January 23 1978


January 23 1978


Close Encounters Of A Fourth Kind?

Thanks for the very good story on Close Encounters (Films, December 26). I share David Cobb’s opinion of the film and welcome it for its solitary confirmation of my

own feelings. I went ready to be convinced and taken away but I felt disappointed with them and for them. Still, I admire Steven Spielberg. One consolation: the great movie to convert the world can stilf**be made by me.


An honorable way to go

I would like to know what there was about the long life of civil and military service of

the late Colonel S. C. Oland, or of the values held by him, that you found so offensive as to warrant your snide account of his gun carriage funeral (Just The Way He Would Have Wanted It, December 12). One wonders whether you would have remarked sniffingly that the late President Kennedy’s funeral showed “little of the new world.”


Adding injury to insult

Your coverage of the transportation hearings in Newfoundland in The Fun ’s Not In The Going (December 26) describes all too well the problems of present-day travel in Newfoundland—insufficient space on buses, gas-station terminals, and the rest. The poor condition of the so-called TransCanada Highway is well known. What is less well known is that it is mostly overuse by CN’S trucks that have made it that way. A previous study on Newfoundland transport found that the railway was in good shape, and suggested that CN try piggybacking. That CN did not do so is a product of asphalt-hound minds and distant management. To suggest that the railway should be abandoned, so CN can go out and completely destroy a highway to be rebuilt by the “savings” thus generated, is to suggest “righting a wrong” by “punishing the victim.”


Sometimes the Good Guy loses

Lisl Levinsohn is entitled to her facile opinion of Another Man, Another Chance (December 12) but there’s one thing I must point out. James Caan, the all-American hero (but not in this film) does not win the

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race—the Indian boy on foot wins as the ex-Parisienne lady predicts.


They are what they eat—and don’t eat

Why (Probably) Johnny Can’t Read (November 28) paints a dismal picture indeed for parents of learning-disabled children. One gathers you must live in Toronto and be able to pay $5,100 for private schooling to get help. This is not true. Living in a small city and not having that kind of income, I had to come up with a reason for the children’s problems. In my work with Indians I found many children coming to my office with one or more complaints, yet often I could find nothing wrong. Many of these children admit to strange perceptual problems, but only if they are asked about them. About 10% to 20% answer “yes” to such questions as: “Do words move when you look at them? Do numbers go backward? Does the ground seem to move when you walk?” They are learning disabled, many failed their grades, they’re hard to handle and they are not interested in school because of these distortions.

It can affect any or all the special and other senses of the body and. because the mind plays tricks, they complain of pains and aches. They have what I call sub-clinical pellagra (a vitamin deficiency condition). It will respond to diet and vitamins. Such a child should be given megadoses of vitamin B3, niacin or its amide and be instructed to stop eating junk food. This restriction includes foods made from highly refined carbohydrates like flour, sugar and starch. If this is done, the child will improve in about a month. Using intravenous vitamins, the illusions can be cleared over-

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night in sortie patients. Any family doctor can institute treatment if he will but recognize perceptual dysfunction.

First of all, the doctor has to ask the right questions. In some instances, when these methods fail, psychiatrists and psychologists are usually approached for more definitive studies. Failures occur in less than 15% of children who take the vitamins and stop eating junk food. I have now discovered the basic cause of these distortions to be allergy as it affects the brain. Vitamins control symptoms but continuing modifications and maintenance of diet is the cure.



Coloring the news

The degree to which Maclean’s shows biased journalism is shocking! Consider the following: Lévesque pictured in red on the front cover taking three quarters of the page (December 12). Inside Lévesque looks like an ogre in all the pictures—obviously the editor strived for this effect. Then note that the “good guys” (Robarts, Pépin and a cast of thousands) are all pictured smiling and friendly.

We feel that in covering such an important issue as Canadian unity, an equal view of both sides should be given instead of giving such an obviously “Ontarionian,” federalist side of the issue.



No fear of death

I compliment you for They’re All So Nice It’s Hard To Choose (December 26) on the new fighter aircraft program. I found it to be an accurate and generally well-balanced treatment of this complex subject. Allow me to clarify one point. I was quoted as having argued that, unless the new fighter purchase was made, Canada’s air force would die. The point I hoped to make was that arguments of this nature, however valid they may be, have not played a significant part in the decision to go ahead with the fighter re-equipment program. There are sufficient and very sound military and strategic reasons for refurbishing our three aging fighter fleets, and as program manager I am reluctant to rely upon a rationale that is largely emotional and which of itself could not be used to justify such a large expenditure. To be sure, our air force would suffer a considerable blow should the government reverse its decision to buy new fighters, but that is not why the aircraft are needed.



From worse to bad

I hope all pregnant women in Canada read The Most Innocent Victims . .. (December 26) about alcohol and the unborn child. Unfortunately the accompanying sketch, while consistent with the discontinued use of alcohol, seems to advocate the use of

caffeine as a substitute drug. It certainly

doesn’t look like a milk or water jug to me. The placenta, a marvelous organ for protecting the fetus, did not evolve in an environment of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, or acetylsalicylic acid and it can’t do the job some expect it to do. It scares me to think of the effect of our ignorant excesses on future generations of Canadians.


It seems we missed a good game

It is really a shame that And If We Lose? Well, There’s Always Next Century (December 26) mirrors the attitude of the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) and ignores the existence of the Simon Fraser University Clansmen football team. Since its first semester SFU has provided exciting and competitive football and it has supplied the Canadian Football League with some of its most outstanding players (Dave Cutler, Rob McLaren, Lui Passaglia, Terry Bailey). Simon Fraser players are inevitably among first-round draft picks by the CFL; at last count there were more Simon Fraser players in the CFL than the next two Canadian universities combined. Thus the statement that “Canada is very definitely sending its best college players” just doesn’t ring true. You see, Simon Fraser gives athletic scholarships (by paying tuition for outstanding athletes who maintain good grades) and so they cannot play in the CIAU.

It strikes me as exceedingly hypocritical of Bob Pugh and the CIAU to sanction a game against American universities, which are notorious for being liberal with their athletic scholarships, when they won’t allow Simon Fraser to play in their “union.” W. THOM TYRE, RICHMOND, BC

The sports article on “cross-border college football,” stating there hasn’t been a Canadian-American college football match since 1874. is clearly wrong. In the fall of

1924, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues played the University of Detroit, in Detroit. In the first half, under Canadian rules, the Detroit collegians could not stop our end-runs by Somerville, Pequenat and Snyder. In the second half, under American rules, we could not stop the Detroiters’ passing attack. The result was a “saw-off,” three touchdowns each. I was the Varsity quarterback in the 1924 international game.


Toronto? How (yawn, sigh) interesting

Reading Allan Fotheringham’s columns on Canadian cities is like stopping at the scene of an accident—there’s generally enough blood and debris strewn about to keep onlookers interested, but you can hardly recognize the bodies. His latest, As Much As It Hurts To Say So, Toronto May Finally Have Something Going For It (October 31) was truly a prophetic title because it has Fotheringham writing for it.

He has been observing that lots of big buildings are being built in downtown Toronto with plenty of empty space inside. Empty space seems to impress Fotheringham and is central to his own thinking. Like Ptolemy, Fotheringham sees his own world as the centre of the Canadian universe. But Toronto is not an Imperial City. It might want to be. but it doesn’t have the drag. Who ever heard of an Imperial City that flaunted the fact that it had a street full of hairdressing salons? Toronto, more than any other city in Canada, has to be held responsible for boring this country to death. The big news from Fotheringham was that Toronto had developed the first uptown and downtown in Canada. You can just imagine the stir this created in Halifax, not to speak of the stunned amazement in Glace Bay. It’s time something was done about all this Toronto talk.



More trouble in paradise

I was pleased to see Lyndon Watkins’ Hi, Folks. Wish You Were (Glub! Gasp! Help!) Here (December 26) on the perils of Peggy’s Cove. In April of 1976 I vainly attempted to renew life in a three-year-old drowning victim at Peggy’s Cove. I then realized the desperate need for a safety fence at the rock edge. A child’s life was needlessly lost that day because those who make money from Peggy’s Cove tourism fear some loss in profits if a steel fence “stole” some of the rugged simplicity from the cliffs. The undertow at Peggy’s Cove is crushing and the water is icy year-long. Also, there are at least 10 miles of winding, treacherous road between the cove and an ambulance and RUMP station. As a practising nurse and an ex-lifeguard, I suggest a first aid and/or lifeguard station in Peggy’s Cove Village and a heavy steel mesh fence embedded into the rock at water’s edge.



A nasty piece of work

I suggest that you consider employing film reviewers with tongues not dipped in acid. What is now appearing as a film review is nasty, crabby and bitchy. The trio (Films, December 12) appear to be in competition to see who can produce the worst, nastiest review. Writing a good review can be an art and none of these three critics appears to know oreare enough about this to produce a good, constructive article that is a critical appraisal of a film but doesn’t stoop to misguided catharsis.


Many thanks for the excellent review of the fantastically hyped Close Encounters Of The Third Kind {December 26). 1 felt I should thank you for exposing the fraud film in such succinct and intelligent comments. 1 was really incensed by the audacity of the advance publicity and greatly disappointed in the film.


Still the best deal in town

1 would like to point out that the major portion of deliveries carried out in Canada are done by family physicians, not obstetricians as you state in Is There A Midwife In The House? (October 17). The comments then, comparing the salary of a midwife of $14,000 to $16,000 per year versus the net income of an obstetrician at $50,000, are doubly misleading in a second aspect as well. Presumably, the $14.000 to $16,000 per year (plus fringe benefits) midwife is working a 40-hour week, whereas family physicians and obstetricians provide virtually round-the-clock coverage. Presumably, it takes four midwives to provide the same hours of coverage as one family physician or obstetrician when these midwives work in an institution.



The $7,000 misunderstanding

I wish to correct the false impression that 1 acquired the Old Firehall for $7,000 as reported in He Who Laughs Last (December 12). 1 invested $7,000 of investors money in Second City, a separate corporation to the Old Firehall. Dr. W. P. Callahan, the president of Mentor Hosts Limited, invested further monies in the Old Firehall. making it possible for both companies to create what now is considered one of North America’s premier cabarets.



The only way to learn

Judy Dobbie’s article, Why Are These Kids So Bullish On Mathematics? (December 12) on the Clyne and Taylor math project was excellent. I feel she captured the whole idea of Clyne’s and Taylor’s class—the idea of learning through experience. 1 was amemberof their class last year and 1 have

a long list of experiences that contributed to a great school year. In our two major simulations I played the roles of a successful campaign manager and a rebellious reformer of 1837. I believe participation is the key to learning.



A secret admirer (with reservations)

1 quite enjoyed Walter Stewart’s description of the semiannual book promotion tour in Author! Author! (December 12) but I am afraid that when he dealt with my book and experiences he did not get his facts straight. Cover Your /Iss is not intended to lay bare the secrets of Ottawa which he complains that it did not do. It is an exposé of the zany games played by federal and provincial bureaucrats based on my personal experiences working at both levels of government. This is stated on the dust jacket.

I was not asked to leave Jack Webster’s radio show for being insincere as Stewart claims. Instead. I was told by Peter Warren in Winnipeg, after we went on the air. that he would not have me on his show because I would not reveal my identity. At the time that the arrangement for my appearance was made, it was with the understanding that I would not be revealing my identity. If my early departure from a radio show was the result of insincerity, it was on Warren’s part and not mine. Stewart also contends that I am not capable of autographing books in public. Like him, I too appeared in the book department of Simpson's Regina Store to perform this function. Fortunately, I had a little better luck than he did since we sold about 15 books in the time I was there.




The Promised Land

Westmounter Mary Peate writes in The Referendum Debate (November 28): “Sometimes I daydream of myself sitting poolside by a house in California with only the occasional earth tremor to concern me.” We have been “sitting poolside ... in California” since August and we’re loving every minute of it. Of course there is much to concern us; should we go to the beach, the desert, or the mountains for the weekend? I don’t, like Peate’s friend who moved from Montreal to California, get “misty over the thought of Ogilvy’s department store.” My memories of Westmount are crystal clear. I was chased home from Roslyn School more than once and was told, “You don’t look Jewish, and that’s a compliment.” In California, my nine-year-old son is the only Jewish child in his class. Before Christmas, his teacher asked me to talk to the class about Chanukah. I did so, and after I lit the menorah and handed out draidels, a boy came over and asked, “How do I get to join your synagogue?” I was a third generation Montrealer but I never

felt at home there. We have met very few native Californians, yet the people we have met have been friendly, interesting and. above all, tolerant.


Here’s smut in your eye

1 strongly object to the People item on Susan Clark (December 12) and the photograph with which you chose to illustrate it. It would seem that you are “scraping the

barrel” for news, unless you are using Playboy methods to sell your magazine. As Maclean’s is our national magazine, 1 should like to see a level of decency maintained throughout its pages.



Just who was the slow learner?

As a psychologist working in the field of learning disabilities, I was interested in Why Johnny (Probably) Can’t Read (November 28). My interest turned to disbelief as I read the last sentence in the first paragraph. I quote: “. .. saved from repeating grade one for a fourth time by a teacher quick enough to detect his difficulties.” The current thrust in special education is in early childhood education and it is reflected in the screening procedures routinely carried out by psychologists and teachers in kindergartens operated by urban school systems. Furthermore, the training of the majority of primary teachers ensures their awareness of possible learning difficulties in their students. Surely any teacher who is the first to conclude that a fourth time repeater in grade one has “difficulties” can in no way be considered “quick.”