July 18 1983


July 18 1983


Papal road show

Bravo to Maclean’s for its fine coverage of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland (The Pope’s Polish odyssey, World, June 27). Almost every other news medium has insisted on reading all sorts of things into the Pope’s remarks. That is why the Maclean’s report on the Pope’s visit was a refreshing, honest change. Please continue to give your readers a factual account of events as they are, and not what sensation-seeking reporters hope events will be. —ALEXANDRA BRODY,


Some questions have arisen since your article in the June 27 issue on the Pope’s visit to Poland, which was written while the visit was still in progress. True, he may have done a great service to his countrymen by urging them to defy their government, but has he lived up to his position as supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church by stepping into the political arena to champion the political demands of his own people? As the man chosen by his peers to interpret God’s teaching to the people of the world, he has disappointed many by his provincial concern for the material conditions existing in his own small country. Recently we have seen the anointed head of the Catholic church emphasizing his concern for the political aspirations of a favorite son, while the urgent need for mere survival on the part of millions of his immense family is not being addressed. Our faith is slightly shaken. — PHYLLIS A. LANDALE,

Whonnock, B.C.

Out on a Linib: no novel

With reference to your June 27 People section item about Shirley MacLaine and her new book, Out on a Limb, we would like to make it clear to your readers that this book is nonfiction and is the author’s third book of autobiographical memoirs, not a “new novel,” as it was described in the item.

—SUSAN MEISNER, Manager, Publicity and Promotion Department, Bantam Books Canada Inc., Toronto

Disgruntled whiners and a stink

Your article Ministerial Discontent (Religion, July 4) was a bit off base and highly ironic. This is due to the fact that even though the United Church of Canada constitutes its courts with at least 50-per-cent lay representation, the clergy is in my opinion still the group in the church that exercises power. It is the height of irony that a “Clergy Abuse” group is formed. This is a lot like an “Ayatollah Abuse” group existing in Iran. Your report misses the real issue of the clergy’s dominance of the church. Disgruntled whiners like Clergy Abuse cause a stink in church courts and get print in Maclean’s. Lay people go out the door. —REV. STUART LYSTER,

Edwin, Man.

Lest we forget Roy Peterson

Allan Fotheringham’s column is only a gold setting for Roy Peterson’s gems. I do not remember anyone ever mentioning him in your columns and yet is there a better political cartoonist anywhere in the world?


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Prisons disputes

I am writing in response to the article Inside Canada’s prisons (Cover, June 6). I wish to respond both as a person currently working in the field of “rehabilitative programs” from the base of a private organization and as an ex-prisoner, having served 10 V2 years of a life sentence. Your reporters have done a very good job in collating their information. However, there are a few things that require clarification. One comment is that only 6.3 per cent of ex-prisoners who leave institutions on mandatory supervision return to prison. In fact, the

Canadian recidivism rate fluctuates between 50 and 70 per cent at any given time. That means that five to seven of every 10 inmates leaving prison will return to prison, somewhere, and generally within a five-year period. But 98 per cent of all prisoners in this country will get out one day, and I submit that we create such a state of anger in prisoners that they will leave prison far more dangerous than when we placed them there. Another mistake we make is in ostracizing prisoners once they do get released. Our attitudes are such that we force them to remain apart

from society: we scream for justice when they do not fit in as we would have them, but we will not allow them the luxury of changing their lives to become useful and productive members of society. —DARYLE HAYES,

Ottawa Director, Recidivism Project, Prison Fellowship of Canada, Ottawa

Your article entitled Inside Canada’s prisons is an unfair assessment of Correctional Service Canada. You might have suggested that our parliamentarians review their brutal and punitive 25-year life sentences. Many who have such sentences are in medium and minimum security institutions—not “bottlenecked” in maximum security institutions. The new legislation on mandatory supervision for inmates released from institutions on supervision states that they are returned only if they “fail,” and the parole board will then determine if they are to be released again before their mandatory supervision time expires. Overcrowding is a result of our present economic situation and has resulted in “double bunking,” but this is a short-term plan; cells are being developed in medium security institutions, and several will be available in the fall. The CSC is currently working on a plan that will have inmates released at the earliest possible date, thus alleviating some of the overcrowding.


Consultation Committee on the Dangerous Offender, Correctional Service Canada, National Parole Board, Edmonton

Missing out on visual humor

Your review of Franco Zeffirelli’s La Traviata (If only the walls could speak out, Films, June 13) mistakenly discourages lovers of good music and idiosyncratic films. For all the director’s selfindulgence, the film brings audiences right into the lushness and the drama of the work more memorably than any stage production. The reviewer neglected to tell us how close to the story we come, with the intimate photography and blessed subtitles. He misses the visual humor. The reviewer may not like Zeffirelli’s preoccupation with landscape and rich brocade, but it is a visual fascination quite in keeping with Verdi’s lushness (Verdi would have loved the film, I bet!).


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, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7.