November 5 1990


November 5 1990



I am appalled and dismayed that you have altered Attila Richard Lukacs’s image of Authentic Decorby airbrushing the genitals out of one of the figures in the painting (“Attila the painter,” Art, Oct. 1). I am alarmed that a thing like this could happen in a major Canadian magazine. I would hope that Canada could distinguish itself from the United States’ most recent fiasco in response to images someone was uncomfortable with. I suggest you stay out of the Sistine Chapel if the sight of a penis bothers you that much.

Diane Farris, Director, Diane Farris Gallery, Vancouver

Airbrushing the genitals was offensive to all of us who value the spirit and importance of art, not to mention freedom of individual expression. Arbitrary acts of censorship undermine the mental health of Canadian society.

Lome Falk, Program Director, Art Studio, The Banff Centre for the Fine Arts, Banff, Alta.

Your attitude is smug, immoral and has an air of bigotry about it. Is this how you report all the news? Changing a work of art is like changing a text or a quote—a deliberate falsification and misrepresentation. You do damage to the artist’s integrity and insult your readers when you alter works of art, especially for the sake of priggishness.

Scott Watson, Curator, Fine Arts Gallery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

EDITOR’S NOTE: The decision to airbrush was made in error late in the magazine’s closing cycle. It does not represent Maclean’s policy, nor does it reflect any form of censorship on the magazine’s part.


The story “Senators with push” (Opening Notes, Oct. 22) is untrue. I was on the pay phone when the attendant passed me my ticket for the 11:30 a.m., not the 9:30, flight. I did not push my way to the front of the line. Senator Finlay MacDonald and I walked down the corridor to the counter where the 9:30 flight was boarding on the chance that some passengers might not show. A seat count was taken and there were empty seats, and we were then given boarding passes for the flight.

Senator John M. Buchanan, The Senate, Ottawa


The current bleeding hearts are having a “media fest” celebrating the 20th anniversary of the invoking of the War Measures Act (“The FLQ crisis,” Cover, Oct. 15). How do

they classify the destructive acts by the FLQ, the bombings and, finally, kidnappings and murder in 1970? Only resolute action by thenPrime Minister Pierre Trudeau stopped the FLQ’s incipient rebellion in its tracks and avoided a possible bloody confrontation. Trudeau made the right move at the right time. For that he should be praised, not reviled.

L Elmer Hansen,

Tsawwassen, B.C.

I can vividly conjure up the shock and disbelief my husband and I experienced driving home from the east end of Montreal, along the Metropolitan Boulevard, to the Decarie expressway. It was close to midnight when our radio punctuated the eeriness of the night with the news of Pierre Laporte’s murder and the closing of all exits to our once stable and secure city.

Margaret MacDonald, Ottawa

The most offensive aspect of the October Crisis was the sentence received by FLQ murderer Paul Rose. Why did he not get life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 25 years?

Harold C. Francis, London, Ont.



Y ikes! Gretzky-bashing has gone below the belt. It seems that we lose our sense of compassion for heroes when their greatness reaps enormous wealth and fame (“Blue-line whine,” Books, Oct. 1). Wayne Gretzky “complains,” your reviewer writes, he “sniffs,” he “gripes,” he “grumbles”—could these be the bitter sentiments of a disappointed Calgary Flames fan? Personally, I had trouble putting Gretzky: An Autobiography down. What your reviewer described as whining, I understood as straightforwardness. Over the years, Gretzky has been described in many ways, but “blandly opaque” borders on the absurd.

John St. Godard, Montreal

I am rather upset about your review of Gretzky: An Autobiography. Gretzky went through a lot of hardships in his climb to the top, as does anyone who excels in his field. He is not only a spectacular athlete, but also a kind and compassionate person. Everyone should stop putting him down and be proud that he is a Canadian.

Jessica Bysterveld, Delbume, Alta.


Your item “The disabled news” (Opening Notes, Oct. 1) details a recent incident in St. John’s, Nfld., in which one television station (NTV) filmed the vehicle of another TV station (CBC) illegally parked in a handicapped-parking spot. An executive producer at NTV is quoted as saying that CBC started a “dispute” by “recently” filming a report about a provincial politician parking in a handicapped spot. He is quoted further as saying that CBC is “on a bandwagon.” My questions are: What dispute? What bandwagon? The last time CBC ran a story on handicapped parking was in February of 1986—hardly recent. CBC has publicly apologized for the incident of illegal parking, and staff at CBC St. John’s have been explicitly told not to use such reserved parking spots.

Jim Byrd, Regional Director, CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John ’s


After reading your article “A cry for the children” (Behavior, Oct. 1) and listening to pious outpourings about the globe’s children, I simply must give vent to my anger. Why do serious long-term problems invariably get patchwork solutions? Why can we not tell our leaders to stop wasting trillions of dollars for armaments and instead use this money to provide an acceptable quality of life for those


who are less well-off? Instead, we behave as if the planet’s resource availability is boundless. The simple fact is that if we want more than just a subsistence quality of life for every last man, woman and child, then we in the affluent part of the world will have to accept a substantial decline in our standard of living.

Hartmut de Witt, Ottawa

The welfare of the child is vital to all areas of human progress. Where is the validity of a religious doctrine, whatever it may be, that neglects to stand united against the violation of children’s rights? Where is the justice of governments if children are neglected in any areas that foster true progress?

Vera Collier, Regina

If the World Summit for Children had set out to design and implement a worldwide initiative towards the prevention of unaffordable and unwanted births, it would have taken the first step towards the only viable solution. Instead, it chose to let the problem continue and even escalate, while it applies Band-Aids.

Rudolph Krause, Elmira, Ont.


Why are our servicemen and women in the Persian Gulf without the consent of Parliament and with no clear reason for being there (“Ready for war,” Cover, Oct. 1)? Are we protecting the U.S. oil supply, or coming to the rescue of two feudal kingdoms—or both?

Dorothy Crowe, Sardis, B.C.

The inclusion of Canada in NATO requires us to be involved in peacekeeping duties worldwide. Such duties are to deter any hostile aggression by nations intent on seizing a weaker nation’s valuable assets by force. We have shown ourselves capable of carrying out large operations in the past. Canadian lives may be lost if a conflict breaks out in the Persian Gulf, but we should be prepared to accept that as readily as every other nation that has sent a delegation there. If Canadians do not want to be a part of international diplomacy, then maybe we should think about becoming a neutral country.

Greg Tetreault, Victoria

Saddam Hussein will have little to worry about if the flight training our pilots receive is no better than their small-arms training as depicted in “Ready for war.” As former director of operations at the National Firearms Training

operations at the National Firearms Training Academy in Lachine, Que., and earlier having trained over 500 «police, security guards and others in the safe and effective handling of handguns, I can see that none of the three men with pistols shown in your photo is holding his weapon correctly. One of the pilots risks losing his thumb when he fires, and another could fall over backwards because of his stance.

Dave Young, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.


Having had the misfortune of reading Barbara Amiel’s “The confusion in people’s minds” (Column, Oct. 8), I shall further waste my time by responding to it. Amiel tosses out the same old dogma of threats to rights and liberty and wealth. She attempts to instil fear of what she perceives as the hierarchy-bashing socialist hordes that have infiltrated Ontario. I was touched, however, by her concern for the recognition of Conrad Black’s writing ability. Maybe Amiel can further show her genius by writing a follow-up column with the title “Poor rich capitalist, jilted by literary world, forced to buy tabloid to reveal writing prowess.” No doubt the lower strata of society—perhaps the single mother struggling to cope because of a work environment that treats her unequally— will now be more content with life’s lot after seeing how someone so high up can suffer such injustice.

Martin Markan, Utopia, Ont.

Barbara Amiel hits the nail right on the head with respect to Canada’s distrust and suspicion of wealth and success. Indeed, I will go even further and say there is now a significant minority of Canadians who literally despise success, and worship egalitarianism and its thwarted child, mediocrity. Many Canadians (and not only journalists) have accepted to a great extent the tenets of collectivism—the primacy of the group over and above that of the individual. Canada is hurtling into a philosophical abyss—the destruction of the spirit of individualism.

Dr. Paul Prachun, Waterloo, Ont.

Before Barbara Amiel writes another column on liberty and the moral and intellectual virtues of human enterprise, perhaps she should spend more time reading Maclean ’s articles on such successes of democratic capitalism as the collapse of trust companies in Alberta, the junkbond scandal on Wall Street or the multibüliondollar savings and loan debacle in the United States.

Paul Vorstermans, Creemore, Ont.

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.



Kevin Doyle’s Oct. 8 editorial was both thoughtful and accurate in its assessment of Canadians’ consideration of civil disobedience and anarchy (“The Road To Anarchy,” From the Editor’s Desk). There is a cancer in the Canadian body politic, and it will only go away with major surgery—or a miracle.

R. B. Lank, Orangeville, Ont.

Is it not so that the Governor General has the duty to oversee the well-being of the country and has the power, when necessary, to dissolve Parliament and call an election? When I read your summary of our situation, I was prompted again to wonder, “Should not the Governor General be acting?” We cannot afford another two years or so of this government.

Helen Marshall, Toronto

You appear to be unaware that anarchy was practised by the biblical Hebrew nation during its first 400 years. Those people lived without a king, without a civil service and without taxes. Their secret was a structure for working out individual, group and national problems by consensus. We should try it. It works.

Jim Grannan, Brockville, Ont.

These are indeed the best of times and the worst of times. The powerful centralized state is a relatively recent development in Canada. In 1910, the federal government had little to do with the daily affairs of the citizens. There were local governments, newspapers and social organizations: life was centred on the family, church, farm and common sense. There were few taxes and fewer deputy ministers. Today, we work for large corporations, read mass daily newpapers and vote for mass political parties. It was much easier to be different in 1910. It is not that the state is evil. Rather, the modern state is a bore.

Valdi Inkens, Willowdale, Ont.


As an ex-Torontonian, I take exception to Allan Fotheringham’s continual and scathing, snide remarks about my city (“At its heart, there is none,” Column, Oct. 1). Perhaps Fotheringham should interview a few of us who wandered Toronto’s ravines, picnicked on its beaches, sailed from the islands and grew up in a safe, clean environment. I often return to Toronto to renew happy memories.

Mary Smith, Markdale, Ont.


Rather than knock Toronto, why does Fotheringham not try to find out why an American city got the Olympics only 12 years after Los Angeles? By the way, does Fotheringham know that many of the Americans who happen to visit Toronto are amazed by its cleanliness and lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere? If there was ever any reason for “penis envy” of New York City, those years are certainly long gone. Many cultured and enterprising Americans do not even want to go to New York anymore. I have lived in or near many cities, and Toronto is certainly one of the most livable—if it were not for this awful negative attitude.

Puck Winquist,

Westport, Conn.


In “Better safe than sued” (Opening Notes, Oct. 1), you reported that FLQ terroristtumed-publisher Jacques Lanctot passed up a chance to publish an unflattering book on the Mulroneys. You said that he “was scared he would be sued.” Considering that Lanctot’s firm has received $100,000 in federal grants, perhaps his terror was based instead on the possibility of losing out on more of the taxpayers’ loot. Twice I have applied to the federally funded Canada Council for a writer’s grant. Twice I have been turned down. I should contact Mr. Lanctot to see what I have to do to get in the government’s good books.

Dennis McCloskey, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Lanctot achieved a lot more than notoriety for his acts during the 1970 October Crisis. It is no wonder he refused to publish an insider account of life at 24 Sussex Drive—his publishing firm is being paid $100,000 a year by Mulroney’s government. Show me anyone, let alone a criminal whose actions caused the invocation of the War Measures Act, who would jeopardize such a handout.

Ann McKay, Campbellville, Ont.


In “Signals of hope” (Medicine, Oct. 1), you state that “the latest breakthroughs [in cystic fibrosis research] occurred as the direct result of research conducted independently at the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa.” While that may be true, I would like to point out that much of this research would be impossible without the millions of Canadians who have made financial contributions to CF fund-raising projects. A great deal of credit should go to the Canadian people for their never-ending support of CF research.

Bud Melless, Lindsay, Ont.