Thank you, Barbara Amiel, for injecting a note of moderation into the current flood of publication on children’s rights in Directions from the Love-Inspector: “Love Your Child, Mr. Smith, or Else” (April 9). What is seen as a problem of children’s rights has now been extended far beyond the important issues such as child abuse and foster care. In my view, learning to cope with childhood stresses and having adults firmly and often arbitrarily in control are emotional needs rather than violations of rights. Regarding children as oppressed miniature adults needing to be liberated does provide some of us with another new cause to espouse. However, carried to extremes it runs the risk not only of state interference but also of producing confused, insecure kids who don’t know where they fit in.
DAVID COX, ARMDALE, N.S.
Barbara Amiel took a stab at children’s rights and, purposely or otherwise, missed. While belittling the United Nations, tangentially discussing visiting rights of separated siblings, confusing a “slap on the bottom” with child abuse and assuring us that there are laws to punish parents who don’t raise their children well, Amiel failed to deal with the issue. What advocates of children’s rights are espousing is the right for kids to be people—not chattels, not possessions, not exotic pets. We are much less interested in punishing “unskilled” parents and more interested in children’s being respected as people with the right to the same “citizen’s autonomy” which Amiel credits to adults.
KARL A. MARSHALL, ADMINISTRATOR, CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY OF HALIFAX,
Stumbling on the bird
As a director of the Labrador Retriever Club of Ontario, I was both interested and amused by Allan Fotheringham’s comparison of Joe Clark and his campaign strategists to a Lab and his handler at a field trial in Sometimes It's Tough to Tell the Would-Be PM from a
Guy on a Hubcap-Stealing Rap (April 23). However, Fotheringham is in error on one point—at trials, retrievers are sent by their handlers to find real dead ducks, not duck decoys. To carry the analogy a bit further, Clark may be more likely to go “out of control,” “stumble on the bird” or suffer the ignominy of what is known in trialing circles as a “PU” (pick up your dog). However, Clark is probably less likely, than his main competitor, to crush the bird upon finding it and be eliminated for “hard mouth.”
MARION HUMMEL, COOKSTOWN, ONT.
‘Throw the rascals in’
While reading Peter Newman’s editorial The '79 Electoral Zoo ... (April 16), I was reminded of a remark made by the late Adlai Stevenson in his campaign for the U.S. presidency in 1952. “This is,” he said, “the first time I ever heard of a party going into battle under the slogan ‘Throw the rascals in.’ ”
JACK HOLS, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA
And the trains ran on time
In his review Death in Small Doses . . . (April 23) on CBC’s Riel, William Casselman suggests that writers should build up heroes, give them a romantic image, write a little fantasy to make it all more interesting. I disagree. I like to have the facts; I am weary of figures in the past, especially U.S. history, where details have been distorted. At a study group recently, Captain Bligh’s name was mentioned and some people became very angry with my wife because she stated that he was considered a good seaman. None of these people had read anything about the man, but they had all seen the film Mutiny on the Bounty and foolishly considered it the gospel truth. I hope we are in an age when we no longer have to resort to this type of thing.
OTTO BRODY, EDMONTON
The waiting game
In Another Opening... (April 9) Robert Lewis says: “No peacetime prime minister has ever waited so long in his mandate to call an election” as Mr. Trudeau.” Actually, Sir John A. Macdonald, in 1872, waited about a month longer: four years, nine months and 15 days; and Mr. Bennett, in 1935, waited four years, 11 months and 29 days.
EUGENE FORSEY, THE SENATE, OTTAWA
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Bigger than a breadbox
The article Atlantic Canada: Where Bread and Butter Count (April 23) gives the impression that the people of Atlantic Canada do not take politics seriously. We do. Politics have played an important role in our history and we too have sent great people to Ottawa.
W.P. KERR, SALMON RIVER, N.S.
Alas in Wonderland
I found the article Wonderland by Fight (April 16) to be very upsetting. What is most upsetting is the fact that the Ontario government is in full support of the theme park proposed in Vaughan Township. This Wonderland may be a boost for balancing budgets, but what I question is whether bringing more American money into this province to allow our children to have fun is more fundamental to the well-being of children than the ensurance of our future agricultural resources. I contend that it is not. The Ontario government does not seem to appreciate the long-term effects of taking one more bite out of our food-producing soil.
Please stand by
I was very interested in Looking Without Paying Through the Nose (March 26) on pay-televison. Here in Saskatchewan, three cities (Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw) have been enjoying a pay-TV service since last January. The Co-operative Programming Network (CPN) includes a Home Box Office channel, Variety Fare (which features syndicated movies), a channel for children’s programs only called Just for Kids and a 24-hour news channel. All programs are free of commercial interruption and are uncut and unedited as supplied by the distributor. All this for only $10.50 per month. However, the CPN is in trouble. A few months ago the co-op went into receivership. The receiver’s report has been presented to the provincial government (which originally got CPN off the ground) and a decision affecting CPN’s future is forthcoming. In spite of its past mistakes and present problems, I will continue to support CPN and the pay-TV concept. I hope CPN will be able to obtain additional financial support so that it will be allowed to develop and improve.
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