Your article on Michael J. Fox (“The star has risen,” Cover, Feb. 9) was super. A good story on him has been long overdue, but this one was worth waiting for. I was particularly pleased to read about Fox’s Canadian roots. I hope his image will help to inspire Canadian actors and actresses in the future.
-KEVIN BALDWIN, Victoria
Clarification on the Curtis case
Your Jan. 5 Passage on Bruce Curtis said that he was “convicted in 1982 of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in connection with the shooting of the mother and the stepfather of his classmate Scott Franz.” My son had nothing whatsoever to do with the death of Alfred Podgis, nor was he tried or convicted of it. —J.E. CURTIS,
Cross-purposes in Nicaragua
With regard to “The war for Nicaragua” (Cover, Feb. 23), does it make sense for Canada to be sending farmers to teach Nicaraguan peasants how to use tractors while the United States is pumping money to the contras, who could well use American weapons to blow up those tractors as well as the peasants using them? Should not Canada and the United States agree on whether the Sandinistas are Communists, instead of operating at cross-purposes? Either we are helping a Communist regime that the United States is trying to destroy, or the United States is trying to subvert our millions in government and private dollars that would help a desperately poor
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country. Strange that we have heard no protest from either Ottawa or Washington over this dichotomy. Are we wasting our aid just to prove that we can act independently of the White House?
U.S. assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams is quoted as saying, “We tend to think that we know more about Central America than you do” (“Canada’s helping hand,” Cover, Feb. 23). I would readily agree that the United States does indeed know a good deal more about the methods of exploitation and manipulation of small nations in Central America—a fact that is well illustrated by the present agony in that part of the Western Hemisphere.
Teaching music to the young
I neither doubt the Royal Conservatory of Music’s excellent teaching staff nor its ability to produce top-notch musicians (“A century of success,” Music, Feb. 16). However, I do have serious doubts about their stringent piano examination requirements. As Maclean's wrote, “thousands of students plod through their scales and theory lessons,” with the result that although they become technically proficient, their potential originality and creativity are stifled. I took seven Conservatory exams of my own free will and, while I was generally happy with the results, I do not believe that such an atmosphere is greatly beneficial to most young children. Perhaps the saddest result of the Conservatory’s rigid syllabus is that it does not encourage a liking of classical music in many students—something that seems to be sadly lacking in Canada’s youth today. —LARA GIBSON,
Wasting time in Parliament
“A political minefield” (Canada/Cover, Feb. 2) really put the André Bissonnette issue into perspective. I have not supported the Progressive Conservative party since I was old enough to vote, but I feel that Brian Mulroney has handled this affair very well. I find it hard to understand why Ed Broadbent and John Turner insist on making this a major issue in Parliament. The RCMP is more than capable of handling an investigation. It is a waste of time that could be spent on more important issues, such as unemployment, agriculture and others.
Moose Jaw, Sask.
Regarding “A hockey fight that cost a medal” (Sports, Jan. 19), I wonder if the Canadian team and coaching staff have considered the price of participating in an unwarranted free-for-all with the Soviet players? At no time have any of those previously honored with the opportunity to represent their country in world-class hockey events displayed anything less than exemplary behavior. None of those teams resorted to inventing lame excuses such as
They started it” to justify involvement in bench-clearing brawls. The entire fiasco undoubtedly has left a great many Canadians thoroughly embarrassed by the conduct of our j unior team. A formal apology to the International Ice Hockey Federation and to Canadians as a whole is in order. Whether such vindication ever materializes remains to be seen.
-JOANNA GRANT, Victoria
Heroes and villains
I second Allan Fotheringham’s nomination of Joe Rauh, the civil-rights lawyer fighting to get compensation for nine Canadians who were subjects in CIAsponsored brainwashing experiments at McGill University (“Nominating a hero for 1987,” Column, Jan. 19). It is a crime for the American government to prac-
tise such experiments. As well, it is a crime for our own government to play dumb through it all. -IAN C. WETMORE, Florenceville, N.B.
Standing up for Cleveland
In your review of Light of Day (“Rocking to redemption,” Cover, Feb. 9), you refer to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, as “an industrial wasteland ” and “a city almost synonymous with social decay.” Obviously you have not been to Cleveland recently. Mind you, it still has its bad areas—all cities do. But in my visits in the past two years, I have found a city very much alive.
—A.R. JAMIESON, Windsor, Ont.
It was with disbelief and disappointment that I read that there is to be a retrial for Ernst Zundel (Passages, Feb. 2). There is a point at which upholding the law only for the law’s sake becomes merely an academic exercise to test the minds of lawyers and constitutionalists. Who will benefit from a retrial? Not the taxpayers. It will y cost thousands of our 1 dollars, and Zundel
will get millions of dollars worth of free
publicity. Can the law for law’s sake justify the mental anguish of any community? —JULIE TAUB,
Stars, stripes and maple leaves
In Passages on Feb. 9 you mentioned Col. Sheila Hellstrom’s promotion to the rank of brigadier-general. It was a great day for women and also for those in the Armed Forces. There is only one slight mistake. You write, "... the first woman to join the one-star rank . . . .” General officers in Canada wear maple leaves and not stars (as the Americans do) on their shoulder boards.
-DENIS M. GAUMOND, Ottawa
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