September 10 1979


September 10 1979


Onward, Christian soldier

Allan Fotheringham, in his column Behind the Myths of Bravery and Pluck, There Was No Pride or Glory at Dieppe (Aug. 13), should remember that any mention of the exploits of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry at Dieppe, 37 years ago, should also include that regiment’s most popular padre, Lieutenant-Colonel John W. Foote, VC, of Cobourg, Ontario. Foote, who stowed away with the “Rileys” during the early-morning run-in to the beaches, is credited with having saved the lives of more than 30 men that day. He repeatedly walked up and down the beach, under fire, picked up the wounded and carried them back to the landing craft, calling as he went, “every man carry a man.” Later, as the landing craft he was in began moving astern to return to England, he jumped ashore to tend to those who had been captured or wounded that day. To the hundreds captured, who spent the rest of the war behind barbed wire, he became the most unforgettable Canadian at Dieppe.


Allan Fotheringham deserves top honors for his column on Dieppe. To think that so little is ever done to uncover the blunders made during World War II is deplorable. Hopefully, this article will engender massive amounts of information from now on about the horrors brave men faced in complete futility. Bad judgment, when men’s lives are at stake, is inexcusable.


The eyes have it

When I first saw the picture of Linda Thorson (People, April 30) I thought that the “shadowy glimpse of most of Linda Thorson’s right breast,” as pointed out by Tom Gaspick (Letters, July 30), was just a wisp of hair dangling down. Naturally I took a closer look and sure enough I was “titillated.” I would like to thank the readers of Maclean's for so unerringly bringing my attention to things that I might have unwittingly missed.


Parks, not parking lots

Canada’s new parks minister, John Fraser, is soon to face his first test of the preservation-park philosophy he expressed in Moments of Awe and Respect (July 16). He will be asked by his park officials to sign a development-oriented management plan for the Yukon’s Kluane National Park. This vast wilderness, with the highest mountains in Canada, a vast ice sheet and many valley glaciers and rich wildlife populations, will be intruded upon by three interior valley roads, an inclined railway, motorboat shuttle and aircraft overflights.

Scientist-consultants and even some parks employees have pointed out the ecological costs in terms of disturbance to wildlife, sensitive terrain and wilderness values. Fraser stated in Maclean's: “Our system is based on maintaining large sections of the country in as natural a state as possible. If you give in to it [development], it isn’t even the same experience. The wilderness preserves the sense of vastness that is so much a part of national psyche.” But Fraser will need considerable public support if he is to protect our parks.


Black, white and grey

I would like to commend Dan Turner on his article The Commonwealth's Burden (Aug. 6). Having spent a year in southern Africa, I know only too well the very real problems facing both whites and blacks. The situation has no clear-cut answers for either side. Anyone who believes that simply turning all g power over to the blacks will solve the w strife is very much mistaken. Turner 2 has written the most objective and truly informative article I have read on southern Africa.


Growing pains

I read with great interest Peter C. Newman’s editorial Why Africa Needs a Green Revolution and Not One Painted in Black, White and Red (Aug. 6). As chairman of the Canadian Hunger Foundation in Ottawa from 1960 to 1965,1 felt very close to the question of feeding the world. My conclusion after five years was that we could not feed the world by pouring millions of bushels of wheat into these various areas—deficient areas—but that we must get down to basics and devote most of our strength to teaching these countries how to grow their own. I don’t suppose there is an area anyplace where wheat and perhaps rice cannot be grown under the right circumstances. I

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think the tendency of these African countries has been to concentrate on more glamorous things such as airlines, etc., but I completely agree that the first basic problem is to develop their own agriculture with the assistance of the “have” countries. I was pleased to note that you are behind what you term “the green revolution,” and in the interests of all concerned I hope this is just a start along these lines.


Bumper cropper

I hate to be picky considering the coup Grande Prairie pulled off in gaining the 1979 Canadian hot-air balloon championships and your coverage in Swept Away by the Breeze... (Aug. 13), which was excellent and provides both this city and ballooning with valuable exposure beyond Alberta’s borders. But Grande Prairie, with a population of

20,000-plus, is hardly a “bump” on the Alaska Highway. In fact, the Alaska Highway does not officially start until Dawson Creek, B.C., another 80 miles northwest.


Author, author, burning bright

I am desolated to learn in Lots of Giggles but Few Laughs (Aug. 13) that my novel Mrs. Job fails to come up to the standards of your reviewer. It must have been by some strange lapse of critical acumen that it was accepted by Victor Gollancz, a major British publishing house. Its editorial staff was unanimously in favor of publishing it— which, their chairman told me, is by no means always the case. The American publisher Harper & Row was also taken in. Its senior editor wrote to me, “... Let me assure you that I loved and continue to love your novel. It was the only book I bought on a two-week scouting trip to London and it made the whole trip worthwhile. When I sit alone with a manuscript in a strange hotel room and repeatedly laugh aloud, I take it as a wholesome sign ...”

Your reviewer criticizes the “extravagant jumble” of characters. Actually, the number is quite modest. He must find 19th-century novels totally disconcerting. I am confused by his word “bluster” of which I am twice accused, although what he intends by it is obscure. He also uses “accost” in a strange way. And how does one “orchestrate” chaos? He says I do it deftly, and I deny doing it at all. It is curious to find someone who writes like this assuming the authority to criticize other writers. I should think that a phrase such as “a plethora of grins and giggles” really should constitute a permanent disqualification. Depressing to think that, if your reviewer is right, Victor Gollancz, Harper & Row and Publishers Weekly (which reviewed the book)are wrong. And after all, what do they know about books?


The meek shall inherit

I am concerned about the merger of The Canadian and Weekend Magazine. Your article Two Can Live Cheaper as One (Aug. 13) states that the style of Weekend will be the one abandoned, which seems to be typically Canadian— never stand behind excellence. Weekend is a graphic joy. Its articles are intelligent, often amusing, thought-provoking and memorable. It dismays me that it is going to disappear. I would gladly pay for it, if anyone had asked me to subscribe. I can’t be the only reader who feels such loyalty.


Web-footed friends

Thank you for a most appealing presentation on Oak Hammock Marsh in Out of the Bog a Nest to Last (Aug. 13). As the man responsible for the only sour note in the piece, may I qualify what seemed to be ungrateful criticism of Ducks Unlimited. They are a group of positive-thinking hunters whose considerable efforts to raise waterfowl have indirectly benefited others, notably naturalists and that increasing segment of the public preoccupied with photography and birdwatching. And quite properly DU has not been slack in reminding the public of its good work. In remote locations this posture is harmless enough, but in an area such as Oak Hammock it can, and has, generated some misunderstanding when hunters have summarily ordered sightseers out of their marsh.

As a person dedicated to encouraging as many people as possible to get out and learn about their environment, it bothers me to see that non-hunting taxpayers might be made to feel like trespassers on land they have paid the major share for (more than 80 per cent). I have nothing but admiration for DU’s principal objectives, but in trying to maintain balanced perspectives I may at times be appearing to conceal my admiration too heavily.