Regarding your Q&A with Timothy Leary (The case for intelligent drug use, March 5): one of the biggest problems today is the widespread use of harmful drugs, especially by young people. Those drugs are distributed by people solely to make money, without considering that they destroy people or at the very least reduce their capabilities. Maclean’s is widely read throughout Canada and hence has some influence on its readers. You had an opportunity to do something constructive but ended up doing something destructive. The article is presented in such a way as to lend credibility to this man and to the cause for which he unfortunately stands. The article was not about some minor issue but rather about something very dangerous to us all. You did not attack it; on the contrary you put Leary on a pedestal. — R.B. CAMERON JR.,
Protesting the seal hunt
In your story on the fish boycott instigated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to protest the seal hunt (The antiseal boycott spreads, Canada, March 19), you appear to endorse a recent claim made by federal Fisheries Minister Pierre De Bañé that “the protest is over a false issue.” The killing of “whitecoat” seal pups ended in 1982, according to De Bañé. But federal fisheries statistics reveal that of 55,914 harp seals killed in the 1983 hunt, 5,609 were whitecoats. The real issue, however, is whether the other sentient creatures we share this planet with have any in-
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herent right to lives of their own or whether they exist primarily to be exploited by man. —DUNCAN M. TAYLOR, University of Victoria Animal Rights Society, Victoria
A restoration of rights
Regarding Maurice Wright’s letter Manitoba’s divisions (March 19): as one born in that province I believe the granting of French language rights will in no way “determine how the rest of the population shall live,” nor will reasonable English language rights in Quebec have any such effect there. As to the Constitution, both provinces entered Confederation with bilingual status. Majority votes usually prevail in a democracy but must not go unchallenged when used to impose tyranny on a linguistic or cultural minority. The francoManitobans are not demanding that unwilling people learn French. They do rightly desire restoration of rights that were assured by the Manitoba Act of 1870 and abolished or severely restricted in 1890 in a process that was somewhat less than democratic.
—WILFRED L. HIGHFIELD, Peachland, B.C.
Jockey: not generic
Concerning your April 2 Fashion article, Skivvies for the ladies: Jockey is the registered trademark of Jockey International of Kenosha, Wis., and Harvey Woods Ltd. is the registered user of this trademark in Canada. The name Jockey is not to be used in a generic manner as it was in your article.
—HAROLD CUMMINGS, General Manager, Underwear Division, Harvey Woods Ltd., Toronto
A bitter irony
Your recent examination of Canadian involvement in Nicaragua ( The political missionary movement, Behavior, Feb. 27) quotes a source close to the department of external affairs as fearing “. . . the nightmare that one day we might wake up to see Canadians fighting our allies, the Americans, in a foreign country.” One wonders if Canadians can stomach being implicated (by association) with the shameless colonialist actions of the United States. Given the morally unjustifiable U.S. attacks on Nicaragua, the term “our allies” takes on a bitter irony that is much more easily overlooked than accepted.
—MICHAEL J. STRATHDEE, Stratford, Ont.
A smouldering issue
By publishing Fred Bruning’s column Drawing the ‘smoking’ battle lines (March 12) Maclean’s has chosen to relegate the issue of smoking and smoking in public places to a “humble issue,” in which nonsmokers are depicted as people “with a reputation for assaulting life as though it were a rival sumo wrestler.” I would like to offer two points. First, as the killer of more than 30,000 Canadians per year, smoking is the number 1 preventable cause of
death in the country. Second, the March, 1984, Addiction Research Foundation Journal states that “The balance of evidence points toward harm to healthy adults from prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke.” This important issue for all Canadians deserves greater media attention. —BEN W. KAAK,
Fred Bruning’s column was right to cite the lack of tobacco industry ethics. What Bruning did not mention is the reason nonsmokers are demanding the provision of smoke-free areas. The truth is those same toxic fumes that kill more than 30,000 Canadian smokers annually are often placed in the air others must breathe. Numerous studies now show that the presence of this “secondhand” smoke is causing many, often serious, diseases in nonsmokers.
—LINDA L. HUEHN, MD, Toronto
Spelling it out
I was surprised, then perplexed, by the statement in the article Canada after Trudeau (Cover, March 12) that Justice Minister Mark MacGuigan, “recently divorced, lives with a former aide in Ottawa’s trendy Glebe district.” Are you trying to say, through implication, that MacGuigan is living in “sin” with a
woman? The word “aide” is ambiguous: my Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary does not even define it, and my Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines it as aide-de-camp, so the person could be male or female. Please spell it out. —PETER McGUIGAN,
The excellent review of my novel Love Is a Long Shot (A comrade comes of age, Books, March 5) inadvertently creates a wrong impression concerning the authorship of two books—The Scalpel, The Sword, The Story of Dr. Norman Bethune and Lies My Father Told Me. I am not the sole author of the Bethune biography, but its coauthor. I am the sole author of the original screenplay of Lies My Father Told Me, but the novel based on this screenplay was written by Norman Allan. —TED ALLAN,
Restraint vs. robbery in B.C.
I wish the media would stop using the word “restraint” to describe the past two budgets of the Social Credit government in British Columbia (Budgeting for austerity, Canada, March 5). It is not “restraint” to pour millions of dollars in subsidies into the northeast coal project (which now looks like an expensive disaster), more millions into B.C. Rail and
still more millions into B.C. Place. It is not “restraint” to increase ministry travel budgets 2 Vá times over 1983 or to publish a propaganda sheet for an estimated $200,000 or to have a multimillion-dollar public relations department. Rather than “restraint,” the proper word is, at best, priorities and, at worst, robbery. The robbery occurs at the expense of schools, universities, the poor, the handicapped, volunteer organizations (which are supposed to pick up where government leaves off, but without any budget), the sick, women and minorities. —BARBARA HOURSTON, Nanaimo, B.C.
A grey day for native people
How unfortunate for Canada that March 9, 1984, turned out to be a black Friday for native aspirations at the conference of first ministers (A deadlock on native rights, Canada, March 19). What did come through clearly was how eloquent, articulate and with what sensitivity the first people expressed themselves compared to the intransigent premiers. The latter could well take some speaking lessons from the former to help make up for their obvious insensitivity. It will be a sad day for Canada if violence and tragedy eventually result from what could, and should, have been settled so easily and amicably.
—W.J. OXENDALE, Calgary
In defence of Koestier
Though the excesses of certain elements within the print media have never moved me to the point of letter-writing, a response to your shocking contextual misrepresentation of Arthur Koestier is in order (A portrait of devotion, Books, March 19). It is not my intention here to defend Koestier—he was entirely capable of that for himself when he was alive. But to use the confessions of a dead man, be they to his priest or in this case to his diary, solely to degrade him and savage his reputation in an effort to titilate your readership, casts further dishonor upon the already tarnished public image of the journalistic profession. —RONALD M. PASCOE,
The information gap
Regarding The politics of gender (Canada, Feb. 20): is there not a lot missing? The brief paragraph dismissing the New Democratic Party as flagging in its “efforts to win over women” is perfunctory to the point of positive error. No doubt other New Democrats would want to remind you about the strong commitment of the party to gender parity. Others would tell you just how long
the party has had a “women’s committee” (23 years); still others would tell you that its mandate has been updated and strengthened in recent years and that affirmative action legislated by the federal party for its executive and committees is working, with profound implications for the future. Provincial party activists would want to tell you about their leadership schools for women, their search for, and support of, potential candidates who are women, their own affirmative-action policies and their battles against regressive legislation put forward by governments formed by other parties. What concerns me the most, however, is the inference readers may draw that criticism, whether levelled at the leader or policy, is necessarily a bad thing. What good is a watchdog that does not bark?
—EILEEN O’CONNELL, Participation of Women Committee, New Democratic Party, Halifax
An economic turnaround ?
Regarding Turner’s losing venture (Business/Economy, March 19): if the “Member from Winston’s” cannot direct a small-business development company, Infinitum Growth Fund Inc., to profitability over three years, how could he be expected to put the national economy into a “Turner-round” situation ? — BRIAN THRIPPLETON,
A champion in her own right
In the March 12 Passages column, Gerry Sorensen’s retirement from World Cup skiing was tacked on as the last statement in the notice of Steve Podborski’s retirement. Since Sorensen is a world champion, why did she not receive the same treatment when she retired?
—DEIRDRE WALFORD, Montreal
You published a photograph with the wrong name attached to it on the Letters page of the March 19 issue. You attached the name Leopoldo Galtieri to a photograph of Argentine President Raúl Alfonsin. The mistake is even worse considering that you had recently published an extensive article about the new Argentina and the new democratically elected president.
—ORLANDO AUCIELLO, Downsview, Ont.
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