Election memories

November 15 1993

Election memories

November 15 1993

Election memories


I have just closed the covers of your Nov. 1 issue, with Jean Chrétien and his wife, Aline, on the front (`Today's man," Cover) and Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays on the back ("Jumping for joy," Sports). What great work! These two covers say so much about two very important October, 1993, days. They will be remembered for a long time.

Gilles Allain, Fredericton, N.B.

Does Maclean’s really believe that non-Torontonian Canadians think the World Series was a “monumental event that gripped the nation” (‘The power to appoint,” From the editor, Nov. 1)? Yes, it was fun to watch. Yes, I cheered when Joe Carter hit his Series-winning homer, but “a moment for the ages”? Have you lost track of what is fun and what is real? The death of the Tory government—now that was a monumental event. So, if the Toronto Maple Leafs ever win the Stanley Cup, hold the hyperbole and the double covers.

C. John Tottenham, Calgary

What is wrong with Peter C. Newman? His demented and flippant labelling of the election results as “elected dictatorship” hit a new low in political commentary (“Epitaph for the twoparty state,” Nov. 1). We do not recall him pinning the same label on the Conservative party when it achieved an even larger majority in the past. This kind of outrageous commentary insults not only our elected representatives but the whole democratic process.

R. T. Lewis, North York, Ont.

Our out-of-date and undemocratic electoral system played a trick on the electorate and created perhaps the most divisive and volatile political situation since the existence of the Canadian Confederation. The present sys-

tem works well with two parties. However, during the past two decades, with three major federal parties, the Liberals and Conservatives obtained overwhelming false majorities with 41 per cent to 43 per cent of the popular vote. With five major parties, as was the case on Oct. 25, the situation became much worse. Theoretically, any party could have a huge false majority with only 22 per cent of the popular vote. A system based on national distribution of the popular vote would not only be a more democratic and balanced representation of the will of the people, but would re-establish our confidence in the political system and politicians.

George Bethlendy, Toronto

Slanted view

In your article “Read all about it: Halifax is hip!” (Lifestyles, Oct. 25), I was made to look like a bandwagon jumper. I make my living—not just “pocket change”—as a street musician. As for coming here for a “slim hint of fame,” I came long before Halifax was hip. If anything, I took part in Halifax’s evolution.

Rob Lemon, Halifax

Letters may be condensed. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, Maclean Hunter Bldg., 777 Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Or fax: (416) 596-7730.

Supreme hypocrisy

I am sick and tired of the Supreme Court of Canada’s hypocrisy. Are doctors allowed to murder or aren’t they? In “A wrenching decision” (Canada, Oct. 11), you tell us of the court ruling against allowing the doctor-assisted taking of a life in the Sue Rodriguez case. Yet in the same issue you report that the same judges will continue to allow Dr. Henry Morgentaler to take numerous lives daily in the name of women’s rights (“A victory for Morgentaler,” Canada Notes). How is it right that a woman can have a doctor assist her in taking one life, and yet not have one assist her in taking her own? Is the Supreme Court for death or life?

Sandra Montgomery, Kelowna, B.C.

Dr. Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned cosmologist, also suffers from ALS. During a speech to students in Vancouver, he said that he doesn’t have the time to do the things he can do, so it doesn’t seem important to do the things he can’t do. Here is a man who is busy living and devoting himself to his fellow man. Maybe that is what life is all about.

Beverley Weinmann, Invermere, B.C.

Support systems

Unemployed for nine months, I have recently joined the ranks of those trying to start businesses and create their own jobs. Despite all the statistics about how much small business contributes to our economy, I have been constantly amazed at how eager

government agencies and institutions, along with the banks, are to burden such initiative with an array of taxes, fees or surcharges for almost everything I have to do to create a job for myself, even down to charging me to rezone my apartment so I can work out of my home. I heartily agree with Barbara Amiel (“Why the Tories have the wrong stuff,” Column, Oct. 18) that it is not up to the govemment to “do” something for me, but I often find myself wishing the politicians would at least make it a bit easier and less difficult to do something for myself.

Stephanie Hamilton, Taber, Alta.

As a nonwhite immigrant to Canada, I commend Barbara Amiel on her forthright stand to “end the farce of governmentsponsored multiculturalism.” The lip service paid to the multi-meaning word “multiculturalism” is pure political ploy to woo the ethnic vote, while providing a platform for self-styled ethnic leaders. In no way does it work towards a united nation and a strong Canada; rather it is a nice way to divide and rule.

Kirthie Abeyesekera, North York, Ont.

Silly me, I believed it when I was told that dinosaurs were extinct. However, after reading Barbara Amiel’s column I must conclude that it just ain’t so. Her pronouncements regarding replacing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with a new charter to guarantee property rights, and her opposition to labor laws that might benefit the laborer, are proof enough that she is indeed the reincarnation of the original dinosaur.

Phyllis Malone, Victoria

If Barbara Amiel believes that our social services have become a hammock, obviously she has never had to apply for unemployment insurance or welfare. I suspect it is easy to pretend to know what is wrong in this world when you are assured that you will never partake in the degradation these services create. For the first time in my entire life, I have found myself unemployed. Believe me, unemployment insurance proceeds are designed for survival, nothing more. Perhaps some day, when Amiel has no job or personal wealth to see her through the bad times, then and only then will I be interested in her views on our social safety net. Until that time, as she suggests to other women, she should try sports coverage.

Gloria Welsh, Dunsford, Ont.


It is very sad to see Maclean’s glorify “The king of pom” by devoting its cover to extolling the wonders of Randy Jorgensen’s success (Oct. 11). Informative coverage of this topic would not have required such a presentation. The most important truth about pornography is that it debases, degrades and dehumanizes not only the people in the magazine or video, but also the viewers. Canada has made important strides in recent years in the area of clean water, air and respect for the environment. Unfortunately, we have allowed our moral ozone to almost disappear. A society that allows the denigration of the beautiful gift of sexuality through pornography is doomed.

Terry Snyder,

Windsor, Ont.

Any police officer or youth worker knows that for every happy performer like Nina Hartley, there are a thousand desperate young girls pathetically walking the streets, climbing into cars with strangers or performing sex acts for the cameras. As a former investigative sergeant with the Metro Toronto police force, I can attest that those of us who have seen the porn business firsthand know of the degradation, hopelessness and extinguishing of the human spirit that characterizes these girls. Your articles never touch upon this and seemed to imply that the actors in the movies are not the same prostitutes found on the street or in hotel bars.

Don Best, Barrie, Ont.

Thank you for your article “The king of porn,” which draws attention to the extent to which pornography is proliferating in our country. I sincerely hope it raises enough alarm that responsible citizens will publicly voice their dismay and concern. I was bothered, however, by the subtle message that seems to underlie the article. Randy Jorgensen’s life is portrayed as an impressive, though controversial, success story of a “friendly farm boy” who made good. You state that “while many critics may wish he was doing something other than selling pornography, few would deny he is doing very well.” Is “doing well” financially now the ultimate goal, regardless of the devastating effects of our actions on society?

Marilyn Phillips, Regina

A man’s world

I read with interest your piece on the hiring of Sylvia Corning to be the first female log supply supervisor (“No place for a woman,” Cover, Oct. 4). It was interesting to note that she was given a job, presumably by a man, that she admits she had absolutely no knowledge of. It’s no wonder there was some opposition. As far as the progress Corning made in adjusting work schedules and loads, I expect that is what the position entailed and it is no more significant whether it was improved by a male or a female. In the world of commerce, gender politics plays an increasing and often unjustified role. If a man applies for a job and gets the position, it is probably because he was best qualified in experience, background, attitude and potential. Unfortunately, many women now obtain positions in the workplace because they are women. The end does not justify the means.

Gary Young, Campbell River, B. C.

Legal fees

Pursuant to the article regarding the unpopularity of lawyers (“The public on lawyers—guilty,” Lifestyles, Oct. 11), I suggest that they carefully consider their method of billing indigent clients. This practice, known as contingency billing, enables lawyers to command a fee of up to 33.5 per cent (as an example) of the amount awarded to their client in a motor vehicle accident insurance claim settlement. In the case of representing a person rendered quadriplegic in an automobile accident, where the average settlement in British Columbia is $2.5 million, that could mean a staggering $837,500 fee. I do not think fees of this magnitude can be justified, especially since I have observed in my 30 years of general medical practice that every single one of my patients who sought insurance compensation reached a settlement out of court. Is it not reasonable to expect that a lawyer’s fee should be related to the number of hours actually spent working on the case?

Dr. H. B. Veasey, Sooke, B. C.

Debt for peace

I have just read ‘Too few good men” in your Sept. 13 issue (Canada), which I recently received here in Croatia. This article dismays me greatly, particularly after witnessing the earlier performance of the same commando unit here in the former Yugoslavia. Without question this was the best battalion on duty in this theatre of operation. They are a great credit to their regiment and the country. Your article rightly condemns the actions of a few for their behavior in Somalia. However, the tone, particularly the headline, ‘Too Few Good Men,” blames all members for racist attitudes. This battalion has done an outstanding job, which has been barely noticed by the Canadian media. We all owe a debt of gratitude to our soldiers such as those found in 2 Commando unit, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry; you should not castigate them for the failings of a very few.

Lt.-Col. ]. A. Davidson, UNPROFOR, United Nations, Sector South Headquarters, Knin, Croatia