October 14 1991


October 14 1991



As a physiotherapist, I read “A pain in the back” (Cover, Sept. 30) with great interest. It is apparent from your article that Dr. Allan Dyer has not kept pace with recent spinal research. Lumbar traction for the relief of lower-back pain, like that provided by Dyer’s Vax-D table, is far from a revolutionary type of treatment. From what is described of the VaxD in your article, there seems to be little difference between it and traction tables that physiotherapists have been using for the past 25 years—at a fraction of the cost of the VaxD. Despite Dyer’s assertion, no evidence exists that traction can restore a herniated disc to its original unharmed state. We in the medical field cannot rely on hot packs, traction and other treatments alone. Ultimately, responsibility must be transferred to the patient through education in back care, body mechanics and exercise.

Sam Steinfeld, Pan Am Sports Medicine Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre, Winnipeg

A pain in the back? If your articles are correct, 80 per cent of us are in real trouble. I and countless others have found a way to avoid even the thought of back pain through the Mitzvah Technique, identified and developed by M. Cohen-Nehemiah. The technique deals with the patterns of body misuse that are the causes of debilitating back pain. We do not have to strap our bodies to machines to make them work properly. The human body is designed to take care of itself already—it has just forgotten how.

Linda Snefjella, Toronto


Stanley Katz, president of the American Club of Toronto, is quoted in “A swelling exodus” (Immigration, Sept.30) as saying, “If the United States had a health plan like Canada’s, we’d probably all be gone.” I beg to differ. Universal health care is only one of the many reasons that Canada is one of the best countries in the world in which to live. Gun control is another, along with beautiful scenery, great people, decent wages, a social system that helps the needy, clean water, concern for the environment, a good education system and governments willing to respond to racism. Only those who are more concerned with conspicuous consumption and materialism opt out and move to the United States. If they paid me three times what I earned in Canada, I would not even consider moving there. There are many who agree with me.

Esther Terry, Edmonton


I am writing to comment on C. J. Evans’s letter criticizing Eric Lindros as “an oversized ego” (“A heroic debate,” Sept. 23). Two years ago, I was a volunteer at Oshawa’s Big Brother fund raiser “Bowl for Millions,” and

Lindros was a volunteer bowler. Despite his busy schedule, he chatted with and signed autographs for the many young boys who were anxious to meet their hockey hero. Lindros is a Canadian superstar. Those who perceive him as a spoiled brat have really got caught up in the media circus. I met Eric for only 10 minutes, but that is 10 minutes longer than C. J. Evans and many of the reporters who have labelled Lindros have actually spent with him.

Sheila Corriveau, Toronto


Ontario Premier Bob Rae should communicate his refreshing new attitude towards the necessity of business being competitive to his good friends, the unions (“Returning fire,” Business, Sept. 30). Ontario companies that have so far survived the onslaught of global competition realized long ago that every employee must participate in the running of the business. Unfortunately, many entrenched union leaders still oppose the involvement of their membership in the improvement process. Authoritarian union structures, not management, are the greatest threat to the survival of Ontario’s manufacturing base.

Dennis Young, Scarborough, Ont.


DIED : Liberal Senator Hazen Argue, 70, after a long battle with cancer, in Regina. Argue first won election to the House of Commons in 1945, when he was 24. By the time he won the leadership of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in 1960, he had won four re-election victories. But in 1961, Tommy Douglas defeated him for the leadership of the newly renamed New Democratic Party, and the next year he joined the Liberals. Four years later, Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson appointed Argue to the Senate. In 1988, he became the first senator in Canadian history to be charged with misuse of Senate funds—charges that were later stayed because of his health.

AWARDED.* TO South African writer Na15-year term, he participated in striking

dine Gordimer, 67, the $l-million 1991 down key parts of Bill 101, the legislation

Nobel Prize for literature. Gordimer’s porrestricting the use of English in Quebec,

trayais of relationships amid the racial turmoil of South Africa in such novels as My DIED: Margaret MacVicar, 47, the Ham-

Son’s Story (1990) were in the past deilton-bom dean of undergraduate education

nounced by her government as unpatriotic, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technol-

Gordimer is the first woman to win the ogy; of cancer, at the Dana Färber Cancer

award since German-Swedish writer Nelly Institute in Boston. Innovative in her policy-

Sachs won in 1966. making, MacVicar held that students

should be educated about their social DIED : Jean Beetz, 64, a former justice of responsibilities, the Supreme Court of Canada; of colon

cancer, in Montreal. A onetime dean of law DIED: Martin Ennals, 64, former secre-

at the University of Montreal, Beetz served tary general of Amnesty International and

as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s conthe National Council of Civil Liberties (now

stitutional adviser from 1968 to 1971. Apknown as Liberty); of lung cancer, in a

pointed by Trudeau to the Quebec Court of Saskatoon hospital. Bom in Walsall, En-

Appeal in 1973, Beetz moved to the Sugland, Ennals was a human rights professor

preme Court the following year. During his at the University of Saskatchewan.



Allan Fotheringham’s Sept. 23 column, “How Canada joined the Third World,” is delightfully provocative but, alas, inaccurate. He claims that Conservative MPs gave themselves “an 11-per-cent raise” while “cynically” offering the Public Service Alliance of Canada a “zero increase.” In the same issue of Maclean’s, George Bain points out that for the comparable period that PSAC members received a four-per-cent increase, the Prime Minister and his cabinet received a 3.78-percent increase—not 11 per cent (“A sermonette on the practice of journalism,” Media Watch). Foth also failed to point out that over the next three years, MPs at large, including the Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers, will get no more than the average of negotiated settlements in the public service, which is zero, three and three.

HemantR. Canaran, St. Thomas, Ont.

In his Sept. 23 column, George Bain is so careful pointing out the media’s shortcomings that he completely ignores his own. Canadians are not stupid. We know about the fat salaries, perks, tax breaks and other benefits that MPs enjoy. I would suggest that the government give the workers a four-per-cent raise in each of the next two years, and freeze their own salaries.

Dorothea Havard, Etobicoke, Ont.


The dropping of David Suzuki’s column from The Vancouver Sun and the Toronto Globe and Mail reflects the indifference of Canadians that permits the widespread rape of a once-beautiful Canada (“Column cutting,” Opening Notes, Sept. 23). The Sun’s Saturday editor, John Skinner, astutely observes that “A lot of people do not read him.” It is difficult to read words of more than one syllable while slurping beer and watching hockey. Until corporate Canada—and America—acquires an appreciation of conservation, we will continue to lose that which cannot be replaced.

Kenneth Mesure, Orangeville, Ont.


With “Overdue honors for anti-Communists” (Column, Sept. 23), Barbara Amiel shows that she is a mistress of obfuscation and an expert at setting up straw men to be whipped mercilessly. First, she invents a proCommunist intelligentsia to control Canadian thought. Next, she creates a corps of media types uninterested in “exposing [totalitarian-

ism’s] dangerous influences,” while enjoying a “heady romance with perestroika and glasnost.” This blinded both groups to the evils and demise of their beloved Soviet Union. But if creating a pantheon of Heroes of the Right is necessary, the consigning of Canada’s remaining intellectuals and journalists to a rightist hell is not.

David Leitch,

Sea forth, Ont.

It is difficult to understand why Canadian antiCommunists should be honored, as they were proven wrong. They were paranoid about something that did not exist. The cutting edge

of the Canadian media and intelligentsia, as Barbara Amiel calls them, knew communism could not last. The right-wing anti-Communists praised by Amiel lacked perception of the ideas and ideals of the common man.

George A. Rose, Kelowna, B.C.


In your coverage of this year’s Toronto Festival of Festivals, I was pleased to see you give credit where credit is due—to the festival’s director, Helga Stephenson (“A woman with a


mission,” Special Report, Sept. 16). When I attended, she was as considerate to me as she was to Paul Newman. The world film community is fortunate to have her as its friend.

Brian Jones, Calgary


I have grown tired of the sensationalism surrounding the Lawrencia (Bambi) Bembenek case (“Bambi’s story,” Special Report, Sept. 23). I do not even consider the story newsworthy for Canadians. Our immigration officials have spent 11 months dealing with a problem that our American cousins should be handling. So what if she was mistreated? Should that give her a right to asylum in Canada? Let our immigration officials deal with people fleeing oppressive regimes that make the worst American prisons look like day camp.

Pascal Conn-Favillier, Sherbrooke, Que.

It is hard to imagine what kind of convoluted thinking allows you to conclude that Lawrencia Bembenek “had everything to work with and ... let it all slip away” (“A universal tragedy,” From the Editor’s Desk, Sept. 23). If she committed murder, she gave it up. If she was framed, her life has been stolen from her. In either case, it did not just slip away.

Michael Elkin, North York, Ont.


You state that at 43, Clarence Thomas would be the youngest U.S. Supreme Court justice in history (“Abortion and the judge,” World, Sept. 23). Wrong. There have been many—William Douglas was 40 when appointed to the court by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939.

Lyle A. Jentz, Brantford, Ont.


Nova Scotia Premier Donald Cameron should be commended for his cost-cutting campaign, which includes cutting off free coffee and bottled water for government employees (“A penny-wise premier,” Opening Notes, Sept. 9). Those who complain seem not to realize that enough drops in the bucket amount to a bucketful.

George Potter, Fournier, Ont.

Letters may be condensed. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Write.Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.


In your Sept. 23 Passage about heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, you state that he has been charged with rape and faces up to 63 years in prison. Why not be honest and say that if convicted, Tyson faces maybe six months in prison and a year or two of probation? That is the reality of U.S. and Canadian rape laws.

Tammy R. Nelson, Willowdale, Ont.


I was disappointed that in your Sept. 9 issue, you referred to “Baltic-Canadians” (“Front-runner,” Special Report). I am sick of hearing about English-Canadians, French-Canadians, Chinese-Canadians and other such extractions. When will we be like our brothers to the south, who above all else are Americans first?

Ruth Thornton, Baie d’Urfe, Que.