Ironic justice

May 28 1984

Ironic justice

May 28 1984

Ironic justice


How ironic that I received your April 30,1984, edition with the cover story on Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Dickson (The new face of the law) on the day that his court ruled against Newfoundland and Labrador in the matter of the Quebec-Newfoundland contract involving power from Churchill Falls. How ironic that the man you describe as “a defender of the people” heads a court that rules against a people who are already trying to survive on the lowest per capita income in Canada; a people who are already burdened with the highest personal taxes and retail sales tax in Canada; a people suffering in the grip of a 23-per-cent unemployment rate; a people who, more and more, see themselves as the doormats of Confederation. — R.B. KNIGHT,

Happy Valley, Labrador

Exiles in their own land ?

Your article on Nelson Mandela and other political detainees in South Africa (A champion behind bars, Follow-up, May 14) revealed a disturbing perspective on the part of Maclean’s. The rationale for enforced resettlement was glossed over as “an attempt to blunt revolutionary fervor.” The phrase overlooks the appalling infant mortality, crushing social dislocation and economic warfare waged by the white regime—sundering families and communities to ensure cheap, docile labor and to kill the spirit of dissenters. It also ignores the utter disenfranchisement of the majority through the black homelands policy. Forcibly removed

ATTACH OLD ADDRESS LABEL HERE AND MAIL IMMEDIATELY' I also subscribe to Chatelaine and/or FLARE and enclose old address labels from those magazines as well. me New Address __________________ Apt. City Prov. Postal code I I I I I I I Ocb(b OO3~ 1l~ 0 m `I'

from their homes and farms and thrown into overcrowded concentration camps on barren semidesert, blacks are stripped of their citizenship and made exiles in their own country.


The absorbing facts

In The hazards to nonsmokers (Science, May 7) you stated that “although the absorption of secondhand smoke is now documented in both nonsmoking children and adults, the long-term effects of secondhand smoke on health are not.” That statement is false, and you could have easily determined this. There have been numerous solid studies demonstrating the harmful effects of parental smoking on the lungs of their children and the aggravating effects of smoking on persons with such health conditions as asthma, angina and allergies. Nonsmokers exposed to tobacco smoke at work have detectable impairment of lung function equivalent to smoking as many as 10 cigarettes per day. Finally, three studies have shown that the risk of lung cancer is substantially increased (up to 3.4 times) among nonsmokers married to smokers.


Non-Communicable Disease Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Health and Welfare Canada, Ottawa

A question of values

Azim Kamran’s attempt to cast doubt on Israel’s democracy by portraying the events of 1948 and 1967 as a “loss of birthright”for Palestinian Arabs {A curious logic, Letters, May 14) is truly grotesque. What twisted values prompts someone to claim that annihilation of another people is a birthright?


An arm’s-length answer

Liberal leadership candidate John Roberts’s nonanswer to the question on cruise missile-testing clearly demonstrates that he is more concerned with the political ramifications of the issue than with the morality of Canada’s participation in the arms race (The expectations of John Roberts, Canada, May 7). Profiting by building and testing new weaponry for other countries hardly enhances Canada’s view of itself as a peacemaker. Roberts’s lack of leadership on a vital and controversial issue is appalling. —TED BENNETT,

Kitchener, Ont.

A most expensive sermon

After reading Politics and profits on the papal tour (Religion, April 16) I believe the time is appropriate for a taxpayers’ revolt against the federal and provincial governments’ priorities on how our tax dollars will be spent. I protest against any part of my income tax being spent on a tour by the Pope or any other religious leader. A telephone call to the local MP confirmed my suspicion that this topic was not brought up for discussion in the House of Commons. For a man who professes to be on the side of the poor and preaches against poverty, it is inconceivable that the Pope can endorse the cost of $20 million on such a tour. —ROBERTA MARTIN,

Trail, B.C.

Prolonging the agony

Regarding the article A rough ride for de Havilland (Business/Economy, April 23): trying to save de Havilland is like trying to bail water out of a sinking ship—you only prolong the agony of a disastrous situation. No matter how much money the government puts into de Havilland, the chance of the airplane manufacturer ever paying off its huge deficit is slim. The demand for the de Havilland aircraft is simply not there, or at least not at the price they want. I sympathize with the 2,900 workers whose jobs are on the line, but to keep pouring millions of dollars into the illfated industry is a waste of the taxpayers’ dollars. —CHRIS MUNKACSI,

Acton, Ont.

The refuge of scoundrels?

I applaud Dian Cohen’s April 23 column, Making the hardest choices. As a recently transplanted Albertan to British Columbia, perhaps my objectivity is still in place. British Columbia is a place in which the attitude of confrontation abounds. As a broadcast journalist I find that makes for exciting copy; but often there seems to be a deliberate at-

titude of confrontation. Additionally, one segment of the population, in this case the trade union movement, has been singled out for a backlash. Cohen is right. There are unanswered questions about the fiscal wisdom of the whole Expo 86 affair. Those questions should be answered, but the public relief at having the event reprieved seems to have slaked the public thirst for an immediate airing of the facts, positive or negative. But take courage. The public is able to cope with reality. Let the moneymen be held to account for their restraint or lack of it. Manipulation of

attitudes to cloud legitimate public scrutiny is, like patriotism, often the refuge of scoundrels. —JOHN McMAHON, Cranbrook, B.C.

Khadafy: a boy scout?

Compared to what has been going on in 26 U.S. client states in the past 30 years, Col. Moammar Khadafy comes through as something of a boy scout {The maestro of terrorism, World/Special Report, April 30). The highest figure the CIA can come up with when listing victims of international terror is under 4,000. In 1975 Henry Kissinger and James Schlesinger gave the tacit nod to Indonesia, a U.S. client state, to attack East Timor, when Portuguese colonial rule ended there. Since then, U.S.-supplied gun ships and other weaponry have massacred as many as 200,000 peasants for having had the effrontery to try and organize their own co-operatives. Gen. Augusto Pinochet had more than 4,000 Chileans murdered in the first few hours following the 1973 coup so well masterminded by the CIA. That was just for starters; the overall estimate has passed the 20,000 mark.

—W. J. OXENDALE, Calgary

Israel’s right to exist

The opinions expressed by the alleged “Mamzer Ben-Zona” (Alternatives and solutions, Letters, April 30) make evident why a pseudonym was used: they reveal a sad ignorance of the social and political reality in Israel. Even “aggressionists” such as Menachem Begin offered a “peace alternative,” but until the Arab dictatorships and terrorists recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace within secure borders Israel will be forced to continue budgeting 33 per cent of spending to defence. If the democratic government of Israel could spend a more normal seven to 10 per cent on defence, there would be plenty of money available to alleviate social ills and economic disparities. Such problems are not policy of Labor or Likud—they are a sad reality of trying to survive in a region dominated by despots such as Moammar Khadafy.



Out of left field

Those of us who support the NDP are hoping that Maclean’s skill in prophecy corresponds to its accuracy when it comes to historical fact (The NDP’s fight for survival, Canada/Cover, April 23). The idea that the western progressive movement and party became Conservative will startle any student of the career of Mackenzie King, who swallowed the party and its leaders: both T.A. Crerar and Robert Forke became Grit ministers. The Tory domination of the Prairie political scene did not happen until 1958. - G. GERALD HARROP,

Hubbards, N.S.

For those of us in Saskatchewan, predicting the fall of the NDP is a little like predicting the end of hockey as a national sport. The socialist and social democratic alternative party has served Canadians for more than 50 years with distinguished service—elected or not. That is why we have in place some of the most compassionate legislation, national systems of medicare and pensions, as well as protective labor standards. What is true now is that Canadians want to replace the Liberals, and we do not really care how. Have patience, and you will see. Then you can write about the rebirth of the NDP.


It is little wonder there are not solutions in sight for the demise of democratic socialism. That actually started when Pierre Trudeau’s brand of socialism came to power and will undoubtedly continue when almost half of the gross national product is produced by government spending. Both of the purveyors of those ruinous political philosophies should listen to NDP researcher James Laxer as well as taking a long, hard look at British Columbia’s attempt at solution by Premier William Bennett. Resurrect the work ethic!

—DAVID LATIMER, St. Catharines, Ont.

The NDP’s fight for survival is deserved. The NDP and its Liberal foil conspired to defeat the Joe Clark government and led us head on into the worst recession in 50 years. The mentality of the Liberal-NDP clique has been destructive and costly. The philosophy of those two parties is that government can solve all problems and cure all ills. In the process the practitioners have made mincemeat of our country. —KEITH L. MELOFF,


On being ‘United Statesian’

Regarding Getting it straight (Letters, April 30) about why people in the United States call themselves American: as a Canadian I sometimes view myself as a North American, just as a German sometimes sees himself as a European or a Brazilian as a South American. There is a two-level system here in which a citizen of the United States could also be called a North American. But how do we label the lower level? A United Statesian? Ridiculous! Why not tag the typical ending on a shorter version of the full country name? From the United States of America we get American. Pretty simple, no reason for a fuss, and certainly no reason for us to think that somehow we have lost something. Aren’t we bigger than that?

— IAN MORRISON, Pittsburgh, Pa.

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.