There are many Canadians who would disagree with Barbara Amiel’s views as expressed in her Dec. 24 column, “The blooming of hypocrisy.” Many people in the real world, which she decries, do believe in equal pay for work of equal value, affirmative action and multiculturalism and do not consider it hypocritical to support those views. Amiel neither sees, wishes to see nor seeks to understand views other than her own.
—RUTH HENDERSON, Toronto
I can think of no more perfect example of Barbara Amiel’s theory—that Canadians are becoming overly fond of holding one set of values in private and a different set in public—than the case of Premier Richard Hatfield’s impending trial. Under National Notes in the same issue (“A new date for Hatfield”) we read about the judge in the case having to withdraw because he expressed a private opinion publicly. If the Canadian public were polled on the subject, the vast majority would agree with the judge’s opinion—that privileged people in Canadian society deserve stiffer sentences when they break the law “than Joe Blow from Kokomo who is the town drunk.” There remains some truth in the adage that with privilege goes responsibility. —CHARLES FRASER,
Kings County, N.S.
I must take issue with at least the first view that Barbara Amiel advances in her column. She refers to “individuals
being largely responsible for their own fortunes or misfortunes.” Taking this view a short step further produces the corollary that the underprivileged are mostly to blame for their own plight. Is this not the main reason that the underprivileged are victimized? Amiel’s argument depends on the obviously ridiculous assumption that we all start off in life with more or less the same resources and opportunities and that most discrepancies in our (or any other) society are caused by how we manage or mismanage our personal lives.
—ERIC ROJO, Vancouver
Barbara Amiel implies that Canadians are now afraid to voice publicly an opinion regarding sexual equality, racial equality and the problems of the Third World. Those of us who try to “fight back” merely by stating that equality is not necessarily synonymous with interchangeability find that our views are not tolerated in the “Letters to the Editor” columns of our daily papers. Newspaper editors are quick to condemn official censorship, yet they practise it on a routine basis. They call it editing, but where does editing end and censorship begin? What constitutes freedom of the press? A luxury to be enjoyed by editors? For they alone determine what shall appear in their journals.
A future in publishing
Charles Gordon states that no one has written Nineteen Eighty-Five (“The ins and outs of 1984,” Guest Column, Dec. 31). In fact, Anthony Burgess has written it.
—BRYAN TOPOROWSKI, Edmonton
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. Name New Address __________________ City Prov. Postal code I I I 1 I I I 1 (r~~ 0 Apt.
The secret Wilson folders
It is with great pleasure that I read on the last line of George Bain’s Dec. 17 column (“Secret papers and the right to know,” Media Watch) that he considered that the Winnipeg Free Press was wrong in allowing the contents of two private folders of Finance Minister Michael Wilson to be published without the owner’s consent. The decision gives great impact to the sincerity of Bain but also affords a pretty dismal and cheap impression of the managing editor of the Free Press. If the folders had contained nonprinted matter, the question of pilferage wouldn’t have arisen.
—J.A.C. BOWEN, Mississauga, Ont.
A cabinet minister leaves a manila file, and a secretary sends out the text of eight minutes of dictation. The fact that these are “confidential” never entered the minds of the reporter who spent minutes copying the briefing papers or the radio station personnel who broadcast the dictation. Is this where much of our news comes from? No wonder the government has slapped a “gag order” on the civil service. Freedom of the press is great, but does it really include breaching such confidentiality?
—LORNE L. SHEWFELT,
The atrocities of war
Thank you for your informative update on Afghanistan (“The slow death of Afghanistan,” World, Dec. 24). Although your reporting is generally sound, I found it regretful that you were so biassed against the Soviets. Although I do not condone their “invasion” of Afghanistan, it did seem to me that you were taking the natural acts of warfare committed by the Soviet military and showing them to be great acts of inhumanity, without even mentioning the acts of barbarism performed by the Afghan rebels. There simply is no such thing as a moral war. If you are going to report about the atrocities of war committed by one side, then it is only proper to report the other’s as well.
—DANIEL SILVER, Toronto
With all due respect to Henk De Zoete and Rev. Teddy Smits (“Morgentaler and abortion,” Letters, Dec. 10), I feel they are laboring under a misapprehension about the jury selection process: in order to serve on a jury the prospective panelist must first be screened by both the defence and the Crown attorney. If he or she is deemed unacceptable by either party, he or she cannot be chosen for that particular case. (All the “professional jury consultants” in the world
are useless when the Crown can reject the ones you choose.) Therefore, would it not be more logical to assume that since Morgentaler has been acquitted of the same charge on four separate occasions, the majority of people in Canada feel that particular law is not justice but harassment and discrimination instead? -CHERYL APPLEBAUM,
I wish Rev. Smits would ask for my opinion and permission before claiming to speak on my behalf. Not all Christians are opposed to abortion. It is unfortunate that abortions are required, but, especially in the case of young rape victims, the option of abortion must remain. -DAVID MONEY,
Many of those outraged by the acquittal of Dr. Henry Morgentaler seem to believe that the jury was “stacked.” They should realize that jurors were selected by mutual agreement of prosecution and defence to avoid bias on either side of the abortion issue. Their suggestion that the anti-choice view was not strongly enough represented on the jury is completely alien to the democratic concept of justice. Those who have strong prejudices on either side should certainly be excused from jury duty in abortion trials. —ANNE BAUMAN,
Moose Jaw, Sask.
When Nielsen smiled
Congratulations to photographers Andrew Vaughan and Chris Mikula for capturing on film a truly rare event for your Dec. 3 issue—two photographs of a smiling Erik Nielsen. -JOHN D. RANTA, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Money is all that counts
Reading about the staggering debts that some Liberal hopefuls accumulated last year, I am coming to the conclusion that the big parties are in power only by virtue of wasting incredible sums for publicity campaigns and gentle brainwashing (“Elton Johnston steals the show,” Canada, Dec. 3). No wonder that small parties such as the Green Party or independent candidates have no chance. This so-called democracy does not give equal chances to a simple citizen or a party that proposes sound policy. Money is all that counts. By voting for the Liberals and Conservatives you vote also for money and the upper-income classes because only they can afford this publicity circus. —ROLF BRAM ANN,
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.
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