Mr. Newman’s interviews and quotations in his Feb. 15 cover story, Is World War III Inevitable?, are highly selective: it is mostly the case that only Cold Warriors qualify. He castigates the Soviet Union—to which I have no objection—but has far less to say about the deadly game of escalation played first by Carter and now with yet greater vengeance by Reagan. He accepts without question the “logic” that says that increasing Soviet conventional strength justifies American nuclear threats, forgetting that it is in the presumed nature of nuclear war that the side that threatens to use nuclear weapons may end up using them, and thus guarantee its own extinction—all in the name of countering a conventional threat!
— MEL WATKINS, Toronto
I was overjoyed to hear that Barbara Amiel had left your magazine for the lofty heights of The Toronto Sun. Better to have the shrill voices of the right concentrated in one place, I figured. However, your special report on the “inevitability” of World War III, with its anti-Soviet hysteria and Red-baiting of European peace marchers, made me think you kept Barbara around and just gave her a pseudonym.
— KAREN DURINSKY, Ottawa
Cheers for your editorial of Feb. 15. High time to popularize our militia forces and their need for recruits. Let’s join forces and stop buying RRSPs and pay our taxes. This renders needless government borrowing at high interest rates. It ends inflation and, overall, makes Canada stronger.
— C.M. LEWIS, Toronto
A vicious tool well used
I am writing to correct errors in your Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 issues in articles on Cecil Kirby, a former enforcer for organized crime ( Why Police Pay Criminals, Cover; The Perils Of Being Top Cop,
Canada). Maclean's reported that Mr. Kirby gets free hotel accommodation, a leased car, $200,000 to relocate and that his police bodyguards ignored an assault on his girlfriend. All that is simply not true. Mr. Kirby gets a living allowance, has no leased car, a lumpsum payment has not been negotiated and his bodyguards were cleared in an investigation of the incident involving his girlfriend. The fact is Mr. Kirby was a vicious tool used by organized crime in Canada to enforce its criminal conspiracies. He was turned into a police operative, and, as the police have said, this represented the biggest break in the fight against organized crime in Ontario’s history. As the result of Mr. Kirby’s information, five key members of a criminal organization pleaded guilty to charges involving a murder conspiracy and are now behind bars. Many other investigations are being pursued, and were right up until publicity forced a premature halt to the use of Mr. Kirby as an operative. There was never any plan to keep secret the details of Mr. Kirby’s agreement, as has been suggested; it was known by all involved that that document would be produced in court. The only thing that the considerable press attention at this time accomplished was to bring an untimely halt to a crucially important probe into the vicious conspiracies of organized crime. That investigation, and not the largely inaccurate publicity, is what was in the public interest.
— ROY McMLRTRY, Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto
Generating sympathy for P.E.T.?
So Allan Fotheringham thinks that Margaret Trudeau’s book, Consequences, will generate sympathy for the prime minister (Column, Feb. 1). For me, Margaret is a constant reminder that the brain that chose her for a wife is the same one that is running this country. —WILLIAM HEATH,
The political fallout from Consequences is an open question, but I fear a national surge of sympathy for wife-beaters. Whatever may be thought of P.E.T.’s prime-ministership, as a family man and a paragon of forbearance he emerges from this book smelling very much like one of his own boutonnieres.
—LYMAN RODDICK, Fort Erie, Ont.
I so look forward to the day when I can open magazines and newspapers whose pages do not contain coverage of Margaret Trudeau’s latest rubbish.
— MARY LOWRIE, Okanagan Falls, B.C.
A vituperative view of the clergy
Your review of Fred Schepisi’s film The Devil's Playground (Feb. 1) underlines a common misperception of both Catholicism and celibacy. Implying that Catholicism involves some unnatural repression of ordinary sensuality or a denial of sexuality is similar to labelling an Olympic athlete a masochist. Rather than “attempting to understand the power,” the director has trotted out
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a vituperative view of the clergy as fanatically disciplinarian, sexually obsessed and unfulfilled men who have no better aim in life than to twist pubescent boys into images of themselves. Garbage. —M.A. POWER,
An expensive black box
The numerous capabilities of David McLey’s new computer synthesizer (Music, Feb. 1) would seem immediately attractive to a film composer or other commercial musician with a deadline. However, the story raises a controversial point concerning the McLeyvier’s use as an educational tool. To my knowledge, no computer music system on the market today has made complete use of the computer’s enormous potential in teaching applications. Since the few accounts of the McLeyvier that I have read provide no details of its educational software, I fear those American universities that have placed orders for the McLeyvier may end up with a black box whose usefulness is outweighed by its rather hefty price tag.
— WILLIAM RUDIAK, Elliot Lake, Ont.
Unrealistic solutions for Poland
George Ignatieff suggests that U.S. President Reagan’s policy regarding Poland and the Soviet Union is based on fantasy (Podium, Jan. 25). As an alternative to that policy Mr. Ignatieff exhorts the West to “hold Gen. Jaruzelski to his word.” Unfortunately, since Ignatieff specifically rejects sanctions and other “forms of pressure,” he leaves us in the dark as to how we might accomplish this admirable objective. He does advise the West to provide massive injections of economic aid to Gen. Jaruzelski now, at a time when the general is
clearly not keeping his word. Perhaps Ignatieff’s plan is to threaten the Polish leader with even more aid in the future if he continues to welsh on his promises. Finally, Ignatieff assures us that the “International Labor Organization could be used to help uphold the rights of trade unions in Poland.” He appears confident that this previously ineffectual organization will suddenly become a potent force influencing the relationship between Solidarity and the Polish government. And he thinks Reagan is living in a fantasy world!
— SHELAGH KELLEY,
Western money and supplies, given in goodwill but without conditions, were turned into military production and the Polish people’s disaster. How can we believe Jaruzelski, who had sworn many times not to use force against the workers? During 16 months of Solidarity’s existence, the government fulfilled only two of 15 points of the August, 1980, agreement, cheating the workers and carefully preparing the military takeover. President Reagan seems to know that the only way to deal with totalitarian systems is to give them hard and honest alternatives.
— ADAM STEFANSKI,
Good help is hard to find
In her Podium, Housewives Are People Too! (Feb. 1), Mrs. Gotlieb is overreacting (shades of Maggie T!). If a woman’s main goal in life is to care for the alimentary, physical and emotional needs of an adult male and his offspring, she should not take offence when society at large regards her with benign neglect. No one in his right mind considers a homemaker an inferior human being. Indeed, good help is always hard to find. —JEANNETTE McGLONE,
First we had Margaret (Instant Gratification) Trudeau and now we are to be saddled with Sondra (Mother Earth) Gotlieb! Two pristine examples of that species Sondra so lovingly calls “appendage” wives! Would we, the Canadian public, be subjected to their litanies if they were not “appended” to wellknown public figures?
— VALERIE MOLLARD, Montreal
Sondra and Nancy ought to get along like a house on fire! —CATHERINE ORION,
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, 1+81 University Ave., Toronto, Ont., M5W1A7.
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