May 21 1990


May 21 1990



I would sooner have a political leader who spoke with the wisdom, personal integrity and spiritual sensitivity of a man like Czechoslovakian President Václav Havel (“Towards a new Europe,” World, April 30) than be able to drink clean tap water. Besides, the future of our tap water is about as bright as the future of the federal Conservative party, which, as reported in “The cost of going green” (Cover, April 30), finally “tabled a long-promised set of new regulations” regarding our water.

Peter Van Geest, London, Ont.


Although your article on anti-Semitism was very poignant in showing the increase of prejudice in both Eastern Europe and Canada, it missed a key point (“The Jews,” Cover, April 16). I am the only Jewish student in a high school of over 1,100 students, and the antiSemitism I hear is not from skinheads or other fringe groups, but from the average person. The indifferent or even prejudiced reactions that I receive when I tell people of the antiSemitism I have experienced are enough to make me nervous. This is not the hatred that my grandparents lived through. It is much more subtle and educated.

Dinah Gumprich, Ruthven, Ont.


What Canada needs is a quality daily, the kind of intelligent paper readers in some other countries manage to support (“Why newspapers need to be better,” George Bain, Media Watch, April 23). The problem is that, to compete with television and tabloids, the better newspapers move towards their competitors instead of establishing niches for themselves. What we see, then, is more shallow reporting and loud, facile opinion, more contests and marketing exercises. What we need is better reporters, better writers and more demanding readers.

R. John Hayes, Edmonton


The photograph accompanying a comment on spousal relations in the Governor General’s Foot Guards veterans’ association (“A woman’s place is still elsewhere,” Opening Notes, April 30) depicted an entirely different regiment. The Governor General’s Foot Guards are not the only ones to wear scarlet tunics and bearskin caps. The photograph in your article was of members of the Royal 22e

Régiment, a line infantry regiment authorized to wear fusilier full dress.

M. Vincent Bezeau, Director of Ceremonial, Department of National Defence, Ottawa


Changing the time slot for CTV’s national evening newscast (“Tracking the news,” Opening Notes, May 7) was considered nearly 30 years ago. I was in the CTV sales department at that time and well remember plotting a graph of evening “sets in use”, showing the steep plunge at 11. It looked as though 10 or 10:30 would be a good competi* tive move. “No,” came the response. “Eleven p.m. is the time for news—we couldn’t get people out of that habit.”

Dick Sheppard, Victoria


Peter C. Newman’s “A new school for former Communists” (Business Watch? May 7) sounds a call for more economic assistance for Czechoslovakia. I fully support the position he takes—with one condition: economic assistance and co-operation must be a two-way street. It would be proper for Czechoslovakia, as it proceeds towards privatization of its economy, to return to Canadian citizens—* Newman included—properties that have been taken without any compensation.

Karl Reeser, Toronto



I took offence at your brief article that condemned Jessica Tandy for not thanking her husband in her Oscar acceptance speech (“Flying solo,” People, April 9). Instead, she said, “Good for me.” Why should she thank her husband? She was the one who starred in the movie, not her husband. Are you implying that, even in the acting profession, women canncx. perform and succeed without the help of a man? I’m sure Jessica Tandy would not agree with you.

Kathryn Cottam, Victoria


In “The riches of sport” (Cover, April 9), the authors state that sports coverage on television has “glamorous images of sex” and, later, that sport builds character, promotes health and brings the community together. I assume that Toronto Maple Leaf hockey was meant to be excluded?

Matthew P. Gottlieb, Willowdale, Ont.

Would someone tell me how Florence GriffithJoyner manages to tie up her shoelaces, with those mandarin-style fingernails? Guess when the baby comes, they will just have to go.

Norma Franke, Mission, B.C.

We are living in an age of mixed-up priorities and we have all our price tags confused. For example, we pay a fighter millions of dollars to anesthetize a fellow human with his fists, and pay a doctor only a small fraction of that to anesthetize a person for a very good cause. And worse yet, we pay a man several million dollars for doing nothing but chasing a black rubber puck down the ice with a stick. Teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors and a host of other folks, who are dedicated to serving their fellow man, are more entitled to medals and higher wages than those who are doing nothing beneficial except amuse people. It is about time to dethrone the god of sports and the god of money. Let us, ar a nation, inaugurate the god of service to Canadians.

Edwin Marken, Camrose, Alta.


While I am no great admirer of our Prime Minister, two things should be remembered in assessing the booing at the SkyDome (“Ball park diplomacy,” Canada, April 23).


Probably the easiest task in the world is to get signatories to any petition opposing any tax regardless of its merits or demerits, and by people who have little knowledge of the tax. Second, I question whether a ball park crowd is representative, in any way, of the general population of Canada.

Sidney G. West, Toronto


Gorbachev has learned half the lesson of Nicaragua (that an economic boycott is useful in reducing a population to submission), but having uniformed troops on the scene in Lithuania is crude (“Economic warfare,” World, April 30). The trick is to find local dissidents who, properly armed, provisioned and trained, will terrorize the countryside with wholesale murder and pillage. Robert S. Reid, Regina


In “A taxing lesson for the Iron Lady” (Column, April 16), Barbara Amiel shows she has not done her homework on Britain’s poll tax. The poll tax replaces rates, which were not, as she asserts, paid only by property owners, but

also, indirectly, by all tenants. But what is worse is that Amiel goes on to hand over at face value the anti-Irish, anti-gay tabloid press attacks on the spending of rates by Labourcontrolled councils. How shameful, in an issue devoted to anti-Semitism, to see Maclean’s promoting another form of racism and homophobia. Marg Yeo,


Barbara Amiel’s clear explanation of the reasons for and meaning of the poll tax shows that the description of it as “patently unfair” is pathetically shortsighted. What is unfair about consumers paying their share of community costs?

Neil Hunter, Halifax


I object to your reporting regarding Yolanda Ballard (“A legacy of

turmoil,” Business,

April 30). Is it so unusual for a woman of

her generation to

place a great marriage? What when she refers to her “tenacious presence in Ballard’s life after she first arrived on his doorstep”? Presumably, Harold Ballard had a free will and chose to live with Yolanda Ballard for eight years. And what purpose is served by describing her as a “stocky, blond divorcee”? That is not news reporting. It is contemptible, priggish, righteous rumormongering.

Hedy de Candía, Montreal


Allan Fotheringham occasionally maunders; quite frequently dithers; sometimes even carries on ad nauseam—but his gimlet political eye is, quite often, dead on. In “Muddling through, Canadian style” (Column, April 16), he hits the nail so accurately as to shatter it. Meech Lake is indeed a crisis perpetuated by editorial writers and politicians. Cana-t da enjoys grumping at itself, much as family members, familiar with the others’ foibles, snipe and carp, yet would dismember anyone outside the family who dared utter the slightest criticism. English Canada likes complaining about Quebec, just as that province enjoys feeling hard done by. Keeps the mind alive.

Susan Baxter, Vancouver

Zowie! Dr. Foth, in his “Muddling through, Canadian style,” out-Foths Foth. His hiatus from the madding crowd has caused him to strike ere his thoughts were sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.

Stanley Smith, Edmonton



Reader Gary Kohl noted your superficial mention of a native land claim in the April 9 issue (“Agreement lacks depth,” Letters, April 23). But in attempting to provide more depth (“Cash, land and power,” Canada, April 23), your article focused on the cash settlement without any comparison such as Kohl provided. The article also errs in stating that “the three native groups will assume outright ownership of . . . 220,000 square miles.” It always was aboriginal land; they are simply retaining it. The media will never promote a better understanding of aboriginal issues until publications such as Maclean’s explain that Aboriginal people are not given special rights by agreements with governments: inherent rights are simply recognized and affirmed.

Pat Chilton, Mushkegowuk Council, Moose Factory, Ont.


Regarding Lowell Murray’s remarks (“In defence of the accord,” Cover, April 2) that Pierre Trudeau is just a guy selling a book, it seems that “yesterday’s man” must have got his PhD in the art of salesmanship. He’s doing

a lot better in selling his vision of Canada than Lowell Murray and the Prime Minister combined.

Pearl Miller, Downsview, Ont.

That legendary darling of the media, Pierre Trudeau (he of the shrug, the rose, the acerbic wit and the book to flog), claims to a group of Toronto high-school kids, “We’re not riding in here for a shootout with the Meech Lake gang” (“Return of a gunslinger,” Cover, April 2). He is right. Just look at that picture of him standing in front of a Canadian flag. That is not Wyatt Earp. That is Gen. George Patton. Give him a whip and high boots, and he could give George C. Scott a run for his money any day.

Margaret Gunning, Port Coquitlam, B.C.


In the Media Watch column of your April 23 issue, George Bain states that “the Halifax Gazette, a weekly, appeared in 1752. That means the 300th anniversay of the newspaper in Canada is just 48 years away.” According to my calculations, the 300th anniversary is 62 years away. Therefore, the title of that week’s column, “Why newspapers need to be better,” is indeed a timely one.

Andrew Bartok, Ottawa


Does Fred Bruning (“Foreign ownership and racial bias,” Column, April 30) really suggest that the interests of North America be subordinated to Japan? North American pride, craftmanship and determination can match Japan’s one-on-one anytime. Japanese fair trade practices would reduce the astronomical trade imbalance—the main cause of tension—and would be an ingredient for instant love. Unemployment and bankruptcies made in Japan are not the right concoctions for affection.

Serge Gopelle, London, Ont.


The spectacle of seeing two duly elected members of Parliament being thrown out of the Conservative caucus for doing the very job they were elected to do boggles the mind (“Ball park diplomacy,” Canada, April 23). Prime Minister Brian Mulroney would do well to remember, in his cavalier dismissal of two honorable members, that he has also shown his autocratic contempt for the opinions of the voters in two Alberta ridings.

Robert Simpson, Fort Nelson, 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. M5W 1A7.