DEBATING CANADA’S FUTURE
The wording of your Nov. 12 cover story’s title is misleading (“What does Canada want?” Canada/Cover). The grammatical structure implies singularity when, in fact, our mosaic society dictates plurality. As long as we have a society made up of groups with labels such as English-Canadians, French-Canadians and first Canadians, we are going to be divided. It is time to unite and become Canadians first, ethnic and regional groups second.
Dale Matthies, Goderich, Ont.
You took eight pages to answer a simple question: What does Canada want? Most Canadians would answer it in four words: a new prime minister.
Antonio Salvadori, Guelph, Ont.
I am boiling mad to see that you placed Brian Mulroney’s picture under the “What does Canada want?” headline. Politicians come and go, but your country is your country until death. A Maple Leaf under the headline would have been much more appropriate.
Roger Irwin, Fredericton
Why is Canada’s youth not represented on the Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future? Surely, young people could have been found who would have gladly served on this committee. I, for one, have great faith in young people. Apparently, that faith is not shared by the government that appointed the forum.
Margaret Young, Ottawa
Is not Brian Mulroney Prime Minister because he knows what Canada wants? Then why does he need a panel to tell him?
Andrew Roukema, Burlington, Ont.
IS WAR ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY?
Barbara Amiel’s column “Why war in the Gulf is absolutely necessary” (Nov. 5) angered me very much. I have a son serving in the U.S. marines in Saudi Arabia now, and if Barbara Amiel had a son or daughter there, she would not be so eager to start a war. By all means, let us strive for a negotiated peace. That does not mean peace at any price, nor loss of face, but if peace and freedom can be possible without the horror that war would bring, let us go for it.
Aet Sandström, Dartmouth, N.S.
Amiel articulates many cogent reasons why the United States and its allies must use force if the Gulf crisis is to be resolved. Hussein must not be allowed to negotiate his way out of Kuwait with a promise of nonaggression and war reparations. He cannot be relied on to abide by the terms of a peaceful agreement. Taking the “soft option” presented by peaceful settlement
will not ensure that Iraq will leave Kuwait alone. It will only make a mockery of justice and trivialize the suffering of an innocent nation.
Steven R. Struthers, London, Ont.
A YOGI COMEDY
Martin Howe’s letter invokes some mighty weak “proofs” for the efficacy of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation jamborees (“The meditators,” Nov. 12). It is in the nature of stock markets to go up and down, and proposals for peace in the Middle East have been in the air at all times since the crisis began. Any studies that rely on such proofs are best served up as comedy rather than science.
Patrick Murtagh, Winnipeg
It sounds to me as if Allan Fotheringham is jealous of the “smooth countenance and expensive hair” of J. D. Roberts (“The J. D. Roberts factor on CTV,” Column, Nov. 12). The baby boomers are in the limelight now, and there is not much Foth can do about it.
Cynthia Demers, Mississauga, Ont.
ART, DEPRAVITY AND DEBATE
Your article “Art and obscenity” (The Arts, Oct. 15) was a bit more one-sided than should be expected from a newsmagazine. Only briefly do you mention the subject matter of Robert Mapplethorpe’s seven objectionable photographs. “Anal penetration” is hardly the same as describing the actual content of a fist inserted into an anus. And you do not mention the lyrics of the songs for which the rap group 2 Live Crew is on trial. The primary marketing targets for the album are too young to vote, but liberals feel teens should be allowed to hear songs praising violence against women, among other choice subjects. Both sides of the issue should be presented, but all your story did was demonstrate that you have little faith in your readers’ ability to form their own opinions.
H. Michael Brown, Burlington, Ont.
“Art and obscenity” demonstrates clearly the depth of depravity to which North American society has sunk. We should castigate not only the producers of obscene “art,” but also the general public who, by its attendance, lends credence to the acceptability of such material as art. The situation is even more tragic when gallery directors try to bestow legitimacy on such degenerate productions. Anyone who can be convinced that art includes photographs of a man urinating in another man’s mouth, or of a crucifix in urine, surely needs to have his or her head examined. Such productions are the inventions of sick minds, lashing out at society. What ever happened to beauty?
G. E. Andrews, Calgary
A BAD TAX PLAN
I was appalled to learn that the inheritance phenomenon may become an issue for politicians (“Confronting the tax man,” Cover, Nov. 5). An undisclosed sum of money has been painfully accumulated over the years by my hardworking, saving-conscious parents. That estate—which is the net result of money already taxed, by the way—will be further reduced by capital gains taxes. And yet politicians entertain the idea of imposing an inheritance tax. My parents have already paid more than their share to society. They are still paying, while trying to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Society has no right over the inheritance my parents may leave in this life. Nor do governments, which are trying to find new sources of revenue to finance their deficits.
Daniel Giasson, Hull, Que.
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.
WHERE THE DINOSAURS ROAM
Fred Bruning’s viewpoint seems to be off topic (“Into the den of the dinosaur,” Column, Oct. 22). Although the treatment of Lisa Olson seems to have been quite brutal, and I do not condone it, the real issue is whether females should be in the locker room. Let women be sportswriters, let them interview male athletes, but keep them out of men’s changerooms.
Gary Kohl, Toronto
If you walk into the lion’s den, you should expect to get mauled. If you walk into a locker room, you are sure to experience language and antics confined to that domain. Surely, interviews with these highly overpaid and less than noteworthy little boys could be done outside the locker room, by reporters of both sexes.
Pearl Miller, Downsview, Ont.
CONFUSION OVER HIBERNIA
In Hibernia, the government of Canada is investing in opportunity, not catastrophe as Peter C. Newman would have us believe (“The enduring mystery of Hibernia’s creation,” Business Watch, Oct. 22). Hibernia will open up prosperous offshore industries that will create many marketable skills for residents of the Atlantic region and elsewhere in the country, and other offshore projects will reap benefits from the infrastructure created by Hibernia. The project will contribute to the longterm viability of Canada’s oil-and-gas industry, and will provide about 12 per cent of our light oil production by the year 2000. The environmental safeguards governing Hibernia are widely considered to be the most stringent in the world. Finally, it is too early to tell where the oil will be refined. If Canadian refineries can do the job, so much the better.
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources,
Clyde Wells needs no help in defending his position or advancing the interests of his own province regarding the Hibernia project. If Newman is so opposed to the Hibernia development, why would he not direct his criticism towards the Mulroney government? Or would that be too anti-Tory?
Pat McCarthy, Agincourt, Ont.
If Peter Newman could see the world from any perspective other than that of a central Canadian, perhaps he would be able to understand the ambivalent attitude of most Newfoundlanders
to developments such as Hibernia. We live with the constant reminder that our major industries are subject to the control of Central Canada. We are accustomed to being forced by political powers into deals that can only be regarded as “better than nothing,” and then being sneered at as Canada’s welfare province.
C. K. Brown, St. John ’s, Nfld.
Does Peter Newman deliberately misrepresent Clyde Wells, or is he merely having problems with the English language? Newman’s example of “classic reversal” on Wells’s part is that on Sunday night Wells noted the “benefits” of Hibernia and on the next day pointed out that Mulroney was being unfair in portraying Hibernia as “federal largess.” Again, Newman fails to make a distinction, in this case between “benefit” and “largess.” I assume Maclean ’s can lend him a dictionary. Newman says that Wells seems “obsessed with trying to cut down the feds.” I say Newman seems obsessed with trying to cut down Wells.
Joan Forsey, Toronto
A ONE-SIDED BATTLE
Calling Barbara Amiel a giant (“The battle of the giants,” Opening Notes, Oct. 29) is a giant overstatement. To compare Amiel with world-renowned writer Germaine Greer is ludicrous. Greer has changed the way women view themselves in the Western world; she has altered the course of Western culture with her books. Barbara Amiel is a “giant” only at Maclean ’s—and in her own mind.
Mendelson Joe, Toronto
PEACEKEEPER, OR PAWN?
External Affairs Minister Joe Clark has declared that young Canadians may die in the Middle East (“Raising the stakes,” World, Nov. 5). But he has not explained why. The average Canadian can only guess at what the real reasons are. What we can be sure of is that the military buildup is somehow beneficial to the United States, since that country is the leader of this crusade. But why is it in our national interest to be so deeply involved in the Gulf conflict? The Iraqis have done us no harm. So why has our government decided that it is all right for our people to get killed there?
N. M. Soonawala, Pinawa, Man.
For generations, politicians have been all too ready to send the young to be wounded, maimed and killed to shore up the political fortunes of the middle-aged. I fear that Prime
Minister Mulroney’s indignation is more a desperate lunge to distract public opinion and regain favor than a principled rebuttal to an evil megalomaniac. How many other acts of international aggression have this and previous Canadian governments let pass? Were other governments any less worthy of support than the feudal Kuwaiti rulers?
John Butcher, Ottawa
Your story sends the message that war is the only solution. If the extraordinary accumulation of military potential in the Gulf ever explodes into action, wholesale massacre of civilians will ensue. The economic and diplomatic action in the Kuwait issue must succeed. The alternative—“Cry ‘Havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war”—may well destroy the last hope for the survival of mankind.
Frank Snowsell, Kelowna, B.C.
Patricia Carlson writes that our Canadian Forces have been sent to the Persian Gulf solely to serve their master, the oil industry (“Worry on the home front,” Letters, Oct. 29). Forgetting that the world takes a dim view of the rape and destruction of a small, defenceless
country by a powerful neighbor, Carlson might consider whether she is prepared to see the North American economy controlled by a tyrannical dictator. But this is not simply a dispute over the price of oil. We are dealing with a ruthless criminal, not unlike Hitler, who is fully prepared to use any weapon to achieve
his ends. I appreciate that, in the Western world, we have come to take for granted the good life, but I trust that we have not lost the courage and the will to protect our freedom and democracy, which are never guaranteed.
D. M. Brown, Southampton, Ont.
Canadians should remember that we are very selective about which invasions we criticize. Panama, Grenada, the Dominican Republic— not much said there. We should also remember that, for years, Canadian companies, along with U.S. companies operating in Canada, have been selling military equipment to Iraq and other countries with appalling human rights records. We, in fact, have helped Saddam Hussein to do what he is doing now. One wonders how independent our foreign policy is.
DAIRY FOODS AND ‘DRIVED
In your recent story “Food for living” (Cover, Oct. 22), Fergus Clydesdale of the University of Massachusetts fears that, by giving up dairy products, consumers, especially women, will be depriving themselves of needed calcium. Why is it that this food scientist seems unaware of the recent and voluminous medical and nutritional research showing that the highprotein dairy foods actually lead to net calcium loss? A food expert’s responsibility should be to promoting a sincerely healthful diet, not lobbying for dairy producers.
Verena Besso, St. Jacobs, Ont.
If I had wanted to keep current on such critical nutritional data as what a few so-called celebri-
ties may or may not eat, I would have scanned my local supermarket tabloids (“What the celebrities eat”). I had thought such drivel was beneath Maclean ’s. You disappoint me.
Peter Zimmerman, Calgary
A ‘REFRESHING’ FORCE
The Reform Party of Canada is cashing in on the unpopularity of the established parties (“On the march,” Cover, Oct. 29). It is easy to be opposed to all the issues that have hurt the country, but it is quite a different challenge to evoke positive vote-getting policies that can proclaim “This must start” rather than “This must stop.” The Reformers are unique in that they are not trying to please everyone. Preston Manning has captured the attention of the average, English-speaking, cynical taxpayer. He is not trying to be all things to all people. Is that not refreshing? Tories, Grits and socialists take note.
Alan McDonald, Etobicoke, Ont.
I am frustrated and concerned at the current state of Canadian federal politics. When governments begin acting like five-year dictatorships, something is seriously wrong. The Reform Party of Canada’s strength lies in the principle that members of Parliament represent the people’s views in Ottawa, instead of
forcing Ottawa’s views on the people. Current and future support for the Reform Party will be based not so much on protest, but rather on common sense, respect and, most of all, hope for a better Canada.
Craig Oliver, Vancouver
“All Canadians should be treated equally,” says Preston Manning. Equally? When anglophones inside Quebec are limited in their right to communicate officially in English and francophones outside Quebec are similarly limited in their right to speak French? The ability to use your mother tongue, English or French, when communicating with public institutions is not some special privilege. It is an inalienable right, an equal right.
Michael McCamus, Scarborough, Ont.
FOTH’S TIMELY TALES
Thank you for Allan Fotheringham’s weekly column. This letter of gratitude is long overdue. The column prompting this action is “Some fleeting moments of fame” (Oct. 29). If Fotheringham is another of those hiccups on the historical list of Canadian names he so aptly describes, then I am very glad to be sharing his blip on the Canadian time line.
A. J. Hosking, Surrey, B.C.