War on drugs

October 13 1986

War on drugs

October 13 1986

War on drugs


We were rather disappointed that your story devoted to drug use in Canada (“The new drug crusade,” Cover, Sept. 29) failed to tell us anything we did not already know. We know about how much money is involved. We know about how ingenious smugglers can be and how difficult is the task of law enforcement officials. In fact, we are close to overdosing on all this information. It is sad that Maclean’s seems to have jumped on the same publicity bandwagon that politicians across North America have been riding all summer. This glut of information provided Maclean’s with a unique opportunity to answer other questions. Why do people take drugs? If $10 billion is spent on drugs every year, why aren’t there thousands of addicts lying dead in the gutters from sea to sea? We will never know if we rely on Maclean’s to provide the answers. Instead of spouting popular clichés, Maclean’s would have done its readers a much greater service had it risen above the hype and tried to do more than sell magazines with sensational covers and shallow journalism.



Airing unpopular truths

Barbara Amiel is a rare individual who has the intelligence and foresight to see—and the courage to write—unpopular truths. Her column about Nikolai Tolstoy’s book The Minister and the Massacres (“Blood on British hands,” Sept. 15) is one of the most open-minded references to events during the Second

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World War that I have read in the mass media. Those of us of East European background have been aware of these grim facts, from our own publications and from books such as Tolstoy’s, for many years. But “the world that was up in arms over the possibility that Kurt Waldheim might have known of crimes against Jews” does not care to give equal publicity to either The Victims of Yalta or The Minister and the Massacres. I hope Amiel’s forthright article will reach a wider audience than that which will ever read these books. In the 1930s George Orwell was another widely criticized reporter and columnist. His name has endured: so will Barbara Amiel’s.

-INGA R. PATTERSON, Kitchener, Ont.

I knew about it and had read about it, with outrage and anger. Amiel’s incisive comments helped me toward a new focus on this bitter chapter of government policies. Thank you for printing the column and, even more, for Barbara Amiel’s courageous writing.

-LOUISE HARWOOD, Fredericton

The need for protection

The gentleman who wrote “There is no sense in killing those who kill to show that killing is wrong” (Letters, Sept. 22) misses the point. Capital punishment is for protection against repeat performances, not revenge, deterrence or lessons in morality. There is a kind of criminal that is compelled to commit grotesquely inhuman acts unto the grave. These human impostors should be eliminated because our justice and prison systems cannot or will not keep them out of our society. For its own protection, society must identify its cancers and eliminate them.


Good-natured banter

A Dutch Canadian myself, I was not offended in any way by Allan Fotheringham’s reference to British Columbia’s new premier as Willie Wooden Shoes (“Fundamentally Lotus Land,” Aug. 11), and I rather doubt that any Dutch Canadians were. Fotheringham’s response to Margaret Laurence’s charge of racism is altogether correct (“The Slam can handle it, easy,” Sept. 8), and for Laurence or anyone else to mistake a bit of good-natured banter for racism could make this country an unpleasant and even dangerous place to live.


Coldbrook, N.S.

Is it true? All I have to do is write a letter to the editor saying I do not like what Allan Fotheringham has said in his column and then he writes back to me publicly, just as he did in his open letter to Margaret Laurence? Please say yes, Mr. Fotheringham. You can even call me Nancy in the last paragraph, as if you really know me too.

-NANCY MILNE, Victoria

A wider set of interests

Peter C. Newman’s column on business schools (“New masters of the bottom line,” Business Watch, Sept. 15) was particularly timely given the continuing high demand for places in these programs. We—business schools in general and Queen’s in particular—have been blessed with a particularly well-qualified group of applicants over the past decade. Undoubtedly they in turn have benefited in the job market because of their business degrees. However, despite the apparent competitive climate of such programs, it is not only selfinterest that motivates this group. Our demanding programs quickly force students to learn to work together effectively. And in an era of continuing reduced funding, our graduates have proved to be a major resource for the university. I would be disappointed if your readers gained the impression that the business schools of this country or their graduates are concerned with just the bottom line. -JOHN R.M. GORDON, Dean, School of Business,

Queen's University, Kingston, Ont,

Accent on diversity

Your special report on Quebec filmmaking (“Movie masterpieces,” Sept. 15) states that French audiences find Quebec accents amusing. While this could be due to lack of exposure, it is more likely an ignorant response by snobs of the Academie Française. France itself is blessed with a variety of accents from the Mediterranean to the

coasts of Brittany and Normandy, and the attempt of the Academie to impose a Parisian accent on the French population appears to motivate this complaint against Quebec speech. A Quebec underworld figure delivering lines in Parisian tones would be a true source of amusement. —JOHN K. FURLONG,


Architect of a victory

Your review of Pierre Berton’s Vimy (“Vimy’s bloody victory,” Books, Sept. 15), while giving full credit to Sir Arthur Currie, failed to mention Sir Julian

Byng. In the 10 months after May, 1916, when he was appointed to command the Canadian Corps, this British general shook up General Headquarters by promoting Canadians to take the places of many British officers, put an end to rivalries between divisional commanders, and endeared himself to the rank and file by his frequent inspections of the front line and his care for their comforts. He ordered intensive training and improved discipline, devised new methods of infantry advances, and personally selected Col. A.G. McNaughton to organize the counterbattery fire that

smothered the German artillery. It is no denigration of the skill of Currie, McNaughton and other Canadian officers to say that Byng was the true architect of the battle of Vimy Ridge.


Make-work project

Although there has been a lot of dissatisfaction over putting Dalton Camp on the government payroll in an obviously partisan role (“Return of a backroom boy,” Cover/Canada, Sept. 8), many in New Brunswick are very pleased. Mul-

roney has finally lowered the unemployment rate here. —ROBERT LAFRANCE, Kincardine, N.B.

Regarding tactician Dalton Camp being hired to improve the image of the PCs as a caring party, shouldn’t more energy be spent on demonstrating that the PCs are indeed caring about the concerns of Canadians? -FRANÇOISE G. MURRAY, East Lansing, Mich.

Trudeau’s third coming

It is becoming frighteningly apparent that Pierre Trudeau has as much stam-

ina and is as indestructible as czarist Russia’s mad monk, Rasputin (“Egos in the highest places,” Fotheringham Column, Sept. 15). Trudeau seems to hold transfixed and spellbound a certain befuddled, weak-kneed and worshipful segment of the Liberal party. Can Canadians not be spared a Third Coming? -ALAN HUML,


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. M5W 1A7.