A place in the sun

November 26 1984

A place in the sun

November 26 1984

A place in the sun


Peter Worthington in no way deserved the shabby treatment he received from those who displayed, in my opinion, a streak of petulance in giving him the pink slip (“Rumors of respectability,” Press, Oct. 22). As a cofounder of that most successful newspaper he warranted much more consideration than that. I shall always feel proud to have campaigned for this unique individual in both the 1982 and 1984 BroadviewGreenwood elections. He is a man of honor who is completely honest and sincere in his dealings with people—one who would never compromise the truth for a place in the sun. His integrity makes him a man among men, a natural leader. -WALTER ANTHONY BLUNT,


Learning some lessons

With regard to Peter C. Newman’s column (“A recipe for national success,” Business Watch, Oct. 29): many would question Andrew Sarlos’s attribution of Ronald Reagan’s “main economic successes” to deregulation and would perhaps find that firing the U.S. air controllers had at least as much effect on business confidence. However, even a casual observer, particularly one from the west coast of the United States, must see that the real “engine” of the buoyant U.S. economy is the enormous arms buildup.

— A.C. MACKAY, Vancouver

Tin penny pinchers

Regarding “Alcan’s quest to be Mr. Big” (Business/Economy Nov. 5): I would like to applaud the old-fashioned, sensible move made by Alcan Aluminum’s president, David Culver—that is, of keeping costs down while money is scarce. Culver has done the right thing, to the obvious benefit of Alcan Aluminum Ltd. its employees and, ultimately, the whole of Canada.

— AUDREY FRANKLIN, Markham, Ont.

Stirring the Irish stew

It comes as a surprise when Kevin Doyle in his Oct. 22 editorial, “Disarming the IRA,” writes, “The IRA also appeals in a profoundly affecting way to the deeply held—but muted—emotions of the vast majority of Irish Catholics.” Surely he means to say Irish Republicans, or as they were once known in Canada, Fenians, for religion can have little to do with IRA atrocities.

— A.G. COLLINS, Willowdale, Ont.

Ireland’s main problem is not the IRA, the Orangemen or the Roman Catholics; it is the British prime minister herself. She thinks that the people of Northern Ireland are proud to be British. Not so. They cling to the British welfare state, which provides free health benefits and unemployment money, which, unlike our own Ul, goes on ad infinitum, another reason why Britain is speeding down the road to financial ruin. Only Margaret Thatcher can end the troubles in Northern Ireland; unfortunately, she is so obsessed with her Iron Lady image that she is unable to be other than stupidly obdurate.

—J. FARRELL, Victoria

Davis’s legacy

In “The changing of the guard” (Canada, Oct. 22) you state that the educational system and Ontario Hydro’s $19-billion debt are lingering problems on the debit side of William Davis’s career. You also allege that Ontario Hydro’s debt was incurred developing the “problemplagued” nuclear power stations. This is misleading, because for that debt Ontario has acquired a world-renowned public utility (whose replacement costs are probably double the debt). The utility produces competitively priced electricity which has attracted sufficient industry for Ontario to be classified as Canada’s industrial heartland. And this industry is manned by graduates from the so-called “lacklustre” educational system. As for the “problem-plagued” nuclear power stations, a performance record of the world’s 317 nuclear power reactors placed four of Ontario Hydro’s reactors in the top 10 of the world last year. Some problem, some plague.


West Hill, Ont.

With the resignation of Bill Davis as premier of Ontario, the rest of Canada can draw a collective sigh of relief. As a former resident of Ontario, I became aware of two things: Davis has no time for the concerns of his constituents and he is totally incapable of seeing anything as far north as the 55th parallel. We are truly fortunate that this man decided against seeking the leadership of the federal Conservative party. We can only hope that he will not resurface at the federal level. -RON BOWERS, Sundown, Man.

Plain speaking

Our newly appointed Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bosley, should practice his English as well as his French (“A youthful new speaker for the House,” Canada, Oct. 22). “Enervated” does not convey his anticipatory nervous excitement—it might better describe his condition after his first session in the Speaker’s chair.

— FAYE RETOLA, New Westminster, B.C.

A cold comfort

You seem to attribute the faltering drive of the diesel engine simply to the cost of gasoline (“Diesel’s faltering drive,” Follow-up, Oct. 15). There may be other reasons, but a major one is that the diesel “warm-up” period is longer, and Canadians—particularly western Canadians—want a car that will put out heat quickly on cold winter mornings. Sometimes our convenience is more important than better fuel mileage.


Brandon, Man.

The appeal of diversity

read the last page of Maclean's first every week. However, by suggesting that all Ontarians share ConservativeBay Street feelings of superiority, Allan Fotheringham strays from the witty road of satire onto the muddy one of stereotyping (“Triumphs in the realm of ennui,” Column, Oct. 29). We are not all fortunate as to have a job that takes across Canada. But many of us do travel as tourists across our land. We see the beauty of Canada’s diversity, without taking a smug stance like the

“West is best” one so often demonstrated by Potheringham. I wonder how shaky his hand is when he accepts the Toronto-based Front Page Challenge cheque—or, indeed, the one from Maclean ’s.

—DOUG NASON, Mac Tier, Ont.

Amiel vs. Badgley

Barbara Amiel’s writing in Maclean’s is the product of a perceptive mind and a finely tuned sense of justice—a rare combination. This was particularly so in “An offensive sexual report” (Column,

Oct. 29). To suggest that any act is or is not a crime solely on the criterion of chronological time is absurd in the extreme. Chronological age means very little. Some people are highly intelligent, sophisticated and mature at 16; some are naïve all their lives.


I find it very distasteful that Barbara Amiel would manipulate a sensitive subject to conform with her blatant hatred for the “feminist” movement. However, it doesn’t surprise me, after read-

ing previous columns regarding the same. To incorporate the report on sexual offences against children into her misconstrued “feminist plot” scheme of things reflects in her columns an abhorrent inability to write multidimensionally. I can appreciate her attempts to write a controversial column, but why not stick to the subject matter at hand? Amiel’s writing is so predictable.


In her continuing diatribe against godless feminists Barbara Amiel stops just short of condoning “an uncle occasionally fondling his niece” in the name of protecting the autonomy of the family. In her view, there’s a feminist under every bed ready to embarrass the uncles of the world for just doing what comes naturally. I am going to get a copy of Badgley’s report and take it with all seriousness, mainly because Amiel is against it. On those grounds, it must have some worth.


Keremeos, B.C.

Although the two-volume Badgley Report of the Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children is not to be sneezed at, it is also not to be swallowed whole and promptly digested and assimilated. Barbara Amiel’s vehement opposition to its methods and conclusions is of value in making one wary of doing so. As Amiel usefully expostulates, such reports are not to be taken seriously. I disagree with her that there is likely to be legislation against bare piano legs, but the report could conceivably lead to the banning of the fingering of phallic flutes. I am sure the committee is honest and its report a forerunner of important ones in the future. Behavioral science will mature. May Amiel continue to try to keep us sensible until it does.


New Liskeard, Ont.

Irresponsible journalism such as Barbara Amiel’s attack on the Badgley report is the exact type of thing that has helped to keep wife abuse in the closet for the past 20 years. There are definitely problems with the definition of sexual abuse and with some of the recommendations of the Badgley report. The fact that the government commissioned it at all is the main thing, and I, for one, would sooner have experts interpret it rather than sensationalists. Whether a nine-yearold is sexually abused by a playmate or a psychopathic maniac does not alter the fact that the victim’s entire sexual life can be altered by such abuse. Amiel’s total misunderstanding and derision of the report enrages me.

— DAVID PURVIS, Cobourg, Ont.

A short list of questions

“The last-minute rescue” (Publishing, Oct. 8) of McClelland and Stewart publishers leaves unanswered as well as even discussed the major issue at stake, the propriety of government-sponsored publishing. The article showed an amazing lack of analysis of this question or the rescue of M&S. What were the terms of the Ontario government loan? Did Jack McClelland simply promise never to ask again for provincial aid? The aid package totalling $2.5 million, combined with $1.1 million in private investment, still leaves M&S $1.4 million short of conquering its debt. How does the company plan to get on to a firm financial footing? What does Farley Mowat have for breakfast in the mornings?

— DAVID ARMINAS, Bristol, England

More on Grenada

Your follow-up on Grenada was timely and comprehensive (“Grenada’s time of trial,” Follow-up, Oct. 15). However, there were some inaccuracies. Many more people than just Maurice Bishop, three cabinet ministers and 19 others were murdered on Oct. 19 last year. It was more like 150, many of them schoolchildren. Bishop was killed at Fort George, which was then Grenadian army headquarters, and then known as

Fort Rupert. He was put under house arrest at the prime minister’s residence. What may have caused confusion is that the residence is now used as headquarters by the Caribbean forces. And the tourist business did not collapse after the intervention. It was virtually dead before. Since the intervention there has been a modest revival—cruise ships have come back, and there is a-steady flow of the curious, the story seekers, and the potential investors.



Erica Jong’s offense

I wish Maclean’s would not allow any more space for Erica Jong’s mediocre, indecent verbiage (“Sex after the revolution,” Q&A, Nov. 5). Jong is an offense to my sensitivity and a disgrace to my gender. She would be better off to confide the meanderings of her unhealthy psyche to the confidential couch of a psychiatrist. Mankind would be better off if the Erica Jongs of this world were ignored entirely.


The need for limits

When I try to visualize the world the June Callwoods and the Thelma McCormacks would wish upon us, I shudder (“Confronting pornography,” Media,

Oct. 29). It would be a world where censorship would be banned in all its applications, a world where there were no guidelines as to what the majority thought was decent, a world where the most base would become the standard. The most ironic thing is that these same “free-thinkers” would jump on the bandwagon going in the opposite direction: wanting stricter censorship.


Kings County, N.S.

Most feminists are supportive of artists’ objections to censorship of their work. We all stand to lose if no distinction is made between erotica and pornography. However, there is a massive industry operating on this continent which, with no real claim to artistic pretensions, has profited hugely from publishing and distributing images which do violence to women and, very often, children. It is the pornography industry, not artists, that feminists are after—surely that much must be clear. Censorship is a valid issue, but so is violence against women. I would like to see some solidarity replace the resistance so many artists—and men—seem to feel on this issue. —JANET BEEBE,

Camrose, Alta.

Did June Callwood really say that “men do not push around women who make as

much money as they do”? This will come as a shock to rape crisis centres and transition houses for battered women. Since when did a rapist pause to ask his victim how much she earned before deciding to rape her? And what about those husbands who beat up their doctor, lawyer or corporate executive wives who earn as much as, or even more than, they do? Assuming that Callwood is correct, all we have to do to stop wifebattering and rape in the world is to pay each woman a higher wage than each man. In other words, Callwood’s excuses for allowing wide-open pornography are just one more example of a civil libertarian grasping at any straw in order to support the peculiar thesis that license is the same as freedom.

— MAUREEN BECK, West Vancouver

The lessons of space

The Oct. 29 Space article, “Garneau’s new perspective on the world,” was great. Canada needs to know more about available space programs and their benefits to science, the country and Canadians, and to become involved in them. One of my biggest fears for the future is that space will become the private frontier for two superpowers. The world cannot afford that luxury. As a Canadian living in the United States, I

have watched the exhilaration for the space program suffer political ups and downs, but still the wonder and amazement is there when men and women explore the heavens. I hope that Canadians will become a part of space exploration and benefit from it.

— BYRON E. SWANSON, Indianapolis,Ind.

Keeping up the inflation

Regarding “The Prairies’ grim harvest” (Canada, Oct. 29): you refer to world wheat prices in the mid-1970s that gave to Canadian producers as much as $12 a bushel. I have farmed for the past 35 years, and the most I have received after freight and handling charges were deducted was around $5.50 a bushel. I wondered if you could tell Prairie producers where the other $6.50 went.


Editor's note: The peak price for wheat in 1971 was $6.07 per bushel. The $12 figure was an attempt to express that value roughly in terms of today’s deflated dollar.

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.