The possibility of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney raising the issue of human rights with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is ironic when the rights of countless Canadians appear to be given little consideration by the Mulroney government (“Moscow bound,” Canada, Nov. 20). We face the imposition of the Goods and Services Tax, cutbacks at defence establishments and Via Rail, thousands of job losses due to the FTA, pension clawbacks and reduced unemployment insurance benefits.
J. Gregory Keane, Charlottetown
Why are Canada’s very rich developers not encouraged by the government to invest in their own country (“To Russia with cash,” Cover, Nov. 13)? What use to our unemployed is a multibillion-dollar tourist venue in Leningrad? How many jobs will this enterprise generate in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan? Since currency earned in the U.S.S.R. cannot be brought back to Canada, what good is such investment to these businessmen? Even the Newfoundland climate is better than Leningrad’s.
John Holmes, St. John ’s, Nfld.
“To Russia with cash,” but with love? How much will the Soviet people benefit from a 60-storey office tower soaring over ancient Moscow, or from a “playground” for foreign tourists developed on a “prime site” in historic Leningrad, or from “Big Macs” sold either for convertible currencies or at ruble prices that are likely to be beyond the reach of the average Muscovite? Are such schemes really likely “to demonstrate to the Russians that profit is not a dirty word”?
Carl H. McMillan, Ottawa
PEOPLE IN FLIGHT
I see that Maclean’s has joined the rest of the Canadian media in tagging the fleeing East Germans as “refugees” (“In search of union,” Cover, Nov. 20). As far as I can tell, those East Germans fleeing their country choose to do so not because they are being persecuted, or because their lives are in danger, but because they are displeased that their government does not adopt the free-market economic system. By all accounts, those fleeing Germans are free to return to their country whenever they wish, with no reprisals. So what makes them “refugees?” And does this new definition apply to all other nationalities where people are disenchanted with their government’s choice of market relationships?
G. Llewellyn Watson, Charlottetown
We should be extremely grateful to Premier Clyde Wells (“A Grit stands fast,” Special Report, Nov. 20). Anything to do with a Constitution is far too important for passage by pressure and compromise. The Meech Lake accord is flawed. There is no way such an agreement should have been pounded out in a hurried, one-night session. Chances are that,
had Wells been at the Meech marathon, its weaknesses would not be under consideration for ratification now. There should now be a referendum, as Wells suggests.
George Goodburn, Penticton, B.C.
There is not a chance Canada could survive if the Meech Lake accord were to pass. What we would have is a country better called “Queont” with territories to the east, north and west ready to be plundered. No wonder David Peterson is so in favor of the agreement. He could be half of the double-headed king of Queont. Maclean’s could be the national magazine of Queont and Mulroney, the permanent ambassador to the United States. Thank you for speaking out for Canadians, Clyde Wells. We need you.
Mary L. Baehr, Prince George, B.C.
What and where is “St. John” (“Escape from high costs,” Business, Nov. 20)? Is it the city of Samt John in the province of New Brunswick?
Elizabeth C. Snell, Halifax
As you mention in “Destroying the middle class” (Business/Special Report, Nov. 6), 72 per cent of Canadians don’t like the proposed Goods and Services Tax. Most of this dissatisfaction results from ridiculously biased and uninformed articles such as those which appeared in that issue of Maclean ’s. Previous Liberal governments spent billions of dollars in a public relations effort, while steadily plunging our economy into dire straits. Partially as a result of these actions, about a third of all the government’s revenue now goes towards paying interest on the massive debt. How can Canadians expect all kinds of social and economic programs if the government has no money? Through the government’s plan of replacing the unfair and outdated tax on manufacturers, the national economy can gradually recover from its current state of despair. As a 14-year-old Canadian, I find it frightening to imagine what this country will be like when my generation assumes political responsibility if drastic economic reforms are not taken now.
Ian F. Rich 1er, Toronto
Middle-class taxpayer Roger Gale’s cry of “Tax the rich” is sadly reminiscent of the ultimate betrayal in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, when Winston Smith, under threat of torture, screams, “Do it to Julia”— Julia being his lover in the novel. Middle-class taxpayers would get more sympathy if they screamed “Cut spending” instead.
Hugh Rowe, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.
ALBERTA’S ECONOMIC WOES
In light of your story on Alberta’s woodland leases (“The forest fight,” Environment, Nov. 13), I can only ask what will they sell next? Alberta has sold most of its cheaply available petroleum; recovery costs have made the production of new reserves uneconomical given the current price of petroleum worldwide. Now, Alberta wants to sell off its northern forests as well. The answer to Alberta’s economic woes is not to sell off its resources, but to establish a proper (not related to the oil industry) manufacturing and service base— which is what the Albertan and Canadian governments should have been promoting all along. Once the northern forests have been raped—and it is not just the Japanese who commit “ecological holocausts”—what will Albertans have left except unemployment?
Rick Gunderson, Lane Cove, Australia
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 Soviet Union has been undergoing some breathtaking changes recently, but the translocation of Romania and Moldavia from its southwestern border to its southeastern (“ ‘Happy’ Moldavia,” World, Nov. 13) is, to the best of my knowledge, not one of them.
Glen Porter, Vancouver
Allan Fotheringham’s column “No flying buns for a bully boy” (Oct. 30) was informative and thought-provoking. He refers to the control the United States holds over Canada’s film industry. Because the government is at last making an effort to encourage our film industry, and with the vast improvement made in recent years in Canadian theatre and film production, we must start attending and supporting Canadian-made films and plays. Hollywood distributors, Foth states, take $1 billion a year out of Canada. Our public is brainwashed into thinking that a film is not worth seeing unless it has the Hollywood tag. Thank you, Maclean ’s, for alerting us to the United States’ dominance of one more of our industries.
Ruth Wyman, Edmonton
It must be Fotheringham’s well-known modesty that allows him to write “you could read Maclean’s from front to back” while standing in line waiting to pay for it at Vancouver airport’s one newsstand (“The national slogan is ‘Never complain,’ ” Nov. 13). Everyone I know reads Maclean’s from back to front, because they always turn to Foth first.
Margaret L. Boyce, Gravenhurst, Ont.
‘INDECENT LANGUAGE RIGHTS’
Perhaps the choice of a unilingual anglophone governor general is not appropriate (“Linguistic double standards,” Letters, Nov. 6), but those of us outside Quebec would sympathize with Georges Lessard’s sentiments more were it not for the pathetic treatment of the English-speaking populace of Quebec. The lack of language rights afforded them is indecent and a slap in the face to such provinces as New Brunswick, which has made a valid attempt at true bilingualism. Before accusing Mulroney of being unjust, I recommend that Quebecers deal with the problem at home first. By leading the way in fairness and equality of language rights, Quebec might prove an example for the rest of the country to follow.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.