In The Police and the Public . . . (July 30), Barbara Amiel’s comments concerning British Columbia’s extensive 10-month pilot project of videotaping suspected impaired drivers are misleading. It appears as though she didn’t realize that the drivers’ appearance on camera was entirely voluntary. Relatively few drivers refuse, as the average drinking driver seldom realizes his degree of impairment. Cartoonist Thach Bui, whose amusing work accompanied the column, was wrong in presuming that drivers were videotaped at the roadside. The procedure was always carried out indoors in the relative calm of a police detachment office where a fixed black and white camera recorded the driver doing typical sobriety tests requested by police everywhere. While it is true that in B.C., mixing cars and cocktails can result in your being on camera, it has also assisted in the dismissal of an impaired charge. And considering that, in Canada, drunken driving has reached the appalling level of one traffic death every three hours, videotaping gives anyone foolish enough to drink and drive something else to think about.
GARDE B. GARDOM, ATTORNEY-GENERAL, VICTORIA, B.C.
Warren Gerard’s article Nuclear Power: Debate for the '80s (Aug. 20) brings together all the elements of that debate: emotion, economics, risk, alternatives and the drawbacks to those alternatives. I hope Maclean's readers now better appreciate the difficulty any public agency faces daily in attempting to present to its public the complex and often conflicting facts of Canada’s ener-
gy, present and future. Despite one or two somewhat glib statements, Gerard’s article does retain a good over-all balance.
Peter C. Newman’s editorial Canada Is No Innocent Bystander . .. acknowledges that the issue is a complex, emotional one and his response is emotional indeed. His conclusion that a moratorium is the answer is no answer at all. If it were that simple, Ontario Hydro could simply say to its customers, “Sorry, no electricity today.”
J.R. O’CONNOR, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, ONTARIO HYDRO, TORONTO
Peter Newman’s editorial on nuclear responsibility was well put. I hope his thoughts wake those who, by their silence, encourage nuclear irresponsibility and proliferation.
GEORGE KLINA, KINGSTON, ONT.
Your Aug. 20 cover, illustrating what appeared to be nuclear fuel rods labelled with adhesive tape, did little to instil faith in nuclear technology. One is given cause to wonder where else this billion-dollar industry uses Band-Aids.
JAMES M. RIORDAN, TORONTO
Hail and farewell
I was startled to learn of the death of John G. Diefenbaker and saddened while reading Farewell to the Chief (Aug. 27). He was not only a man who changed his party’s outlook, but one who was capable of altering the very style of Canadian politics. For the first time westerners in general and farmers in particular could honestly feel that their voices were being heard in Ottawa. Although there are people who would not agree that the Chief was a
great prime minister, few could argue against the assertion that he was a great Canadian. Even though we still have memories of pride in his accomplishments, Canadians everywhere will miss the earthly presence of this living legend.
LEE CUTFORTH, CLARESHOLM, ALTA.
Robin Williams closes his new album by advising his New York audience to “keep the spirit of madness in you. Just a little touch of it.” When someone then asks “How much?” the comedian replies: “Just enough so you don’t become stupid.” Pity Margaret Trudeau (People, Aug. 20) missed the show that night.
IRV WEISS, TORONTO
2001: A Press Odyssey
When the article Fitting One Mind Into 62 Volumes—By 2001 (July 30), on The Collected Works of Erasmus, appeared, I was emerging from a canoe trip in Algonquin Park and I couldn’t think of a nicer piece to greet me when I was once again able to read the printed word. The article was extremely well written, packed with detail and entirely accurate. I was amazed at how well Andrew Weiner had absorbed and synthesized the mass of material that we inundated him with during his short visit to
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the University of Toronto Press. The article has already stimulated a great deal of response from persons whom we could not possibly have reached ourselves through normal channels.
R.M. SCHOEFFEL, CHAIRMAN, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE,
COLLECTED WORKS OF ERASMUS, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS, TORONTO
Congratulations on giving such prominent space to Young Suicides (July 30), a subject that is largely a “taboo” area in our society. Jane O’Hara has done a thorough job in researching and interviewing people involved. I feel that the discussion of suicide will benefit enormously from your coverage. As a director of Distress Centre One, which was one of the first crisis intervention centres in Canada, I would like to comment on the statement that such centres are rarely used by children. In 1978 Distress Centres One and Two received over 35,000 calls. Of these more than 200 were of a suicidal nature. If we move into the 20to 29-year age group, which records the highest number of suicides completed for any age group in Toronto, we received more than 1,000 calls. I agree completely that many ways must be found to reach these young people but I would like to make it clear that a significant number of them already have access to our service. We have also helped set up and run workshops for gatekeeper groups in our society and continue to spend time with students who are looking for more adequate sensitivity to suicide.
GORDON WINCH, DIRECTOR, DISTRESS CENTRE ONE, TORONTO
They also served
Allan Fotheringham’s column Behind the Myths of Bravery and Pluck, There Was No Pride or Glory at Dieppe (Aug. 13) undoubtedly contained a great deal of truth. There is, however, a fault in his column. Fotheringham mentions only those who were killed or who made it back to England. He ignores the vast number of Canadians whose lives were sacrificed in a different way—they were taken prisoner. This meant three years of intolerable conditions in prison camps and, for many, the infliction of physical and mental wounds which, in some cases, have never healed. Certainly, there should have been no pride or glory for the Allied High Command or the politicians who sent men to certain death, but to suggest that there was no pride or glory on the part of men who sacrificed their lives in the belief that they were doing the right thing for their countrymen is simply unconscionable.
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