There’s gold in those test tubes

October 26 1981


There’s gold in those test tubes

October 26 1981


There’s gold in those test tubes

I was pleased to see that you gave such critical attention to research (Scientific Quests on the Firing Line, Science, Oct. 5), which is the key to the economic and social health of Canada’s future. It would, however, be erroneous if your article were to give the impression that the federal government is decreasing its expenditures on research or that it is not continuing to give its full support to Canada’s fundamental or “basic” research. The 1980-’81 research budget for federal expenditures in the natural sciences totals $1.3 billion. In 1981-’82 it is expected to be above $1.5 billion. The budget for two of the institutions that support fundamental research in Canadian universities has been increased by $111 million and now totals $302 million. —JOHN ROBERTS,

Minister of State for Science and Technology, Ottawa

A bird in the sand

I was shocked to read that permission to sell 50 gyrfalcons to wealthy Arabs was given to the Inuit by the Northwest Territories wildlife service (People, Oct. 5). It is obviously wrong. Although these birds are not endangered, they should not be taken as toys for wealthy foreigners. I am entirely in favor of native peoples freely using all resources, except in rare cases, for their personal needs. But when they sell these resources it becomes a commercial undertaking and, as such, is not a native right. Community projects should not be financed by exporting birds that are illegal for most non-native Canadians even to possess. —JEAN MACDONALD,


Herods above and zealots below

Your use of the scene at Masada as an analogy for the present Canadian constitutional crisis is an artful piece of writing (Dr. Trudeau's Cure Won't Work if His Patient Expires on the Table, Editorial, Oct. 12). However, I think that casting Prime Minister Trudeau as the zealot may be an error. Premiers Davis and Hatfield have taken the part of King Herod, who realized that if you can’t beat the legions you had better get a working relationship with Rome. The other premiers have become the real zealots, holed up in Masada attempting to preserve their cultures, rights and freedoms against the intrusion of an apparently ascendant power.


A lonely job

The impression created by your People article (Oct. 12) was that “Crain and his cronies . . .” were somehow responsible for the promotional coup of selecting a Playboy centrefold for CTV’s Thrill of a Lifetime show. This was not the case. I alone conducted the interviews with the women, whose genuine thrill was to pose for Playboy, and no one else was involved in the selection of Shannon Tweed, Miss November, other than the editors of Playboy. —SIDNEY M. COHEN,


Equalling equalization schemes

Your cover article The Play for Eastern Oil (Sept. 28) states that “ ... under the existing federal-provincial equalization payments scheme, the provinces will simply lose a dollar of transfer payments for every dollar of petroleum revenue.” This is not so and perpetuates a myth that was originated by Premier Peckford. Since 1974, only 50 per cent of provincial oil revenues are included in calculating the equalization payments, with a further reduction for Newfoundland.


Revealing a human portrait

When reading your article A Brooding Vision (Cover, Sept. 21), I sensed you were gloating over your forecast of artist Christopher Pratt’s failure. You demolish Pratt and perhaps his wife also. Two-career marriages are difficult. Should the unwrapping of one such marriage be publicly trumpeted about? The Pratts’ relationship will not be aided by this exposé.


The abominable behind

If someone in 1945 had been asked to predict whether values in Canada would climb to new heights or decline to levels of sloppiness and abomination, that prophet would never have foreseen a people mesmerized into wearing workers’ pants with tight crotches and, now, transparent plastic rear ends (People, Sept. 28). The day nears when the real problem of our societies will surface, and once more preachers will take to the streets calling for repentance. —KEITH MATTHEWS,

Penticton, B.C.

A witness for the Witnesses

I attended the Cyrenne-Cramb trial in Thunder Bay, Ont., and was surprised to read in As God Was Their Witness (Canada, Sept. 21) that those involved had consulted a faith healer! The testimony was that a naturopathic physician had been phoned. A conscientious reporter would scarcely confuse the two. You also overlooked the fact that the parents removed the girl from hospital when, eight hours after diagnosis, she had still received no treatment. Your article could easily be construed as a religious attack on an unpopular minority, the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Hoey and Nordlund: plastic rear ends

—L. DALE BLACK, Thunder Bay, Ont.

We must strongly object to the misleading and inaccurate statement made about the family of Jehovah’s Witnesses who lost their little girl. Although we are convinced that blood transfusion is bad medicine, we do not feel that “faith healers” are the alternative. Instead of concluding that Jehovah’s Witnesses are just another irresponsible, fanatical religious group, we encourage you to do an in-depth study of the misuse of blood in our hospitals, which would show just how dangerous, overused and unnecessary blood transfusions are. —WALTER GRAHAM, Information Officer, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Georgetown, Ont.

An unfashionable error

In your article Homegrown Design Stars (Fashion, Sept. 21) you state: “Whether any Canadian designers will ever rival the likes of [Oscar] de la Renta remains to be seen.” De la Renta’s principal designer is John Nickleson from little old St. Thomas, Ont.

— MAVIS LAUTEBACH, St. Thomas, Ont.

Coming out of a sexual cocoon

In Barbara Amiel’s attack on my column entitled Most Men Are Lousy Lovers, she emerges as one of the country’s truly liberated romantics; not only altruistic, but also in possession of a cardiovascular system that goes off like a time bomb at the sound of Mr. Right’s

voice (The Elusive Butterfly of Love, Column, Sept. 28). Of course she should condemn the idea that sexual satisfaction has any place in the marriage of great minds; let the poor uninformed masses grovel in sexual ignorance. That feminism or anything else important should taint the pages of her favorite glossy magazines is indeed an insufferable condition, but then, so is the frustration of many women unable to communicate honestly with their mates— SUSAN FERRIER MACKAY, Toronto

Barbara Amiel is superb. In a world where the apparent is often mistaken for the real, she demonstrates an articulate intellect whether discussing the role of government, the plight of the Third World or the butterfly of love. It’s unfortunate that most of us seem reluctant to read and heed. —G.M. DEYO, Peterborough, Ont.

Mysteries of economic alchemy

It was interesting to note in your story Clouds With No Silver Linings (Canada, Sept. 21) that “there is now hardly a soul in [the Canadian] cabinet or the mandarinate who believes that Ronald Reagan’s economic alchemy will work.” That’s understandable. Reagan’s program is approximately the opposite of what our government has been pursuing with singular lack of success in bringing our economy back to health. I’m sure our government is hoping that Reagan’s policies do not work, as they would hate to be proved wrong in their own. —M. SILLAMAA,


Confused and armed

I wholeheartedly agree with Robert Thomas Allen’s observations (Being Driven Around the Bend, Podium, Sept. 28) and find it hard to accept the ease with which a person can obtain a licence to operate a vehicle that causes infinitely more personal and property damage than firearms. —R.P. GRAHAME,

Amherstburg, Ont.

Allen hit the nail on the head, but he didn’t condemn another group that is getting worse all the time, girls from their teens to about 25 years of age. They haven’t a clue how much power they have under their control. I admit that most older women drivers are good. They might get confused once in a while, but they are never reckless.

— WALTER T. BERG, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.

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