May 2 1988


May 2 1988

Contentious clauses


In “Storm over Meech Lake” (Canada, April 11) you state that “the Conservative majority has the power to pass the Meech Lake amendments to the 1982 Constitution Act.” Meech Lake comprises 16 amendments. The first eight, in fact, amend the 1867 Constitution Act, not the 1982 act. These include the most contentious clauses—the distinct society clause among them. Only seven of the 16 amendments alter the 1982 act. One amendment—the last—comes under the “General Heading.” This oversight may result in Maclean’s readership being more complacent in their evaluation of Meech Lake than is wise.

-DONALD L. HEALY, Melbourne, Que.

Pierre Trudeau’s apearance before the Senate hearings into the Meech Lake accord was quite sad. Here was the man the nation put its trust in 20 years ago; the man who failed to come through when his nation needed leadership; the man who prided himself on his self-reliance to the point of selfdelusion. To see this aging freethinker being given the exposure he claims to abhor, yet can’t stay away from, is an equally sad commentary on the media attempting to create a spectacle.


Waterville, N.S.

A rigorous methodology

In a recent review of differences between a number of major national polls (including my own) over the last

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few weeks (“Mixed readings of the public,” Canada, April 11), Maclean’s cites some unnamed Tories as arguing “that Reid samples more heavily in the West and in rural areas, regions where their party is more popular.” In fact, we have a rigorous methodology, which ensures that our sample exactly matches the distribution of the Canadian population across each of the country’s census divisions based on the 1986 Statistics Canada data. That Maclean’s would print such a charge without providing me with an opportunity for rebuttal is regrettable.

-ANGUS REID, President, Angus Reid Associates Inc., Winnipeg

A Canadian initiative

In Peter Newman’s “Free trade’s real Godfather” (Business Watch, April 18), he suggests that the Canada-U.S. free trade initiative is attributable to former U.S. ambassador Paul Robinson. While Mr. Robinson was an early supporter of such an agreement, its paternity is unequivocally Canadianwestern premiers, Senator George van Roggen’s Senate committee, and the Economic Council of Canada are among those who helped inspire the current initiative. Business leaders, too, were catalysts. For example, the Business Council was on record as early as 1982 in favoring a trade-enhancement agreement with the United States. The Americans were the ones who had to be convinced, and that has not been easy! (I served in the Prime Minister’s Office from 1969-1972 and not in 1983 as the article claims.)

-THOMAS d’AQUINO President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Council on National Issues,


Historical landscape

Acclaimed Canadian movie director Norman Jewison may be right that “perhaps the Great Canadian Movie will be about people” (“The movie magician,” Cover, April 4). But he is passing up some great opportunities by ignoring great Canadians. Last week I spent six hours rivetted to the tube watching The King Chronicle by Donald Brittain on the CBC. It surpassed all my expectations. I was tremendously entertained, intrigued and informed watching our reputedly dullest politician, Mackenzie King, make the utterly improbable happen and dominate Canadian politics for three decades that embraced the Roaring ’20s, the Depression and the Second World War. It convinced me that the Canadian historical landscape offers plenty for movie directors, even the best ones, to browse on.

-JOSEPH BAKO, Vancouver

Plainly speaking

Barbara Amiel’s column “The message between the lines” (Column, April 4) has insulted me as a Canadian. I appeal to External Affairs Minister Joe Clark’s words of wisdom: “Let me speak plainly.” It is my honest belief that Amiel’s insulting words and those of the leadership of the Jewish community sufficiently manifest a questionable loyalty to Canada whenever Israel is the issue. I’m tired of hearing the label anti-Semitism applied whenever Israel is criticized. More than 120 Palestinians have been murdered in the last few months, and thousands of kids were severely beaten. Let’s talk about their torment. — GUS BENTON,


Of course! How utterly obtuse of me not to notice before Ms. Amiel showed me the light. The reason for the problems of the Middle East: “The Communists.” I can truly say that I can think of no one in a better position to write on the subject of disinformation than Barbara.


A fundamental commitment

Although you accurately quote my remarks on Morningside about the “defensive and vulnerable” Canadian Jewish community (“A community’s torment,” Canada, April 4), you wilfully leave out the context to make it appear as though I were being critical. On the contrary. I was trying to explain the community’s very real reasons for resisting the media’s glib exhortations that we “speak out” against Israel. Our country implacably refused to rescue Jewish refugees from Hitler while there was still time. All three parties have MPs and senators who are ardent PLO supporters. There is a strong contingent

of pro-Arabists putting pressure on External Affairs from within and without. Canada’s support for Israel is not something we feel we can complacently take for granted. You also made it appear as though historian Irving Abella, law professor Jack London and I were at odds. Not true. All of us are equally distressed by current events, wary of strengthening our adversaries’ hand by excoriating Israel, and fundamentally committed to Israel’s continuing existence.


Racial or religious bigotry is always unacceptable, but to attribute criticism of the outrageous human rights violations being perpetrated by Israel to anti-Semitism is absurd. To speak about human rights abuses by any other nation seems to be acceptable, but to condemn similar actions by Israel brings forth cries of antiSemitism (non-Jews) and disloyalty (Jews). Those who were themselves victims of another country which tolerated no opposition should be only too aware that “my country right or wrong” is a dangerous code. True love of country is to demand and to work for the highest possible ideals and ethics in governing, even though this can be a painful and difficult process. -DIANA PULLINGER,

Nanaimo, B.C.

Graphic hypocrisy

I congratulate Allan Fotheringham for his graphic description of hypocrisy in a self-proclaimed moral society (“Where they fried Willie Darden,” Column, March 28). If we as human beings continue to display such cavalier attitudes toward capital punishment and those on death row, we are no better than those we wish to destroy. -WILLIAM DUBBIN,


In Allan Fotheringham’s column “Where they fried Willie Darden,” an estimated 950 words were used to describe life in sunny Florida and the poor convict-martyr’s inhumane suffering, while exactly 23 refer to the nameless victim. What else is new? Next, I suppose, you will promote a biography of Darden, and perhaps a TV serial and a movie will follow. But what was the name of the murdered store owner? What were his plans in life, his hopes and dreams? What about his widow, his family? Not that it matters much; after all, he has already been dead for 14 years. On this continent, a fuss is made over criminals while the victims sink into obscurity. -FRITZ SCHULZE,

Don Mills, Ont.

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