April 2 1979


April 2 1979



I found Robert Stall’s article A Man, A Tree and an Ocean to Cross (Mar. 5), on Geordie Tocher’s voyage, very interesting, especially the anthropological implications. However, I would like to point out that the statement suggesting that it was the first such voyage in 1,400 years is not accurate. I refer to the voyage of the Tilikum, a 30-foot dugout canoe. On May 20, 1901, John Voss and Norman Luxton set off from Victoria, B.C., to the South Pacific. Their course took them to Tahiti, Samoa and Fiji. Eventually Voss sailed the Tilikum around Africa and reached the Thames River in England on Sept. 2, 1904. The astonishing thing was that the Tilikum had been made by the Siwash Indians, out of a single red cedar log, at least 100 years before the voyage began. Although the Tilikum did not land in Hawaii, this voyage should warrant some recognition as it proved the seaworthiness of West Coast Indian canoes—and the possibility of westward migrations of people by sea.


One postman’s meat

David Thomas’s article The Abominable Snowman Who Was Bonhomme (Feb. 12) portrays a very personal view of one man’s isolated experience of Quebec City’s winter carnival. I am sorry that he did not enjoy himself, but I can assure you that many of us did; in fact, nearly a million people do every year. The article states that I used my “new authority as postmaster-general to issue a stamp commemorating the carnival” and my “access to federal funds to donate $25,000 of post office money to compensate for the bad weather.” How-

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Tocher’s dugout: recalling the Tilikum

ever, the grant was provided through the secretary of state of Canada to enhance the economic, social and national benefits of the Quebec carnival. The money had absolutely nothing to do with post office funds. The article not only committed an injustice to me but to the Quebec carnival, to its thousands of volunteers and to the people of Quebec in its negative approach. The carnival is a time of celebration and joy, an event through which Quebeckers show their hospitality to all Canadians and try to promote an understanding of their lifestyle and culture. It is unfortunate that your article could not communicate this to your readers.


Look forward angel

Thank you very much for your prompt tribute to my father, W.A.C. Bennett. However, I have one small protest to make: W. A. C. Bennett did not suffer several political defeats before he was elected to the British Columbia legislature as stated in the column Wacky's Formula: Never Whine, Never Complain, Just Pretend Your Critics Don't

Even Exist (Mar. 5). When he first ran for the seat, in 1941, he was elected and he continued to be elected by the people of the Okanagan to the legislature in Victoria until his retirement in 1973. His only defeat at the polls was when he ran for the federal Conservative party. His attempt to reform the Conservatives also ended in failure but, when he washed his hands of them and crossed the floor to sit as an independent, he was never again personally defeated. When he later ran as a Social Credit member and became the leader of the Social Credit party in British Columbia, he never looked back. In fact, one could always say that he always looked forward with his eyes set on the best possible future for us all.


Breech of etiquette

As a concerned yachtsman, I read with interest A Doctor Studies the Flagrantly Flatulent (Feb. 12). Your article has brought a deep-seated sense of relief to pressures we have felt in our study of flagrant flatulence as an overpowering causal factor in a frequent breach of yachting etiquette. To meet this need, we have in preparation a monograph on Flatulence in a Crowded Dinghy, but were pleased that your article arrived in time to show a need for revision. Thus our chapter on Emission Control Techniques now has a discussion on diet as a factor of control and follows Dr. Levitt’s leadership in terminology. This chapter will appear under the more contemporary heading, Faking Farting. The real thrust of our society is the preservation of those valued rules of behavior for polite society that are epitomized by our members. There is nothing that destroys the composure of a Sunday afternoon yachting party as that ultimate, multi-sensory indiscretion revealed with the uninhibited exuberance of a fart in a bathtub. It’s just not done, you know!


Bugs in the bunny

Your article A Rabbit with Elephantiasis (March 5) states that the Point Lepreau nuclear reactor will cost New Brunswick and other Maritime taxpayers $895 million to construct. But what about the millions of dollars more to dispose of the extremely toxic nuclear wastes which are generated during the production of nuclear electricity? The life expectancy of a nuclear plant is only 30 years, then it must be specially dismantled or sealed due to the lethally dangerous buildup of radioactive contamination.


Prime crime

I was pleased to see Crime as a Terminal Problem (Feb. 19) on computer crime. This is an area in which not only the public but also the data processing community itself still requires education. However, your emphasis on the government, Bell Canada and the banks reinforces the notion that it is only large companies and financial institutions which face this problem. In fact, if only because of their fewer resources, mediumand small-sized computer centres are at least as vulnerable as the giants to computer crime. Also, it is not necessary for a company to hire computer security experts to counter this threat. There are a number of organizations, our own included, which can provide these highly specialized services to companies which either cannot afford or do not need their own full-time experts.


Babes in boyland

The disturbing thing about the case of homosexuals Jackson, Hannon and Popert, as reported in The Boys in the Band Play On (Feb. 26), is that they are so willing to give at least tacit support to the exploitation and indoctrination of humans who do not have the rationality to make a considered choice—that being the children. They advocate homosexuals’ own right to choose and personal freedom in actions, but see no contradiction in denying children the opportunity to develop intellectually and physically to the point where they, too, can make similar choices. It is paradoxical that the freedoms they are so desperately attempting to win for themselves, they are so willing to deny to others.


New myths for old

As a hockey fan I must challenge the denigrating and specious argument set out in Hal Quinn’s Exploding the Myth of Hockey Supremacy (Feb. 26). Few would argue with the idea that the Soviets have produced a hockey club with masterful skills, as demonstrated in the recent NHL-Soviet Challenge Cup series.

But Quinn merely substitutes one myth for another with the notion that the U.S.S.R. will dominate international hockey forever and ever. If we were to assume this, one would have to explain why the WHA All-Stars defeated a good Soviet team in three consecutive games, why the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Moscow Wings in January and why, last season, the Winnipeg Jets trimmed the Soviet national squad 5-3 in Winnipeg. I did not see the NHL All-Stars outclassed or disgraced, but I did see them disorganized. We have learned that we cannot assemble a team in three days to handle the best the Soviets can ice.


Father’s big helper

There was something missing in your article Don Gray at Work: Still Delivering (Feb. 19). When I am in New Brunswick, I visit the Grays. Edith Gray will be found late into the evening helping Don prepare his load for the next day’s route. His wife does much, much more than hand him “the fresh white grocer’s apron” every day.