September 12 1983


September 12 1983


A leader’s devices

Three Cheers For Brian Mulroney (Mulroney’s iron grip, Cover, Aug. 29). He sure is an amazing guy. After all, he is only doing something that all leaders have done since the beginning of history-consolidating his power. You would think, by the way the article about him in Maclean's reads, that this consolidation was a new, imaginative and innovative leadership device. Well, I guess Maclean's thinks so.


I object! Five days before the Aug. 29 byelection in the federal riding of Central Nova your magazine appeared with a picture of Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Mulroney, a candidate in the byelection, on its cover and a cover story on him. I believe your action has skewed the democratic process in that you have given the Conservative an unfair advantage through this biased and unpaid-for publicity. To add insult to injury, you had the temerity to not even mention the names of the candidates for either of the two other national political parties. At the very least, an apology for this prejudicial action, which renders the results of the byelection suspect, is owed to both the other main candidates and the electors of Central Nova.


In which we are forced to serve

The Neanderthal-sounding phrase “involuntary servitude” that Barbara Am-

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iel mistakenly attributes to U.S. politician Bella Abzug ( Why Jews must lean to the right, Column, Aug. 29) comes, in fact, from the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlaws it. The military draft is just one aspect of “involuntary servitude.” Should a state, be it the United States, Israel or even Canada, force its people to serve it?


A most important contribution

We appreciate the well-deserved recognition you gave the late Donald Forster in your Passages section (Aug. 22). It seems strange, however, that while listing his contributions and varied activities you omitted the most important. Prof. Forster was the devoted and effective president of the University of Guelph from 1975 until his untimely death on Aug. 8

—D.L. WATERSTON, Director of Information, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont.

Multinationals choose evil

Any civilized country that permits its businessmen to go into a backward African nation and, with slick, false advertising, persuade trusting, unsophisticated natives to plaster their bodies with “skin-lighteners containing potentially dangerous concentrations of mercury” should either close its churches and stop referring to itself as a Christian nation or enact legislation making such cruelty a criminal offence ( When black is no longer beautiful, Consumerism, July 25). Multinational corporations have tremendous potential for spreading either good or evil throughout the world. They must not be allowed to choose evil. —MARY RIOPEL, Rosemere, Que.

The wrong impression

Your article Alberta ventures beyond oil (Business, Aug. 8) is well done, informative and accurate in its descriptions of the aims and objectives of my company, with one exception. At one point the article states that “recently organized firms are excluded” from Vencap’s terms of reference. This is not the case. I may, however, have left that impression with your reporter when I indicated that until Vencap is fully staffed and organized it will be more difficult to service the venture capital needs of the recently organized firms than those more mature firms which already have track records. —DEREK H. MATHER,

President, Vencap Equities Alberta Ltd., Edmonton

Environmental publicity stunts

In reference to your Aug. 1 Environment article, Greenpeace in Siberia, you refer to our organization as “the British-based Sea Shepherd Conservationist Society.” The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a Canadian-based, Canadian-founded society which has offices in Britain, Europe, the United States and Australia. In August, 1981,1 landed with my crew on Soviet Siberian territory and documented the illegal

whaling activities at Lorino. I presented that evidence to the International Whaling Commission. While we did get a lot of coverage in the United States and Europe, our disruption of the 1983 seal hunt also was virtually ignored in Canada. You did, however, give Greenpeace two pages of coverage for the same campaign in Siberia. The reason was that they were arrested by the Soviets. You accuse Greenpeace of staging a publicity stunt, but it is obvious that that is all some of the media are interested in covering. It is too bad that it takes being arrested to capture your attention. —CAPT. PAUL WATSON,

Sea Shepherd, Vancouver

A long muddling through

I would like to comment on Peter C. Newman’s Aug. 15 Business Watch column, A Scarlet Pimpernel for Brazil. Bankers should realize, and the sooner the better, that the debt problem is no longer a question of being paid back: it is fast becoming a political problem as well. There is a widespread opinion that the debtor countries are completely at fault: corruption, bad management and laziness are common epithets. Has anyone ever bothered to read some history about when creditor nations had to resort to gunboat diplomacy to get their

monies back? The creditor nations are equally to blame: they lent money right and left with visions of enormous profits. Bank of Montreal Chairman William D. Mulholland says that “we will muddle through.” It will be a long and agonizing muddling through for which many should be prepared.


The dangers of invisible lint

Before there was Prof. Timothy Perper, there was Plutarch (The subtle art of flirting, Behavior, Aug. 22). Although Plutarch was born too late to observe the incident firsthand, he records in detached detail a report on two highborn Romans as they flirted at a gladiatorial spectacle in Rome circa 79-78 BC. Plutarch writes: “As she [Valeria] passed behind Sulla, she leaned on him with her hand and picked off a bit of lint from his cloak. Then she went to her own seat. Sulla looked at her in surprise. ‘It is nothing, Dictator,’ she said, ‘but I merely wished to share a little in your good fortune.’ Sulla was not displeased when he heard this, for he was clearly aroused. He sent to find out her name, her family and her background. After that, they exchanged gazes, kept on turning their heads to look at each other, interchanged smiles, and finally

there was a formal proposal of marriage.” Perper says: “As the turning process is under way, one of them, usually the woman, will make the first touch. Often she will remove an invisible piece of lint from his jacket....”


Paid to do a job

It was distressing to read in Maclean's of The high costs of leaving fields fallow (Business, Aug. 22). It is shocking and disgraceful that in a country with 30 million people living below the poverty line, U.S. farmers are being paid not to produce food. There is obviously something basically wrong with our social and economic systems that people are allowed to go hungry while at the same time it is ensured that fields stay empty. —DAVID FINNIS,


Fifth-place finish: no disgrace

The Aug. 22 issue of Maclean's contained a Sports piece on Canada’s effort at the first world track-and-field championships (A promising run-up to Los Angeles). The author chose, unfortunately I think, to bemoan the fact that Canada was “afflicted by a wave of fifth-place finishes.” Fifth place, ad-

mittedly, does not allow one to mount the all-important medals podium. However, in the most exalted group of trackand-field athletes ever assembled, fifth place is estimable. Marita Payne’s performance in the 400 m was justifiably lauded in the article. Her times and placings would look even greater if the travesty of the “mannish” Czechs was fully exposed. The integrity of all such athletic competitions will remain dubious until drug testing becomes more sophisticated and is applied to all athletes. —PETER ANZENGRUBER,


Society has a choice

Your cover story on abortion (The agony over abortion, July 25) was interesting in that it appeared to champion and be sympathetic to women’s rights. However, there was no mention anywhere of men’s rights. Do we really want a society in which a woman and her doctor determine whether or not the human formed by a woman and a man is born? —LINDA S. BRITTON,


After all the noise, accusations and claptrap about the pros and cons of abortion have been peeled away, we are still faced with the basic, all-encompassing reason: unwanted pregnancy.

Morgentaler himself has admitted he wishes there were no abortions to be performed. Until sex education is widespread enough to stop unwanted pregnancy, there will be abortions—in hospitals, clinics or in back rooms. That, too, is society’s choice.


One success story overlooked

It was disappointing not to read in your article on beer about the most successful case of marketing of any Canadian beer (Beer: an industry comes alive, Cover, Aug. 15). Kokanee, a beer brewed by the Columbia Brewing Co., has, in less than a year, grown from a small regional beer in the Interior of British Columbia to a mainstream brand commanding more than a 10point market share. Notice should of course be given to Miller, but is a story about a Canadian beer becoming successful not worth some mention?

—JOHN SINCLAIR, West-Can Communications Ltd., Vancouver

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.