October 9 1989


October 9 1989



The province of Quebec, contrary to what you depict in “Storm clouds over Quebec” (Cover, Sept. 25), is not seething with separatist sentiments. However, should you persist with your fear-mongering, it will be. As an anglophone struggling to learn the other official language, it is rather disheartening to see Maclean's acting so irresponsibly.

George L. Cooper, Quebec City

In your interviews with Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa and Parti Québécois Leader Jacques Parizeau, we once again see the fundamental difference between them. One is struck by Parizeau’s frankness and quickly becomes familiar with his agenda. Conversely, with Bourassa there is a sense that one might not be getting the whole truth, that he will say anything to any group to get elected. In essence, with the Parti Québécois, people know what they are getting: a strongly nationalistic party. With Bourassa, there is little evidence of a Liberal party presence. Instead, one finds a government of closet Quebec nationalists.

Bill Parish, Toronto

Thank you for your coverage of Quebec. But let us stop kidding ourselves. Quebec is hellbent for separation as soon as it is economically advantageous—and it does not matter one tinker’s damn what the rest of Canada thinks. This has been written in the cards since the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. So I say let us try to work with it as a separate nation and get rid of this bilingual humbug in a country rich in many great second languages. Intelligent Quebecers know that they must learn English in order to do business with most of the rest of the world.

, Sidney G. West,



Many whites who condemn apartheid fail to realize that the sanctions they propose result in blacks losing their jobs, and labor power is certainly less effective when people are unemployed (“South Africa’s violent rage,” Cover, Sept. 18). The same fact applies to consumer power. Such people seem to want South Africa to become like other African nations: plagued by heartless tyranny, famine and complete social chaos. They assume that they are noble defenders of the blacks, when actually they are the opposite.

Rev. George H. Clement, Millbrook, Ont.

There is a simple solution to South Africa’s problems. Rename apartheid as “Distinctheid” and it can continue to abuse the rights of the majority with Brian Mulroney’s blessing.

Ernest G. Hughson, Varennes, Que.


I have been expecting a column such as Charles Gordon’s “A world-class exit from the fast lane” (Sept. 18) for some time now. Aging baby boomers are focusing more and more on spending quality time with their families in environments less stressful and more hospitable than Toronto. Why did I move to Manitoba from Toronto? Clean air, a 10-minute drive to work, no traffic jams, a rich cultural mosaic and, yes, the ability to own a home and even a lakefront cottage unburdened by debt.

Steve Demmings, Winnipeg


You must have been waiting for us to reply to the following passage from “The golden age of steel” (Cover, Aug. 21): “The dream [of seven railways reaching Fort George, B.C.] died, and Fort George’s ghostly streets have long since been entombed in a jungle of lodgepole pines.” Interesting. Fort George is now part of Prince George, a thriving community of about 69,000 souls. Lodgepole pines we have; two railways come here; entombed the streets are not.

Roger Fox, Prince George, B.C.


I submit an enraged shriek on behalf of the late AÍ Capp’s admirers. In his column “The PM’S black, travelling cloud” (Sept. 4), Stewart MacLeod alluded to the wretched little man in Li’l Abner whose black cloud of gloom hovered over him constantly. MacLeod called him, erroneously, Joe Bltsptek. If MacLeod had misspelled the names of the Prime Minister and the cabinet, I shan’t have raised an eyebrow. But how could he have misspelled the name of AÍ Capp’s hapless cartoon character with whom so many of us have identified down the years? And yet, that’s consistent with Joe Btfsplk’s luck—they even get his name wrong.

Albert C. Tassie, Victoria

Prhps thr ws gltch, cmptr rrr. Unfrtntly, th nm f nq chrctr n Stwrt McLd’s clmn ws mssplld. B crfl! It’s Joe Btfsplk!

N. David Martin, Stratford, Ont.


Your article “The ties of blood” (Cover, Sept. 4) leaves a number of unfortunate impressions about Canada’s military involvement in the Second World War. In portraying our entry into the war as reluctant, you forget that most countries became enmeshed in the war by force of arms. Canada declared war of her own free will—a vital distinction that should give an indication of our country’s commitment, to say nothing of our selfless and (some would say) noble motives. Canada paid its accounts in full during the Second World War. Let’s not shortchange ourselves when it comes to remembering the 50th anniversary of our forefathers’ commitment.

Kent R. Spencer, North Vancouver

In considering “The horrors of war” (Cover, Sept. 4), a passage from your own magazine would be timely. In the April 20, 1981, issue, you quoted Omar Bradley, a U.S. five-star general and field commander of 1.3 million men during the Second World War. “As far as I am concerned,” Bradley had said, “war itself is immoral.”

Stan Penner, Landmark, Man.

While I found your Sept. 4 issue fascinating, I do resent—without wanting to minimize or trivialize the sacrifice of the Jewish people at all—the persistent omission of the other six million who were fed to the ovens.

Yvette G. Merrigan, Edmonton

“Turbulent era” contains an error in the map depicting Europe in August, 1939. It shows East Prussia as not being a part of Germany. After the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles, a large slice of what was then West Prussia was awarded to Poland, giving her access to the sea with the port of Danzig under international control. East Prussia, still part of the German republic, had then only sea links with the rest of Germany. This potentially volatile situation gave rise to Hitler’s demand to reconnect the two bodies. I should know. I was born in East Prussia as a German citizen.

Wolfgang Decker, Kelowna, B.C.


As a parent of a child with cystic fibrosis, I was pleased with your coverage of the CF breakthrough (“Fighting heredity,” Medicine, Sept. 4), except for the statement that women could get an early abortion if the fetus were found to have inherited the disease. This breakthrough should not be used to decide who lives and who dies, but to prepare parents for the extra time and love that the child will need. CF children make us realize how precious life is, and we must fight to make their lives as healthy as possible.

Jean Aitken, Dauphin, Man.

While I was as thrilled as the rest of Canada about the recent CF findings, I was horrified by the implications of early detection—that women could “have an early abortion” upon discovering that their unborn child has CF. I assume that your failure to state any other options for the parents stems from carelessness rather than callousness, but such carelessness is very dangerous indeed.

Jennifer Venn, Tillsonburg, Ont.


The unabashed greed of the rich and famous merits our passing attention (“New standards of wretched excess,” Column, Fred Bruning, Sept. 11)—not because it is in any way admirable, but because it highlights appetites too many of us share. The earth, air and water of our world simply cannot sustain such lifestyles for the rest of us. The lifestyles described by Bruning threaten all of us by maintaining the illusion that we, and our children, can have what we want. With hard work, creativity and generosity we must learn to be

happy with what we need. Those who are doing this merit much more than our passing attention.

Brian Turner, Victoria

Fred Bruning, in his carping about Malcolm Forbes and his birthday party, perpetuates the myth that there is something morally wrong with spending money. I’m sure Bruning would agree that some of his own spending habits look like wretched excess to the large number of people in this world who lack life’s basic necessities.

Bill Todd, Calgary

I disagree totally with Bruning’s viewpoint. Forbes was only doing what all of us might do at a similar time. The only difference is that most of us would spend considerably less. The sourgrapes comments coming from so many people with less money to spend is typical of what I call the “polyester people”—people who do not know how to enjoy whatever money they have. Let’s face it. Forbes was blessed with the ability and drive to make lots of money. How he chooses to spend it is nobody’s business but his own.

Dave Ashby, Toronto


Your cover package, “Tomorrow’s World” (Sept. 11), made me want to scream. How is it possible that, in your vision of the future, there is barely a passing mention of the greenhouse effect, desertification, the destruction of tropical rain forests, mass extinctions, mass starvation, water pollution, soil contamination, toxic waste, nuclear contamination, acid rain or the destruction of the ozone layer? Did we solve these problems when I wasn’t looking? Did they just go away? Or will those marvellous space stations you depict simply end up being used as isolation tanks by the Earth’s last lonely inhabitants?

Brian Banks, Toronto


The government of Canada is asking if we can afford to have a national rail passenger service (“Derailing Via,” Cover, Aug. 21). In light of the problems of air pollution and the greenhouse effect, can we afford not to improve public transport alternatives to the automobile? Can we afford to expand roads for single-occupant automobiles, with their huge appetite for land, air and fuel?

Darrell Richards, Ottawa

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