LETTERS

March 26 1990

LETTERS

March 26 1990

LETTERS

LUDICROUS DESTRUCTION

In the article “Navigating rough seas” (Business, March 5), your mention of the restoration of fish stocks on the Grand Banks in the same breath as the returning of National Sea’s profit levels is symptomatic of the ecological mess we have gotten ourselves into. The depletion of the ocean’s fisheries is not an item for the business section: the very fabric of life on earth is being destroyed by the shortsightedness of business and its all-consuming obsession with the profit motive, aided and abetted by an equally shortsighted government. When there were calls to cut quotas and increase conservation efforts in order to replenish declining stocks, then-Fisheries Minister Thomas Siddon rejected them, citing the “human and social impact.” That is yet more proof of the destructiveness of the ludicrous species that is man. What will be the human and social impact of the extinction of these fisheries, something that is entirely possible given such stupidity?

Verena Besso, St. Jacobs, Ont.

NEW JOB FOR AN OLD FACE

Canada finally has a minister of forests, and his picture was conspicuously absent from “Changing the guard” (Cover, March 5). Frank Oberle is definitely an old face, but his new job as minister of forests is a promotion from his former one as minister of state for forestry. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney finally fulfilled his election promise of 1984 and created a full ministry of forests. Shame on you, Maclean ’s, for forgetting the minister of Canada’s number 1 industry.

George Edney, Mackenzie, B.C.

CHANGING ATTITUDES

As a chemical engineering student, I was impressed to see the issue of women in engineering addressed in your magazine (“Campus tension,” Special Report, March 5). I felt that the article placed the blame for this tension on the students, while ignoring the greater problems caused by faculty members who encourage this behavior. After four years at the University of New Brunswick, I have found the male students to be full of respect for their female colleagues. I was very pleased to hear of the establishment of a Women in Engineering Chair at UNB, yet equally disappointed when a professor of mine wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper questioning the necessity of such a chair. Monique Frize, holder of the chair, will be kept busy trying to change attitudes like those.

Stephanie More, Fredericton

Three of the articles in your Special Report “The battle of the sexes ” (March 5) were written by women and, I noted, provided a female perspective on the issue. One way to resolve tensions between the sexes is for each sex to have her/his voice heard. Women portraying men as violent, sexist and untrustworthy, while not allowing men to speak of their

experience of women, can do little to resolve tensions. In fact, it worsens them.

Jaw ad Kassab, Toronto

The liberal-humanist establishment, which is responsible for the idea that people are basically good and nasty societal forces make them do bad things, insists that men are violent against women out of some kind of paranoid pique. But there is violence in every human heart, as well as the capacity for good. Individuals who recognize this have formed mies to curb the violence in those who cannot do it themselves. Toddlers who gleefully tread on ants differ in degree, but not in kind, from those who kill their brothers in “religious” wars. Violence is always wrong— directed at men, women or children; perpetrated by men, women or children.

Rita Ubriaco, Thunder Bay, Ont.

If we can stop aggrandizing the matter with psychobabble, the reasoning behind violence towards women is evident. When you feel like taking your shortcomings out on someone, you pick someone who is smaller and weaker. Let’s call it what it is: it’s bullies.

Betty Higgins, Scarborough, Ont.

LETTERS

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

I was intrigued by your article “Life in the slow lane” (Cover, Feb. 19). On page 28, we read “ ... that such basic items as sugar, meat and most fresh fruit and vegetables are largely unavailable.” Then, on page 29, we find a photograph of a meat stall in a Moscow market, with what looks like plenty of meat, regardless of the balance of the caption (“Soviet women average two hours a day standing in storefront lines”). I am sure there is an explanation; however, it does not give one much confidence in the credibility of the whole article. How does that quote go? “A picture is worth 1,000 words?”

David C. Nott, Nepean, Ont.

THE BREAKUP OF CANADA

As municipalities in English-speaking Canada proclaim themselves “English only” and politicians in Quebec ponder their response to this and the possible failure of the Meech Lake accord, a situation whose roots are mainly economic is rapidly evolving into one centred on language (“Dangerous Times,” From The Editor’s Desk, Feb. 26). Fuelled by bigots on both sides, the “moderate middle” watches

helplessly as our country is being wrenched apart. Historians, years from now, will record the events leading up to the breakup of Canada and conclude that what sprang from a population grown weary of excessive taxation, insensitive legislators, politically motivated govern-

ment contracts and constitutional parlor games finally vented its frustration along language lines. Before we go on to say things we do not really mean and cannot take back, let us bum into our hearts and minds that history, geography and common interests have put us together. Even from arranged marriages love can bloom.

R. Fraser Duff, Lyndhurst, Ont.

You state in your editorial of Feb. 26 that “Two provinces are holding out on passage of the Meech Lake agreement because it offers Quebec a role as a ‘distinct society.’ ” In fact, New Brunswick’s Premier Frank McKenna has already agreed to the distinct society clause. His primary concerns have always been the protection of minority rights, an understandable position in Canada’s only officially bilingual province. The debate on Meech Lake is marked by what you term national “indifference,” S and I agree that such an important document o should be more clearly understood by Canadian citizens. But the media have a responsiu bility to present information on the topic clearly.

Steve Llewellyn, Fredericton

Nowhere is bilingualism more fervently sup4 ported than in Western Canada. We just do not support the parochial single English-French

LETTERS

bilingualism of the past. We firmly support international multilingualism of the future, which is English and a language of choice. We are not intolerant. We want to expand tolerance by opting for the broadening future and not the limiting past.

Hugh Arscott, Saskatoon

A DISTURBING OMISSION

Perhaps your interesting cover article “Hollywood meets the new Europe” (Feb. 26) was not intended to contain a discussion of the total Canadian presence at the Berlin International Film Festival. But, for this writer, the absence of my film Seated Figures was disturbing. It received four well-attended screenings at three theatres, was of course listed in all the schedules and programs and had a full-page ad in one of the festival publications. There were those at the screenings who claimed that Seated Figures, being the work of an individual and having been made completely independently, was more politically significant to the current flux of ideas generated by the changes in Eastern Europe than the many films that took a more obvious part in the dialogue. Apart from the nature of the film itself, which could also be influential in the Eastern European context, my films are considered by many film experts to be among the best ever made in any category (they could be wrong!).

Michael Snow, Toronto

REDEFINING BENZENE

Benzene may be clear, but it is neither a gas nor naturally occurring (“Bursting the bubble,” Business, Feb. 26). It is a heavy, oily liquid, C6H6 (also known as benzol), and a product of coal tar distillation.

Gary F. Scholz, Lone Butte, B.C.

INSPIRATIONAL FORCES

It was good to read that Burton Cummings was inspired by Stephen Hawking’s example of fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known in the United Kingdom as “motor neuron disease”) while continuing to lead the world in his field of research (“Cerebral inspiration,” People, Feb. 26). I wish Cummings success with his new recording and I hope that he may also be inspired to make a contribution towards research into this mysterious and daunting disease. The fight against ALS needs all the help it can get.

Marion Armstrong, Ottawa

LETTERS

NEW WAVE OF ANTI-SEMITISM

The Arab world has recently called for a halt on Soviet Jewish immigration to Israel because of concern about where these people will live once they arrive in Israel. What about how they will live if they are forced to remain in the Soviet Union? In “Opening the floodgates” (World, Feb. 26), it was mentioned that a new wave of anti-Semitism has erupted in the Soviet Union. Soviet Jews are arriving in Israel not as returnees, but as refugees escaping anti-Semitism and a possibility of a new surge of pogroms in their native country. A call for a halt on that immigration while the United States has imposed quotas of 50,000 Soviet immigrants a year is to deny Soviet Jews the opportunity for freedom from religious oppression and a chance at a new life.

Dafna Linzer, Edmonton

LACKING A MASTER PLAN

I am pleased that Brian Mulroney accepts blame for bad polls, but what about the homeless, the air, water, land and resources (“Getting the message out,” Canada, Feb. 26)? Mulroney, like his mentor/superior George Bush, has no master plan nor ideology. Period. The sad reality is that voters chose the man we call leader, and as a result we all pay the price for self-delusion. If the Czechoslovaks can pick a playwright, maybe we ought to try one too. I would settle for the Foth.

Mendelson Joe, Toronto

MORE KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED

Havi Echenberg says the federal government is partly to blame for poverty because of its preoccupation with deficits “instead of committing itself to full employment ...” (“The face of hunger,” Special Report, Feb. 12). How can any government ensure full employment when the marketable skills of many Canadians are no longer adequate? As technology steadily does away with the more mechanical aspects of work, Canadians are finding that they are having to know more when they enter the workforce. In this respect, it is not the federal government that is at fault, but the provinces, which have jurisdiction over the educational systems. And Canadians must have the incentive to participate in that educational system, both for ourselves and our children, instead of being dragged through it, as so many of us are.

Richard Weatherill, Sidney, 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.