I am writing about Diane Francis’s Nov. 30 column “Taking the tobacco war too far.” I take strong exception to Francis mentioning the fact that Health Minister Jake Epp belongs to the Mennonite faith, as if it is significant to this issue. Epp’s religious orientation has no bearing on the type or intent of legislation that his health department brings forth. In the same way, the fact that various MPs are black or white, Catholic or Protestant, Irish or Ukrainian should not have a bearing on the legislation brought to Parliament. The sooner racial and ethnic slurs are discontinued in our land, the sooner we can move closer together as a nation.
-TERRY FEHR, Gladstone, Man.
Going up in smoke
George Bain misses the point when he trivializes the media coverage of the pot smoking admission of U.S. Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg (“The press and a new puritanism,” Media Watch, Nov. 23). The camaraderie of American conservatives, Christian fundamentalists and the Reagan administration can be capsulized in the Merle Haggard lyrics “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” Reagan has always wrapped his administration in the self-righteous puritanism that is decidedly antiliberal. When Reagan champions a conservative judge who has flirted with the 1960s icon (marijuana) then the babyboomers remember Muskogee and Ginsburg’s aspiration goes up in
smoke. If your support comes from conservatives with traditional values then you’d better be prepared to live traditional values or you’ll be gone.
Saint John, N.B.
Life and death
I read with pleasure your article on the number of continuous hours routinely worked by interns and residents in teaching hospitals (“Staying alert on the intern shift,” Health, Dec. 14). Those physicians are in reality students either preparing for licences or specialist qualifications. In order to attain those qualifications, they must be prepared to care for patients under conditions of fatigue that would be unlawful for any other profession or group of workers. For public safety’s sake, we legislate the number of hours a pilot is allowed to fly per month, and yet we require doctors-in-training to make life-and-death decisions having been on 36 hours of continuous service.
-JO-ANN FOX, Hamilton, Ont.
I would like to draw your attention to “A dandy of decadence” (Books, Dec. 21), which I believe contains a discrepancy. I cite the following facts, which I believe to be indisputable: a century is the completion of 100 years; therefore, the first century ended on Dec. 31 of the year 100 and the 19th century ended on Dec. 31, 1900. Given the statement in the review that “Wilde died on Nov. 30, 1900, contradicting his own prophecy that he would not outlive the century,” it would appear that Oscar Wilde was correct and the reviewer incorrect.
-J. TYRIE HUNTER, Don Mills, Ont.
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Opening Quebec to the world
Allan Fotheringham’s tribute to René Lévesque (“One man’s brave but futile dream,” Nov. 16) was a balanced piece. Although Fotheringham still seems obsessed with Lévesque’s separatist objectives (referring to them three times), he does reluctantly admit that Lévesque and Western Canada both stood for a common goal: a more decentralized Canada. But that was perceived differently: English Canada called the centrifugal thrust in Quebec “separatism,” while the West termed it “alienation.” Yet, the very same forces were at play.
As a westerner who lived in Quebec City during the exciting preand post-referendum years, I witnessed Lévesque ridding Quebecers of their bunker mentality and opening the province up to the rest of Canada—indeed, the world. An increased sense of separate identity and an increased participation in national life are Lévesque’s legacy to Quebec.
-ROBERT M. CONNELLY, Ottawa
Vehicle for understanding
Lawrence O’Toole’s review of Gaby—A True Story (Films, Nov.
30) will surely increase the audience for this superb film. Its qualities as good cinema enhance its appeal as a vehicle for understanding physical disabilities in general, and because education is the prime mandate of our association we applaud any artistic effort to further that goal. However, Gaby’s cerebral palsy is not a disease: rather, it is a neuromuscular disorder, a condition resulting from perinatal brain damage. Individuals with CP are not victims as one might describe those stricken with a disease. They have a lifelong nonprogressive condition that, as Gaby so beautifully demonstrates, does not preclude aspiring to personal goals and facing universal human challenges.
-ARTHUR M. TIMMS, Executive Director,
Canadian Cerebral Palsy Association,
A cross-border hybrid
The Canadian Football League’s basic problem is that it lacks the Canadian spirit (“That empty feeling,” Sports, Nov. 16). As a result, the CFL has evolved into a sort of “Americanadian ” hybrid. Most of its coaches, general managers and bestknown players—the ones who mould the CFL’s image—are American. And the rules of Canada’s game are increasingly based on American ideas: the six-point touchdown, two-point convert, time-outs, blocking on punt returns and overtime during the regular season. As a largely I
American league, the CFL invites comparison to the National Football League (NFL) and always winds up looking second best. Not being truly wholly Canadian and being only second-best American are deadly facts of CFL life. In Montreal, particularly among the French majority, the result has been years of overwhelming indifference, and look at what finally happened to the Alouettes. This indifference now is widespread. The solution? If the CFL is to survive and prosper, Canadians (French as well as English fans and exec-
utives) must create exciting, uniquely Canadian rules. And the French must own and operate the Montreal franchise.
I make no attempt at trying to compare the NFL with the CFL; they are two different products and each has its place. To compete for the same players is both economic suicide and foolish. There are a great many American players who would shine in the CFL but do not meet the standards of the NFL. I do feel that the CFL should turn to Canadian colleges and universities to recruit more players. The calibre of play has increased greatly over the past 10 years. If more people were encouraged to attend college games, where the ticket cost is lower and parking (except for Toronto) is usually free and right outside the gate, perhaps they might be encouraged to follow these players into professional ranks.
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