Whatever happened to Margaret’s side of the story?

July 11 1977

Whatever happened to Margaret’s side of the story?

July 11 1977

Whatever happened to Margaret’s side of the story?


The quality of mercy is surely strained when the editors of Maclean's indulge in such vindictive journalism as the cover story on June 13, It Happens In The Best Of

Families. David Cobb implies that everyone else’s view is romantic, inaccurate or both while his is the authorized version of the way it was. By innuendo Cobb paints Margaret as bird-brained and narcissistic which by implication makes the Prime Minister less than astute in marrying her. Of course their lifestyles are news and we want to read about them, but please not a summation of all the unkind attacks on

Margaret. Maclean's owes Margaret, the Prime Minister, other journalists and the public an apology for character assassination by innuendo.


I wish the press would give as much attention to the millions of homemakers in this country who are doing an invaluable job. AUDREY GRANGER, NORTH VANCOUVER

It would be catastrophic to Canadian family life if all Canadian mothers, suffering growing pains, were to follow Ms. Trudeau’s flight into self-indulgence.


If you want to print some disgusting gossip about the Thistlewaites next door to me I’ll pass it along for a fee. Their marriage breakup will lead to an election in a local union.


It is painfully obvious that the Victorian double standard of morality—one sexual ethic (permissive) for the man, another (repressive) for the woman—is fully operative today. I find it hard to imagine a similar character assassination being practised on Pierre had the roles been reversed.


I feel sorry for Margaret because I think, somehow, that she’s not going to make it. She’s a loser—a sort of combination Ophelia and Marilyn Monroe.


Let us say no more harsh words against flower children. Hasn’t “our Maggie”

given dull old Canada a shot in the arm and a place on the map?


Margaret has become both a disgrace to the position she held and to Canada.


A decidedly unmasterful performance

I enjoyed David Cobb’s balanced, if chilling, portrait of Robin Phillips {The Master Of Stratford. May 30). I must counterbalance, however, one statement in an otherwise fair article: I was present during that “hostile meeting last year with a visiting clique of international critics” which Phillips is supposed to have endured with such grace. Let me state here that a) the 20 foreign critics who visited Stratford last summer were not a clique but represented a wide variety of theatrical and political views, and b) the atmosphere only turned hostile because of the boorish and adolescent behavior of Phillips. There has been no time when I felt more ashamed to be a Canadian than having to witness him representing Canadian culture, stating to foreign visitors that there were no Canadian plays worthy of Stratford and then admitting that he didn’t even read Canadian scripts.


Robin Phillips replies: I disagree utterly with Feter Hay's reconstruction of events and feel that his self-righteous shame is better left to his conscience and not mine. But it’s odd that 1 would deny reading Canadian scripts when, in fact, we were presenting a new Canadian play (Eve, by Larry Fineberg) that very season.

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The weed of crime bears bitter fruit

I was offended by Barbara Amiel’s article, Johnny Reeferseed (June 13). It would appear that she wishes to make all Canadians feel guilty because of this one man’s (not child’s) million-dollar crimes in importing and selling “soft” drugs. It came across to me that she wanted to make Robert Rowbotham a hero or at least a martyr. I see nothing heroic in his deeds—just sfupidity and avarice.


The most indignant gun alive

I was surprised and disappointed when I read the article entitled The Hidden Persuaders (June 13). Surely when dealing with a matter as contentious as the control of firearms Maclean ’s might be expected to approach it objectively; instead, the personal bias of the writer comes through loud and clear.

The article begins with a smart aleck’s description of the photograph taken in the office of the Prime Minister and continues with a series of distortions and misleading inferences that provide a fine example of how a national magazine may make unfair use of its distribution and influence. For example, the article leaves the impression that the so-called gun lobby is against any sort of control and refers to me as “one of the prime opponents of control.” Either you have overlooked the record or it did not suit your purpose to give it attention.

Repeatedly we of the Canadian Wildlife Federation have said that we support sensible, workable controls but we resist and will continue to resist those we believe would be unfair, misleading and unproductive. Furthermore, we have proposed measures we believe would limit the criminal use of firearms and we have urged the extension of firearm safety programs for those who would use guns legitimately.

I am able to claim long experience in the application of gun laws as well as years of happy involvement in hunting and target shooting. With this background, and having tried to see and weigh both sides of the issue, I had expected that Maclean ’s would do the same.





I would like to clarify certain points made about me in the story on lobbies. The Hidden Persuaders. Yes, I did arrange the meeting, as I do for any serious group of citizens wishing to be heard in Ottawa. George Clavelle is one of my constituents as well as being on the national executive of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Though we have known and respected each other for years, we are in no way “political cronies” nor do I “invite” Clavelle to Ottawa. I have been and continue to be a supporter of the Canadian Wildlife Feder-

ation because it has accomplished fine work in conservation, education in the use of firearms, hunter safety and environmental concerns.

The revised legislation is a compromise between a real concern for individual rights and the collective need to restrict access to weapons. Neither concern can ever be paramount in a modern society and I remain surprised at the moralistic tone of your article which becomes no more than a “lobby” for one side of the issue.


But sir, there was a lady present!

Could it be that Maclean’s employs a double standard in the use of society’s greatest epithet—the four letter word that begins with f and ends with k? I raise the question after reading two recent issues of the magazine. In Now The Scheming Starts (May 30) the Speaker of the Council of the Northwest Territories, David Searle, is quoted using the word in full, with all letters present, even an ending. However, in the next issue, in It Happens In The Best Of Families, Margaret Trudeau is quoted as saying “We f— a lot.” Suddenly some of the letters have disappeared. Margaret’s stylish turn of phrase should not have been hidden. After all, if the PM can use the word in the Commons, the people’s parliament, then surely Margaret can use it in Maclean ’s, the people’s magazine.


A case of prosaic licence

As one of the “paying devotees” who attended the recent Great Canadian Poetry Weekend at Collingwood, I take exception to Barbara Amiel’s account of this event (When The Well-Versed Gather, June 13). It is unfortunate that she was so concerned with the “artistic tension” between P. K. Page and Miriam Waddington, or with Joe Rosenblatt’s bloodshot eyes and stray cats, that she missed some of the really exciting poetry that was read and discussed. Of course, since she seems to regard any poetry written since Byron as “trendy” and “superficial,” I’m not really surprised that she failed to appreciate Birney’s wry humor, bill bissett’s incantatory magic, Joe Rosenblatt’s empathy with extraterrestrial bumblebees, or Jeni Couzyn’s powerful treatment of resurrection. I seem to remember her now at one of the discussions crying, “But what about Standards?” What about innovation, excitement, imagination? Would she have mid-20th-century Canadian poets write early 19th-century English romantic verse?


Baugh! Humbug!

I was deeply annoyed to read your article, The Golden Baugh (June 13), on American professional golfer Laura Baugh. I have nothing against Miss Baugh but it does bother me that Maclean ’s should choose to do a story on yet another professional athlete, this time an American. There are enough very talented young amateur athletes in this country to fill an entire magazine, and yet they labor on without recognition. If you had to do an article on a beautiful young lady in sport, why not someone like high-jump star Debbie Brill or pentathlon sensation Diane Jones? Both are beautiful and more talented than Miss Baugh. They could, but do not, get by on good looks alone.


How about ‘sainted Cuban liberators’?

Please! Let’s stop the petty right-wing editorializing in the news columns. It’s not so bad that several of your writers are extremely conservative and live under vast misconceptions of the real political world. But at least stop their mind-numbing little comments, such as “the Kremlin’s Cuban hatchetmen are beavering away” in some African countries (Africa Agonistes, May 30). If we know the writer’s biases, we can take the opinions with a grain of salt and at least get basic information from the article. With such silly comments, however, even feature articles become difficult to bear.


He was dead—but it wasn’t terminal

You began your article on Tibetan Buddhism, The Journeys Of A Prophet In His Sixteenth Lifetime (May 30) by saying, “Jesus Christ. Muhammad and Confucius are dead.” Correction: Jesus Christ is alive; the grave couldn’t hold him.