I found the introduction to your article about sexual assault disturbing (“Chilling the sexes,” Cover, Feb. 17). You cite the case of a man who was acquitted of raping a woman because she supposedly gave him the wrong impression and consequently, according to the judge, licensed him to commit a crime. The judge appears to be sending the message that men are beasts with no social conscience and no control. I, for one, do not believe this, and both men and women should be outraged when such generalizations are implied.
Carmen Stermann-Galbraith, Hamilton
The line between consensual sex and violent sex would be clear if people would apply standard rules of behavior to sexual conduct. A man cannot take whatever he wants just because he wants it. Men who work in banks, for example, may be tempted by money every day but still know it is wrong to take it. They would call this theft. Yet some of these same men think that a woman becomes a man’s property after sharing a drink with him or going to his home, and that he has the right to overpower her if she resists sex. They call this “having some fun.” The women who have been violated in this way call it what it is: a crime.
I am not surprised by boxer Mike Tyson’s recent rape conviction (“His word or hers?”). What do you expect from a young man who was taken as a 12-year-old and trained to exhibit his prominent animal instincts—all in the name of money, not his social development? I wonder if his benefactors ever taught him to be gentle, caring and loving to a woman. What they should have taught him about above all else was morals and values.
Ann-Marie Lewis, Calgary
THE SACRED AND THE CIVIL
I find it inexcusable that the courts would even consider a civil suit by James Ferry, a homosexual Anglican minister, against the Anglican Church of Canada (“Sex, gays and religion,” Canada, Feb. 17). Just as churches must have no institutionalized input into the laws of the land, the laws of the land should have no power to dictate the canon of a church. This principle is more commonly known as the separation of church and state. Certainly, the ordination of homosexuals is an important topic that the church must address. But it is not a topic on which the courts are qualified to rule.
M E. Raynor, Mississauga, Ont.
In “Sex, gays and religion,” you claim that the United Church of Canada General Council agreed that our church membership is “open to all committed Christians, and that all members—including practising homosexuals—are eligible for ordination.” The whole truth is more complex than that. All our members are
eligible to be considered for ordination. The process of selection and training is long and probing, and includes psychological evaluations as well as inquiry into one’s faith. This may take from three to 10 years, and is not taken lightly by either the church or the candidate.
Rev. Donald E. C. McLean, Scarborough, Ont.
‘GYMNASTS ON ICE’
C ongratulations to Brian Orser for his won derful article about the demise of figure skating ("The power and the glory," The Winter Games, Feb. 3). Perhaps, as Orser suggests, the sport should have retained its compulsory figures, worth 20 per cent of a skater's total mark, just so we would remem ber that it is called figure skating. Now, we have gymnasts on ice. It is heartbreaking to see skaters who are lacking in footwork, spins and grace get high placements because of their jumps. The sport should be renamed either Leapfrog of Ice, Quads and Quints, or Leaping Lunatics-anything but figure skating.
M. Marguerite Campbell, Stratford, 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.
LOOKING OUT FOR NUMBER 1
David Peterson’s history lesson was accurate but incomplete (“A constitutional quagmire,” Letters, Feb. 3). Quebec is now demanding a constitutional veto so that it can block the creation of any new provinces. Ontario is blocking a Triple E Senate because it prefers coercion to democracy. If and when this country breaks up, let us place the blame where it belongs: on asymmetrical federalism, which does not contain the checks and balances required to keep the politicians honest.
Augustus J. Cooper, Edmonton
In his letter to the editor, former Ontario premier David Peterson contends that Meech Lake was a continuation of the “original, flexible, pragmatic and generous dreams of our forefathers.” His impromptu offering of six Ontario Senate seats without consulting anyone was all of the above. Unfortunately, it was also arrogant, stupid and totally undemocratic. It is a tragedy that Peterson stiH does not get it.
Sarah Schwartz, Ottawa
The issue of a distinct society in Quebec does not concern its gaining more power, but rather recognizing that the Quebec society is unique. Perhaps David Peterson does not understand that Canadians disliked the Meech Lake accord because the concept of a “distinct society” was not explained.
Lawrence Weiner, Toronto
Thank you, Allan Fotheringham, for suggesting that we round up some of the nation’s most despised public figures and consign them to oblivion in outer space (“Shortlist for a permanent Skylab,” Column, Feb. 3). May I be among the first to propose that a berth be reserved, in steerage, for the snide and self-indulgent columnist himself? If the tiresome Fotheringham is stowed aboard, I would dearly love to push the button.
Graham Murray, Toronto
Allan Fotheringham states that B.C. NDP MP Svend Robinson is a “showboat.” If that is not a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I do not know what is. Fotheringham is nothing if not a self-righteous mealymouth. The man seems unhappy with anyone or anything that smacks of Canadian accomplishment. One would guess that he would boo an Easter egg hunt.
Robert Keller, Belleville, Ont.
SNATCHING THE ‘JUICY DETAILS’
Politics in the United States are indeed in trouble when a publication as disreputable as a supermarket tabloid can “launch an assault” on Arkansas governor and Democratic hopeful William (Bill) Clinton (“The sex factor,” World, Feb. 3). What is equally distressing, however, is the relish with which more serious publications, including Maclean’s, snatch up all the juicy details. You insultingly assume readers to be more interested in the marital troubles of Clinton and his “blond lawyer wife,” Hillary, than in his political platform.
Ethan Faber, Victoria
I have long wondered why I find President George Bush’s speeches, comments and policies so vapid. The same applies to the current crop of presidential candidates. Allan Fotheringham’s comments on “Why George Bush cannot write” (Column, Jan. 27) have finally supplied an answer.
Daniel P. Huegel, Madison, Wis.
GOOD FOR THE GANDER
After reading “Holiday with the stars” (Canada, Feb. 3), I realized what is at the root of our economic problems. As agreed by virtually all Canadians, a continuing cross-border spending problem plagues this country’s economy. Holidaying in the southern United
States by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for a two-week period gives us some insight into his concerns about how the issue affects him. It is not the fact that he took a holiday, but the message he conveys by taking it in the United States. His apparent motto is, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Peter J. Murphy, Paris, Ont.
It is true that in 1984, when Brian Mulroney came to power, the public debt was $168 billion and that today it stands around the $400-billion mark. What P. E. Gauthier is forgetting is that when one takes a loan, the interest is added to the principal (“Sense and oversensitivity,” Letters, Jan. 27). This is precisely what has happened with our national debt. The Mulroney Conservatives have done an effective job of controlling government spending.
Michael M. Kowalson, Winnipeg
I read with interest the letter stating that your magazine was spreading Brian Mulroney’s lies. It reminds me of all those who are calling for the elimination of the Goods and Services Tax. The Prime Minister has been trying to tell Canadians about the danger of continued annual deficits. Unfortunately, most Canadians do not understand that if the deficit is not brought under control, those who are in the 40-to-50 age-group will not be able to receive old-age security or the Canada Pension. In my opinion, you have not been spreading Mulroney’s lies, but rather the truth about a very serious situation facing Canadians in the future.
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