LETTERS

LETTERS

November 11 1991
LETTERS

LETTERS

November 11 1991

LETTERS

A FORCE FOR NATIONALISM

Three cheers for Maclean’s! For once, we get a look at one of the few symbols of Canadian nationalism (“The crusading royals,” Cover, Oct. 28). If our dominion is to survive the onslaught of continentalism and Quebec separatism, it must rally to what is truly Canadian. Canada is a monarchy. Must we sell out our past through ignorance and apathy? To do so would be to stop being Canadian, for in Canada, “Freedom wears a crown.”

Scott Hicks, Hamilton

Having met Diana, the Princess of Wales, at Science North in Sudbury during her and Prince Charles’s recent visit to Ontario, I and all those who saw her found her to be very beautiful and pleasant—contrary to your remarks about her big nose, angular frame and slouching posture. Is there not enough criticism in this world concerning the physical appearance of women? Your comments were another example of society’s obsession with the ideal body.

Melanie Checkeris, Sudbury, Ont.

MEASURING METHODOLOGY

In “A measure of excellence” (Special Report, Oct. 21), you had some nice things to say about our co-operative education program, but then went on to do the University of Waterloo considerable harm by misusing statistics in your ranking exercise. Your data included our off-campus co-op and correspondence students to calculate residence beds per student. As one criterion, namely how many foreign students enrolled, you counted as a liability our co-op enrolment (10,000) even though visa students do not participate because of the work requirement. One can only hope that, if there is a next time, the controls on your methodology are more exacting.

Douglas T. Wright, President, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont.

I read with interest “Choosing the American way” in your special report. My son took the Scholastic Aptitude Test in his high-school junior year and scored so high that 80 U.S. schools contacted him. He chose to attend Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. During the period of test-taking and university visits, we never heard from one Canadian university representative. That makes me wonder: just how important are our young people in the whole system of higher education, and are we backing our beliefs with action?

Sully Yankovich, Calgary

I write to congratulate you on your assessment of the state of universities in Canada and especially on your choice of criteria for judging these institutions. I suggest that you turn your attention next to sewage treatment plants, where your criteria will prove particularly appropriate. There you could examine the

quality of the effluent that flows into each plant and not bother with the sweetness of the water that comes out.

W. J. Howard, Head, Department of English, University of Regina, Regina

A LESSON IN COMPASSION

Both the federal and the provincial governments are taking the issue of violence against women seriously. So should Barbara Amiel (“The noise of women’s turmoil,” Column, Oct. 28). Certainly, as Amiel argues, the building of personal character is of value. But her belief that having character is the only answer to life is far too simplistic. All over this country, people are taking personal responsibility to heal themselves—to speak out against abuse. No one should be silenced or ridiculed for speaking their truth. To watch daily, as I do, the courage of women and children as they struggle to overcome the violence perpetrated against them in our society is a humbling experience—one that Amiel needs. She needs to learn compassion.

Carol Ward-Hall, Executive director, North Shore Crisis Services Society, North Vancouver

LETTERS

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE

I am in a state of disbelief over the fact that Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a position on the Supreme Court (“Tainted victory,” World, Oct. 28). Stunningly, a man who clearly had a tremendous motivation to lie succeeded in characterizing himself as the victim, at the expense of a fully credible woman, Anita Hill, who had nothing to gain by coming forward. Not only did cheap racial and partisan politics effectively obscure the real victim, but many members of the Senate reflected some of society’s most hurtful sexist attitudes, instead of rising above them.

David Haas, Victoria

At his confirmation hearings, Clarence Thomas accused committee members or their staffs of leaking Anita Hill's sexual-harassment complaint against him to the media. He then charged that racism lay behind the senators’ opposition to his confirmation. He made both allegations without producing a single shred of evidence. Now that he is on the Supreme Court, Americans can only hope that his standards improve.

James Grieshaber-Otto, Ottawa

A CONSTITUTIONAL QUAGMIRE

Your recent coverage of the new government proposals for the future of the Constitution was commendable (“Brave new words,” Cover, Oct. 7). It revealed the extent to which Canada has been a terminal crisis waiting to happen. Instead of tackling fundamental faults in the country’s constitutional setup, the government has simply been tinkering with an outdated machine. We need, among other things, one national identity wherein multiculturalism is a servant, not a master. In any country, there must exist homogeneity: without it, a nation will eventually either disintegrate or sink into confusion and Third World status—which is just where we are headed.

Tom Piggott, Penticton, B.C.

I am unconvinced that any document can solve our constitutional problems. The protection and promotion that Quebec desires is ultimately not subject to legislation. Language and culture live in people’s hearts, and I think history will show that their preservation and promulgation cannot be legislated. If anything, legal protection would weaken the language and culture of Quebec, for complacency would overtake its guardianship. And if it did survive, it would not be a lively, burgeoning force.

Eric Pedersen, Millet, Alta.

LETTERS

A PRINCE OF THRIFT

After reading “The private life of Canada’s richest man” (Cover, Peter C. Newman, Oct. 14), I would not begrudge Ken Thomson a penny of his billions. Nor can any Canadian pass judgment on his personal frugality; surely, that is a matter of personal taste. But what can be said in defence of Thomson’s shameful tightfistedness on matters charitable? With wealth there should come some sense of public duty and obligation. And on the basis of Newman’s article, Thomson feels none. He boasts that there is not a publishing enterprise he could not buy. Great. There also is not a single cause— cultural, social or medical—that he could not have a titanic impact upon. Could not a man who showed such admirable compassion for a dog spare some for the thousands of Canadian children whose next meal is coming from a food bank?

David Basskin, Toronto

So Ken Thomson apparently will give money to the Toronto General Hospital only if the hospital will build a veterinary wing? I am sure that there are a lot of parents who would give their lives in order that their children could receive the best available medical care. Personally, I find it offensive that animals could ever take precedence over human beings.

Brian Frawley, Toronto

I found “The private life of Canada’s richest man” to be unjust and unkind, portraying Ken Thomson as a rather petty and parsimonious eccentric. Might not such values as staying at home speak of a love of home and family, concern for one’s dog speak of a love of animals, and a lack of freewheeling spending speak of frugality and sound financial management—values that retain their virtue in any day and age?

Rev. Hans Kouwenberg, Prince George, B.C.

I take my hat off to Canada’s richest man, who employs 105,000 people on four continents. Whether I keep my hat off or put it back on will depend on the amount of income tax that he pays to Revenue Canada—information that was omitted from your cover package.

John S. Nielsen, Calgary

THE CHILL OF VICTORY

Your article about Frank Stronach, the chairman of Magna International Inc., detailed the company’s impressive recovery under his capable guidance (“Defying the odds,”

Business, Oct. 7). However, I was left wondering who the real hero was: Stronach, who is no longer the country’s highest-paid executive; the 300 managers and administrative staff who were fired; the workers formerly managed by the above, and currently laid off when 36 factories were closed; or Canadian taxpayers, who now provide a minimal level of food, clothing and shelter through unemployment insurance cheques to those workers unable to find jobs.

John Frey, Calgary

MUSIC TO THE EARS

Congratulations for a superb and enlightening article on the Canadian rock group Rush (“Rock ’n’ roll royalty,” Music, Sept. 30). This extremely talented trio has enjoyed unsurpassed international success, continues to release album after album of great music, puts on one heck of a live show and yet has never quite managed to get the well-deserved respect its members have worked so hard for. Unfortunately, the group is largely ignored by the Canadian media, so it was a great surprise to open up Maclean’s and see the group featured. To Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart and Geddy Lee: thanks for all of your much-appreciated work.

Linda Richardson, Beamsville, Ont.

POLITICAL PUNDITRY

Peter C. Newman concludes in “Reinventing a country with sour expectations” that “no politician... should be allowed to tell a bad joke, smoke or drink, or commit a single indiscretion” (Business Watch, Oct. 14). This is as dumb as the criteria that he characterizes. Canadians’ widespread disillusion with their

political establishment has little connection with certain politicians’ reputed taste for booze and fornication. It emerges, much more seriously, from our understanding of how—and why—generations of our representatives landed us in a mess they can no longer deny. We also recognize, and reject, the use of our taxes to buy electoral favor with unwarranted benefits to minority and regional interests. Quebec, which is seen as getting more federal handouts than other provinces, is the most obvious beneficiary, but others are not hard to find.

David Cobain,

Rose Bay, N.S.

Peter C. Newman’s Oct. 14 column tragically demonstrates the ignorance of both journalists and pollsters about their role in the disintegration of the country. The polls keep asking destructive questions and getting destructive answers. The journalists keep reporting the destructive answers and the cycle starts anew. The sour expectations of Canadians could be reversed if the ladies and gentlemen of the media could learn to ask a Socratic question.

Michael Brooker, Montreal

A SEMANTIC MINEFIELD

I was astonished upon reading your article about the race for the Louisiana governorship, “Echoes of the KKK” (World, Oct. 7), by the explanation of the word “cajun” as “a local pronunciation for the Acadians who came from Atlantic Canada in the late 1700s.” How can an article about racism use the word “came” instead of “were deported,” as if describing an insignificant event? The deportation of Frenchspeaking Acadians is one of the most racist events in North American history.

Raymond Brunet, Chelsea, Que.

LETTERS

OF GUTS AND GUILE

In his Nov. 12, 1984, column, “The secret source of power,” Allan Fotheringham wrote that “Saskatchewan’s biggest export remains brains.” Now, in his Oct. 21 column, “Of flat prairie and true guts,” he writes that the main export of my home province is “guts” and that brains come from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. What happened? Perhaps Fotheringham should credit “all the great ones” with also having excellent memories.

D.J. Owens, Ottawa

PRESCIENT PROBLEMS

Charles Gordon hits the nail dead centre in “Stop the debate—and start governing” when he states that the Mulroney government would best serve the country’s interests if it spent more time and energy—and hopefully less money—on attacking the country’s social problems, such as poverty, unemployment and pollution (Column, Oct. 14). It is waging a battle on constitutional reform and could win the war in due time, but it could also be condemned to lose the peace on our home front. Continuing neglect to confront the myriad of these ever-worsening problems will eventually leave Canada in a sad state.

Robert Lozier, Rouyn-Noranda, Que.

A TAXING DILEMMA

Enough Canada-bashing. Americans in Canada acknowledge the safety, cleanliness and peace of the country (“A swelling exodus,” Immigration, Sept. 30). I believe that it is the social conscience reflected in the safety nets paid for with higher taxes that helps to make Canada the gentler society that Americans claim to want, but appear unwilling to pay for. Perhaps it is more relevant to say that Americans are undertaxed relative to their desired quality of life than it is to say that Canadians are overtaxed.

Dennis Phillips, Queretaro, Mexico

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

In your Sept. 23 theatre review of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love, you refer to the star of the show as Keith Mitchell. The last time I looked, his name was Keith Michell.

Dave Robertson, Oakville, Ont.

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