September 7 1992


September 7 1992


Homesick and angry

This issue was, in my opinion, appropriately titled “special issue” (“British Columbia,” Cover, Aug. 24). My reaction to the articles and photographs was overwhelmingly emotional. At first, I felt a jealous homesickness for Vancouver Island, where I had spent an all-tooshort three years. Secondly, I felt anger over the threat of the pulp-and-paper industry on a diminishing utopia. Third, I felt fear that the conflicting interests of wealthy retirees, newly arrived entrepreneurs from the Orient and elsewhere, native peoples’ land claims and industry, however well-intentioned and legitimate they may appear to be, may result in irreparable damage to the environment. I believe the only hope is environmentally acceptable compromises from all concerned if our children ever expect to experience British Columbia other than glancing at a back issue of Maclean’s.

Ugo Debiasi, Charing Cross, Ont.

Having just received my landed-immigrant status on July 31,1 am feeling ecstatic about the fact that I am now one of the lucky ones who get to live the rest of my life in British Columbia. Bom in Australia, raised in Japan, I had been travelling for 18 months through Asia, Europe and Africa before I arrived in Vancouver in October, 1990, to visit friends. I fell in love with it; the snowcapped mountains rising out of the ocean were like nothing else I had ever seen. To me, this is paradise.

Melissa Bates, Whistler, B.C.

It appears that your writers have only looked at the good points and omitted a few downfalls— the high cost of living and the pollution, especially in the Lower Mainland area. The average wage earner is moving farther and farther out in order to afford a reasonable home, and this brings into play the commuter. Thousands of people commute to work every day, causing horrendous amounts of air pollution. I admit that in the spring, summer and early fall, British Columbia is a wonderful place to live, but what about the late fall and winter? How many people can stand three or four months of continual rain? I admit that British Columbia is beautiful, but I would rather live in Alberta. We too have our forests, mountains, rivers and, best of all, we have sunshine during the winter. I hope that in future issues about the provinces, you would look as well at the cost of living, the employment situation and the impact of political decisions.

Jennifer Neumann, Calgary

Contesting the sport

I usually enjoy reading Fotheringham’s column. This week, however, I was greatly disappointed (“The case for Olympic croquet,” Column, Aug. 17). How can he be so blind and not see synchronized swimming as a sport? I do not believe that table dancing at the local saloon requires long days of endless practising. Since when did a sprinter have to combine great muscle strength with the gracefulness of a butterfly? But I guess we can expect that from someone who believes that professional basketball players have a place at the Olympics to compete against amateurs.

Robyn Hopkins, Mount Pearl, Nfld.

Synchronized spirit

Fotheringham is dismayed by the decline of the Olympic Games with such “crotch-peeping” sports as synchronized swimming. Perhaps it is time that we return to the original spirit of the Olympiad where a bunch of men performed—buck naked.

Anne James Kristiansen, Vancouver

Why is it that the two sports ridiculed by the media are rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming? Is it because they are the only all-women sports at the Olympics? Fotheringham obviously has no knowledge of synchronized swimming, yet, because he is a columnist, he feels he can freely insult our beloved sport. There are many reporters who do not ridicule a

sport, no matter how silly they think it is, and all of us athletes respect them. Then there are those who insist on expressing their ignorance to get a few laughs, who we have very little respect for.

Katie Pearse (13), Edmonton

Caring Canadians

I found the treatment of environmental activists in the article “Action and high energy” (Canada, Aug. 24) disturbing. A British Columbian logger is quoted as describing activists as people who “play on dramatics, hang themselves from a bridge or climb a tree and smear themselves with excrement and it never fails—they are always on TV.” I understand his point of view, since he has made his living as a logger, but I know many New Brunswick activists and none of them hangs from trees. They are responsible, caring human beings who request that their fellow Canadians be the same.

Jennifer Samuels, Fredericton

Great expectations

Waving in our faces things we will never be able to afford does not help us twentysomethings come to terms with the standard of living we can expect (“The new techno toys,” Cover, Aug. 17).

Jay Shorten, Waterloo, 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.

The lessons of history

As a child of Holocaust survivors, I read with horror the reports of concentration camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina (“Faces of pain,” World, Aug. 17). Have we learned nothing from Auschwitz? The United States, Canada and the United Nations seem like policemen who only intervene in upper-class neighborhoods. The world went to war to preserve Kuwaiti sovereignty and oil. Is preventing genocide a less noble cause for mobilization? Otherwise, what can we tell our children when they ask why we watched in silence during the “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnia-Herzegovina? That we did not know?

Simcha Jacobovici, Toronto

A ‘bogus excuse’

I agree with Allan Fotheringham about synchronized swimming (“The case for Olympic croquet,” Column, Aug. 17). It is the most bogus excuse for a sport that I can think of: women with smiles glued to their faces and kicking their legs around. As A. F. says, they belong in a strip joint.

Anne Williams, Toronto

‘Precious memories’

Seven years ago, I had the privilege of listening to Raylene Rankin perform in Nova Scotia. They are precious memories. Now, whenever I hear music sung by the Rankin Family, tears fill my eyes as my soul is tugged back to Cape Breton. What a welcome joy from the turmoil of today’s world. Thanks to the Rankin Family and Maclean ’s (“Plucking for glory,” Music, Aug. 10) for the opportunity to reminisce about my Cape Breton friends and the beauty of the island.

Ruby Fisher, Calgary

A message for Foth

Just when things begin to change in terms of AIDS awareness, someone like Fotheringham comes along and spews forth his ignorance and not-so-transparent bias (“A message for Elizabeth Taylor,” Column, Aug. 10). He compared AIDS to cancer, heart disease, car accidents and suicides, claiming that AIDS is “merely” the llth-place killer of Canadians, but he failed to notice that these other personal tragedies are not communicable and therefore not wholly preventable. AIDS, with the right education and health care, is preventable. Before he uses

terms like“average Canadian,” he should ask himself who he is leading into a false sense of security—a security that one day may cost this “average Canadian” his or her life.

Steven Bartlett, Vancouver

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a friend of over 20 years who died of AIDS. I can assure Fotheringham that his death was not “trendy.” It was a long, agonizing, painful, demeaning death. Not that the other causes of death are any less important, but is this a popularity contest? One can read “they deserve it” be-

tween the lines of this column. I would not wish this obscene, cruel disease on anyone, even on Fotheringham, as angry as I am, but I do wish that he be touched with some degree of humanity and compassion.

John Reeve-Newson, Toronto

Finally, another of Dr. Foth’s columns I can actually understand. Is it not about time that we looked beyond the smoke screen foisted upon us by the gay lobby and actually addressed the facts? Let us not ignore the fact the “99 per cent of all sexually transmitted AIDS

cases ... are the result of unprotected anal sex.” This tells me that AIDS is contracted by personal choice, not chance. Why can we not take responsibility for our own actions and their consequences? The only way to stop the spread of AIDS in our country is not so-called safe sex, but rather the time-honored tradition of keeping oneself sexually pure until one enters a heterosexual marriage relationship.

Claude Pratte, Cornwall, Ont.

Eight months ago, I was diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer. Since then, I have noticed the way in which our society deals with various diseases. AIDS is new and fashionable and commands the attention of the literati and glitterati: cancer is middle-class and somewhat down-at-heel. I was pleased, therefore, to read Allan Fotheringham’s recent article on this subject. While it is important to try to find a cure for all diseases, we should acknowledge that cancer is the greatest killer and expend our efforts accordingly. As I understand it, for the great majority of people who do not now have AIDS, some relatively simple precautions in the area of sexual activity and drugs will

virtually ensure that they do not get the disease. I have yet to hear from my doctors that a bunch of broccoli a day will cure my disease or prevent others from getting cancer.

Patricia Myhal, Toronto

A riddle unwrapped

Conrad Black as an enigma? The true enigma lies in the fact that we Canadians, as citizens of a supposedly free country, should ponder the motives of a man who buys newspapers “to make money to buy more newspapers” (“Black power,” Cover, Aug. 3). There was a time when that kind of ambition was admired, not questioned. The jobs created and money generated by his newspaper empire should be gift enough, without fearing for his lack of humanitarianism.

Darlene Eggleton, Pelham, Ont.

Given their penchant for things of the far right, the announcement of the Conrad Black-Barbara Amiel nuptials poses several questions. For instance, who gets to sleep on the right side of the bed and whose duty is it to check under that bed for the ever-lurking Communists? At any rate, we wish them well. Lord knows they deserve each other.

Delbert Brock,

Sudbury, Ont.

And now, the verdict

In the July 20 issue, George Bain discusses the accuracy of the CBC series The Valour and the Horror (“Blasphemy, or abused privilege?” Media Watch). He points out some of the errors of the film’s maker, Brian McKenna. In the Aug. 3 issue, (“A war of words,” Letters) McKenna responds with an attempt at character assassination against Bain. Had McKenna dealt with the subject as Bain did, he might have been persuasive. Turning to personal innuendo, he lost his case completely.

P. S. MacDonald, Pictou, N.S.

Why should only Germans have to look at themselves closely in the mirror of history? The bombing of German cities and the creation of fire storms were deliberate attempts to kill civilians and to destroy their habitats. The bombings were not side effects of strategic undertakings. Whether you kill people in gas chambers or cook them in air-raid shelters, it makes little difference to them.

Gary Scholz, Lone Butte, B.C.

We are fortunate to have George Bain in a position to challenge the warped ideas of the

McKenna brothers. No one ever said that war is a pleasing event. George Bain was a capable pilot in our squadron who did an effective tour of bombing operations and then quietly returned to the journalism world, never making a big deal or even mentioning his excellent war record. He joined up to fight injustice and it seems that he is still doing it.

J. D. Macgillivray, Sidney, B.C.

Six of one

I want to comment on your Aug. 10 Passages item on Group Capt. Leonard Cheshire. While it is not quite wrong, it is not quite right. Cheshire, one of the most decorated pilots at that time, only took command of 617 Squadron in September, 1943, four months after the Dambusters attack led by Wing Cmdr. Guy Gibson.

John Howard, Stratford, Ont.

The naked truth

Maclean’s can always be counted on to tackle and solve the truly important questions faced by society. The question of whether or not Madonna is or is not a “f—ing pain in the ass” had long been one of vital importance to Canada’s cultural elite (“The foulmouthed truth,” Opening Notes, Aug. 10). All Canadians are grateful to Maclean’s for clearing up this controversy.

W. P. Godfrey, Calgary

Trade-trap tragedy

I was surprised and disappointed at the negative position taken by Peter C. Newman on the North American Free Trade Agreement (“Falling into Bush’s Mexican trade trap,” Business Watch, Aug. 17). I would like to read some serious reflection on what will happen if we do not ratify this agreement. I suggest we would be creating an economic wasteland in Canada, discouraging any further investments here.

St. Clair McEvenue, Etobicoke, Ont.

Toying with women

Could it just be possible that the buxom young lady, posed with ample cleavage over a bicycle (“The new techno toys,” Cover, Aug. 17) suggests that Maclean’s is guilty of portraying women as playthings also? Women deserve better than this from Canada’s newsmagazine.

Jan Renwicke Walker, Scarborough, Ont.

California dreaming

As a homesick Canadian living in southern California, I keep two very important links with home; first I subscribe to Maclean’s and second I watch Canadian Keith Morrison on the local NBC station. The July 20 issue of Maclean ’s (“Return of the native,” People) reported that Morrison is returning to Canada and the CTV network. I was crushed! I was jealous! I was comforted! The article stated that Morrison is returning home because “In Canada, journalism is a business, too, but it is also still a calling.” More than once I was sure I saw him

wince at the sound-bite style of coverage, the often ludicrous topics, the lack of objective reporting and the absence of in-depth analysis. As a local government administrator, I can echo his sentiments. Since coming to California, I have been surreptitiously exploring a move back. My relatives think I have lost my mind. Why would I want to return to constitutional debate, GST and the weather? And I respond, “Why would anyone not want reasonable health care, safe cities, a vibrant political environment, women’s rights, gun control, public transportation?” Save a place for me!

J. Ann Hewitt, Ventura, Calif.