Walking on waves

October 19 1987

Walking on waves

October 19 1987

Walking on waves


The big Liberal victory in Ontario may turn out to be David Peterson’s worst nightmare (“The big red wave,” Cover, Sept. 21). With that many seats, people are going to expect him to walk on water. The economic expansion is going into its sixth year, and auto sales are already slowing. If Peterson thinks he can keep the Auto Pact as is while the United States has a multibillion-dollar auto trade deficit, he is really a babe in the woods. The good times in Ontario are financed by the rest of Canada, which is forced to buy overpriced eastern manufactured goods and to sell cheap natural resources to the East. Peterson is getting a lot of credit for the good times, but that is going to end in a year or less. -DONALD K. CHU,


Bridging an impossible gap

Barbara Amiel’s column “High drama in the world of film” (Sept. 14) was a biased and largely inaccurate account of Telefilm Canada’s attempt to deny funding to the producers of the TV series Mount Royal. It was also an unjustified attack on the employees of Telefilm Canada, including its executive director, Peter Pearson. While the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) does not agree with every decision made by Telefilm, by and large Telefilm’s operations are professionally administered and its decisions fair. It is simply not true that the agency is staffed by semifrustrated artists who want to play producer and interfere, as Amiel alleges. Peter Pearson has an

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honorable record in our industry as an artist and should be commended for now choosing to serve the industry at Telefilm. -GARRY NEIL,

General Secretary, ACTRA,


Peter Pearson is no grey-suit sillyservant. He isa dynamic and successful program-maker, someone who bridges that impossible gap between cold Treasury Board formalities and a sensitive, occasionally temperamental, artistic community. All things considered, he is doing a tough job very well. This is not to say that interested parties should back off disagreeing with him. In fact, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters has quite a running dialogue with Pearson. But certainly he is capable and motivated by excellent intentions. Amiel’s flight into personal attack is unwarranted. —BILL ROBERTS,

Senior Vice-President (Television) Canadian Association of Broadcasters,


Footnotes to history

I am pleased and flattered to be mentioned again in Allan Fotheringham’s column (“Peccadillos and presidents,” Sept. 28) as the neglected author of Pierre Trudeau’s most memorable phrase (“The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation”). For the record, however, Fotheringham errs when he says, “Nowhere in the Trudeau encomiums is there an asterisk ... to O’Malley.” An asterisk indeed appears in Colombo's Concise Canadian Quotations, giving me full credit for my afternoon epiphany while writing editorials for The Globe and Mail way back in December, 1967. Richard Gwyn also asterisked me for the same reason in his The Northern Magus. The quotation has followed me like a puppy. I fear it will be on my headstone. —MARTIN O’MALLEY,

Aurora, Ont.

It is only a winning game

Why on earth did Canada’s national newsmagazine choose to put a picture of a Soviet hockey player scoring on Canadian goaltender Grant Fuhr (“Two finalists worthy of the Cup,” Sports, Sept. 21)? This is a ridiculous choice when you consider the national pride that went into the series as well as the phenomenal talent of the players on the team— Fuhr being perhaps the main reason Canada remained competitive and eventually won the tournament. There were so many outstanding plays by Canada’s Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Surely you could have chosen a picture to reflect their talent, even if your picture had shown Fuhr making a save. But no, let’s not be too proud of ourselves. We’re only Canadians.


Bramalea, Ont.

After all the comebacks Canada made in the Canada Cup, what do we see but a picture of a Russian scoring a goal. What happened to the winning goal by Gretzky and Lemieux in the last game?

-JAMES. W. HARRIS, Doaktown, N.B.

Culturally extroverted dialogue

Let us hope that dialogue will continue between the Hasidim and the franco-

phone residents of Outremont, Que. (“A collision of cultures,” Dateline: Outremont, Sept. 14). We must all learn to live with each other, to accept our differences, to tolerate occasional disturbances caused by festivities. Let us not become an introverted society that feels threatened by anything different. All cultures are rich and interesting.


Locating the first time

In “It was the best of times” (Sports, Sept. 14), on Ben Johnson’s worldrecord-breaking 100-m run, you said that the first sub-four-minute mile by Roger Bannister was run in Vancouver. I cannot let his (and my) great university be cheated of the honor. That first mile was run on the Iffley Road grounds at Oxford with Bannister’s close friends Christopher Chataway and Chris Brasher acting as pacemakers. The Vancouver run was the second.


Never a discouraging word

Often, people write only to complain about inaccurate reporting. I am writing to express appreciation for a balanced and interesting article about our industry (“An old home on the range,”

Dateline: Abbey, Sask., Aug. 17). You captured very nicely some of the traditions of the cattle industry with some of today’s realities. -CHARLES A.GRACEY, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Cattlemen ’s Association,


Directions to the fast lane

I thought it was appropriate that Charles Gordon’s column “Going nowhere in the fast lane” (Sept. 7) should appear in the same issue as the article on the new fears of today’s children and youth (“Growing pains,” Cover). On every front, kids are encouraged to mimic their yuppie parents in the race for the top. They have become as status-conscious as their parents, wanting $30 hairstyles and $50 jeans. When I hear about life in the fast lane, I am reminded of a classic line by the character Norm Peterson on Cheers. When asked, “How’s life in the fast lane, Norm?” he replies, “I don’t know, I can’t find the on-ramp.” -BEVERLY CHÉNÉ,


The power of the imagination

If ever I was lulled into underestimating the pervasiveness of violence in our society, you snapped me out of it with “Domestic drama that hits home” (Theatre, Aug. 17). I must truly be part of the “old-

fashioned . .. kitchen-sink realism that is Blyth [Ont.j’s mainstay,” because I find that my imagination is more than capable of creating whatever violence is called for by any Blyth Theatre script without having my nose rubbed in “the more unsettling realities of life,” as you so quaintly put it. Commenting on Bush Fires, your critic noted that “disappointingly, the play’s most interesting events—including an impoverished squatter’s murder of his wife and children—take place offstage.” If the play Bush Fires demonstrates “squeamishness about violence,” I guess you’ll just have to count me in as one of those who was squeamish, and I hope I stay that way. I’m profoundly grateful for the excellent drama presented this year at the Blyth Festival; it challenges my mind and pleases my senses. Let’s hope it stays that way too. —SHEILA CLARKE, Lucknow, Ont.

Saving baby and bath water

I am writing in response to your article about the Workers’ Compensation Board (“A system under scrutiny,” Law, Sept. 21). Criticism of the board and the inadequate handling of WCB claims has spawned workers’ rights groups in some provinces. As the article implies, the courts may well strike down provisions in WCB legislation that deprive workers

of the right of access to the ordinary courts to seek compensation in excess of WCB levels. However, the prospect of replacing these boards with employerfunded private insurance may prove an inappropriate and inadequate alternative. Those concerned with this issue, including the courts, should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water. The answer does not lie in the destruction of the WCB system but—as suggested by Lorraine Smith in the article—in an improvement of the system.


In the contested line of duty

It is strange that Const. David Packer is being condemned for “not following orders” by refusing to guard Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s abortion clinic, yet we have no trouble condemning Nazi butchers for “following orders” during the Holocaust (“Conscience over duty,” Canada, Sept. 21). Surely we must commend people like Packer who take courageous stands in the face of misplaced condemnation. —ROBERT McCARRON,

Sydney, N.S.

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.