LETTERS

April 9 1990

LETTERS

April 9 1990

LETTERS

‘REDNECK’ RACISM

The worst thing about the campaign launched by Peter Kouda and others in Western Canada (“Prairie backlash,” Canada, March 19) is not their actions, but what I suspect has been a largely apathetic reaction. I cannot believe that politicians such as Saskatchewan Justice Minister Gary Lane are reluctant to publicly chastise Kouda and his counterparts. It is up to members of minorities, politicians and community leaders to protest racist material wherever it is distributed. Please, do not perpetuate the stereotype of the Prairies as a region full of rednecks.

Heather Selin,, New York City

My family has been in Canada for several generations and I am very proud of it. While the government is bending over backwards to allow ethnic groups their right to maintain their cultural identities, it is ignoring the fact that my cultural identity is being destroyed. All people who look to traditional Canadian symbols, such as the RCMP uniform, as part of their national heritage have the right to maintain that heritage as sacred. And yet, if we try to keep our national heritage, we are accused of being racist. I do not understand.

Betty J. Brown, Willowdale, Ont.

I would like to ask Herman Bittner how he can substantiate his claim that his poster of a turbaned RCMP officer is “not racist and it wasn’t meant to be racist.”

Hazel Harper, Vancouver

A THREAT, OR A DELUSION?

Your March 19 editorial repeats the current efforts of the media to find a fly in the ointment (“A Dangerous Delusion,” From the Editor’s Desk). Is it not enough that West Germany has been a significant participant in achieving the dramatic changes in Europe, while changing from an utterly destroyed and truncated country to a “giant”? The new Germany will become the motor of a new Europe, and the world will be better for it.

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

Thank you for your wise and prescient editorial. All you hear about is unification, while the implications and the necessity for stringent safeguards are hardly mentioned. The world does not want to hold the Germans down, but it is surely entitled to guarantees of good behavior.

John Milnes, Toronto

Western journalists seem to want to stir up controversy over the issue of a unified Germany. Well, freedom seems to have come to the East. Was it realistic to expect that, if and when East Germany became free, it would not want to reunify? With language, culture and, more importantly, direct family links on both sides of the border, why are we so surprised at this move? The media seem to be shifting their focus from Russian-bashing to German-bashing. I have to ask who really is invoking old fears—the Germans, or the Western media?

Ralph Troschke, Prince Rupert, B.C.

WARSAW PACT KEPT THE PEACE

Barbara Amiel has an obsession with the Soviet Union. (“The passions of Boris Yeltsin,” Column, March 19). Really, she should be more concerned about the developments in East and West Germany. In that case, we are back to square one. Are we so naïve to believe that history cannot repeat itself? With the Warsaw Pact in place, we have had uninterrupted peace in Europe since 1945. What the future will hold is open to debate.

Robert Stennett, Nanaimo, B.C.

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE

Can the National Gallery of Canada assure us taxpayers that the controversial painting Voice of Fire (“Stripes of strife,” Art, March 26) is not hanging upside down?

Harry Allen, Victoria

‘THE STATE OF FREE SPEECH’

Your Opening Note “Controversy on campus” (March 5), which refers to a decision by Upper Canada College organizers to cancel an invitation to me to address their World Affairs Conference, says more about the state of free speech in Canada than about the state of affairs in my country. UCC’s action is closer to the norm than the exception whenever a South African diplomat is invited to speak at a Canadian institution, despite the fact that neither the ambassador nor I have ever given an address that defended apartheid. It is particularly revealing that a member of Canada’s Parliament, Svend Robinson, should condemn an address before its contents are known.

Gerrit Pretorius, First Secretary, Embassy of South Africa,

Ottawa

RAILWAY RELATIONS

Canadian Pacific chairman William Stinson wrote that the last Via train was not allowed to pause at Craigellachie, B.C., “due to practical concerns for passenger and crew safety ...” ( ‘Paying respect,” Letters, Feb. 26). Are CP Rail operations so close to unsafe that a moment to toss a wreath might have been perilous, or was it CP adhering faithfully to its disdain for public relations?

Ray Hannon, Dallas

AN INSPIRING CHOICE

Thank you for “A minister on the fast track” (Cover, March 5). As a student thinking about what I want to do with my life, I admire Kim Campbell. Her intelligence, talent and personal ideals have been an incentive to me, encouraging me to think that I can achieve anything I set my mind to and make a difference in this world.

Katherine Barr, Perth, Ont.

PERSONIFYING CO-OPERATION

Quebec’s Isabelle Brasseur and Ontario’s Lloyd Eisler, who won a silver medal at the world figure skating championships in Halifax (“Back-to-back gold,” Sports, March 19), personify what Canadians can achieve when we build on our respective strengths. By working together, we can compete and win against the best in the world.

Bruce MacMillan, West Hill, 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.

SAD COMPARISONS

My mayor, Joseph Fratesi, who took probably 27 seconds to curtail individual rights in Sault Ste. Marie (“Taking sides on language,” Canada, Feb. 19), gets equal coverage on the contents page with the hero Nelson Mandela. It is especially sad because Mandela has spent 27 years in prison because his rights were curtailed.

Robbie MacRae, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

BRATS, BIMBOS AND LOVERS

At last, you made an attempt to confront the issue of female/male relations (“The battle of the sexes,” Special Report, March 5). Yet in the same issue, you quote Paul Newman as saying, “ ‘There’s no reason to roam—I have steak at home’ ” (“Forever lovers,” People). By doing so, you reinforce the misogynist idea of “woman as meat.”

Don Wright, Montreal

Compare your coverage of billionaires, brats and bimbos in two stories in your March 5 issue (“Trump warfare,” The Sexes; “Sex and intrigue,” Television) with the meagre paragraph on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s marital stability. It suggests that Maclean ’s considers values in this country to rest on prurience and not on principles. In the future, let’s give two pages to Newman/Woodward and a paragraph to Trump’s folly.

G. Douglas Vaisey, Halifax

GUIDE FOR BUDGET CHAOS

For many Canadians, deprived as we were of the services of Doug Small, the chief excitement surrounding this year’s budget came from the chance it gave us to study the rhetoric of double-talk, Michael Wilson variety. In this kind of exercise, what is most important is what is not said. But lo, Peter C. Newman to the rescue (“The numbers game,” Commentary, March 5). Thank you, from all of us who need a guide through the semantic void surrounding, and sometimes in, Wilson’s words.

C. Earle Sanborn, London, Ont.

‘A POLITICAL CHESS GAME’

It is not a wonder that people are losing faith in our political system. As is evident in “The new ‘recruits’ ” (Canada, March 12), citizens are becoming pawns in a political chess game where the opponents challenge the effectiveness of their manipulative PR tactics, rather than test their intellectual skills. My husband and I will strive to instil honesty and integrity in our children, but how will we explain the obvious lack of these qualities in the people who aspire to lead this nation?

Nadia Melnik-Proud, Kingston, Ont.

Strange thing, this democratic process. If you want to lead the Liberal party, as Paul Martin does, you have to round up delegates who barely know your name or your policy. Then, you have to beg, borrow or sell your soul to raise $1.7 million from T-shirts and banners. How naive of us to think that all you needed was charisma and the gift of gab in both official languages. And we send observers to Central America to ensure they have honest elections.

Ray Saarinen, Delta, B.C.

TRUDEAU STILL PERSUASIVE

Your contention that Pierre Trudeau is “plainly no longer persuasive” (“A passionate warning,” Cover, March 12) is ludicrous. Most Canadians seem to agree with him on both Meech Lake and the Free Trade Agreement. Brian Mulroney has failed to discredit Trudeau’s ideas, but has succeeded in fracturing the country. Meech advocates claim Trudeau does not understand Quebec. The real tragedy is that we face three more years under a government led by a man who has demonstrated that he does not understand Canada.

Michelle Tisseyre Robinson, Aurora, Ont.

DANGEROUS ‘FINAL SOLUTION’

It is becoming clear that Canada is decaying from within, with injustice, intolerance, inequality, insolvency and political/bureaucratic ineptitude running rampant (“Canada in crisis,” Cover, March 12). The hastily hammered-out Meech Lake document is a dangerous “final solution” to trust, being tainted with the aforementioned decay.

Alan Riches, Halifax

YOUTHFUL, BUT UNEMPLOYED

Is Kenneth Taylor more youthful than Margaret Atwood? In “Returning to a New Berlin” (Cover, Feb. 26), you write, “Atwood, 50, had a busy schedule.” Two pages later, in “A hero’s quest” (Profile), you say, “Taylor, at only 55, says that he is searching ... for a job that will give him some excitement.... ” Are you just being nice to him because he was fired?

Joan Barberis, Grand Manan Island, N.B.