I congratulate Maclean’s on a job well done (“The search for solutions,” The Environment/Special Report, Sept 17). One could be picky and suggest that you are only following the lead of the people, but hey, the more publicity we have for our environmental problems the better—and you are going a long way.
Harold Welch, Winnipeg
Your lead article on the environment begins with a quotation from the Bible stating that man has dominion over nature. However, the scriptural context of “dominion” is not at all to “exploit” or to “assault” nature as suggested in your very first paragraph. Ecological problems are not a consequence of man’s proper dominion over nature, as you suggest, but rather of man’s greedy exploitation of our environment.
Harry Harsevoort, Waterdown, Ont.
Your report prompts me to paraphrase Madame Roland’s famous statement as she was about to be guillotined, “0 Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name,” and say, “0 Environment, what unemployment is committed in thy name.” The negative aspect of this environmental push is that the people who are getting it in the neck are the very people who depend on harvesting natural resources for their livelihood: the loggers, miners, fishermen and farmers. What the environmental terrorists are doing to them is criminal.
J. Alphonse Deveau, Salmon River, N.S.
It is not just the jobs of loggers that are at stake with the present drive to ban clear-cut logging. Perhaps the people at Maclean ’s and all other members of the print media should do their part by sending out their resumes to other news media—on recycled paper, of course.
Patrick Davidson, Langley, B.C.
Your articles on the environment caused me to glance back 80 years. As a boy of 10,1 recall we had no garbage to send for recycling—we recycled it ourselves. Leftover food went to the pets or into the hog swill. Newspapers ht fires, handkerchiefs were of linen, not tissue, as were serviettes. Food came in bulk, except for canned and bottled goods, and glass containers held household articles. Old mail-order catalogues hung in outhouses. Many items now discarded could be turned to useful purposes— self-cycling.
Stanley Noel Smith, Edmonton
‘LOST ALL CREDIBILITY’
By appointing John Buchanan to the Senate, while he is under investigation (“ ‘You had an option,’ ” Cover, Sept. 24), Brian Mulroney is thumbing his nose at Canadians and insulting the great majority of politicians in this country
who are honest and ethical. His leadership has lost all credibility.
Robert Tucker, Owen Sound, Ont.
Even though you made an error in not mentioning the Ottawa Giants/Athletics of the early 1950s among Canada’s Triple A-level teams, I thoroughly enjoyed your articles about baseball (“A northern love affair,” Special Report/Baseball, Sept. 24).
Brian E. Stokoe, Ottawa
Even if the Blue Jays fail in their quest, Canadian fans of professional baseball can rest easy knowing that this season has already produced a championship team: the London Tigers Double A team in London, Ont., won the Eastern League championship. Also worthy of note is the fact that the site of the Tigers’ home field, Labatt Park, was selected by the Sports Turf Management Association in 1989 as the top pro ball park in North America. Quality baseball is not limited to the big cities, and the minor pro game does offer good entertainment value.
Jim Chapman, London, Ont.
THE FAILURE OF TWO PEOPLES
For too many years, the issue of native rights in Canada has been regarded with indifference by non-natives (“The fury of Oka,” Cover, Sept. 10). As vulgar and defiant as the behavior of the Mohawks has been, the price is now being paid for decades of neglect.
Bruce Shand, Coppermine, N. W. T.
I hope that Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa’s announced intolerance of “groups of citizens who accept laws they approve and refuse others they do not like” will soon be extended to include the perpetrators and practitioners of French-only advertising.
Emma Hall, Burnaby, B.C.
If it ultimately becomes an issue of bringing the Mohawk Warriors to justice, then how will Brian Mulroney and Robert Bourassa and their respective governments be brought to justice? Their insensitive, ineffective leadership at this highly critical time in our nation’s history is a grievous crime against both Canada and the innocent peoples of our First Nations.
North America has evolved a homogeneous continental culture modelled on the degenerate but irresistible allure of U.S. consumer capitalism. The claims of various linguistic, national and even racial groups to a distinct identity of some sort rest on an emphasis of differences that, though real at one time, have become merely superficial. Even at Oka, a Mohawk Indian stands wearing designer sunglasses, an ostentatious wristwatch, a cottonpolyester T-shirt and blue jeans, with his Oldsmobile lurking in the background, as he roundly denounces the pillage of the land by “the white man’s industry.”
While natives claim that the army is provoking them, it is the natives who are screaming crude threats in the faces of the soldiers. That behavior will not prompt Canadians to move these issues to the top of the nation’s political agenda. Native objectives would be better served by a public education campaign to make us aware of the substance and historical basis of their complaints. No doubt natives have many justified grievances, but until they display more emotional and political maturity than we have seen in recent weeks, claims of native sovereignty are difficult to take seriously.
Robert Scaife, Toronto
RIGHT OVER MIGHT
Barbara Amiel’s suggestion that we must “bite the bullet” and use force to maintain what our ancestors took by conquest is simply a restatement of the old “might equals right” formula (“The gun barrel created this land,” Column, Sept. 10). Surely, we accept that principle neither in our own country nor in our judgment of other nations. Rather, “right” must correct what “might” has bequeathed to us.
Shannon Murray, Waterloo, Ont.
tí Barbara Amiel really thinks the gun barrel created this land, someone should remind her that she is not living in the country of Daniel Boone and George Custer but in Canada, which was created through agreement and treaty between the Crown and the various aboriginal nations who have helped to defend her during the War of 1812 and through two world wars.
Debbie O’Rourke, Toronto
Amiel writes that “the gun barrel created this land.” But it is a dangerous half-truth to say that countries are simply the result of guns and military victories. Countries are the creation of political artists who harmonize the wills of a people, with or without artillery. Wiser political artists, however, realize that a gun is the most crude and unreliable tool for creating a social masterpiece. Unless such leaders emerge from both sides of the Oka debacle, and quickly, the military victory of white industrial robots over mock-heroic native cigarette smugglers will become just another ugly and inconclusive show of power.
Jens Andersen, Edmonton
SUPPORT FOR THE NAVY
Peter C. Newman’s “The admirals’ prayer: thanks for the crisis” (Business Watch, Sept. 3), which pertained to Canada’s naval force, was well versed. Our navy should be under a strong expansion program, especially for underwater surveillance and protection. We need to express our own naval policy, and we require more ships to help police our coastline waters. And by increasing the naval reserve, we can give our graduating students a chance at a career in Canada’s future, providing employment, discipline and opportunities through a training program.
Alan Harvey, Penticton, B.C.
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.
A DIFFICULT ROAD TO SUCCESS
As two women dedicated to resolving the conflict between work and family responsibilities, we felt it was necessary to comment on “Having it all” (Cover, Sept. 3). We are women who definitely have more. But we do not see ourselves as “having it all.” We have not been able to overcome discrimination “in a nanosecond.” We seriously doubt that anyone else has either. By focusing on the executive elite, you excluded the vast majority of women who do not aspire to these heights. The next time you decide to portray the options open to women, why not take a more representative cut of Canadians?
Terrie Russell and Mary Ferguson, Flesherton, Ont.
As a full-time mother with two university degrees, I did not appreciate your calling the article on women executives “Having it all.” If not being there to hold a sleepy child after a nap, dress a wound or answer questions thought of at the moment—not necessarily during “quality time”—is having it all, they can have it.
Rita Vandenbrink, Edmonton
I was really disappointed to see in “Fighting sex discrimination” (Cover, Sept. 3) that the Ontario College of Art has decided to enforce Equity 2000, its employment equity program. I am a high-school art teacher who stresses creativity and the expression of emotion above all. It is ironic that people concerned with the arts—the very essence of freedom—should be the ones to impose bogus boundaries on who should teach them.
Joanne Grayson, Punnichy, Sask.
CHEATING THE SYSTEM
I have never read a column that so closely parallels my own views as Diane Francis’s “Once a kinder and gentler nation” (Column, Sept. 17). Francis will no doubt be considered way too far right-of-centre by some, but I would rather think of her as just way too right. Though she did not dwell on Canada’s instances of political greed, she exposes the flawed thinking that prevails in this country.
David Jenkins, Ottawa
Diane Francis’s column about the problems of Canada’s social programs is merely a thinly disguised defence of the Goods and Services Tax. Her pretence that the GST is to support health care is shocking. The GST is just another move in the Mulroney Conservative agenda to
continue shifting the tax burden away from the wealthy to the shoulders of the middleand lower-income earners. The GST will produce massive inflation, destroy our tourist industry, create a nightmare for small business and further erode honesty in income reporting. Is it not time that Maclean ’s had a left-of-centre or even a middle-of-the-road columnist? Or how about one who is just objective?
David Bell, Sarnia, Ont.
I completely agree with Diane Francis. The average Canadian should take a long hard look at himself and ask why he is taking advantage of our social systems. This same person would not think of taking money from his friends, but in fact that is just what he is doing when he cheats the system. I used to be proud of being a Canadian. I am not so sure anymore.
Elinor Guthrie, Peterborough, Ont.
While I am inclined to agree with Diane Francis when she complains that too many corporations and others try to beat the government out of collecting tax dollars, I resent her implication that the Goods and Services Tax could help pay for such a “beloved” benefit as old-age security. Old-age security is not a benefit we get free of charge. If Francis had lived in Canada in the 1950s, she would have noticed in her income tax form a line for the OAS surtax. Later, this surtax became part of general revenue. Old-age security is a commitment by the federal and provincial governments as much as is the Canada Pension Plan. I contributed to OAS and expect to get my dividends from it. The trouble with too many Canadians, including Francis and Finance Minister Michael Wilson, is that they don’t remember anything about the universality of old-age security. It is a right and belongs to me as a Canadian citizen who has paid for that right.
Maurice Lucow, Victoria
A DUBIOUS SOCIAL BENEFIT
In your article about prisoners fighting for the right to vote, an Ontario lawyer is quoted as saying that voting could help rehabilitate some inmates and could be good “for society as a whole” (“A lock on the ballot,” Canada, Sept. 3). I would beg to differ. Inmates are failures; otherwise, they would not have been imprisoned. I do not understand why it would be better for society to get them to change their focus to the successful scammers in our various governments who rarely get caught; or if caught, rarely prosecuted; or if prosecuted, rarely imprisoned.
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