December 13 1982


December 13 1982


What we are

Regarding your cover story The Future of Canadian Culture (Nov. 29): it is good to see our journalists giving expression to the country’s problems related to culture. We owe a debt to [Louis] Apple-baum and [Jacques] Hébert for reminding us that our greatest need is not study or structure but cultivation and natural growth of the basic elements in our country’s life and development. We need more appreciation and encouragement for what we already are and have. We need something inherited, not imposed or forced by governments. Let us hope we are at last growing up as a people and a nation. —A.G. MACPHERSON, Port Credit, Ont.

I have only one comment to make regarding your article on the Applebert Report: if a symbol of Canadian culture is Farley Mowat pictured in his underwear and socks in our national magazine, then let’s just file the report and go back to reading Newsweek and Time. —BETH DORWARD,


Television of the North

I was rather puzzled by your article TV Lights on the North (Media, Nov. 15), in which you state that until the arrival of CBC TV’s Focus North series this fall the content originated by the Northern Television Service consisted of “public service announcements and ‘soft’ documentaries,” mostly borrowed from the National Film Board or purchased from other countries. In fact, in 1980 the


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Northern Television Service began producing a series entitled Our Ways, which focused on social and cultural issues of the North. Of the 22 programs in the series last year, all were northernproduced (about 80 per cent by CBC North and about 20 per cent by northern freelance film-makers). Our Ways and a number of CBC northern specials covered the Dene, Métis and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada annual assemblies as well as territorial elections, the N.W.T. plebiscite and the Arctic Winter Games. The series was emceed by native hosts who broadcast in English, Slavey and Inuktituut.


A question of honoring

Regarding the Passage in your Nov. 22 issue on Michael Pitfield being honored for his contribution to the Canadian public: what contribution? It seems that all one has to do to be made a Companion of the Royal Victorian Order is to balloon the public service out of all proportion, thereby increasing an already insufferable economic burden on the average Canadian taxpayer. Ridiculous!

— RANDY JUST, Duncan, B.C.

No example to follow

In your article The Return of the Strap (Education, Nov. 8) you state, “In Calgary the only group opposed [to the strap] is a contingent of 17 students and three teachers from the city’s public Alternative High School.” What hogwash! What about the 2,064 teachers who opposed the strap? I just wish to inform everyone that this teacher will never use the strap or be witness for anyone else using the strap. God grant that no other board will follow this example.


Abysmal human rights

Regarding the article on Guatemala, The Terror in the Centre (World, Nov. 8): one has to wonder why the Reagan administration sees fit to “maintain that Guatemala is not a gross violator of human rights” when far more credible evidence than the Ríos Montt regime’s own self-assessment suggests the opposite. Perhaps the key lies in the U.S. definition of the adjective “gross.” Amnesty International continues to report on large-scale killings and torturing of peasant farmers, especially vulnerable because of their isolation from such public watchdogs as the news media and civil rights organizations. Yet the Reagan administration seems able to conveniently shut its eyes to the real existence of these atrocities. Is it possible that its self-proclaimed (and self-righteous) mission to stop the spread of Communism is seen as justification for renewing aid to a government whose human rights record has been, and continues to be, abysmal? Or are economic interests at the root of the matter? Thank-you for continuing to bring such hypocritical affairs to the public’s attention. —KATHLEEN PRICE,


Combatting the effects of heroin

Your piece on the heroin flow from one source country (From a Smugglers' Paradise Comes Hell, Dateline, Nov. 8) needs a follow-up on what the drug is doing to Canadians. The RCMP estimates that more than 15,000 heroin addicts are now spending about $2 billion yearly on their habit. The link between crime and heroin in Canada strongly indicates the need for a new national strategy against our heroin traffickers to include: legislation authorizing the forfeiture of profits and property of traffickers and a first-class education program for parents, teachers and religious leaders to equip them to combat the drug culture. —DAVID KILGOUR, MP, Edmonton-Strathcona, Ottawa

A lesson from Lougheed

In the United States the extent to which money was used to influence the midterm election results (A Vote of Conditional Support, World, Nov. 15) has been described by observers as “obscene” and has demonstrated once again that you can buy people’s votes with your money. Both the Republicans and the Democrats could take a lesson from our Mr. Lougheed. Through a careful exploitation of Alberta’s so-called Heritage Fund, he has demonstrated that people’s votes can be bought with their own money, especially if they live in Alberta. The term Heritage Fund surely represents the ultimate in Canadian hypocrisy. Why not refer to it as the Alberta Conservative Party Re-election Fund, which, in fact, it is.—DANIEL J. GORMAN,


Test-tube babies: unnecessary?

I commend you on your thought-provoking cover story Beyond the Limits of Life (Nov. 15). There should be a moratorium on human embryo research and in vitro fertilization until some guidelines are drawn up that represent the opinion of the majority of Canadians on this issue. I very much doubt that most Canadians agree with experimentation on human embryos. I find that I even have trouble rationalizing the actual need for test-tube babies in a world of so many hungry children.

— AUDREY GRANGER, North Vancouver

Reminded of a perpetual crime

Thank-you, Walter Stewart (Fallout From Nuclear Ghosts of the Past, Dateline, Nov. 22). It is important for us to be reminded (since we seem to have forgotten Hiroshima and Nagasaki) that the military use of nuclear energy is not a possibility existing somewhere in the future but a crime against human beings that has been committed continuously since 1945. —C.M. GAHLINGER,


Perpetuating inequality

In his Podium of Nov. 15, How Multiculturalism Corrupts, Larry Zolf bases his outspoken attack on multiculturalism on one fundamental premise: that the “foreign and immigrant experience is truly alien to [Canadian] culture.” In fact, it is precisely that experience that makes up Canadian culture. Since Mr. Zolf is evidently aware that some Canadians are more equal than others, he might contemplate for a moment that by denying “ethnic” cultures the right to exist, he is helping to perpetuate that disparity. —DAVID MARPLES,


In the first place, Mr. Zolf gives no evidence of multiculturalism corrupting anyone. He suggests that multiculturalism is a ploy of politicians when, in reality, it is an outgrowth of the determination of many ethnic groups to resist the American concept of a “melting-pot theory.” Mr. Zolf obviously resents the fact that, in response to pressure from ethnic groups, the federal government provides a pittance to ethnic organizations to help them protect their cultures from oblivion. But that is not all. He also resents the “millions spent on hu-

man rights commissions.” Can Mr. Zolf really be so naïve as to believe that “Canadian culture gives us equal rights for all”? We need human rights codes and commissions precisely because AngloCanadians have systematically and consistently discriminated against ethnic groups, particularly the blacks, Chinese and Indians, since the earliest days of this country. —WILSON A. HEAD,

Willowdale, Ont.

Has-been commentators

Congratulations to Trent Frayne for his Nov. 1 column, The Sound of Eight Lips Flapping. My sentiments exactly! Why should these has-been football players be allowed to spoil the otherwise excellent TV coverage of football games. The repetitious details and constant reruns are mostly unnecessary and downright annoying. I have written to the CBC and CTV and have made my complaints known but I have received no answer from them. I can only assume that the great powers in communication say to themselves, “If the United States has it, Canada’s going to get it too.”


Automakers: fancy trappings

The labor problems of Chrysler, Ford and GM are just a smoke screen for the real problem (The Auto Industry's Uncertain Future, Business, Nov. 22). They are all manufacturing a product not consistent with common sense and a clean environment. The day of the gas combustion engine is over. While other things change, the automobile has barely changed from the early days of Henry Ford. Fancy trappings keep changing but they do not hide an inferior power plant. Why not an electric car, which runs noiselessly, has less running parts to wear out, no vibration, no pollution and is easy to work on?

— G.B. KENNEDY, Prince Albert, Sask.

Not a native saint

It is high time that someone at Maclean's learned that a native is a person born in a given place. Marguérite Bourgeoys, no doubt a devout and courageous woman, who made a great contribution to the early history of French Canada, is nevertheless not a “native saint” of Canada (An Addition to the Saints, Religion, Nov. 8).

— DONN W. LEATHERMAN, St. Laurent, Que.

Letters are edited and may be condensed. Writers should supply name, address and telephone number. Mail correspondence to: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, k81 University Ave., Toronto, Ont., M5W1A7.