October 29 1990


October 29 1990



Your Oct. 1 editorial, which expressed pride in the professionalism and dedication displayed by the sailors and airmen preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf, was both justified and welcome (“A Reason For Pride,” From the Editor’s Desk). Such recognition is a rare pleasure. But there is cause for concern. If a Canadian presence in the operating area is to have any meaning, and if our forces there are to have any chance of survival, the government must provide the department of national defence with the necessary funding to give our forces both a defensive and an offensive capability.

W. G. Kinsman, Victoria

I emphatically do not share your pride in the sending of Canadian men and women to the Gulf—sent, as they have been, as dupes to the egos of world leaders and their master, the oil industry. The armed forces have not gone because of their “professionalism and dedication.” They have gone because of the posturing of the world’s politicians. If people are killed over there, will they have died for their country? Let our leaders resolve this conflict in the only way possible—by peaceful negotiation.

Patricia Carlson, Saskatoon


Barbara Amiel has tried her utmost to discredit socialism by trying to prove that capitalism really cares (“The confusion in people’s minds,” Column, Oct. 8). She forgets that the bottom line in capitalism has always been profit, not people. By calling the voters confused, Amiel has insulted not socialism, but the Canadian voters themselves.

Richard Lennon, Winnipeg

Amiel’s column should be read and heeded by every thinking Canadian. The unification of West and East Germany has brought to light the vast differences between the results obtained under a market-oriented system and a socialist one. If one wants to make a protest vote, as I gather the Ontario election was, one should be aware of the consequences. It was not so much confusion in the minds of the people of Ontario, as it was the failure to recognize the possible results.

G. R. Mark, New Westminster, B.C.

I have never voted NDP, but I am not uneasy about its power in Ontario, nor in any other province, nor even in the nation. I resent Amiel

wagging a finger in her silly, lecturing way. Kindness suggests that her confusion is secondary to her ideological obsession.

Dr. J. S. W. Aldis, Cobourg, Ont.


What you refer to as the miscommunications of new Nova Scotia Premier Roger Bacon (“The butt of piggy jokes,” Opening Notes, Oct. 8) make one hell of a lot more sense to me than the pompous pronouncements made during the past few years by most of the premiers and the prime ministers of this country.

John Frey, Calgary


Peter C. Newman writes that “despite all the abuse heaped on the GST, no one has come up with a workable solution” (“Why Mulroney is obsessed by the GST,” Business Watch, Oct. 8). I suggest that Newman read some of the alternatives discussed on pages 2223 of the same issue of Maclean’s (“They all hurt,” Cover) for the help that he and Michael Wilson so obviously need. Newman’s explanation of the GST only adds to the confusion.

Evelyn L. Wood, Rivers, Man.

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


Your issue “Ready for war” (Cover, Oct. 1) was most timely. We have just recovered from more than 40 years of Cold War and its devastating psychological effects. Still, by sending troops to the Gulf we evade the truth that we have in fact declared war with the pretence of fulfulling our NATO obligations and supporting UN resolutions. War in today’s world is not an option. We should continue setting an example as a nation that fights for peaceful solutions to international conflicts.

Vincent Trasor, Banff, Alta.

The CF-18 pilots portrayed in your magazine look very handsome. I am sure, however, that the Iraqi pilots, posing by their machines, would look very similar. Let us negotiate, rather than fight and kill and suffer. As Churchill reportedly put it, “Jaw—jaw is better than war—war.”

Stan Penner, Landmark, Man.


Why is anyone surprised at Brian Mulroney’s appointing John Buchanan to the Senate (“Under the gun,” Cover, Sept. 24)? He has consistently offered patronage appointments to his friends. Buchanan’s government’s allegedly questionable practices regarding contracts in Nova Scotia are easily dismissed as media hype by Mulroney, whose whole time in office has been one large question mark.

Rosalind Jones, London, Ont.

Pierre Trudeau at his worst did not come ! within light years of embodying the arrogance and contempt of Mulroney. To appoint Buchanan to the Senate while his government is under an RCMP investigation expresses an unbelievable level of contempt for the law, for the Senate and especially for Canadians. How on earth did we expect native Canadians at Oka to heed the call for law and order when the Prime Minister displays such an astonishing disregard for sense and justice? Indeed, Mulroney abandons common sense and rationalizes in lofty terms, citing the “presumption of innocence.” Gordon Lugsdin, Barrie, Ont.

Selling Senate seats for the price of a GST vote is improper influence peddling of the worst kind. It is a cynical abuse of office, betrayal of trust and a misuse of public funds, warranting an RCMP investigation.

Fred Kirkman, Victoria



Toronto’s failed Olympic bid typifies the lack of spirit and the power of the cynics entrenched in our country today (“Out of the medals,” Canada, Oct. 1). The search for unity and the nation’s pride has been stabbed in the back by yet another small minority who want everything, but give nothing. It is the great circuses that make the bread possible. The legacy of the Calgary Olympics, which enriched all Canadians, must sustain us for a future bid in the next century.

Dr. William H. Bryant, Kitchener, Ont.

Your article attributes Toronto’s failure to win the Olympics to its niggardly record in the giving of gifts to IOC officials. Perhaps Toronto would have done better had it directed the $15 million cost straight to the IOC.

Kenneth Jones, Inglewood, Ont.

How could we have been so naïve as to possibly expect that the Olympics would be held in Toronto? Paul Henderson can blame the media, local opposition groups and certain members of Toronto City Council all he wants for the loss, but the IOC’s memories must still be fresh over the Ben Johnson scandal.

Ingrid Hann, Mississauga, Ont.


Allan Fotheringham’s perceptive analysis of the three stages in a politicians’s life (idealistic, compromising, complete despair), only states the problem, not a solution (“Rolling the dice to the Senate,” Column, Sept. 24). Canada could adopt Switzerland’s form of government, where the decisions are made by the people through regular votes. A less drastic solution would allow the voters to decide an issue at a general election, after first petitioning the government. California’s Proposition 13 could be the model. A third solution is a recall, where the voters “un-elect” those not listening. Many American states have such a provision. In this post-Meech Lake era of Senate stacking and constitutional squabbling, Canadians are looking for different solutions. Any of the above is better than the existing system.

Paul Gagnon, Calgary


I agree with Charles Gordon that politicians do deserve more respect, but they must earn it (“Yes, politicians do deserve more respect,” Another View, Oct. 1). Our society


may be the best in the world, but our present politicians cannot take credit for that. The result of their trial-and-error approach and their disdain for Parliament is that this beautiful country is on the verge of fragmentation. The only good thing they can do for the country, which would earn my respect, is to resign.

George Couperus, Brighton, Ont.

Charles Gordon might well be right to feel that our politicians deserve more respect. They must have done something right now and then, or Canada would not be such a respected and envied country. It is the media who taught us to gripe and the media consultants who teach politicians the craft of manipulating the voters, reducing every issue or campaign to snappy sound bites.

Daisy de Bellefeuille, Montreal

It is surely “Another View” that is expressed by Charles Gordon. Was it a satire, or was he serious? What did Prime Minister Brian Mulroney do when he told the Canadian people to tighten their belts because times were rough and it would get worse? He added eight more senators and their expenses to the payroll, to be shared by all. The problem now, after the way we have treated politicians, is not who will enter political life, but that nobody wants to be associated with a bunch of morons.

Antoine Berthiaume, Town of Mount Royal, Que.


I was pleased to read your article about Dan Needles (“Harvest of humor,” Theatre, Sept. 24). His writing presents a unique touch of humor reflecting that marvelous segment of Ontario that exists outside of Toronto. It is, however, a tribute to Dan’s talents that, as rooted in rural life as his plays are, they are also popular in the English-speaking urban centres across Canada.

John Martin, Toronto


I am appalled to read that condoms may be supplied in Branksome Hall (“Public health at a private school,” Opening Notes, Oct. 1). How very tragic that this should be a necessity in any school. What has happened to the guidelines of parents, doctors, teachers? Is there no love, respect or dignity left? Just sexual gratification—with the chance of AIDS.

Gloria Mackenzie, Montreal