April 15 1991


April 15 1991



Your stories on Asian gangs give one the feeling that Asian youths are causing major crimes across Canada (“Terror in the streets,” Cover, March 25). We do not deny that there are criminals of Chinese or Vietnamese origin, but criminals exist in all sectors of society— and in all neighborhoods. You presented no objective comparison of Asian crimes with other organized crimes in Canadian cities. One cannot help but ask, Would other non-Asian crimes get as much sensational coverage as these ones did? Inflammatory presentation does nothing to promote racial harmony.

Allan Ma, President,

Chinese Canadian National Council, London Chapter, London, Ont.

As someone who has spent over 10 years researching organized crime in the Asian community, I found your coverage of the Asian gang situation intriguing. While much of your material represents an honest appraisal of gang activity, there is also a great deal of hyperbole. It is irresponsible to compare Toronto’s Chinatown to Hollywood’s Chinatown in Year of the Dragon (“The Dragons of Crime,” From the Editor’s Desk), where people are blown away by submachine-guns at a truly alarming rate. Also, while your piece on Trung Chi Truong was exemplary journalism, I would hardly describe Truong as a “kingpin” of anything. There have been and are many more powerful criminal figures in Toronto, both in and out of Asian gangs. While I agree that criminals, especially those that are exploiting the weak and fearful in their own community, must be exposed, Asian gang crime is a complex situation that requires a great deal more sensitivity than I generally found in your handling of the subject.

James R. Dubro, Toronto

The subtitle on your cover—“Young Asian gangs are spreading fear, violence—and death—in Canadian cities”—was not acceptable. Asia does not consist of just China and Vietnam. If some Vietnamese and Chinese young people are engaged in violent activities, do not blame all young Asians by using that kind of overgeneralization.

G. N. Parvaz, Montreal


Columnist Charles Gordon is truly a voice of sanity on the issue of Canadian disunity (“Changing the words to change the mood,” Another View, Feb. 25). He debunks the myth

that the breakup of the nation is a “historical inevitability,” and he advises us to replace our assumptions of doom with positive thinking. If there were a way to make Gordon prime minister, do you think that he would take the job?

Ronald Kirbyson, Winnipeg

Charles Gordon went overboard when he wrote that “Bad luck and bad politics killed the Meech Lake accord.” Maybe those are consoling words to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa and company, but I suggest that the vast majority of Canadians would have more accurately written: Good luck and good politics killed the Meech Lake accord.

Bert Case, Salmon Cove, Nfld.


In your discussion of the current controversy over the new novel by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (“Literary firestorm,” Books, April 1), a number of people are quoted who speak about “rights.” What an overused excuse “rights” has become. If we must justify everything through rights, where is society’s right to a nonviolent, positive setting? And where are individuals’ responsibilities? Where is Bret Easton Ellis's responsibility to society—to you and to me—to create a place fit to live in as human beings, not as violent, vulgar animals? Civilization is a thin veneer that may not withstand the constant onslaught of people’s “rights.”

Luella Thomson, Toronto



Fred Bruning is quite right in observing that most Americans will soon forget a lot of what was really important about the Gulf War (“The other casualties of the Gulf War,” Column, March 18). Worse still, many Westerners never knew what was really going on. During and after the war, the images fed to us by the media consisted mainly of war machinery and “smart” weapons destroying targets. We also

saw flag-waving Kuwaitis, but never cluster bombs being dropped on fields full of terrified, conscripted soldiers. Apparently, 100,000 Iraqis were killed, but Maclean ’s published only one photo of a dead Iraqi soldier. If people are to understand how barbaric war really is, they must see more of its tragedy and less of its pageantry.

A. C. Brewer, Toronto

Fred Bruning in his lamentable column fails to identify the real tragedy that he and so many other columnists are experiencing in the after-

math of the Gulf conflict. What Bruning cannot stomach is that his opinions fell on deaf ears. In the face of overwhelming diplomatic, political and military success in Kuwait, and the feelings of the majority of North Americans, his commentary sounds remarkably like the hollow sounds emanating from the despot in Baghdad. Bruning’s politically correct opinions do not reflect the true feelings of the American or Canadian public. Kuwait and the price for liberation will not be forgotten, as Bruning cynically predicts. Still, I have the distinct feeling that he will retain a vivid picture of the conflict and try to play it back to us, frame by frame, to resemble the image he imagined but never saw.

Michael Robertson, Toronto

Fred Bruning suggests that we will forget about Saddam Hussein in a year’s time. I challenge Maclean ’sand every other periodical to display a picture of Kuwait’s burning oil wells on their front pages until the fires are out. That way, we will remember Hussein for a long time to come. And the other heroes of the war will be those who extinguish the fires.

Donald Knoll, Welland, Ont.


How fortunate we are that Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf is in the U.S. army and not the Canadian armed forces (“A bear leads the invasion,” Cover, March 4). At 56, Schwarzkopf would be past the compulsory retirement age of 55, and at a height of six feet, three inches and a weight of 240 lb., his body-mass index would be over 30; thus, he could be considered “obese” under Canadian defence department regulations. Either of these conditions can be grounds for release from the Forces. In Canada, the good general would not have made the standard.

Andy A. McCullough, Windsor, Ont.


The Ottawa Press Gallery’s astounding decision to deny a lifetime membership to a distinguished member, W. A. (Bill) Wilson, because of views he expressed on a question of ethics reflects the meanness of spirit that is symptomatic of the cancerous age in which we live (“A tempest in the gallery,” Opening Notes, March 4). It is especially frightening since it comes from a group of people that includes many of the nation’s top decisionmakers. It makes me wonder what their opinions are really worth.

Ned Barrett, Montreal

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. M5W1A7.



Peter C. Newman’s “Sliding down the path to Third World status” (Business Watch, Feb. 25) is 20 years too late. In October, 1971, the Science Council of Canada issued a report entitled Innovation in a Cold Climate, which warned that Canada was heading for the mess it is now in. The report offered a number of solutions, including an industrial strategy to support the most viable of our technologybased industries and let the weakest ones fail. But politicians ignored them, and in doing so perpetuated the situation. The outcome was inevitable: more losers and fewer winners.

Colin Macpherson, Prince George, B.C.


A photograph of New Democrat Nelson Riis that revealed a hole in the sole of his right shoe caused you to speculate that he might be leaning that way politically (“A poorly heeled political image,” Opening Notes, Feb. 25). But I wonder, does his shoe width reflect his support for a triple EEE Senate?

Mark Shurvin, Greensville, Ont.


Lawrence MacPherson, Prince Edward Island’s deputy minister of tourism, says that showing a nudist club on a P.E.I. beach does not fit the province’s family image (“An ad campaign exposed,” Opening Notes, March 11). But it is MacPherson who is sending out a false impression, not the ad depicting the Nature’s Way Nudist Club. Since when is nudism inconsistent with family values? Indeed, I have been to a few nudist beaches and have seen that families abound there.

Robert Paolino, Minneapolis


I would like to thank Peter C. Newman for his excellent article “Wilson’s vain struggle with a killer debt” (Business Watch, March 4). I believe, however, that the roots of our national debt go deeper than just the fiscal ineptitude of the previous government. During his 16 years as prime minister, Pierre Trudeau changed the national psyche. From Confederation until 1968, Canadians believed it necessary to live within their means, but Trudeau convinced us that we could live beyond our means—and that the government would foot the bill. Trudeau’s legacy will take generations to reverse. This is truly a national tragedy.

Jerry O’Leary Cutler, Burnaby, B.C.