In Peter Newman’s editorial The Good News from Robarts and Pepin ... (Feb. 5), he describes the task force report as an “invaluable document” which should be implemented. I am afraid I cannot share his enthusiasm for a document that looks like a carbon copy of Pierre Trudeau’s own proposals.
J. EADIE, WINNIPEG
Justice is deaf
It is a good thing that I didn’t spend too much time on your television column Homage to Historians . . . (Jan. 29) on The Canadian Connection: The Lessons of History, otherwise I would have missed a fine program. Obviously the author is not accustomed to listening. How else to explain her cavalier attitude toward this interesting and intelligent interview?
ALEXANDRA BRODY, EDMONTON
Poor little butter cup
The juxtaposition of the Trident sub and black-ghetto illustrations in the article More Guns—and Hold the Butter (Jan. 29) is a most poignant reflection of the moral distortion that exists in our present-day society. Proponents of the vast U.S. defence budget argue that the purpose of such application of resources is to hold destructive forces in balance to protect the welfare of mankind by preserving peace. Surely that division of funds of such magnitude is, in itself, invertedly destructive of the greater part of our world’s populace. The multibillions of dollars expended annually on armaments would, in truth, enhance the welfare of mankind on an incalculable scale.
L.K. GARWOOD, TORONTO
Guarding the welcome mat
I was disappointed by the distorted image of Canada’s new process for assessing claims to refugee status given in the article They Shall Be Known by the Scars of Torture (Jan. 1). All persons claiming refugee status are informed of their right to be represented by legal counsel and are interviewed under oath by a specially trained senior immigration officer. Transcripts of this hearing are then given to the claimant and the Refugee Status Advisory Committee in Ottawa. The RSAC assesses all claims and makes recommendations to the minister of employment and immigration who then decides whether or not claimants should be recognized as Geneva Convention refugees. Claims rejected by the committee are re-examined by a special review committee of senior immigration officials to ensure that humanitarian or compassionate
factors are taken into account. Claimants who receive a negative decision from the minister have the right to apply to the Immigration Appeal Board for a redetermination. If the board feels the claim may be legitimate, it will hold a full and complete hearing where the claimant can personally explain why refugee status should be granted. During the appeal the claimant may be represented by legal counsel and may call witnesses and submit additional evidence. Very few countries in the world have a system as extensive, fair and objective as this.
BUD CULLEN, MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT AND IMMIGRATION, OTTAWA
The playing’s the thing
In the article If Music Be the Food of Longevity . . . (Jan. 8), Dr. Atlas, in his study of conductors, may have overlooked one key factor related to the longevity of his subjects. While such attributes as superior intelligence, motivation and success certainly should be considered, all conductors have one common trait—they were allowed to continue their work beyond age 65. If increased longevity can be attributed to continued work roles, then consider the Foss not only to the individual in terms of his well-being but to society as a whole in lost human potential.
REIN SELLES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALBERTA COUNCIL ON AGING, EDMONTON
A stable door too late
The article The Man Who Won Ï Sell Out (Feb. 5), on B.C.’s Premier Bill Bennett, should have been called The Man Who Sold Out. In 1969 Bill Bennett, after assembling land for development purposes in Kelowna, sold 25 acres of it for
$875,000 to Marathon Realty for a shopping centre. Who is Marathon? None other than the CPR that he professes to hate now. On Jan. 18, 1979, 24 hours after Bennett gloated about the CPR decision not to go ahead with the takeover of MacMillan Bloedel, Opposition leader Dave Barrett made public a federal document signed by Jack Horner, minister of industry, which recorded the fact that B.C. had strongly resisted the policy of the Foreign Investment Review Agency and that the federal government was considering diluting
their foreign investment policy to pacify B.C. Along with this document Barrett released statistics obtained from FIRA showing that under Social Credit and with their approval, 74 B.C. companies had been taken over by foreign interests since 1976. B.C. is not for sale—it has already been sold.
GORDON TOWNSEND, VICTORIA
The romantic fringe
In his fascinating review of The Seventies (Jan. 29), Peter Newman looks back, for comparative purposes, to the Sixties. He finds that Bob Bossin was the “best of the Sixties’ campus activists who was instrumental in setting up Toronto’s Free University.” Bossin was a charming and talented lad, but he operated on the romantic fringe of the student movement. The Free University, an idea taken over from the Americans, never, in my opinion, had any real impact in Toronto. The heart of the Toronto student movement was political. The leaders were determined to get more student and faculty participation in university government. The two leaders were Robert Rae, now an NDP member in the House of Commons, and Steven Langdon, who has twice been an NDP candidate in Ottawa. Bob Bossin may, as you suggest, have turned in the Seventies to practising his banjo as a member of Stringband but the real leaders of the student movement have simply shifted their interests to more vital ground. For them there has been no break between the Sixties and Seventies.
CLAUDE T. BISSELL, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, TORONTO
In your recent summary of the Seventies you state that “the only political movement to survive the Sixties has been feminism.” Then you list Barbara Frum and Flora MacDonald as being a few of the survivors. Yet who should adorn your cover but Farrah FawcettMajors (renowned for her hair) and
Margaret Trudeau (renowned for her bum).
ALICIA PRIEST, VANCOUVER
Your review of the decade helped us to get underneath the events and changes of the Sixties and Seventies. It also led us to a clear recognition of the fundamental change going on within man himself.
L.A. WEST, WINNIPEG
Ring in the new
Barbara Amiel’s sophomoric column Even If Prints Are All I Can Afford . . . (Feb. 5), promoting her preference for old rather than new masters, reveals her as a VIP—a Visually Illiterate Person. If her principles were applied to the field of literature, would she be proposing that we all stop reading Margaret Laurence, Dennis Lee and George Jonas and cancel our subscriptions to Maclean's? Artists in any discipline keep us on our mettle and help us to understand a society more clearly. If Amiel had works by Harold Town, Charles Gagnon, Yves Gaucher or Christopher Pratt on her walls, she might think and write with more relevance and insight.
DAVID SILCOX, TORONTO
Barbara Amiel is entitled to her preference for the art of previous centuries, but to justify it she needn’t invent a mysterious change in the orientation of artists’ interest that took place some 200 years ago. Times have changed, the world has changed, not the integrity of artists. Today, merely drawing a thousand fingers wouldn’t necessarily bring an artist closer to making legitimate contemporary art. Artists always have and always will paint the way they have to, whether it means anatomy or abstraction, in response to the world they find themselves in.
MILES JENKINS, TORONTO
You takes your choice
I read with interest the article HigherLearning. . . (Jan. 15) on the U-Choose guide to universities. What most interested me in the booklet is not so much what it says about universities but what it leaves out. There is little detail in connection with the various programs offered, certainly not enough to permit a knowledgeable choice. In spite of the best intentions of those who have created it, U-Choose is of quite limited use to a high-school student contemplating university.
BOB WHITTON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR,
INFORMATION SERVICES, UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO, WATERLOO
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