November 2 1981


November 2 1981


Dief’s delight

You hit a lot of bases in your article That Old Sinking Feeling . . . (Canada, Oct. 19). But you are off the mark with your contention that John Diefenbaker devised the title Progressive Conservative “to counter the party’s Bay Street image.” That honor goes to Manitoba Liberal-Progressive Premier John Bracken, who made it a condition for assuming the Conservative party leadership in 1943, when he was wooed to the national scene from the wartime coalition he headed in his own province. No doubt Dief, ever the Prairie populist, approved. Today the name Progressive Conservative only underlines the continuing schizophrenia and feckless leadership of the party. —GERALD SCHMITZ,


Groping for the group

All that can be said of the caustic criticism of the Canadian play Maggie and Pierre by The New York Times drama critic Frank Rich is, poor America. When he said that Margaret Trudeau was not a real national heroine, he failed to suggest any suitable replacements. Phoenix artistic director Steven Robman’s ignorance about B.C. and the Group of Seven is a stark reminder that most Americans are not in touch with Canadian history or artistic accomplishments and therefore cannot pass fair judgment. —DAPHNE L. HUNT,

Whitby, Ont.

Too close, yet too far

What a strange thought your reviewer must have had when he wrote, “ ... he [Rasky] is too close to his subject” about my film The Spies Who Never Were. I was not born in Germany, Austria or Italy. I was not interned. I am not of the same generation as the amazing people I filmed, and I was not a close friend to any of them. I wonder if he felt that being Canadian and concerned with the human condition made me “too close”? I would have to plead guilty since I hold with Walt Whitman, “I contain multitudes,” and thus am close to all my subjects. —HARRY RASKY,


A broad pun

Sir Henry Wotton’s famous definition of a diplomat was clumsily misquoted in your article Testing the Ties That Bind (World, Oct. 12). The 17th-century author wrote that “an ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.” By dropping the pun abroad from the punch line, you missed the subtlety of the original remark. —ALEC MCEWEN,


Scoring in the House

Fotheringham’s column (Oct. 19) reinforces the theory that sport is what unites this country. Whether it be Team Canada, the excellent Expos, Calgary’s successful Olympic bid or, as Fotheringham points out, the Toronto “whatevers,” sport is the only thing with which all Canadians seem able to identify. Now, if only we could get the elected leaders of this country to take to the fields or to lace up their skates.

— ED BIANCHI, Ottawa

If cities show their soul at the rink and on the field, as Fotheringham claims, why is it that San Francisco, with a more dismal sports record than Toronto, remains a tourist mecca? At the same time, across the bay, grimy Oakland, one of the jock superpowers, has not been catapulted into the ranks of world-class cities. The sweaty, overpaid mercenaries who stumble over the Astroturf rarely originate from, nor typify, the city they play for. —JOHN HYC,


A glossy, bright fall

Emboldened by the initial proclamation of Fiction's Brightest Season (Cover, Oct. 5), I looked forward to reading about an unprecedented haul of literary quality. No such luck. Almost the entire story is devoted to hoopla over such matters as “aggressive marketing.” Worse, the unfavorable reviews that were attached by way of sober afterthought confirm the strong suspicion that “brightest” ought to have read glossiest. —JOHN MCQUEEN,

Saskatoon, Sask.

In your article on fall fiction I was surprised to find Dennis Lee perpetuating the myth that Canada’s good writers begin with the small presses and graduate to “major houses” when deemed fit. In fact, many of the best prefer to remain with a literary press. The idea of major and minor publishing is a U.S. import, borrowed from baseball and bad for literary health. The literary presses have had to change to survive, and it should be a point of national pride that we now can offer every writer a satisfying, expert alternative to the so-called big time. —JAMES POLK

Editorial Director, House of Anansi Press Ltd., Toronto

Your cover story highlights the emergence of Canadian literature on national and international scenes. However, one is led to believe that the creation of CanLit is only happening in Toronto, Montreal and the West Coast. You could have given credit to Alberta’s gov-

ernment for its ambitious program to encourage new novelists. Alberta continues to create a cultural climate by conducting workshops and seminars that nurture the writer from the beginning of an idea to a thorough knowledge of his craft. And it is with excitement that Manitoba writers enter the first search-for-a-new-novelist competition initiated by Manitoba’s department of cultural affairs. -BETTY DYCK,

Canadian Authors Assoc., Winnipeg

All is not quiet in the jungle

What is being written about the constitution in this country defies logic, reason and sanity {Dr. Trudeau's Cure Won 't Work if His Patient Expires on the Table, Editorial, Oct. 12). Canada’s military defence is being carried out by the U.S., the economy is hostage to decisions made in the U.S., major industries are owned by the U.S., and the major labor unions are branches of their American counterparts. Even a Third World War would seem unable to repatriate Canada’s constitution from its alien habitat in London. Yet Canada

claims to be an independent and sovereign nation. Mind you, any 24 million monkeys in the bush could claim the same. — ALAADDIN AL-DHAHIR,

Brandon, Man.

A deafening cry

In your article Human Rights Aren't in the Contract (World, Oct. 12) Canadian ambassador to South Korea, William Bauer, is said to have “expressed the wish that Canadians would loudly and consistently express opinions on North Korea’s record, about which he hears nothing.” Evidently Bauer is hard of hearing. Has he never heard of the Canadian section of Amnesty International, an organization that spares no country, not even North Korea?

— LEON HURVITZ, Vancouver, B.C.

High hopes

Your article Pot Luck in the High Hills (Dateline, Oct. 12) conveys a terrifying cynicism. Its message in essence is that a good cash crop, marijuana, is being grown illegally in an economically depressed area of California and should, therefore, be legalized. What of the young generation of pot users who are being robbed of their productivity and maturity? Are they not a good cash crop as well? —PHYLLIS C. MALONE,

Victoria, B.C.

Pot Luck in the High Hills reaffirms a growing hypocrisy practised and encouraged by the various levels of American governments. They demand that Mexico spray its fields to kill pot plants, while California strives to decriminalize cultivation. Maybe the U.S. government should develop uniform policies before it tries to push other countries.

— CHRIS MUIR, St. Catharines, Ont.

White freedom

As a native woman who has become a victim of the same sections of the Indian Act as Sandra Lovelace, I read your article An Ancient Injustice Revisited (Follow-Up, Sept. 28) with the greatest interest. It is, of course, in the government’s interest to continue this sexual-racial discrimination, and it seems to have the support of Indian men. Surely this law is the most blatant example of our government treating women as inferiors. Why is this treated only as an Indian issue? Why aren’t all of Canada’s women upset? Is freedom of discrimination by sex for whites only?

— CECILIA POWERS, Riverview, N.B.

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