Time, gentleman, please. You too, lady

September 5 1977

Time, gentleman, please. You too, lady

September 5 1977

Time, gentleman, please. You too, lady


In The Hustler (August 8) Barbara Amiel criticizes me for closing a bar in the Consulate’s reception area in a rather rude way. It seems to me that, in all fairness, she

should mention that she and Dusty Cohl were the only two drinking wine at 3 p.m. Everyone else was attending a screening in our theatre. In view of this, I of course, closed the bar and said that the government was not in the restaurant business. I don’t mind freeloaders, just the obnoxious ones.


Amiel replies: I am a teetotaler, but then anything is possible in the looking-glass world where taxpayers become freeloaders and civil servants become ill-tempered martinets.

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If this is misadventure, let’s have more

I noted in Are The Maritimes Finally Getting Wise To Corporate Welfare Bums? (June 13) that Prince Albert Pulp Co. Ltd., together with Churchill Forest Industries Ltd., are used as prime examples of “provinces getting their fingers burned badly by misadventures in business,” in addition to examples noted in the Atlantic Provinces.

If you had first checked the facts you would have discovered that there is no similarity between Prince Albert Pulp and Churchill Forest Industries and the statements made, and the implications of the article as a whole are completely incorrect insofar as Prince Albert is concerned: 1) Prince Albert Pulp Co. Ltd. has a record of continuous profitable operations for the last four years. 2) It has met and is meeting all financial obligations to the government of Saskatchewan and other parties on or ahead of schedule. 3) Since start-up of the Prince Albert mill in 1968. more than $55 million of cash flow has been reinvested in expanding the capacity of the mill by more than 25%, in a program of progressive improvement and updating of mill equipment and in the construction of logging access roads and similar facilities. 4) Direct employment in the pulp mill and associated chemical plant and woods operations is 950 and contractors employ a further 250. 5) During the year ended March 31, 1977, the Company injected approximately $50 million into the Saskatchewan economy.


One false premise leads to another

When Peter Brimelow writes of “an interminable and bloody game of territorial

musical chairs, whereby the present inhabitants of land merely happened to be in possession when the music stopped on the arrival of the white man,” in Whom The Gods Would Destroy . . . (July 25), he has got the story not only wrong but backward. As far as the Arctic and subarctic peoples of this continent are concerned, major violence between groups was almost negligible in precontact times; in most cases the notion of territoriality did not even exist. Brimelow points out that “the areas involved are vast, the populations pathetically small.” Of course; the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere are environmentally so harsh that a single small group of a few families requires thousands of square miles within which they can search for food.

Brimelow's melodramatic concept of territorial musical chairs is of!' as well. Linguistic evidence strongly suggests that the majority of native peoples living, e.g. around the mouth of the Fraser in BC, have been there for not less than 2,000 years. Where there is evidence for one group displacing another the process has been largely a matter of absorption rather than forcible displacement.






Brimelow replies: Linguistic evidence

doesn’t and can’t prove anything about intragroup conflicts; linguistic evidence shows Germans on the Rhine for 1,000years but it doesn't reflect the Thirty Years’ War. Hunting-and-gathering groups are just as prone to conflict as the rest of us mortals.

The once and future Queen

Allan Fotheringham’s column on the monarchy (June 27) misses the whole point about the monarchy and Canada, but my greatest exception to it is that he calls Queen Elizabeth a foreign queen. Queen Elizabeth is British; she is Queen of Britain and of the countries that are British Dominions, including Canada. Canada was founded and primarily settled by Britain and there are British institutions at the base of Canada’s national character—British language, a British heritage, and until recently Canada was populated by a majority of British-descended people. In short, Canada is one of the countries belonging to the British family of countries and it is therefore absurd to call the Queen a foreign queen. The point he missed about the monarchy is that it is not an anachronism. Monarchy as enjoyed by Britain and Canada is the best form of government so far devised. It is changing and adapting to suit social and political changes in Britain and it has proved most durable.


Letter writers Stewart, Billingsley, Lush, Lane and Corbett (August 8) all propose that our present system of government with the monarchy at the top be changed or done away with, but not one of them proposes a replacement. This is the common fault of persons who flail against “a foreign queen,” who in truth is not foreign at all in her role as Queen of Canada. What do they want instead—a republic like France, with president and prime minister, or a republic like the United States with just a president? Opinions against anything are really only valid when coupled with positive, viable and constructive proposals in exchange.


Now that I have read the letters that came in on Allan Fotheringham’s article on the Queen, 1 wish 1 had written right away. I agree 100% with him. The Queen of England, nice as she may be, is a foreigner. We don’t need her, she is not ours. It is indeed time that Canada amends its own Constitution. So true what one of the letters said; for the people we know who regard the monarchy as important are also recently arrived refugees from the British Isles and certain antidiluvian Canadians who subscribe to the ludicrous notion that by displaying a monarch on stamps and currency we stave off eventual absorption by the United States.


A man who knows whereof he speaks

Hurrah to Gordon Sinclair for his contribution to The Referendum Debate. He wrote of the French-Canadian culture as if he had lived in Quebec all his life. I have, and reading his article reassured me that the attitude outside my province is not one of total ignorance and despair, this being the impression I have had for quite some

time. Being a 17-year-old English-francophone Quebecker, I have been appalled at the general ill feelings of the English (especially the English Quebecker) toward our brothers, the French. We, as Canadians in the midst of an identity crisis, or so it has been called, must recognize the fact that if not for our dual heritage our culture would only be marginally different from our neighbors to the south (and God forbid any further Americanization of our all-

too-similar ways of life). We must build a stronger wall of tolerance toward our governments, provincial and federal, and toward the different peoples they govern.


After reading Gordon Sinclair’s column on The Referendum Debate I am concerned with Canadian unity. On Canada Day I watched some of our new people becoming Canadians and I was quite bewildered when I heard them swear allegiance to the Queen—not to our flag and country. I wonder how we can have unity when Sinclair calls himself “Scotch Canadian.” What am I? I’m 70, my father and mother were born in Canada, so does that make me a “Canada Canadian?”


I have never been a fan of Gordon Sinclair’s but after reading Canada’s Problem Is Not Too Much French. If Anything It’s Too Little (August 8), all I can say is “Hurrah for Gordon Sinclair.” If there were more like him in WASP areas there would be no separatism movement in Quebec and there would be a better understanding across this great Canada of ours.


Adding (gratuitous) insult to injury

How can the United States (and other countries) spend more than $500 million on the Space Shuttle Orbiter (August 8) when the money is needed in finding a cure for cancer and other sicknesses?


The greatest benefit to the most people

I am concerned about the negative attitude expressed by Sandra Martin in The Sins Of The Mother (August 8) toward the profession of social work in general, and Ruth Parry in particular. It seems to me that Parry has been criticized for trying to help someone and that Martin would prefer the helping professions to assume a more punitive approach. Certainly, it would have been safer not to try to help Deborah Ellis and I’m sure that Parry is taking her share of the burden of responsibility for Vicky Ellis’ death. However it is very easy for Martin to have 20-20 hindsight; I suggest she take into consideration the many, many individuals and families who have been helped during Parry’s 25 years of experience and consider that this apparent error in judgment deserves some compassion. To generalize from this incident that “the effectiveness of the whole ‘profession’ of social work” should be looked into is totally irresponsible.


Far too often we fall into the trap of blaming a group for the actions of one member of that group. Sandra Martin fell into that trap in her article on the Ellis case. Though no one can condone the ineptitude of the social worker involved, surely the whole profession cannot be attacked—particularly since many of the Children’s Aid Society workers who moved “swiftly and authoritatively” initially to gain custody of Vicky must be social workers themselves. Blaming all social workers for Vicky Ellis’ death is like blaming all homosexuals for the death of Manuel Jaques.


Sandra Martin presented some very disturbing and undeserved comments directed at social workers in her recent article on the Ellis case. Individuals in every profession make mistakes. But let’s not forget that the ultimate decision rested with Judge Weisman of Family Court, the man who also ruled evidence inadmissible concerning the prior death, due to neglect, of a sibling, Darlene. Does Martin feel that Judge Weisman and the judicial system do not deserve to be held accountable in this case? Perhaps this is a profession that the “profession” of journalism does not wish to antagonize.



The unimportance of being Muggerldge

Just because silly old men like Malcolm Muggeridge (Interview, July 25) have

dried up doesn’t mean the rest of us have. The most unfortunate part of all this is that a man of his reputation is usually revered no matter what asininity he utters or what senility he displays. Why not interview his wife, have mercy on her soul, to find out her views—if he lets her have any, that is?


While I do not entirely share Malcolm Muggeridge’s bleak outlook for the future, I am in sympathy with his thoughts on the present. It may be due to the fact that I am past 80 and I sympathize with him as to our present “spiritual vacuum.” In my early years the Methodist Church was my whole

social life. At one time in California I was superintendent of the Sunday School in the largest church in town. For more than 30 years now, I have not attended church though I am more interested in the life and teachings of Jesus than ever before. My independent studies have helped me arrive at the conclusion that we are indeed in a spiritual vacuum.


So Malcolm Muggeridge finds “nothing of first-rate importance has been produced, artistically in the 20th century?” His view no doubt explains why he says nothing of first-rate importance himself; he admires

the benighted past as it reflects his own countenance, ignoring present and future because he can’t stand the contrast.


Dig they must?

When In Doubt, Cut It Out (July 25) perpetuates the myth of irresistible patient abuse of Medicare that underlies current medical and political pressures for “deterrent fees” and surcharges. Without a shred of proof, the article assumes that large numbers of patients demand surgery. I would be pleased to hear of any reliable statistical study that identifies the percentage of questionable surgery performed on a doctor’s recommendation as opposed to the percentage on patient demand.


The statistics and data used in your article on elective surgery are impressive but only partially relevant to the subject. Kaspars Dzeguze has oversimplified a very complex issue. Comparing Alberta with Newfoundland and Canada with England is not exactly a composite research pattern. He also cites affluence as a major reason for the increase in elective surgery. When we elect to function within and enjoy the benefits of any large urban area, we set standards for ourselves that in turn incur related commitments. In order to meet these commitments, we become productive members of our society, in essence, we construct a pie whose pieces all interact. If our health is deficient over an extended period, then we become unproductive and the stability of the pie is threatened. Should surgery be suggested as an answer to our incapacity, then surely we should consider it not as an “adult toy” but rather as yet another piece of the pie. I recently elected to have surgery for the removal of a ruptured disc. This decision came after many months of agony during which time I tried many forms of therapy, all of which were unsuccessful. My productivity has increased 100%.


I have been practising medicine in Toronto for more than 30 years now. I am neither a surgeon nor related to one, yet in all that time I have seen nothing that vaguely resembles what When In Doubt... has to say about needless surgery. Fewer tonsillectomies are done because antibiotics have seen to that and I don’t think I have ever had a patient whose gallbladder was removed needlessly. Most surgeons only take cases that are referred to them by doctors who have nothing to gain by the referral except the satisfaction of resolving a patient’s need. Most doctors are always critical of their own work as they strive to improve. The media are too adept at grasping the straws of this self-criticism and blowing them up into something.