November 20 1989


November 20 1989



Your Oct. 30 cover (“Shock and aftershock”) smacked of sensationalism. Referring to the San Francisco Bay area burying “its dead” and “quake survivors” distorts the extent of loss of life, giving the impression that a huge portion of the population was wiped out. Please restrict yourself to reporting the facts.

Ian Copnick, Montreal

The covers of Maclean's and Time reporting the Bay-area earthquake revealed a difference between Canadian and American priorities. Our national magazine chose to show the faces of a grieving couple, whereas Ti me showed the destruction of some real estate.

Rudy Klassen, Calgary


I commend the Senate for fulfilling an important and distinctive role (“Old powers, new strengths,” Canada, Oct. 30). The spirited interplay of opinions certainly beats the tired myth of sleepy old men who make infrequent visits to the Senate chambers.

Leslie Quinton, Ottawa

It is tragic to watch the efforts under way to restore power to the Senate. Parliament is the greatest political achievement in history—an achievement that seems to be disappearing before our very eyes. Goodbye Canada.

Frederic Lister, Meaford, Ont.


Nice try, Alberta (“The Triple E option,” Special Report, Oct. 30). Plum positions are scarce, but legitimizing an anachronism is no substitute for abolition of the Senate.

Donald A. Fraser, Brampton, Ont.


Peter C. Newman’s observations on the effects of the Free Trade Agreement appalled me (“Opting out of the 21st century,” Business Watch, Oct. 23). Has our manufacturing base been eroded so quickly? If we do not stop this trend, Canada has not long to go before annexation by the United States.

Daniel Philippot, Richmond, B.C.

Newman should look beyond his phobia of the FTA for the cause of our loss of industry. Government’s methods of collecting revenues from manufacturers make costs too high. Many Canadians are coming to realize that we must be competitive. As long as the cost of government is charged into the cost of production, this will be impossible.

John F. Manning, Forest, Ont.


In his Oct. 16 column, Allan Fotheringham commits a doggy don’t: “Benoît Bouchard has the mein of a wounded basset hound” (“Ottawa’s usual air of unreality”). Surely, Foth means “mien,” but if he seeks a doggy do, how about what a wounded basset might send out for: “chow mein”?

Myra Wolch, Winnipeg


If ratified, the Meech Lake accord will balkanize Canada and unleash the menace of the FTA (“A battle joined,” Cover, Nov. 6). Our sovereignty will be threatened by entrepreneurial greed—English or French—and the distinctiveness of all provinces will be eroded.

Mer lie Papadopoullos, Montreal

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.


The article “Confronting the Irvings” (Business, Oct. 16) leaves me curious and disappointed. Various opinions are expressed on how to eliminate the olfactory insult of vapors from the Irvings’ Saint John, N.B., kraft mill. Yet no comparison is drawn with other similar Canadian operations. In the 1950s and 1960s, I grew up in the largest of the pulp-and-paper towns dotted across northwestern Ontario. They not only smelled horrible, but also produced river water reminiscent of the head on a Guinness, sprinkled liberally with nutmeg. When I left Thunder Bay in 1983, however, sulphurous odors were a memory from the distant past.

I do not know if this circumstance can be replicated in Saint John, but I wish you had examined the issue.

David Hurdon,



If Barbara Amiel genuflects and puckers up whenever one of the frolicsome Fortune 500 symbolically offers their almighty backsides to the world to kiss, that is certainly her privilege (“In defence of the freedom to spend,” Column, Oct. 23). But those who react otherwise hardly deserve to be classified as the anguished, pathologically envious future Marxists she depicts in her column. I can also assure Amiel that, even though I earn even less money than a “bus conductor,” she can drown herself in a sea of lipsticks, underwear and compact discs and I won’t lose any sleep over it. I don’t know which was more ludicrous—her attempt to somehow equate the poverty-alleviating capabilities of Saturday-night bowlers with those of multibillionaires, or her rapturous approval of every move made by Gayfryd Steinberg, Malcolm Forbes, et al.

Donna Panzik, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Fred Bruning should know better than to have the temerity to offend Barbara Amiel (“New standards of wretched excess,” An American View, Sept. 11). Amiel concedes (“In defence of the freedom to spend” Oct. 23) that Bruning is entitled to his opinion, but his opinion is a rotten one—presumably nullifying it. Most honest people would admit to envying rich people their ability to spend money without counting the cost. However, what Bruning overlooked was the challenge to Amiel’s omnipotence. Fred Bruning, how could you even hint that Barbara Amiel might be a chump?

Rosalind Jones, Toronto

Is the “great thrust of our age . . . the institutionalization of envy?” Amiel asks in her Oct. 23 column. Hardly. Envy might lurk in the streets and on the subways, but the institutions belong to greed and government. It’s commonly said that the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. And those of us in the middle arc chumps for watching it happen while putting up with tax-hungry governments and a moneyed elite that pays little or no taxes. That is not envy. It is the slowburning fuse of frustration.

Maureen Bursey, Oakville, Ont.

Fred Bruning (Sept. 11) and Barbara Amiel (Oct. 23) both overbaked their points of view. However, if I were in need of help, Bruning is a person I would want to turn to, since compassion and concern were quite evident in his column. Amiel, on the other hand, is missing her calling. She should apply for a job with the federal Conservatives or Margaret Thatcher. This and other articles confirm an arrogant personality that would perfectly suit the kind of country this money-oriented government is trying to create.

Barbara Mowat Fox, Stratford, Ont.


It was a happy coincidence that Charles Gordon’s column “The ball sits in Ottawa’s court” (Another View, Oct. 16), on how rapidly growing numbers of Canadians see the environment as the most important national issue, and “Cutting back Via” (Canada) appeared in the same issue of Maclean ’s. It becomes very apparent that the rolling stock and other equipment withdrawn from service at the

time of the Via Rail cutback must be “mothballed” and maintained for early use when Canadians realize we must use public transportation very much more and our cars very much less as an important step toward survival.

Jack C. Clark, Ladysmith, B.C.

Citizens of Thunder Bay and all other communities along the CPR route from North Bay to Kenora are fighting mad over the loss of the Canadian train service. Why would any resident of Thunder Bay drive 250 km on a gravel road to board the Supercontinental at Armstrong? Passengers travelling along the north shore of Lake Superior view a panoramic vista second to none in North America. Your map accompanying “Cutting back Via” is misleading. The transcontinental route in blue, indicating Via after cuts,should be shown going north of Sudbury through Capreol and north of Kenora through Minaki.

Ross G. Babion, Thunder Bay, Ont.


Allan Fotheringham makes a good point (“A small compact of rich families,” Column, Oct. 23) with the example of K. C. Irving, whose wealth was mostly derived within this country. But he is wrong to include the Reichmanns and Thomson in his attack. Most of their fortunes have been brought here as a result of international operations. From any Canadian perspective, this is a good thing. We should be glad.

Gerard B. Halpin, Thornhill, Ont.

Sorry Doc, you missed the boat in “A small compact of rich families.” Even if all the types you describe had their assets nationalized, liquidated and the resulting cash was placed in the federal coffers, it only “may” pay the interest on the national debt for the better part of a year. Let us look at the big picture.

John L. Krysa, Victoria


In “Fragile roots” (Canada, Oct. 23), the writers recommend that Newfoundland fishermen be retrained, adding: “But, in the minds of local residents, there was clearly a catch.” It will not be fish.

Edgar G. Goss, Dartmouth, N.S.