The newly appointed Spicer commission is clearly doomed to failure (“What does Canada want?” Canada/Cover, Nov. 12). We are going to get the touchy-feely treatment from a panel of experts who will ask Canadians to do a little soul-searching on the subject of national unity. Despite the idealistic phrases about nation building and a vision of a future for our country, most Canadians are likely to look upon the Spicer commission as yet another attempt to mollify Quebec.
Geoffrey Prescott, Coquitlam, B.C.
Describing the Spicer commission, you conclude that Canada is “a nation wearied to the point of exhaustion by its own divisions.” Who says so? I am not. My friends are not. Now it is the people’s turn. I, therefore, strongly support the Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future. Bonne chance to Keith Spicer.
George Mowbray, Toronto
FOOD MARKETING WAR
I was disappointed by your report concerning food prices and marketing boards (“Family food fights,” Business, Nov. 19). Why did you just focus on eggs, milk and chicken? Would you not have found the same discrepancies in other products? How do processor markups compare in both countries? What about the disposable incomes of consumers? The truth is that, over the past few years, farm gate prices have been declining while there has been a steady and accelerating increase in the consumer price index. Do you really believe that the farmer is contributing to these increases? No wonder there is public cynicism.
R. Edmund McClay, Palmerston, Ont.
In 1990,1 lost money in vegetable production and made money in egg-hatching production. Guess which one is supply managed? Only those Canadian farms that are under supply management seem to be making money. It seems that some people want no Canadian farmers to make money.
Alfred Reid, Abbotsford, B.C.
PRAISE FOR ‘HIGH STANDARDS’
I want to commend Maclean’s for consistently high standards of documentary photography and editorial illustration. In particular, Brian Wilier and Roy Peterson produce outstanding work on a weekly basis. The recent cover illustration of Margaret Thatcher
(“Stepping out,” Nov. 26) is one of your best covers in recent memory. Peterson’s drawing goes beyond stock photography to create a portrait that is at once dynamic and insightful.
Michael Maynard, President, Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, Toronto
LOST IN THE TRANSLATION
I was flattered that Allan Fotheringham read my article “The last dinner” in the December issue of Toronto Life and liked it enough to base half his column on it (“No designer food? It must be a recession,” Nov. 26). At least, I think it was my article (he does not attribute his source), since all the facts and quotes Fotheringham uses originally appeared there. In the broad brushstrokes of Fotheringham’s humor, some subtleties—not to mention accuracies—were lost: the yuppies he imagines grazing at Fenton’s as it collapsed had left for hipper pastures long before the restaurant went bankrupt. Indeed, the loss of young, affluent customers is one of the reasons it did fail, a point I make clear in my article (maybe he did not have time to read that far). The “ladieswho-lunch,” whom I took the trouble to interview, were not the skinny trendoids Fotheringham paints. My term was “well-heeled matrons”—the kind more likely to be found at the Ada Mackenzie Shop than Marilyn Brooks. And any ladies who lunched on chicken stuffed with veal, nuts and ginger would not have “seethrough bodies” for long. Anyway, that dish was not on the menu in 1990—I make reference to it as one of chef Werner Bassen’s earliest creations.
Moira Farr, Toronto
WHAT CANADA WANTS
Ihave conducted a $2 poll that will save our country millions of wasted tax dollars (“What does Canada want?” Canada/Cover, Nov. 12). The consensus is uniform. What Canada wants is a new Prime Minister.
John H. Lubberdink, Terrace Bay, Ont.
What does Canada want? Action on the environment—clean air, clean water, clean food; a clean sweep from office of all environmentally unconscious politicians and bureaucrats; honest media; a just society; a new federal government that understands that it is the servant, not the master, of the people; and a new Prime Minister.
Helen McCullough, Winnipeg
Our federal politicians must stand up for Canada, not their regions. Why not send them to a different region during their summer holiday? By the end of a five-year term, he or she could have represented all regions of Canada and then might understand a little of the Canadian mosaic. If this plan were implemented, we could see the demise of the Bloc Québécois, the Confederation of Regions party and others of that ilk. Those parties stand for regionalism and have no right to be part of the federal scene.
Cedric N. Gibson,
A SWIMSUIT NUMBER
Congratulations to the new Miss Canada (“Personality queen,” People, Nov. 12). Not on her win, but on her dry wit. What else could possibly account for her snappy comments about Miss Canada not being a beauty contest because contestants no longer do the obligatory swimsuit number? However, the photograph that accompanied the short article showed our new Miss Canada’s important talents: yes, there was the trusty old swimsuit shot, complete with cleavage shielded ever so slightly by the pageant winner’s banner.
Jane Fordham, Toronto
Perhaps you would have found other words besides “raunchy,” “strong” and “sexual prowess” to describe the misogynistic lyrics of rap if, instead of women, the objects of rap’s brutality were Jews, Arabs or magazine writers (“The big rap attack,” Music, Nov. 12).
M. G. Collura, Campbell River, B.C.
I was intrigued by the self-righteous tone of your critics and by your apologetic reply regarding the airbrushed genitals in a picture you published (“Controversial deletion,” Letters, Nov. 5). It reminds me of the prophet Isaiah's words: “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
David L. Martin, Burns Lake, B.C.
NO GUARANTEE OF JOBS
In response to the article “Opening the door wider” (Canada, Nov. 5), I would have been all for Barbara McDougall’s plan to bring more immigrants to Canada if it were not for the recession. The $525 million could be better used for the more crucial needs of the economy. Should not this money be used to help those recently unemployed due to the recession? Can our government guarantee the immigrants jobs when they get here?
Shanna-Lee Slobodian, Edmonton,
External Affairs Minister Joe Clark is calling on Canadians to go to war (“Raising the stakes,” World, Nov. 5). Why are we listening without protest? Our forces are going as part of the military machine conjured up by those who ,( promote war as a solution to economic problems. Why do we protest in the streets when Morgentaler sets up an abortion clinic, when we also support the calculated murder of millions of people who are sacrificed to the god of war?
Rev. Audrey Brooks, ( Edmonton
‘WHAT CANADA NEEDS’
Contrary to what David P. Shugarman seems to believe (Letters, Nov. 19), Preston Manning’s vision of a “new Canada” based on traditional values and small-c conservatism is exactly what this country needs. Manning’s Reform Party offers Canadians a well-formulated and constructive platform designed to achieve more meaningful democracy through parliamentary and constitutional reform, and by implementing policies that encourage per-> sonal initiative and responsibility.
Patrick C. Muttart, Woodstock, 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. M5W 1A7.
Diane Francis overstepped the mark when she attempted to link free trade and the Goods and Services Tax (“Declaring war on the ostriches,” Column, Nov. 12). The first was a necessity, the second a political money grab. It seems that she fails to recognize that while we accepted being the “point man” in a Northern Hemisphere free trade agreement, it is far more dangerous to be the test market for value-added-tax acceptance in this part of the world. I am sure that the Canadian black market, which is certain to develop, will rival those flourishing in the other 48 VAT-ridden countries. I am equally certain that Canadian retail spending in the United States will easily double in the coming years.
Elliott Ettenberg, Toronto
I think Diane Francis was right when she said that “trade liberalization has also led to fewer, bigger, more efficient manufacturing plants and resource operations.” I presume she was thinking of the great new nation called “U.S.Canada.” Many Canadians are only too happy to have a close relationship with the United States, but they do not consider that we should be forced to sacrifice our economic and political independence.
Richard M. Beam.es, Vancouver
Whatever apologies Diane Francis may have thought necessary for the existing Free Trade Agreement, her characterization of the GST as tax reform is pure obscenity. Defective as the manufacturers sales tax may be, it is sheer lunacy to replace it by a flat, regressive sales tax requiring battalions of bureaucrats to administer. Strong alternatives include eliminating income tax cuts for the wealthy and the holiday for capital gains introduced by Mulroney, as well as introducing inheritance and stock transfer taxes.
Douglass L. Grant, Sydney, N.S.
Contrary to popular belief, our governments cannot continue to protect us from the evils of the world economy. We must all come out of our cocoons to work for a stronger, competitive Canada in the 1990s. The GST and free trade are vital components of this agenda.
Susan Olsen, Ottawa
Free trade is desirable, but only when it is agreed that protecting the environment and the health of our citizens is not restraint of trade. Those who control world trade are not concerned with raising the standard of living of
Nicaraguan coffee pickers or Bolivian tin miners. Free trade is simply a neat device for making the rich richer and keeping the poor in their place.
Frank Hollins, Chilliwack, B.C.
ACTS OF COWARDICE
I am appalled to hear that in Northern Ireland, members of the Irish Republican Army have extended their acts of terrorism by using innocent citizens to do their dirty work (“ ‘Human bombs,’ ” World, Nov. 5). This does not help them, but only goes to prove what animals and cowards they truly are.
Willard Schiffner, Edmonton
IRA members are called cowards, but is not everybody else cowardly if they do nothing to stop them? Courageous, dramatic steps need to be taken to stop the IRA.
Rebecca R. Larter, Edmonton
Barbara Amiel’s appalling column in the Nov. 5 issue (“Why war in the Gulf is absolutely necessary”), mocking the United States for not going to war, reminds me of the expression that “war hath no fury like a noncombatant.” Fortunately, war is too serious to be left to magazine columnists. And Canadians? We appear to be running towards hell with a bucket of water. We cannot afford a large standing army, but should we not insist that the equipment we have be state-of-the-art?
Robert I. Fitzhenry, Markham, Ont.
If Saddam Hussein has indulged in “naked aggression, torture, rape and pillage,” what label should Amiel put on the leaders of Saudi Arabia? Amnesty International says that it has evidence that Saudi Arabian forces have tortured hundreds of Yemenis. By calling for war with Iraq, can Amiel equate two standards of dictatorships—one acceptable, the other a pariah of the international community?
Bert Snelgrove, Barrie, Ont.
Why is there a fuss about the deposition of a feudal ruler of a fragment of a state arbitrarily created by Britain? Hussein has been tolerated through much more serious atrocities. So let us talk about strategy, or cheap oil. Not about honor.
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