LETTERS

November 28 1988

LETTERS

November 28 1988

LETTERS

The picture of “pilot” Mulroney (“Playing to win,” Canada, Nov. 7) shows the Prime Minister giving the thumbs-up signal from the cockpit of the PC campaign plane. In his reflection, however, one sees something quite different. Is there any meaning in this picture?

Peter P. Tiesma, Peterborough, Ont.

FLYIN’ BRIAN

ACE REPORTER

I always find your reports from Washington well researched and well written. However the nine-page report on the U.S. election in your Nov. 7 issue is tops in every respect (“The mean machines,” Cover). My vote for reporter of the year goes to Marci McDonald.

Peter V. Zubas, St. Catharines, Ont.

VOTING OFTEN

What a shame that perhaps the best example of an overburdened voting public was missed in your Nov. 7 article “Voting early and often” (Canada). By the time November is through, the electorate of the Ontario cities of Welland and Thorold will have gone to the polls three times. In addition to the federal election on Nov. 21 and the municipal and regional ones on Nov. 14, the residents of the WellandThorold riding were also asked to vote in a provincial byelection. Imagine the confusion!

Richard Roik, Vancouver

MISLEADING CONCLUSIONS

Your conclusion in the Nov. 14 issue that the article I wrote provided a “highly favorable assessment of the trade agreement’s dispute settlement mechanisms” is unjustified and misleading (“What the deal really says,” Cover). My article was an analysis of the dispute resolution mechanisms in the GATT and was not intended as an in-depth analysis of the adequacy or effectiveness of the dispute resolution mechanisms of the free trade agreement.

APOLOGY

An illustration that accompanied an article in the Aug. 29 issue of Maclean’s (“The crime-comic wars,” Law) should have included a credit line stating that the artwork is the copyrighted property of its owner, William M. Gaines, agent. Maclean’s regrets its error in failing to obtain permission to reprint the illustration.

Moreover, your quote completely takes out of context my comment which shows favor on the free trade mechanisms only in relation to the highly consensual mechanisms of the GATT. In comparison to these GATT mechanisms, the free trade ones are an improvement but only in that narrow context. These mechanisms are not at all adequate to provide the binding legal

protection so necessary to Canada in an agreement which promotes economic integration without the institutions required to protect Canada’s vital economic, political and social interests. I oppose this Mulroney trade deal.

William Graham, Toronto

BINOCULARS, NOT GUNS

I must say that I found the article on hunting in Florida extremely unsettling (“Shooting to kill,” Wildlife, Nov. 7). Imagine, a lottery that encourages children to stalk and kill helpless animals! How can rural residents in Florida rationalize this by saying something as ludicrous as “the hunts bring children closer to nature and encourage bonds between children and their parents”? It is simply the most barbaric, senseless activity I’ve ever heard of. Why not promote nature-watching instead to “bring children closer to nature”? Equip the children with binoculars, not guns.

Nana Tirolese, Rexdale, Ont.

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., 777Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7.

CONTROLLING A MONSTER

After seething with disgust at this year’s vote-catching imagery and electronic fraud (“The spin doctors’ new TV tricks,” Cover, Oct. 31), the Canada Elections Act should be immediately amended, in order to keep the political process from merging into an expensive sham and show business. The “medium is the message” is an unforgiving concept too literally applied by the party media experts. Marshall McLuhan warned in Understanding Media (1964) that unless we control this monster (TV), the results, for politics at least, can only lead to apathy, anxiety and alienation— this is exactly what is happening to millions of voters today.

Andrew Melnik Sr., Pembroke, Ont.

CASHING IN ON CRIME

According to your article “Married to the mob” (Books, Oct. 24) on Réal Simard’s book The Nephew, Simard was a hit man and had association with the “Quebec Mafia” from 1960 and “. . . coolly killed five men before a botched gangland hit landed him a life sentence.” I hate to think that a person can “coolly kill” five people, get caught, be sentenced, and commence serving his time, and then have someone turn around and reduce his sentence for testimony. The man had already been found guilty before a jury and sentenced to 25 years. Now he has written a book, one that will probably earn him a large enough income so he can live comfortably when he is paroled. The only logical solution one can derive from your article is to go out and commit a crime, get caught, give the police someone they want more than you, and you will not have to serve the proper time for a crime which you have been found guilty of. I hate to think that my children are to be brought up with such a justice system. You of all people should condemn such a book.

E. York, Ottawa

EXPATRIATE SUBSCRIBERS

I am temporarily living in California, where there is absolutely no Canadian news from the media. This, at a time of a national election in Canada and the free trade deal. I have appreciated Maclean ’s coverage of both elections and enjoy the magazine more than ever. I share it with several Canadian friends in Berkeley. Congratulations on your new format.

Phyllis A. Gardiner, Berkeley, Calif.

OVERUSED RITUALS

As a teacher of 30 years’ experience in the public system, as well as a person who takes his Christianity seriously, I read with great interest the article on the future of

religious exercises in the schools (“Ritual disagreement,” Education, Oct. 24). For many years, I have had misgivings about the use of the Lord’s Prayer. At best, it is a ritual grown empty with overuse, during which teachers must try to maintain silence among uninterested students; at worst, it is a cause for laughter when someone misses a line. I wonder whether it is an example of one segment of society trying to impose its values on the whole. Perhaps we need to examine the educational and/or moral value of such an exercise, and to make a decision on that basis, rather than on a political one, as was done a few years ago.

Cam Baxter,

Trenton, Ont.

CONJUGAL TEAMWORK

In “The race for the stars” (Canada, Nov. 7), you state: “Meanwhile, if McTeer wins in her riding, she and Clark will become the first husband-and-wife team to sit together in Canada’s Parliament.” Does this mean that Clark had already been elected by acclamation?

John Lynch-Staunton, Montreal

‘NIGHTMARISH TECHNOLOGY’

Your article “Nuclear negligence” (Environment, Nov. 7) leaves me horrified. The United States has its nuclear woes (not to mention the Russians and the British), but what about us dumb Canucks? Pickering Generating Station, just east of Toronto, houses highly lethal radioactive waste accumulated from nearly two decades of nuclear reactions. No scientist nor magician has come up with a solution to store the dreaded stuff. Canadians, unlike Americans, can vote a stop to nuclear power if they so choose because Canada’s nuclear industry is owned, operated, regulated and financed by taxpayers. With the “environment” issue finally on the table, maybe voters

should think twice about supporting politicians who favor suicide through radioactive contamination. It’s disturbing and ironic that the Canadian Nuclear Association chose to pitch its wares (Erich Kinitz and family picnicking at Pickering) in view of your article’s indictment of this nightmarish technology.

Mendelson Joe, Toronto

SOUR GRAPES

There’s no one who can sing Rita MacNeil’s songs like Rita MacNeil (“The sweet sound of success,” Music, Nov. 7).

Sounds like sour grapes to me, Anne Murray. Youth and fashion aren’t all it takes—especially when you’re pushing 50, trying to look like 18.

Ruth Anders, Calgary

MATTERS OF CHARITY

So Trade Minister John Crosbie said that he would donate the National Citizens’ Coalition award of $10,000 to charity (“Free trade award,” National Notes, Oct. 31). The item doesn’t specify which charity. I don’t suppose campaign expenses would fall into that category.

Bert Snelgrove, Barrie, Ont.

CANADIAN FEELINGS

It is outrageous that in Canada’s newsmagazine, the first article in the Oct. 31 issue is by an American about U.S. affairs (“Snared by our own insecurities,” An American View). Canadians subscribe to Maclean ’s to keep up to date on Canadian news. By placing Fred Bruning’s

column at the beginning of the issue, you show an insensitivity to Canadian feelings, particularly at a time when many Canadians fear growing American influence. I certainly did not read it. If you must publish Bruning’s column, bury it near the back of the issue.

Willard B. Holliday, Victoria

SUBJECTIVE SCIENCE

Your otherwise excellent article on the Shroud of Turin (“Lifting the veil,” Religion, Oct. 24) was marred by an unquestioning

acceptance of the “scientific” results obtained by STURP, an American group committed to proving the authenticity of the shroud by scientific means. For instance, you report that the bloodstains on the cloth were genuine, yet these results were obtained by STURP researchers only after independent tests (carried out in 1978 and confirmed in 1983) showed that they were tempera paint. Other tests carried out at the Shirley Institute in Manchester in 1982 showed that the shroud’s image was the result of chemical reactions on the linen caused by medieval pigments. Science is revered today because of its apparent objectivity, but when used for apologetic or polemical

ends, it becomes as subjective as those who employ it.

Richard Burgess, Oxford, England

FORTY YEARS OF MATURITY

I read with interest about the plight of David Smith, the poor soul who has been incarcerated for the nonpayment of parking fines, prompting the Montreal Gazette to state: “This case is a disgrace to the Canadian judicial system” (“The price of parking,” Canada, Oct. 31). Sorry, the way I see it, this 40-year-old “prankster” is the disgrace here. In his 40 years, he has obviously failed at his greatest test—his civic responsibility to follow the law of the land. His debt is not only to the City of Montreal, but to each of his fellow citizens who responsibly pay their tickets and fines. Just maybe he will now learn that lesson and be of some benefit to the society in which he chooses to live, for the choice is his alone to make. He can abide by the law of the land or suffer the consequences.

Russell Moore, Lindsay, Ont.

Regarding the article on David Smith, our respect for the rule of law contributes in large measure to the way our society functions and enables us to enjoy our freedoms. Those of us who fail to heed our laws can expect to be penalized sooner or later. David Smith was convicted of numerous parking offences and was given many opportunities to make payment including the option of community service. When he failed to do so, he was jailed. The penalty is drastic to be sure, but he was also aware of the consequences of his inaction.

Ross Binnie, Kearney, Ont.

CRISIS IN NURSING

As a Maclean ’s subscriber for some time, I have been dismayed with the lack of reporting from the Prairie provinces. Case in point: the recent Saskatchewan nurses’ strike. I noticed that your magazine gave that story one very short paragraph under National Notes (“The nurses return,” Oct. 24). This country is facing a severe nursing shortage. Nurses are leaving the profession in larger numbers every year. Short staffing, poor wages and shift work are the reality of the job at present. As technology advances, more and more responsibility is being placed on nurses. We are not the “bedpan passers” of Florence Nightingale’s era. A university degree is now becoming the minimal requirement. Saskatchewan nurses, after watching the level of safe patient care erode, made the very difficult decision to strike. I think Maclean ’s, as a national magazine, owes it to the nurses, and the public, to report the issues.

Christine Barlow, RN, Saskatoon