The uninspired fashions and sentiments spotlighted in For Appearance’s Sake (February 6) make me wonder what could possibly be “good” about looking boring.
Barbara Amiel has done a judicious job of examining and explaining the phenomenon of renewed conservatism in fashion. However, the little digs at the mores of the Sixties cause me to see the writer as someone who never understood that period. People may be returning to traditional styles as a result of our shaky economy— but is this really a “priority straightening?” The fashion revolution of the Sixties was not about being “barefaced and unwashed,” or messy. It was about relaxing, being open, and above all, being honest with yourself. Amiel makes the curious as-
sumption that “physical attractiveness” is inherent in the current mode of frightened conformity. Who says ? Go ask a peacock.
ARN SABA, TORONTO
A question of questions
I was amazed to read the totally uncritical interview with Menachem Begin (February 6). Begin, the mastermind of such colorful pages in Middle East history as the “Deir Yassin Massacre,” ran the interview from start to conclusion. It was as if Begin asked the questions. There were many obvious questions which Maclean’s ignored; for example, how is it that under the Israeli-designed “autonomous” state for Palestinians that Israelis enjoy the freedom to settle unhindered while Palestinians must become Israeli citizens to enjoy this right in Israel? The Israelis don’t have to apply for new citizenship. This condition clearly indicates that the Palestinians are subject to oppression which Begin might refer to as mythical.
DENIS O’BRIEN, QUEBEC, PQ A man not of his time
I applaud The Doctor’s Dilemma (February 6), your story on Saskatchewan’s most courageous doctor, John Marian. It is one of the best pieces of investigative reporting I have ever read. The image portrayed is of Dr. Marian defending the people alone against the powerful medical elite of Saskatchewan. Indeed, he has long been an advocate of the rights of the oppressed members of society. Marian’s story reminds me of the words of philosopher A. Schopenhauer: “Every truth passes
-through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the sec-
ond stage it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.” Everyone who has been, is, or may be a patient awaits this third stage.
LARRY JAMES FILLO. SASKATOON
Like a day without Sun-shine
In A Nasty Case Of Sun-Burn (January 23) David Thomas states that Jacques Parizeau was humiliated to learn the news of Sun Life’s departure from Quebec. Parizeau may have been annoyed, but one would have to be pretty gullible to believe he was humiliated. In March of 1977 Parizeau even threatened the insurance companies in a speech to the Empire Club in Toronto. It is also hard to believe that Thomas Galt told your reporter that the executive assigned to inform Quebec of Sun Life’s departure had a dentist’s appointment. Finally, the comparison between General Motors and Sun Life is irrelevant; the two industries are as different as night is to day in market and product. I am sure that if General Motors started having problems issuing car manuals in English for their English customers, they would be quick to change their residence.
JACK G. TYRRELL, MISSISSAUGA, ONT
Close doesn’t count
Yes indeed, Clever People, These Canadians (January 23), whose architectural and engineering skills are being utilized in far corners of the world. Alas! Not so clever the person who, in referring to “Katmandu, India,” would raise the same murderous thoughts in the minds of the Nepalese as we have when we hear mention of “Toronto, U.S.A.”
MARY GREENAWAY, TORONTO
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One of those generals, one of those wars
The answer is simple to Allan Fotheringham’s question “Who was the general watching a doomed regiment walk bravely into destruction by German machine-gun fire in World War I, who remarked ‘It is brilliant, but it has nothing to do with soldiering’? ” Despite the comment in Take A Long, Hard Look At The Western Liberal ... (February 6), no general said any such thing to anyone’s knowledge. The reference is probably to the famous remark of General Pierre Bosquet who said of the charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaklava in the Crimea in 1854, “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.” (It is magnificent, but it is not war.) I hope we do get some Liberals elected in Western Canada and that his prediction is as inaccurate as his quotation.
PETER STOLLERY, MP, TORONTO-SPADINA
Separating the men from the boys
In addition to a lack of mosquitoes as you point out in One Of The Queerer Sights The Northern Lights Have Seen (January 23), one of the greatest joys of winter camping in Saskatchewan is the total lack of beerswilling, radio-playing “Outdoorsmen” who, braving the summer elements in their plastic palaces, produce an atmosphere in our campsites akin to the Canadian National Exhibition. In most cases the severity of our winters is a myth that has been used as an excuse for six months of overheated idleness. The discomforts of winter camping are usually attributable to a lack of knowledge, preparation and equipment rather than to low temperatures or falling snow.
GEOFF RUSSELL, REGINA
I was appalled when I read Safety Last: The Fallacy Of‘Proper Equipment’ (January 23) to see the extent to which telephone interviews can be taken out of context. To say that fully half of the one million injured last year were wearing protective equipment is an incorrect interpretation of the following facts conveyed in a telephone interview: (1) for workers with injured feet—57% thought they were wearing protective footwear, and (2) for workers with eye injuries—40% were wearing eye protection of some kind. To report that safety equipment is not adequately tested is to misrepresent utterly the present state of the art. Where certification programs exist in Canada there are performance tests of safety equipment in accordance with test procedures documented in Canadian standards. The problem, as I explained it, lies more in the fact that industries requiring the protective equipment have not adequately defined their needs. Your comment that we have a “safety equipment scandal” is gross exaggeration. Dr. Bette Stephenson, the minister of labor, speaking at the Conference on Protective Equipment, accurately defined the situation as a challenge, not a scandal.
The facts are that deficiencies exist in all facets of the total personal protective equipment system starting with inadequate design criteria of needs to a lack of feedback to standards committees which would alert designers to make improvements in standards’ testing and certification procedures. The purpose of the First Canadian Conference on Personal Protective Equipment was to bring together all elements involved in personal protective equipment—the user, the manufacturer, legislators and safety professionals—to meet the challenge of improving the quality of protective equipment in our industry. The Council on Protective Equipment is being created to ensure that the recommendations made by delegates at this conference are being aggressively pursued.
R. LITSTER, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, PLANNING, CONSTRUCTION SAFETY ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO, TORONTO
The tramp that lit the world
Uijo Kareda’s The Image That Never Fades (January 23) was a moving and sentimental tribute to Charlie Chaplin. In a year when other showbiz greats, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley, passed on, many forgot the Little Tramp who had the genius to make us laugh and cry at man’s misfortunes while he remained optimistic about his own future. I am not ashamed to say that when I viewed my first Chaplin film, The Tramp, my own eyes watered a bit at
the misfortune of Chaplin’s creation. I noticed that Kareda failed to mention the effect on modern film comedy Chaplin was to have. In a recent interview Woody Allen remarked how indebted he was to Chaolin’s acting and directing genius.
In a time when man is faced with the possibility of atomic extinction, we should all ponder the words of the little barber im-
personating Hitler in The Great Dictator. “Look up, Hannah! The soul of man has been given wings and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow— into the light of hope. Look up, Hannah! Look up!” The imagination of the man was immense. The words he spoke in sound or mime were perhaps an optimistic hope for what we all might achieve.
BRIAN TALBOT, LONDON, ONT.
The way they weren’t
A Critical Look at Jimmy Carter’s First Year (January 9) is a smug anti-American tirade in many respects. The broad assessment of Jimmy Carter is credible but the historical analogies and generalizations are not. For example, nearly two centuries of government under the American Constitution suggest that the system has worked despite flaws. Parties in the United States did not flow from the division of powers. Rather, they flowed from the national political arena, issues and ideology at various times, and the struggle for power. America has experienced at least three party systems, each responding to changing social conditions. The comments on Jefferson are naive. Jefferson was both a national and partisan leader who used patronage freely. His eschewal of panoply while President was studied populism as much as humility, and his terms of office were not unblemished successes—his embargo against Britain split the country.
Presidents vary in quality. Carter clearly promised too much and now he cannot deliver. But an imprudent aspirant to be Prime Minister of Canada would face the same problems.
REGINALD C. STUART, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CHARLOTTETOWN
Fresh off the drawing board
Your article Architecture: Clever People These Canadians (January 23) was most welcome. There are, however, two things I must point out. With our consortium colleagues both airports in Jamaica have, in fact, been completed at Kingston and Montego Bay. Only the airport terminal at Kabul, Afghanistan, has been momentarily delayed. Also, the name of my firm is the Parkin Partnership.
JOHN C. PARKIN, TORONTO
The first to fight
Your readers and J. L. Granatstein, author of Will This Country Ever Learn The Danger Of The Politics Of Hate? (January 23), may be interested to know that according to Hugh MacLennan, more French Canadians joined the army to fight than Canadian-bom English-speaking Canadians. The explanation was that a poor man had but two choices to get ahead—to join the army or to join the clergy.
HUGH JENNEY, MAIDENS’ MILL, ONT.
I believe a Nova Scotian has said he believed Quebec to be the soul of Canada. Well, in the past—perhaps. But as of 1978 I believe the true soul of Canada is to be found in those men and women of every race, color, creed and language, who by birth or legal act, proudly stand as Canadians and, as such, work, vote and, if necessary, fight for the solidarity, prosperity and honor of Canada.
MRS. CAREL CASCADEN, PARKVILLE, BC
J. L. Granatstein’s column describes vividly the attitudes of our French-Canadian brothers. If there ever was such a person as a true Canadian nationalist, the Frenchman, especially in Quebec, unmistakably exemplifies him. French Canadians cannot, as history evidently reveals, recognize a monarchy which has no significance or importance to them. This attitude is interchangeable with many other ethnic groups who now reside within Canadian borders. Although I feel there is no disrespect for Queen Elizabeth, the British symbol and ideology which applies to our country is clearly resented by many.
STEVE DEL BASSO, WINDSOR, ONT.
Congratulations on publishing J. L. Granatstein’s contribution to The Referendum Debate. It’s probably one of the most important articles you have ever published. I wish I could say our country had learned its lesson but your article will help.
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