I must congratulate Maclean’s for its Sept. 12 cover story, Flight into darkness, which was surprisingly free of the anti-Soviet hysteria the media have indulged in since the downing of the Korean passenger jet. In that same article U.S. President Ronald Reagan is quoted referring to the Soviet Union as “. . . a state whose values permit such atrocities.” I wonder what he would have to say about a state whose values permitted the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities just to show the world that it has the technology to do so. A state such as this would have no qualms about risking the lives of 269 innocent people as a cover for a spying—or even a bombing—mission into enemy territory. —BRUCE COLEBANK, Prince George, B.C.
For many years governments have been assuring us that the safest way to peace is through a balance of terror. Now 269 people on KAL Flight 007 are dead because the Soviet Union was afraidafraid that its defences had been spied on. Can there be any better argument for every citizen of the world to work for disarmament? —HALINA ZALESKI, Sonningdale, Sask.
The shooting down of an unarmed passenger plane is clearly not the act of a self-assured country confident of any military superiority. It is the act of a hyperdefensive country willing to pay an enormous price in international prestige for the smallest of protections. We can take this as evidence of the extent to which the Soviets are genuinely anxious about us. On the basis of
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that, any thoughtful person would have to wonder whether we are doing anything to give the Soviets cause to doubt our own intentions and if this might not have something to do with their bellicose attitude toward us.
—DIETER HEINRICH, World Federalists of Canada, Toronto
Banks support a soaring success
Peter C. Newman, in his column on Spar Aerospace (Spar’s soaring success in space, Business Watch, Aug. 22), states that the company’s Brazilian sale “could not have been achieved without the aggressive support of Francis Fox.” I agree. However, Newman could also have added “nor without the aggressive support of the Canadian banking industry,” for it was a consortium of banks led by the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia that provided Telebras, the Brazilian government-owned communications corporation, with funds to finance the Spar contract. —VERNE McKAY,
Senior Vice-President, World Trade, International Banking Division, The Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto
Rostow: calling a spade a spade
Maclean’s does well to interview Eugene V. Rostow (Q&A, Aug. 22), who, with decades of experience and immense knowledge of both Soviet and U.S. weaponry, towers head and shoulders above the superficial ignoramuses of the “peace” movement. Détente was indeed that mixture of wishful thinking and outright fraud, for it represented no real change in the Soviet Union’s “struggle against imperialism” (that is the Western democracies) to which Leonid Brezhnev dedicated himself at the 26th Party Congress. For calling a spade a spade, Rostow will be smeared as a “hawk” and a “Cold Warrior.”
—GREG LANNING, Vancouver
A failure to get a grip
Mulroney’s iron grip (Cover, Aug. 29) may well be an accurate description of Brian Mulroney’s hold on the Progressive Conservative party’s apparatus, but the title seems inapt given the gentleman’s grip on economic realities. In recent interviews he has confessed his belief that Canada requires foreign investment to create jobs. A failure to grasp the economic productivity of the demand-side stimulation effected by transfer payments seems a serious impediment to an aspiring prime minister. If Mulroney seeks to offer an alternative to the policies, as well as the existence, of the Liberal government, he would be well advised to rely on more than clichés of conventional wisdom.
—EDWARD RICE, Ottawa
The sins of illicit sexuality
I take exception to what Father Alphonse De Valk said in his letter to the editor (More on abortion, Aug. 8). Although it is true that the Catholic church now punishes with excommunication those who have had an abortion, it is not fair for him to imply that this form of punishment has been an unbroken tradition for “almost 2,000 years.” In fact, this form of punishment is fairly recent in church history (1869), and what is also recent is the teaching that abortion is homicide at every stage of fetal development. There has been a great deal of debate within the church over the issue of when human life begins, with the majority opinion of both the papacy and moral theologians being that the soul enters the body sometime after conception. This view is consistent with other articles of faith—i.e., that there cannot be a human soul in a less than fully human body. Up until 1869 there are many examples of the church allowing abortion for various reasons. The church has only been consistent in punishing abortion because it concealed the sins of illicit sexuality not because it
is killing a human life. Because of this inconsistency in teaching and practice, the Pope cannot and has not spoken infallibly on the subject of abortion, or birth control for that matter, although with his heavy-handed words, extreme punishment and use of Canon Law he appears to have done so. I would ask De Valk to look deeper into the tenets of his faith and the history of debate in his own church and not to misrepresent the true nature of the issue to the public.
—CADY E. WILLIAMS, Saskatoon
Easy steps to lower interest rates
This is in reference to the article The nervous money markets (Business, Sept. 5). Your magazine, in this and other similar articles, has continued to focus only on the government spending aspect of the interest rate debate. This analysis, however, ignores two other factors which would lead to lower (or constant) future interest rates, even in the face of higher government spending. First of all, most of Canada’s industries are operating at barely 60 per cent of available capacity. Any increase in demand for goods will not be met by production from new machinery. These firms will simply use existing machinery. Thus, initially, business demand for funds will be limited. Secondly, when business profits rise, as they should in a recovery, the pool of available funds for banks to loan out will also increase. Businesses will save more. With the amount of funds available for loans going up and the demand by business for those funds low, the present recovery should be able to handle increased government spending.
—PHILIP DEMONT, Halifax
In keeping with Canada’s apologetic after-you-Alphonse attempt to follow the Reagan-Thatcher restraint tango, I would like to suggest the elimination of an obvious redundancy. Rather than have those restraint policies passed, clumsily and ponderously, through provincial and federal legislatures, could we not, instead, eliminate William Bennett, Pierre Trudeau and their cabinet cronies—the obvious middlemen in this charade? We could then have restraint policies delivered directly from their source, the boardrooms of Canada’s major corporations. Our corporate leaders could operate by decree, issuing their edicts by ticker tape from the Toronto Stock Exchange. Direct contact between our political policymakers (aka “Corporate Canada”) and their humble servants (aka “the people”) would be neater, tidier and more cost-efficient.
—PATRICK O’NEIL, Port Simpson, B.C.
Synthetic exploiters in one pot
Regarding Allan Fotheringham’s column The Politics of Religion (Sept. 5): while I find myself in agreement with the intent of the article as wèll as its political views, Fotheringham has been misinformed about the role of the Protestant churches in the nuclear debate and other social concerns. There have been powerful statements made and action taken by the United Church of Canada at all its levels on the nuclear issue. One need only check back issues of The Observer, its magazine, the last meeting of its general council, action taken in any of its conferences last May or review the content of any speech made by its moderator, Clarke MacDonald, to realize the depth of commitment. The United Church has a long and proud tradition of social action and concern. It has risked even the alienation of some of its members to “speak out on the matters of real life.” Please, Fotheringham, get your facts straight]
—BEVERLEY C.S. BRAZIER,
It seems that Allan Fotheringham has jumped on the now popular bandwagon of Bible-believer bashing. On one hand, he lauds Catholic bishops speaking out against government policies on nuclear armaments and on the other he criticizes television evangelists for daring to speak out for some government policies and against the moral decay of our civilization. Fotheringham groups all Christian evangelists in one large pot of money-hungry charlatans. In fact, I agree, as with any cause, that there is a group of synthetic exploiters. However, I do not believe that Jerry F&lwell or Billy Graham, among others, ate in that number. Fotheringham states that to Graham “Christ is not as important as a three iron.” My question is, how does he know? The answer, of course, is that he does not, but by his half-truths and bits of information he implies full and complete researched knowledge, which is clearly misleading. —DON IRELAND,
As an author, I was pleased to see Doug Fetherling’s positive review of my book Korea: Canada’s Forgotten War (Books, Sept. 5). I was somewhat dismayed, however, to see that Col. Jim Stone was tagged with an incorrect first name.
—JOHN MELADY, Brighton, Ont.
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