The evil men do should live after them, but not the evil they don’t do

April 4 1977

The evil men do should live after them, but not the evil they don’t do

April 4 1977

The evil men do should live after them, but not the evil they don’t do


Since the subcommittee investigating the penitentiaries system in Canada was struck, I have had the opportunity to work at close quarters with John Reynolds, MP (Burnaby-Richmond-Delta). I have found Reynolds to be a hardworking and dedicated committee member with a valuable contribution to make. He is also well versed on the issues we have had to face and he has obviously spent many hours researching the problem. It is for these reasons that I must take exception to In the World Of Politics, One Man Stands Head A nd Shoulders Below The Rest—John Reynolds (December 13). The substance of the article calls into question Reynolds’ integrity and honesty and there are several items I think should be corrected:

1. Reynolds did not request the House of Commons to “adjourn ordinary business to debate whether one of his constituents should be recognized as a beauty queen.” He requested the Prime Minister to speak to the “Dominion Of Canada” beauty pageant officials, who use the name of our country for their activities, after the resignation of Miss Canada and the appointment of the third choice (because she was from Ontario, and it was cheaper to accommodate her) instead of the second choice who came from BC.

2. You describe Reynolds’ constituency as one in which “wife-swapping” and “credit-card confusion” abound. Certainly these statements impugn the moral integrity and economic solvency of the residents of Bumaby-Richmond-Delta and unless these allegations can be factually substantiated, an apology should be made to these people, as well as their MP.

3. Regarding the unfortunate death of

Mary Steinhäuser you state: “Reynolds far off in Ottawa suddenly has evidence that 15 hostages were forced to drink ‘massive doses’ of a hypnotic drug.” Reynolds, contrary to your report, did have the documentation and was subsequently proven correct in investigations.

4. Reynolds was not kept “so far back in the back benches his styled coiffure brushed the curtains and he almost suffered a severe attack of moths.” He was a member of the Shadow Cabinet and, incidentally, sat in the fourth row and now sits in the third row.


A message from the sandbox

I was a bit astonished at a crack in Allan Fotheringham’s Internal Warfare Strikes Toronto Literary Mafia Family ... (March 7). Surely no journalist before has elevated another Canadian journalist to the dizzy heights of belonging to the local literary sandbox (AF’S term). He referred, it seemed irrelevantly, to a letter I’d written to The Globe and Mail some 18 months ago. He said it was typical of Toronto’s typewriter incest.

A couple of things come to mind. If it was typical, surely a recent example would have been more fitting. And if Fotheringham is going to twitch and writhe over the slightest journalistic event in Toronto, he should at least get his facts straight:

1. Fotheringham said I wrote a letter to the editor complaining about my husband’s housework. Not true. His housework is impeccable. I wrote to correct some distortions in his column about being a househusband.

2. I signed my own name (gasp). The Globe's letters’ editor—no dummy in spite of what AÍ thinks—stuck a note at the bottom of it saying that indeed I was Mrs. J ack Batten. You see everyone got this mild little joke, not just our friends.

It gives me pause to think that this might be an indication of how slowly news filters out to the Western journalistic establishment. I’m not complaining. I think it’s glorious even being alluded to in the same column as Ramsay Cook and Senator Eugene Forsey. Now if I could just find my way across the sandbox and meet them, it would be sheer delight.


No, all is not lost

I want to offer appreciation for Graham Fraser’s For The Slew Quebec, A New Economic Establishment (March 7) which, I believe, has brought out many facts that had not been covered in this context in the past. As you know, we are going through a period of discovery in Quebec, i.e. that the two solitudes appear to be endeavoring to understand each other. We all have a long way to go, but many of us have faith in men of goodwill and, as the Anglo-Saxons say, there is always a basis for compromise.


Watkins of The North

I read Mel Watkins’ nasty letter (March 7) about Barbara Amiel’s review of books on the North. I thought the reviews were excellent. I’ve spent some time in the North and I raised a sort of silent cheer at the way

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Amiel got to the heart of the matter and did justice to some things that people have been neglecting. I liked the way she ended up with the quote from Andrew Malcolm.

There are too many academic romantics roaming the North, living their fantasies, and making a very quick buck. I note that Harold Cardinal, in The Rebirth Of Canada’s Indians, mentions the University of Toronto’s influence there. 1 thought the letter was a rotten one—aimed at Amiel rather than at the review. If the North teaches one thing, it should be compassion. But I don’t think Watkins is a good learner.


Obviously, a more pressing engagement

I refer to your item (People, March 7) concerning Mayor Dorothy Wyatt of St. John’s and her visit to Corner Brook. Mayor Wyatt was invited some months ago to come to Corner Brook and be the chief guest—to open the annual 10-day Winter Carnival and to participate in five busy days of events. Knowing what a disappointment it would have been to drop out at the last moment, she graciously refused to renege on her acceptance of the invitation and so was the recipient of much unwarranted abuse in St. John’s. She endured an outstanding itinerary of appearances and missed not one scheduled event (a minor one of which was the judging of the “Dotty-band” contest) and at the same time was in constant communication with her office at the St. John’s City Hall.


Don’t let them change you, Peter G.

I want to congratulate Sandra Martin for realizing the state and worth of Peter Gzowski and Alan Hamel (Television, March 7). Let Gzowski say “bullshit” if he wants to. If he feels strongly about something he should say so, instead of smiling and cutting to a commercial. Gzowski at least has people on his show that you can feel strongly about; Hamel’s most serious guests usually are obscure doctors peddling their new sex therapy books.


Being an old devoted Razzle Dazzle fan. I must correct you in your article on Peter Gzowski and Alan Hamel in which reference is made to the turtle on Razzle Dazzle. You name the turtle Harold when in fact it was Howard (affectionately called “Howie” by the illustrious Hamel).


MASH note

In Fellini’s Sutherland (February 21) you say that M*A*S*H was produced by “fractious director” Otto Preminger. In fact it was the first film produced by Ingo Preminger (Otto’s brother) who had been a top Hollywood talent and literary agent.


On behalf of the flogged and flayed

I read Allan Fotheringham’s If It’s Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature... (February 21) and I take issue with the light in which the seal fishery was presented.

The seal fishery is only one strand of a very complicated and involved web that constitutes the way of life of many of our people. The small amounts of money that the men make may seem insignificant but the reality is that for many fishermen this money is an absolute necessity. It gives them the means to equip for gill netting, the trap fishery, capelin, etc. Each segment of the cycle is dependent upon the others if the whole is to succeed.

Then consider that the Canadian Wildlife Federation has said that conservation is not an issue with the east coast seal fishery and that the federal government should be congratulated on its management policies in relation to the harp seals. Also consider that the vast bulk of scientific data on seals indicates that the herds are growing and that if we do not control the growth of the seal population they will endanger the fish stock and consequently the entire east coast fishery. The Federation of Canadian Humane Societies has said that as far as they are concerned the present regulations ensure that the best possible methods of humane killing are adhered to and that humane killing is not an issue. Studies in Canada, the United States and Norway have shown that clubbing is the best and most humane way to kill seals.

These are facts, facts, facts (to paraphrase Joey) that all anti-sealers prefer to ignore. I wonder if all those who directly and indirectly support the anti-sealers are prepared to accept the moral responsibility for their actions—the guilt they will have to bear when the seal fishery (and perhaps the fishery) is killed by innuendo, falsehoods and ill-informed good intentioned egoists who refuse to look at the facts and be objective because seal pups happen to look cute. Oh God, how I wish they were ugly.


On that note, the defense rests

I read Shere Hite’s letter (February 21) and I felt that it failed to substantiate in any serious way her charge that the presentation of your interview with her (January 24) was a “perfect example of the media’s sexist cheapening of important women’s issues.” Then I read your head for the letter: Hell Hath No Fury, etc . . . ” What Shere Hite could not demonstrate in 34 lines, Maclean’s managed to prove all by itself in five short words (and three suspension points).


Decidedly taken out of context

1 did renew my subscription for a year (placing you on extended probation, as it were) despite a rash of minor irritations such as great variability from issue to issue

in scope of coverage and happy-go-lucky spelling and proofreading that, at their worst, are no better than the Halifax daily paper. Up to now, Peter Brimelow’s business pages have been a consistent bright spot, but which editor assigned him a fiction review (February 21)? I have just finished reading Paul Erdman’s The Crash Of ’79 and I am surprised that Brimelow emphasized the “vivid description of the sodomizing ...” which amounts to five throwaway lines buried in the middle of page 314 and he did not even mention Erdman’s surprisingly accurate prediction (assuming the book was written in 1975) of Saudi vs. OPEC oil price policy which is one of the main elements of the plot. It’s like calling the Bible pornographic because of the occasional juicy verse in the Song of Songs.


A less-than-apt comparison

In And The Beat Goes On (March 7) you once more bring up the old line about Newfoundland taking two referenda to get into Confederation. What everyone fails to note is that the original referendum had three choices; responsible independent government, confederation, and the continuance of the appointed commission. The only reason for the second vote is that none of the three gained a majority in the first poll. This is quite a different situation

from the Quebec example which will, we are told, be a yes or no.


A tribute to the tribute

Very few times will an article be written that expresses a reader’s feelings as well as Robert Miller’s article on Bobby Orr did mine. I congratulate Miller. Not only did he perceive Orr’s talents as a great hockey player, but he also saw the great human being that Orr is. Here is a man who has found the true definition of the cliche', “Give it all you’ve got.”


Why Johnny shouldn’t be forced to read

When is Maclean’s going to use people to cover education who know what they’re talking about? By merely reporting on issues without any attempt at analysis, you are doing little more than publicizing and promoting ideas that may well damage our children. It’s Possible Literacy Isn’t Doomed After All (February 21) is a prime example. We wonder how many parents will now go out and buy Teach Your Child To Read In 60 Days. None of the ideas in it are new. The only difference is that it is labeled for parents. The most shocking aspect, of this approach to reading is that it aims at the worst possible motivations for teaching a child to read at home—fear that the schools will fail in the job and laziness. The only good reason for teaching a child

to read at home is because he wants to read. The only good method has never been packaged because it comes from a child’s unique interests and a parent’s sensitive response. No child should have to learn to read under pressure because his parents have decided to teach him. This reading kit is solid pressure, complete with a complicated reward system to keep the child working.


As an educator, I am concerned that It’s Possible Literacy Isn’t Doomed A fter A ll is another article that mistakenly suggests that phonics is no longer taught in our schools. In Nova Scotia the basal reading program is Ginn 360 which uses a phonetic approach. Phonics has been taught in this province for the past 20 years at least. It is unfortunate that only Ontario is reflected in this national article.

It is also unfortunate that at one point the writer equates the complexity of reading with learning to skate. Learning to read places demands on children that cannot be compared to any other learning experience. The complexity of its demands on the motor, visual, auditory skills and its demand on the abstract symbol level and its pressure, both peer and parental, are tremendous.