Olympic survival

June 11 1984

Olympic survival

June 11 1984

Olympic survival


Your article The Tarnished Olympics (Cover, May 21) rightly comes to the inescapable conclusion that for the Games to continue, they must be held at a permanent and neutral site. Amid all the rhetoric following the Soviet announcement of nonparticipation in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, from suggestions to ban the boycotters to ending the Games, there has emerged only one voice of reason—the recommendation reiterated by President Constantine Karamanlis of Greece, calling for the establishment of the Olympic Games on an international site in Greece. As economics and politics dominate the modern Olympics, the Games have been subjected more and more to circumstances that threaten both the Olympic ideal and the Games themselves. Those outside pressures will not allow these Games to last out the 20th century unless the basic reform of establishing them at a permanent international site is immediately undertaken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). That site should be in Greece, the country of origin of the Games. Such a permanent site would take the Games out of national controversy and could be a viable business operation, open yearround for world games of other classes, such as the World Student Games. It could function between Olympiads as the world centre for sports medicine and training of world specialists in sports administration, coaching and therapy. The IOC must be urged to take this step, not only to preserve the Olympic ideals of international friendship, understanding and goodwill but, in-

deed, for the very survival of the modern Games beyond their 100th anniversary in 1996. —FRANK J. FAUBERT,

President, Canadian Committee to Return Olympic Games to Greece Inc.,


The 1956 Games were affected not by one boycott but by two. The Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip resulted in the withdrawal of Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq. Avery Brundage, then IOC president, seeing what happened, stated what is the true meaning of the Games: “The Olympics are competitions between individuals and not nations.” This is what the politicians failed to understand. If the events of 1984 result in the ultimate death of the Games, this would not result in the death of international sports. World championship events would still be held, but will never capture the world’s imagination and gain the prestige that is the modern Olympic movement.


It is sad to think that world leaders of any country would use the Olympic Games for their own political purposes. It is for this reason that I cannot agree with the editor’s opinion that the format of the Games needs changing (From the Editor's Desk, May 21), but perhaps the thinking of our world leaders does. —L.J. ROELENS,

Brownsville, Ont.

I was annoyed at your coverage of the Olympic boycott. We blame the Soviets for bringing politics into the Games. But perhaps we should consider our boycott of the Moscow Olympics and be less self-righteous. —K.M.P. NUNAN,

Lanigan, Sask.

Thoughts on Canadian identity

I applaud Barbara Amiel’s May 14 column, Canada and the issue of racism, and agree that the government should be promoting the idea of a Canadian identity. Since the government’s bilingualism and multiculturalism policies have not been the unifying force we were promised, I think one of the first steps should be for people in the media to stop using the odious labels of anglophone and francophone and not make references to hyphenated Canadians.

— IAN CROCK ATT, Toronto

Barbara Amiel provides no evidence for the theory that gradual immigration minimizes intercultural tensions by facilitating assimilation. In fact, her very first example of Haitian cabbies is a blatant illustration of hatred based on color, clearly unamenable to modification by assimilation. Amiel’s suggestions, if applied in the 1930s, would have resulted in only a trickle of Jews being allowed into Canada in the hope that they would slowly mingle and lose undesirable idiosyncratic traits— strangely reminiscent of Frederick Blair’s admonition for Jews to “divest themselves of certain habits.”


Whenever a discussion on the use of languages in Canada is opened we are referred to other countries and other continents (A provincial affair, Letters, May 7). Canada is not Europe, and the development of Canada does not parallel the development of Switzerland. Except for full-blooded indigenous people, we are all immigrants here or descendants of immigrants. The U.S. National Commission on Excellence in Education recently recommended that funding on the teaching of languages other than English be curtailed and that the funds be directed to teaching non-English-speaking students English. In this environment if you cannot use English, you are not educated. You cannot participate. —C.S. JOYNT,


No oil and gas for Cadillac

In Canada ’s ventures into U.S. markets (Follow-up, May 7) you said that “Vancouver’s Daon Development Corp. and Toronto’s Cadillac Fairview Corp. invested heavily in land and oil and gas properties in the United States.” For Cadillac Fairview we can state unequivocally that we are not and have never invested in oil and gas properties in the United States, and to our knowledge neither has Daon. Regarding the next item, which states that “Cadillac Fairview abandoned a $21-million down

payment on a Manhattan property, defaulting on its $84-million mortgage”: this, too, is wrong. The transaction with Citicorp in New York was a nonrecourse note. Nonrecourse financing is quite common in the United States, and companies enter into such agreements knowing, on both sides, that the purchaser can walk away at any time without penalty other than handing back the property or other assets that had been purchased via a nonrecourse mortgage or finance note. Under this type of financing there is no such thing as a default. What happened to Cadillac Fairview was that the asset, in this case the land, was taken back by the vendor, and, as you stated quite correctly, that down payment of $21 million was “left on the table.” —BERT PETLOCK,

Director of Public Relations, Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd., Toronto

□ Maclean’s regrets the error.

Placing the blame for chaos

It is good to know that the elected government has taken charge in British Columbia (Bennett gets tough—again, Canada, May 7). Many of us had wondered about that—about who was getting tough, that is. We saw those guys in Vancouver shoving the workers around, stopping their trucks and slashing their tires. We see those pulp union guys trying to stop the International Woodworkers of America people from going to work in the lumber mills. And I thought it was union bosses behind all this. How can I have been so stupid?

— IAN CASS, Victoria

The sagging safety net

You do not have to be a member of the business establishment to accept the views of the Business Council on National Issues ( The power of big business, Business Watch, May 14). All you need is a strong distaste for both government waste and the massive debt burden that it is building. The way to beat inflation, high interest rates and the unemployment that they bring is to attack the prime cause. Unless the deficit becomes our top priority, we will soon land in a safety net supported only by the floor.


Pleas to deaf ears

Your May 14 Canada article The challenge in the West says that Liberal leadership candidates “plan to embrace the disenchanted West.” Ironically, this is followed by an article about the CANDU reactor ( The high cost of CANDU, Business/Economy), in which an Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. spokesman is

quoted as saying that the Crown corporation is “scratching to dig up any kind of business.” Indeed, AECL and the Liberal government are literally “digging up” business in eastern Manitoba in the form of a major underground radioactive-waste test facility. This controversial multimillion-dollar, 1,000-foot-deep shaft, under construction only 130 km northeast of Winnipeg, is a testimonial to the insensitivity of government and its leaders. Citizens’ concerns, petitions and requests for public hearings have all fallen on deaf Liberal ears. If our political leaders really wanted to change, their first priority would be to directly involve people in decisions that affect their lives. —WALTER ROBBINS,


An equation for parole

Lydia Baran is in error (A criminal concern, Letters, April 16) in believing that “all federal prisoners not serving a life or indefinite sentence must be released after two-thirds of their sentence. There is no evaluation of good behavior____” A prisoner serving a fixed term

can earn remission from day to day under a complex evaluation procedure; that is credited to him at the end of each month. If he was sentenced before Oct. 16,1977, he may have to his credit statutory remission that he has not forfeited for misconduct. He can forfeit for misconduct remission earned after that day. The total of all remission cannot exceed one-third of his sentence. Many prisoners do not acquire as much as that. When he reaches a day in his sentence when the number of days of remission still to his credit equals the number of days remaining in his sentence, he is entitled to be released under mandatory supervision by a parole supervisor, on conditions prescribed by the National Parole Board, for the remainder of his sentence. The board may, and often does, revoke mandatory release and return the releasee to prison for all or part of the balance of his term. —H.R.S. RYAN,

Kingston, Ont.

Facing the facts

I was interested to read your article about myself in the May 7 People section. May I make it clear that at no time was it mentioned to your writer that Farrah Fawcett paid $400 per facial session. The comment was that Houston clients spend $200 to $400. At no time was Fawcett’s name mentioned in this context. — D A VID S. HE ASLIP,


Fonda and an American’s view

As a resident of both Calgary and Saskatoon for several years in the 1960s, I deplore the “American View” being foisted on my former neighbors by a

writer from the left-wing Newsday. It is not, as Fred Bruning suggests (Fonda and the unforgiving Right, An American View, May 7), the “hopeless avocadoes”of the American Right who established a nitwitted actress with a “great rear end” (Jane Fonda) as a daily oracle of U.S. foreign policy but a pack of scheming revelators from the Left like Newsday.Now that the middle-aged sex kitten/protester has discovered that there is far less gain to be made in disruption of commerce with her “free speech” than in books, designer clothes and exercise facilities, Bruning would

have us limit public commentary to her sweat-suit construction rather than her politics. Well, if the U.S. mainstream partially disrupts Fonda’s meaningless crevice of commerce while learning that it, too, has freedom of speech, it will have been almost worth the price.

—PAUL G. VAN WAGENEN, Spring, Texas

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.