The only thing more depressing than the prospect of Canadians tuning in to watch the escapism of Mount Royal is seeing Maclean's waste so much space covering the show (“The sexy, wealthy world of Mount Royal,” Television/Special Report, Feb. 1). Do Canadian viewers need to be lured by gaudy images of selfishness and extravagance? How does Mount Royal connect with the realities of East Coast fishermen or western farmers, who are struggling to survive in an economy that favors the kind of greedy, image-conscious social parasites represented by the Valeurs? Mount Royal may gain a certain following by catering to those who aspire to do nothing more positive with their lives than vegetate in front of the box.
-DARROW WOODS, Renville, Man.
Time and effort were obviously spent on “The sexy, wealthy world of Mount Royal.” I therefore am disappointed that Maclean's could not take the time to check the spelling of a name. It is Vlasta Vrana, not Vlasta Urana.
-ERIKA KLUSCH, Montreal
In your Feb. 1 editorial (“A happy celebration,” From the Editor’s Desk), you have rightly referred to the wonderful achievements of marathoners Terry Fox and Rick Hansen. However, you neglected the contribution of Steve Fonyo in his epic run across Canada. Canadians owe much to Terry, Steve and Rick, not only for the money raised to combat disease and pro-
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vide hope and assistance for the disabled, but for helping many of us to be very proud to be Canadian. -ROD DAVIS,
It is unfortunate that a person with a similar name was mistakenly identified by a newspaper as the convicted terrorist Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad. I was disturbed, however, to see the man’s name used in your article “An immigration storm,” (Canada, Feb. 1). Isn’t it possible to report the incident without bringing him yet more unwanted publicity?
—CHARLES EWART, Petawawa, Ont.
Another side to the coin
I was surprised that Peter Newman could see only good in the proposal to acquire up to 12 nuclear-powered submarines for Canada’s navy (“Shopping for a nuclear wolf pack,” Business Watch, Feb. 1). There is another side to that coin. In a speech at Murmansk, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed a nuclear-free North. Our government in its wisdom decided not to take him up on this. But clearly this would be a less expensive and more reliable way of keeping military vessels out of our waters. The Canadian white paper that contained the proposal to acquire nuclear submarines leaned heavily on the “Soviet bogeyman” concept. Since then there has been the summit at Washington and the signing of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and promises of more extensive disarmament agreements to come. One would think that the white paper would be revised in light of this thaw in superpower relations. Is this the time to rearm?
—U. PAUL RONALD, Roxboro, Que.
Nothing to be proud of
My only question to Richard Stengel, the Time magazine associate editor who wrote a satirical piece on Canada for Spy magazine (People, Jan. 18) is this: where does a country boasting Jim and Tammy Bakker, Watergate, Irangate, Vietnam, Rambo: First Blood Part III, little gun control, unsafe streets and transit systems, world-renowned drug abuse, Moral Majority, racial tension, the Ku Klux Klan, nuclear arms and a president who still thinks he’s in the make-believe world of a movie set come off with a superiority complex?
—SCOTT WHITTINGTON, Toronto
Denied a simple pleasure
As a 24-year-old self-supporting lover of films, I am outraged at the price of a movie ticket (“Weak links in a chain,” Show Business, Jan. 18). I can no longer afford to frequent movies as I once did, and the enjoyment of a weekend film has been replaced by the frustration of long lineups in the cold on $3.50 Tuesdays. Add to that the anger I feel now that I am subjected to commercials prior to the movie. It’s infuriating to think that we are paying for the art in the corridors, among other things, none of which has to do with the simple pleasure of watching a movie in a moderately comfortable chair. Even the real butter isn’t much of a consolation for those of us who are allergic to it.
—JULIE DAIGNEAULT, Toronto
High priests of news
The real issue is not whether the allnews channel should be controlled from the West or the East (“An allnews showdown,” Canada, Jan. 25). The question is whether or not a further extension of ideological promotions directed by the high priests of the CBC, wearing the mask of Canadian culture and identity, should be permitted, in the belief that only the stateowned network has the ability to inform the public.
—IVAN KOLLAR, Regina
The federal cabinet recently put on hold the CBC’s expansion into all-news cable TV. That’s a welcome measure, but cabinet avoided addressing the real issue. Why is the government in the broadcasting business at all? The hundreds of other free enterprise broadcasting stations in Canada didn’t need the three-quarters of a billion taxpayers’ dollars that the CBC got as a subsidy last year. With a $30-billion federal government deficit, we taxpay-
ers can’t afford it. The federal government should privatize the CBC by selling shares to the employees, managers and the general public, and guarantee control of the network to Canadians. We would still have a national radio and television network, but it would be owned directly by Canadians, and taxpayers would be relieved of a heavy burden. It’s time to put the CBC where it really belongs—in the free enterprise sector.
—DAVID SOMERVILLE, President,
The National Citizens ’ Coalition, Toronto
Advances in computer technology, as documented in your story “The new revolution in computers” (Business/Special Report, Jan. 25), have indeed been remarkable. However, as so often occurs in attempts to popularize science and technology, overstatements and misstatements creep in. For instance, you indicated that the new Intel 80386 chip “contains 64 terabytes of memory capacity, enough room to store an eight-page biography on every human being now alive.” In truth, the 80386 chip has the capacity of addressing 64 terabytes (trillion bytes) of memory. It does not “contain” that memory—in fact, it contains almost no memory itself. Nor is there physical space inside a microcomputer’s cabinet but for a very small fraction (typically less than 0.00001 per cent) of the total theoretically addressable memory.
—SID HUFF, Visiting Associate Professor, Management Information Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
The special report on computers was both interesting and informative. On one point, however, I would like to set the record straight. The Royal Bank of Canada plans to invest $2 billion in electronic banking technology over the next five years. Unfortunately, this figure is used in the wrong context. The $2 billion will be applied to all aspects of automated banking, including systems development, hardware and software purchases (including personal computers) as well as training and telecommunications costs— not just for personal computers as the article suggests.
—JAMES C. GRANT, Executive Vice-President, Operations and Systems, The Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto
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