October 21 1991


October 21 1991



You may recall that I was one of the participants in the Maclean ’s forum on Canadian unity (“The people’s verdict,” Special Report, July 1). As you can well imagine, Joe Clark’s proposals for a new Canada as described in “Brave new words” (Cover, Oct. 7) had a certain interest for me. As a Quebec souverainiste (I dislike the expression “separatist,” which has not been in use in Quebec since the early 1970s), my reactions to the constitutional proposals are ambivalent. First, I am very disappointed in the proposed distinct society clause. The clause for une société distincte in the Meech Lake accord was only a pious wish, but at least Quebec would have gained back its veto right through the accord. Under the new proposals, Quebec would not regain its right of veto and would always remain in jeopardy because of the clause permitting seven provinces, representing 50 per cent of the population, to change the Constitution. Granted, trying to define a society is almost impossible. For instance, why is English-Canadian society distinct from the American one? Not an easy question. Still, would an Anglo-Canadian like to be assimilated into American society? Quebec has given English Canada a chance to find an acceptable way to keep Quebec in Canada before the 1992 referendum—to please Quebec, notwithstanding Clyde Wells, Preston Manning and all the other bigots of this nation. The new proposals do exactly the contrary: Ottawa is afraid to accommodate Quebec at the risk of irritating the rest of the country. Your article should have been entitled “Same weak old words.”

Charles Dupuis, Montreal

The authors of the new constitutional package are asking: What can be done to reunite Canada and strengthen the country? But they are ignoring the real question: What must be done to create a system of government that will attract people capable of earning the people’s trust? A constitutional amendment must have the potential for answering that question— otherwise, it is doomed to failure.

Ole Gilman, Smithville, Ont.


Lothaire Bluteau is a wonderful actor and it grieves me that my comments on the film Black Robe as reported in Maclean ’s could be taken to denigrate a performance that I very much admire (“Epic struggles,” Films, Oct. 7). When I said that Bluteau’s performance was “unsympathetic,” I meant that he decided not to play for the public’s sympathy, but to portray the character much as he was portrayed in the novel. A really good actor like Bluteau will

always bring his own interpretation to a role. I believe that his performance was both striking and daring. As for your criticism that the film does not live up to the complexities of the novel, perhaps you should look back into your files. When the novel of Black Robe first appeared, it received excellent reviews in Cana-

da, the United States and Britain. But I seem to remember that it did not please Maclean ’s.

Brian Moore, Malibu, Calif.


Thank you for writing about the rock group Rush (“Rock ’n’ roll royalty,” Music, Sept. 30). Rush deserves respect not only for persevering despite seemingly impossible odds, but also for maintaining its integrity. It is unfortunate that less talented, better marketed artists have the public believing that style is more important than substance.

Michael Zilkowsky, Humboldt, Sask.


Stan Waters will be remembered in our history books as Canada’s first elected senator (Passages, Oct. 7). Senate reform is an important part of the federal constitutional proposals, and the concept of a Triple E Senate has strong support in Western Canada. Yet you devoted only one paragraph to Waters’s death. He should have been on your cover.

Anton Schori, White Rock, B.C.



Barbara Amiel accuses the “cutting edge of Canada’s media and intelligentsia” of seeing the United States, not the Soviet Union, as our real enemy (“Overdue honors for antiCommunists,” Column, Sept. 23). Whatever one can say about American excesses, one thing remains clear from the shakeup in the Soviet empire: it was never the great threat to the West that it was made out to be for over 40 years. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Journalists such as Lubor Zink, Peter Worthington and Amiel were ideological basket cases in the past—and still are today.

W. J. Oxendale, Calgary

Barbara Amiel has again returned to her favorite theme to try to build a pantheon of heroes among Canada’s anti-Communist journalists, who she alleges were denied access to many media outlets. Our media have rightly spent a great deal of time trying to persuade the government that there is a great threat from the right-wing dictators that Western governments support with arms and money. In the 1930s, our fear of the Red Menace led us to ignore Adolf Hitler and other fascists. And today, we still preach human rights to countries like China, while we open up trade with Kuwait and Iran.

Thomas N. B. Creighton, Halifax

Barbara Amiel’s lament concerning the sorry lack of Canadian anti-Communist journalists illustrates her extreme modesty. In my opinion, having but one journalist like her is more than any country deserves.

John A. Baker, Elmira, Ont.


What am I to conclude from “A swelling exodus” (Immigration, Sept. 30)? That we should reduce our taxes so that Canada will be more like the United States and visiting Americans will feel more at home? How does Brooklyn, N.Y., native Stanley Katz, president of the American Club of Toronto, think we pay for the health plan that keeps him and other members of his club in Canada? And how does former New York City advertising executive Elizabeth Ryba think we are able to keep Toronto the “safe, clean and quiet” city she loves? Please spare us the bleatings of those Americans who think that Canada is just another theme park to be operated for their enjoyment.

Jack Glenn, Calgary


In your cover package of Sept. 30, you introduce a “new treatment” to relieve back pain that uses a Vax-D table (“A pain in the back”). I am a physiotherapist with 14 years under my belt, and when I saw this therapy table I realized that it was just a regular traction table with a patient placed in a prone, rather than a supine, position. This treatment is used on certain patients when trained physiotherapists feel it is necessary. We have been battling lower-back pain for decades.

Molly Hilsenrath, B.Sc. P.T., Physio Westmount, Montreal

When I was 15, I had surgery to correct a scoliosis (curvature of the spine). This ailment has caused me to be very conscious of what hurts and why. The real killer in our society is walking on cement. But here is one suggestion that will halve your problems and medical costs: install a flexible wooden floor at home and lay a thick carpet over the top of it.

William White, Charlottetown


I was shocked when I opened your Sept. 16 issue to find such revolting talk about Margaret Trudeau’s supposed sexual fling with Geraldo Rivera (“Conquest in Central Park,” Opening Notes). Did you not think about her children and family? She has suffered enough. Leave the woman alone—she is minding her own business.

H. B. Finley, Halifax

Please spare us by not printing such trash as the Rivera-Trudeau sick story. We have heard enough about Margaret’s wild adventures. Who cares about Rivera’s?

Denyse Rochette, Ottawa


So Justice Minister Kim Campbell wants to rewrite 0 Canada because she thinks that the line “In all thy sows command” is sexist (“ 0 Canada sexist?” National Notes, Oct. 7). Let us open the whole can of worms. Why is our national flag in Liberal party colors only?

Hugh Arscott, Saskatoon


In “The write stuff” (People, Sept. 23), you state that actress Katharine Hepburn has won three Academy Awards. Actually, she has won four: one for Morning Glory (1933); one for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner{1967); one for The Lion in Winter{1968), which she split with Barbra Streisand, who won for her performance in Funny Girl; and one for On Golden Pond (1981). In fact, she has won more Oscars than any actress in the history of motion pictures.

Pooneh Forooghi, Edmonton


Most Canadians, I believe, sympathize with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s fatherly pain and indignation over the tasteless item about his daughter, Caroline, that ap-


peared in Frank magazine (“The wrath of a father,” Opening Notes, Sept. 23). No woman, beautiful or plain, young or old, wealthy or poor, should be subjected to physical or verbal sexual abuse—even purportedly in the name of humor. When we Canadians display concern with all forms of sexual abuse, we may become as civilized as we like to think we are.

George Morgan,

St. John ’s, Nfld.


In “Why the Soviet Union died,” the caption under the defaced image of Lenin says, in part, “food and shelter are priorities” (Cover, Sept. 16). The drive for food and shelter has always been a priority for the people of Russia. For the ordinary citizen, it was the compelling reason for the original revolution of 1917, and evidently remains so today. Ideals always take second place to the basic stuff of life. However long it takes, if governments cease to provide basic securities, their days are numbered, regardless of any other attributes they may have—or profess to have.

Richard Weatherhill, Victoria


In your review of Waiting for the Weekend, you write that author Witold Rybczynski had trouble determining the origins of the week (“Days in secret,” Books, Sept. 2). That task would have been simple had he looked at the book of Genesis: “And on the seventh day God finished his work ... and he rested from all his work. ...” And the Fourth Commandment reinforced that observance: “Six days shalt thou labor ... but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work.”

Ralph Barer, Victoria


Your petulantly vitriolic review of Peter Robinson’s book Past Reason Hated: An Inspector Banks Mystery seems to be less an intellectual analysis than a frustrated whine at not finding an old-style mystery story (“A deadly puzzle,” Books, Sept. 2). Only weeks later, the same writer slavers inordinately over the feet of Margaret Atwood (“Studies in suffering,” Books, Sept. 16). Past reason erratic?

Beverly Morris, Toronto

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