LETTERS

LETTERS

November 13 1989
LETTERS

LETTERS

November 13 1989

LETTERS

TANGIBLE CRIMES

When I read that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1985 that bank deposits were not tangible assets and could not be confiscated (“Hiding the drug money,” Cover, Oct. 23), I became depressed. Is helping drug dealers the court’s idea of justice? Have they considered the human suffering that that money represents? Do they have to have a crack house spring up next to their homes to get them into the real world? And isn’t it possible that some of those ill-gotten gains enrich fancy lawyers who help criminals to escape their just dues? Is that justice?

James Marvin, Toronto

In “Hiding the drug money,” Canada was referred to as the “Maytag” of the moneylaundering industry, and Allan Fotheringham’s column (“A small compact of rich families”) dealt with five of the world’s wealthiest people, who are Canadians and, it would appear, don’t pay any more taxes than we do. We agree that laundering drug money should be considered a crime. Why, however, is gaining dollars from the “Maytag” ripoff a punishable offence, while gaining dollars by the ripoff of Canada’s resources is not?

Beverlyjean Brunet, North York, Ont.

COUNTING CHOLESTEROL

I hope that most Canadians do not try to assess their risk based on their cholesterol level in relation to the bench marks cited in your article, namely, below 200 or above 240 milligrams per decilitre (“The enigma of cholesterol,” Cover, Oct. 9). In Canada, cholesterol levels are most commonly expressed in millimoles per litre, a unit of measure that results in numerical values that are almost 40 times lower.

Dr. James C. Wesenberg, Red Deer, Alta.

RURAL BUREAUCRACY

I take issue with a prescription for our chronically ailing rural Canada forwarded in “Fragile roots” (Canada, Oct. 23). Adding a further bureaucracy to our swollen civil service will not significantly improve the lot of rural Canadians. The outcome of establishing government agencies to solve our woes is that the institutions, far from solving problems, actually maintain them. We need go no further than the department of Indian and northern affairs to find an example. Just ask any native Indian.

Richard J. Haigh, Edmonton

A STAND ON REFORM

Your Oct. 30 issue dealt extensively with the subject of Senate reform and reported the victory of the Reform Party’s candidate, Stanley Waters, in the Alberta Senate election (“By popular demand,” Canada/Special Report), and you reported the views of anyone and everyone—from the Alberta

government to Bert Brown of the Triple E committee to Senator Allan MacEachen. But it may interest your readers to know that the Reform Party has prepared a comprehensive constitutional amendment to reform the Senate, which has been promoted and discussed at meetings across Western Canada over the past year and has been formally presented to the four western premiers. It details how the Senate could be made elected and effective, with equal representation from each province, and the Reform Party has been successful in getting electors to vote for candidates committed to it. One of the first activities of senator-elect Waters will be to introduce this amendment for discussion in the Senate.

E. Preston Manning, Leader, Reform Party of Canada, Edmonton

HORSEFEATHERS

So, Secretariat “in 1973... became the first horse to win the U.S. Triple Crown in 25 years” (Passages, Oct. 16). Question: What animals other than horses won the Triple Crown prior to 1973?

Steve Jeffery, Ottawa

LETTERS

TOMORROW’S FANCY WIDGETS

The most important developments in the next century may prove to be social and political and not primarily technological, as one would judge from “Tomorrow’s world” (Cover, Sept. 11). Witness what has happened in this century—things we now take for granted but which have turned our world upside down: an end to child labor; the invention of income taxation; universal suffrage based on citizenship instead of land ownership; the recognition of women as equal to men, at least in theory. Who can say what political and social phenomena will contort our future? Some thoughtful reflections about such things would prove to be far more profitable than idle speculation about what fancy widgets we will be using tomorrow.

Robert Stanley, Montreal

Your story on tomorrow’s world paints an irresponsibly rosy picture of things to come. It is pervaded with the same technology-as-savior naïveté which has contributed to the degradation of our planet. In a world beset by global warming, ozone depletion and hourly species extinction—to name but a few of our environmental ills—how can you possibly think that the solution is to ensconce ourselves in womblike “talking houses?” We are not able to control and divorce ourselves from the world we depend upon. A massive influx of environmental refugees as whole coastlines are submerged and countries beset by drought; a decrease in lifespans due to the pollutioninduced rise in cancer rates; starvation due to crop destruction by the erosion of topsoil and ultraviolet radiation—all would be more accurate realities to discuss. By presenting your blindly optimistic forecast, you discourage the change in our present attitude that is necessary to avoid these scenarios.

Gareth Lind, Toronto

If, as your issue on tomorrow’s world suggests, Canada in 2050 is to have 50 million people, and if they have mainly settled in her major cities, then I am glad I shall be long gone. Consider the once green and beautiful city of Vancouver, with five-million population, massive development, congestion and pollution from the coast to Hope, the “livable region” a sad and distant memory. What has been the cause of this disaster? Not, in fact, a natural catastrophe, but the consequence of the obsession of powerful men for growth at any cost.

T H. Alden, Vancouver

The cover story of your Sept. 11 issue forecasts a future that is dismal for humankind. Is technology developing us into an age where we

LETTERS

will no longer be required to complete even the simplest of tasks? Take a look at the advances made over the past 100 years; for every step forward, we took two backwards. We may live a more comfortable life now, but it has cost us a price we cannot repay: the slow destruction of the planet we live on.

Wayne F. Horner, Kentville, N.S.

THE ‘LIVING HELL’ OF CF

As a parent of two lovely children with cystic fibrosis (now both dead), I thank you for an excellent article (“Fighting heredity,” Medicine, Sept. 4). Any mother not wanting an early abortion, if she knew she was to have a child with CF, in my mind is very cruel. The living hell these children suffer is something only somebody who has been there can judge. I had an abortion and am thankful I do not have to bury one more child.

Birthe Andersen, Brantford, Ont.

In “Fighting heredity,” you made an error in assuming that a fetus with cystic fibrosis has less than a full right to life and should be subjected to “an early abortion.” You also refer to the child of the parent with the CF gene as an “it.” Your reporter should have written a better article. “It” should think before “it” writes.

Dr. W. Daniel Macintosh, Langley, B.C.

ATTEMPTING WIT

I welcome Ramon Hynatyshyn’s appointment if just for his sense of humor (“The Queen’s man,” Canada, Oct. 16). One of the early telecasts of parliamentary debates showed the former MP chiding government members with the spoonerism: “a group of shining wits.” We need wit like that in Rideau Hall.

David Henderson, London, Ont.

If Hynatyshyn were black or Jewish, Allan Fotheringham’s remark: “... and now we have the first one whose name can be neither spelled nor pronounced” would have been racist or antisemitic (“Ottawa’s usual air of unreality,” Column, Oct. 16). Because Hynatyshyn is of Ukrainian descent, Fotheringham’s drivel is considered by some to be witty. Pity.

Rada Cenic, Toronto

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.

LETTERS

MAKING VIA VIABLE

Your Aug. 21 cover package “Will he stop the trains?” gave voice to many of the fatuous arguments advanced by a few, but vocal, Canadians who want to keep Via Rail chugging across the country at ruinous expense to us all. Some point to countries with conditions quite different from ours where passenger trains are fast, comfortable and even profitable. Last fall, in Vienna, I wanted to go to Salzburg, about 300 km away. Train times weren’t convenient. I thought it would be enjoyable to go by bus, but I was told there is no bus service to Salzburg. The Austrian railways are a government monopoly. Canada could, no doubt, make Via viable simply by banning buses from the highways.

Frederick L. Dunbar, Regina

I wonder how many Canadians find it ironic that those unfortunate East German refugees, fleeing from tyranny, oppression and neglect, are leaving on board modern, rapid, well-appointed passenger trains?

Claire Movoat, River Bourgeois, N.S.

ACCURATE HEADINGS

It was a step in the right direction of telling it like it is when Maclean ’s placed the story of the Gretzky sale under the heading of Business rather than Sport (“Selling the king,” Sept. 19, 1988). But, alas, it was a retrograde step placing the Jim Bakker story (“A guilty evangelist,” Oct. 16) under the heading of Religion rather than Crime. It has as much to do with real religion as selling fraudulent certificates of nonexistent mining stocks has with genuine mining.

Sidney G. West, Toronto

A CITY OUT OF SYNC

Charles Gordon’s column “A world-class exit from the fast lane,” about people leaving Toronto behind for a slower, simpler way of life, was very interesting (Another View, Sept. 18). As a Canadian living abroad, I have often entertained the thought of one day going home. I have decided, though, that if my choice is between Toronto and Zürich (both world-class cities?), I’ll have to stick to Zürich, because, although living costs are high, we at least get the compensation of earning better wages. I don’t know how the average family can make ends meet in Toronto anymore. The real estate prices are shocking in comparison with wages. Something is out of sync.

Sandie Liidi-Turner, Zurich

LETTERS

THE HAZARDS OF HOOKERS

In “Sexual abandon” (Health, Sept. 25), Christopher McLeod states, “Most of my friends would associate disease with hookers.” McLeod’s friends are correct. There is ample evidence in the medical literature to support the concept that prostitutes are prolific disseminators of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The high incidence of STDs in prostitutes of either sex is related to the large number of contacts compared with the much smaller number of contacts of nonprostitutes. In your article, the maximum number of partners described per student was 10 or more; while exact numbers for prostitutes may be difficult to obtain, 5,000 to 10,000 or more sexual partners during the “career” of a prostitute may not be unreasonable as an estimate. Prof. E. A. Maxwell of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., and I have shown that the likelihood of acquiring the disease is related to the number of exposures. It is highly regrettable that current educational campaigns regarding the prevention of AIDS and other STDs do not include publicity regarding the hazards of sexual liaisons with prostitutes.

Dr. E. Kenneth Ranney, Grande Prairie, Alta.

‘ONE OF THE BEST’

I am an 11-year-old and, even though I have lived a short period of time, I have seen many good movies. I am convinced Parenthood is one of the best (“A family circus,” Films, Aug. 14). The script is good, but that’s not what impressed me the most. It was the acting: Steve Martin, a concerned and gentle father, worried if what he’s doing is right for the child and worried that he’ll make too many mistakes; Dianne Wiest, a mother who has different mood changes and is not always sure of herself; Tom Hulee, an irresponsible man who never really grew up. But, best of all are the children. This is the real thing.

Stephanie Hamilton, Burlington, Ont.

‘THE INSIDIOUS TAX’

Michael Wilson, in “Fighting the opposition” (Business, Sept. 25), stated that “people have done studies showing that upperincome people spend more money on services

which will now be taxed____” For Mr. Wilson’s

information, there are other groups, including seniors and the handicapped, who have little choice but to use services if they are to remain in their homes. They must use plumbers, painters, furnace repairmen, electricians and homehelp personnel, to name but a few. All of these will attract the insidious and thoughtless tax.

Arthur C. Beresford, North Vancouver