominious intentions of Regulation 17. We believe that the results of the ruling were exactly opposite to those expected. Franco-Ontarians lived and fought back and the problem is that they still have to convince us of their rights in 1977.


A different school of thought

While many Westerners have come to know and enjoy the inevitable jokes and disdain about the prairie provinces found in Maclean ’s, there are times when a slight correction must be made. After Judith Timson pokes appropriate fun at Saskatoon in Will It Play In Saskatoon? (September 19), she refers to Ken Mitchell’s place of employment as the University of Saskatchewan in Regina. The correct name is the University of Regina.



The gilding of Stompin’ Tom

You say in Sex In The Heartland (September 5) that the first album Carroll Baker recorded for RCA went “gold” after selling more than 50,000 copies in Canada and that this was “a success no other Canadian country performer has achieved.” Several years ago the music industry trade magazine, RPM, established their Gold Leaf Awards. These awards were given for albums that were Certified Gold with sales of 50,000 or more at the full price. All companies applying for a Gold Leaf Award had to submit to an audit to make certain the figures were authentic. Stompin’ Tom Connors won two Gold Leaf Awards, one for My Stompin’ Grounds in 1972 and the other for Bud The Spud in 1973. This would make him not only the first Canadian country artist to have obtained a certified 50,000 in sales, but also the first to have done it more than once.


A history lesson in history’s lessons

We read with great surprise J. G. Tyrrell’s letter (October 17) on the “good intentions” of Regulation 17. To say that it was issued as an attempt to improve the quality in the teaching of French in Ontario is

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Better to be an ACTRA than a critic

Sandra Martin’s What Is ACTRA And Why Is It Doing These Terrible/ Wonderful Things? (October 17) is a frightening example of the sort of license that transforms the free press into a smear press. The article denigrates Canadian ability and displays a facade of cosmopolitanism expressing itself as the view that what is important in art is not what is Canadian but what is good. Such a view has genuine validity, of course, except that it is all too often largely the product of tastes developed as the result of the massive influence of foreign art in this country. For example, Martin suggests that most of the opposition to ACTRA’S policy comes from the union’s few members earning more than $25,000. This, combined with the charge that the union is dominated by its unemployed and casual performers and is, therefore, engaged in the pursuit of isolationism rather than artistic integrity, seems to assign a dollar value to artistic integrity and has enormous consequences for Canadian culture. It practically foredooms any attempt to encourage the growth of a natively based professional artistic community. If earnings are a fair indication of artistic integrity, and if only a few Canadian performers earn a reasonable income, one must conclude that most Canadian performers are not real artists.

Our union enjoys a high level of activity by members who know their professions well and have demonstrated the value of their knowledge, ability and experience time and again in ACTRA’S history. It would take a great deal of insight and research to discover just what social and professional strata run the union and the answer would not be the casual and unemployed performer. As for closed borders, ACTRA does not, never has, and will not favor a closed border we did not invent. It was foisted on us by the unions and governments in other countries as a response to their own employment problems. At present Canadian performers must accept competition from their peers outside Canada but are denied the opportunity to compete in radio, television and film in other countries. It is well and good for the spokesmen of unions outside Canada to say they favor lowered barriers in principle, but it is quite another thing to get them to agree on equitable reciprocity in practice. Finally, Martin suggests that the CBC wants no more than the freedom “to work with foreign performers if a suitable native cannot be found for the role.” All we want is some assurance that such is indeed the case, that in given instances the CBC and other engagers have made a legitimate and worthy effort to find Canadians suitable for the roles.



The haunts of the very lucky

Universities may not become the haunts of the rich, as you point out in Are Ontario’s Universities Becoming, Once More, Haunts

Of The Very Rich? (October 3), but certainly there are few people going to university to get rich quick. A university education is little help on the job market, and more than ever the only plausible reason to attend university is to get an education.

Ontario has recently decided to cut back on grants to graduate students and this allows the government to bring in a slightly less unbalanced budget. It will also allow the unemployment rate of Bachelor of Arts and Science graduates to rise to the levels for Master and PhD graduates. What else can happen in the short term?

Until the government, and the public, accept that it is advantageous to educate our young people and that this education takes longer than 13, and often longer than 17, years to complete, Canada stands little chance of improving its situation in the world. The issue at stake is more than a balanced budget. We may become completely out of touch with the present in terms of scientific research and advances in the arts. I find it saddening that scholarship students could be the only students to make it to graduate school—especially considering what a poor student Albert Einstein was.


Prior commitment

Sandra Peredo could not have been aware of the existence of the Ontario Multicultural Theatre Association when she wrote in A Little Something For The Foreign Trade (October 3) that, before the coming of The Primary English Class, theatre in Toronto was “inaccessible” to those whose mother tongue was not English or French. Since its inception in 1971, the Toronto-based Ontario Multicultural Theatre Association has encouraged and assisted its 37 multilingual theatre companies in producing theatre for their particular communities. We also stage a multicultural theatre festival annually and this year’s festival will feature 19 of our groups representing 12 different cultural backgrounds.


A Prophet not without honor

In Sex In The Heartland (September 5) the statement that Carroll Baker is “the biggest name in Canadian country music” is undeniable. She received the coveted Big Country Music Award in 1977 for Top Country Female Singer for the third year running. However, to demean the reputation of Ronnie Prophet in order to describe Baker’s success was totally unnecessary. To state that the “four-man band Whiskey River... have little use for Prophet” is untrue. We certainly did not launch “dark threats which we were careful not to let him hear.”