July 7 1986


July 7 1986


Schools for talent

While I certainly appreciate the talent of all the artists included in your survey of Canadian comedy (“From gags to riches,” Cover, June 9), I find the attitude of Lorne Michaels and Ivan Reitman to be self-serving. They can now safely assert that the issue of staying in Canada is irrelevant (Michaels) or that Canadian nationalism is not to be taken seriously (Reitman). But the fact is that without Canadian nationalism there would be no CBC or National Film Board—institutions that helped Michaels and Reitman to develop their talents. It is precisely because of Canadian nationalism that they have enjoyed such success.

-RUSS HANSON, Winnipeg

The banks and the bailout

Peter C. Newman’s May 26 column (“The teller who rose to chairman,” Business Watch) refers to the participation of the Royal Bank of Canada in the efforts last year to save the Canadian Commercial Bank from collapse. The column describes me as being “particularly bitter about the $15.6 million the Royal put into the bailout package which Ottawa now refuses to repay, although he claims he got the promise to refund it in writing.” This is a misunderstanding of what I told Newman. If the CCB failed, according to the original $255-million support agreement, the banks would have equal standing with CCB’s depositors in their claim against the assets. That is what was in writing. When the CCB was eventually declared insolvent, the federal government legislated that all CCB’s deposi-

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tors would get 100 per cent of their money back from the government of Canada. At the time, Minister of State for Finance Barbara McDougall told me that the banks in the original support group would also get their money back, and authorized me to so inform the other bankers. I did not receive this undertaking in writing, and it was subsequently withdrawn. Thus, while the supportgroup banks rank equally with depositors in their claim against CCB’s assets, it seems that being equal with depositors is not the same as being a depositor when it comes to repayment from the government of Canada. -ALLAN TAYLOR,

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto

Denying militancy

The article “A troubled community” (Canada/Cover, June 23) portrays much false and misleading information. The International Sikh Youth Federation is not a militant group. It is a religious and political body responsible for countering the Indian government’s anti-Sikh propaganda campaign worldwide. The membership of the ISYF stands at 10,000, and not the 150-person figure quoted in the article. The Sikh temples have not been taken over by our organization. It is the will of the community which has selected our members to organize the temples. Finally, the police raid on my home was a baseless move. All guns taken from my home were legally registered hunting weapons which were returned with due respect. -MANMOHAN SINGH,


International Sikh Youth Federation,


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.

Living on tobacco

Your article “The new opposition to public smoking” (Behavior, June 9) left me saddened. The unfeeling statement of antismoking activist Judy Hancock (“When I hear that tobacco farmers are hurting, I don’t feel sorry for them.”) exemplifies the cold, clinical attitude displayed toward a group of hardworking, tax-paying people who have suddenly lost control of their lives. Why don’t you report on this side of the story? Your article allowed only one paragraph for farmer Hugh Zimmer’s thoughts. Where are the pictures and words describing the feelings of despair and anguish that are felt here in Delhi?


Delhi, Ont.

Preconceived notions

As I read “The hard times of the land” (Canada/Special Report, June 2), and in particular your report on Killarney, Man., I got the distinct feeling that the article was preconceived before any research was ever done. I was interviewed by your correspondent, and I felt during our conversation that I was not supplying the answers he wanted. In the article, all optimistic comments are conspicuously absent. Poor commodity prices will affect everyone in Western Canada, but to label Killarney a stagnant town is a good example of biased journalism.


Killarney, Man.

Wrestling with popularity

In reference to a few disgruntled readers (Letters, June 16) who were disappointed with “The Hard Sell” (Cover, May 19), let me tell you that, as a subscriber to Maclean ’s, I loved the feature on pro wrestling. Sure, it’s American, but at least I don’t have to buy a “wrestling mag” to hear about Hulk Hogan and his fellow heroes. Just about everyone I know is “mad about wrestling,” so keep up the good work.


Windsor, Ont.

Needing the facts on toxic waste

Thank you for your excellent coverage of what is surely, next to nuclear war, the greatest threat to man’s long-term survival-toxic waste (“In deadly places,” Special Report, May 26). I was shocked to read how Canada lags far behind other countries in terms of using available technology to confront the problem, and deeply disturbed to learn how the government suppressed information regarding the contamination of food when Environment Canada banned Doug Hallett from making that knowledge public.


Flin Flon, Man.