October 28 1991


October 28 1991



Your cover package on Ken Thomson, which comprised excerpts from Peter C. Newman’s book Merchant Princes, reached new lows of fluff journalism (“Canada’s richest man,” Cover, Oct. 14). Do you seriously think that this idle gossip interests many Canadians or assists them in dealing with important issues? Are Thomson’s transactions on a par with federal transfer payments? Is Gonzo’s death an environmental issue?

John Dressler, Williams Lake, B.C.

It is wonderful to see that the richest man in Canada believes in being thrifty. If more Canadians were, we would not have the problems with waste, the environment and recklessness that seem so prevalent today. More families could learn from the Thomsons about the richness of support, love and caring within the family unit. Bravo, Ken Thomson.

Elizabeth French, Ottawa

I have known Ken Thomson socially for more than 25 years. He is a man of integrity, a very decent human being and a concerned citizen. His business acumen speaks for itself. The trivia you published clearly shows why he has to maintain a reserved manner; otherwise, socalled biographers can distort truth into fiction very easily. The people who know Ken and his family will look upon your articles, their author and their publisher with the disdain they deserve.

Jack Loman, Toronto

What is Ken Thomson’s ultimate aim? Is accumulation of wealth for accumulation’s sake his only goal, or will the Toronto General Hospital and other worthy charities eventually benefit from him as equally as his four-legged pets? I hope Thomson aspires to more than being remembered as one of the richest, as well as one of the stingiest, men in Canadian business.

Bryan Cousineau, Richmond, B.C.


In “Survival of the biggest” (Business, Oct.

7), you describe small regional trust companies as being susceptible to the “unpredictable swings” of local economies, and then write: “That is the daunting challenge now confronting Barrie, Ont.-based Municipal Trust in the wake of General Tire’s decision to close its operations.” Any reasonable reader would clearly infer that Municipal Trust has been left holding a large number of mortgages of now-

unemployed General Tire workers and that problems of this magnitude have resulted in the collapse of small regional trust companies. That inference is inaccurate, as well as damaging to Municipal Trust. Municipal Trust, jointly with its parent company, operates only two of the 30 financial institution branches in Barrie.

Furthermore, our local branches do not hold any mortgages on residences owned by laid-off General Tire employees. Company-wide, Municipal Trust holds only one such mortgage. We have had a number of inquiries from customers as to the viability of this corporation because, after reading your article, it appears that we are in some sort of financial trouble. That is not the case.

Maxwell L. Rotstein, Chairman and chief executive officer, Municipal Trust, Barrie, Ont.


Shame on Maclean ’sfor a poorly researched article that short-changed Rush and their fans (“Rock ’n’ roll royalty,” Music, Sept. 30). You neglected to mention that drummer Neil Peart has consistently won international awards, has been elected to Modern Drummer magazine’s Hall of Fame and was invited last year to the Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert—an honor reserved for the very best drummers. Last year, the Canadian recording industry honored Rush with the Group Artist of the Decade award. None of these achievements reeks of “hoser rock” to me.

Janok P. Bhattacharya, Anchorage, Alaska


I have been reading Maclean’s since I was in high school and have subscribed for years. Now that I am a teacher of Grade 7 and 8 French and history, I find that Maclean ’s is an excellent teaching tool. The amount of Canadian content is wonderful. However, I was both upset and disgusted with your use of profanity in the Lawrencia (Bambi) Bembenek story (“A downhill road,” Special Report, Sept. 23). These days, we are faced with much profanity in public schools. It is a sad state of affairs when I cannot use an article about law and equal justice to teach my students because, in two separate instances, you have included the f-word. Let us think about who could be reading your magazine—12-, 13and 14-year-olds, perhaps.

Lynne McMurray, Oshawa, Ont.

While reading your Sept. 23 issue, I was appalled by the use of foul language that appeared in your Special Report on Lawrencia Bembenek. I would appreciate it if in the future, your writers would desist from using such filthy words in their articles, since Maclean’s is a family magazine.

Hollis Benjamin, Hamilton

A certain word appears twice in “A downhill road.” This word is not used in our household, even in quotation, and I do not want to see it in reading material accessible to other members of the family.

Glen Hill, Ridgeway, Ont.


I would like to draw attention to the unfortunate use of the word “crazy” in the headline of your review of the brilliant new Terry Gilliam film, The Fisher King (“Love in the gutter,” Films, Sept. 30). I realize that it is hard to come up with just the right headline for every story, but surely someone at Maclean ’s should know better than to allow such a word in context with schizophrenia. To begin with, people suffering from schizophrenia are not wackos, crazies, weirdos or loonies. All of those antiquated, small-minded, uneducated and uncaring terms are still in use largely because of the print media. While I must congratulate your magazine for not having used many of the other above-mentioned monikers, I would like to see you take the lead in making a difference in the way people talk about those who are less fortunate—but no less deserving of respectful and just treatment.

J. G. G. Emond, Calgary


Your cover package of Sept. 30, “A pain in the back,” was informative but disappointing. While it offered some examples of practical solutions for back-pain sufferers, it failed to address the inherent problems in the Canadian health-care system. The frenzied search for pain relief takes patients from one specialist to another. If you had a heart condition and went to several cardiologists, you would most likely receive the same diagnosis and similar treatment plans. But in physical medicine, the treatment you receive may depend more on who you see. With no universal standards for assessing these conditions adequately, patients and employers are faced with contradictory findings and theories.

Marc White, Executive director, Physical Medicine Research Foundation,


I fail to see why you did not explain that chronic back pain is the result of acute pain that has gone mistreated or untreated. Minor problems, if not treated, amount to major chronic problems over time, and the result is chronic pain. It was also not mentioned that the treatment of choice of 90 per cent of acute back-pain

sufferers is chiropractic therapy, which is a form of preventive medicine. It is useful in many chronic cases, as well.

Dr. K. M. Carson, Carson Chiropractic Office, Hamilton

How many of us back-pain sufferers will be allowed to receive treatments in the Toronto Blue Jays’ locker room? What about the average person who cannot afford these luxuries? Must we just suffer in silence?

D. J. Edwards, Hanover, Ont.


In Peter C. Newman’s Sept. 30 Business Watch column, “Canada’s military tragicomedy,” he indicates that Canada could potentially lose its Arctic sovereignty to the United States. However, the government cancelled the building of the Polar-8 icebreaker that “was supposed to proclaim the North as our turf.” Instead, the government gives $315 million to Romania to help finish building a CANDU reactor that has been under construction since 1979! I would rather see the Maple Leaf flying from a Canadian icebreaker while it patrols the Canadian Arctic, asserting our sovereignty.

Dave Langdon, Sudbury, Ont.


In “A mirror on a province” (Cover, Oct. 7), you write that “staggering setbacks have dampened enthusiasm for independence [in Quebec].” How can a 55-ton concrete beam sheared away from the wall of the “Big Owe” have anything to do with Quebec staying or not staying in Canada? Your cheap statement does not contribute much to furthering Canadian unity.

Robert Mainville, Edelweiss, Que.


Canadian novelist Mordecai Richler, though blunt, was basically right when he wrote in The New Yorker magazine that Quebec creates an inhospitable climate for anglophones (“A Quebec critique,” Opening Notes, Sept. 30). The world must be puzzled by Canada’s wrangling over a “distinct society” clause for Quebec and a federal team that has pledged to market the concept like they were selling soap or beer. No province will grow up until it forgets its racial background and welcomes its pure luck in being Canadian.

Alton R. Dahlstrom, Rossland, B.C.

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