September 27 1993


September 27 1993


No laughing matter

The illustration on the cover of your Sept. 13 issue (“Ready, set, go!”) of the five prime ministerial candidates is expressly appropriate: why are these people not smiling?

Robert Nemeth, Calgary

Yes, Canadians are grumpy about the election. We told politicians in the referendum that we did not want them running our country with their outdated, divisive and confrontational system. We told them that a suitable replacement would be a constituent assembly. We have been ignored. There should be a slot on the ballot—a form of protest vote marked: “I favor a Canadianstyle constituent assembly over the Britishstyle House and Senate.”

Bob Bowley, Peterborough, Ont.

Your cover contains several timely articles, with details on five of the parties including even a party whose objective is to destroy Canada’s political structure. There are, however, only two references to Mel Hurtig and his newly formed National party. This does not seem unusual, for even in this professed democratic country, Mr. Hurtig has found it necessary to appeal to the courts to enable him to participate in a televised debate with other leaders.

Fenton Crosman, Ottawa

Absolutely no mention was made of the Christian Heritage Party in your cover story. During the 1988 election, the party ran 63 candidates, with at least one in each of the 10 provinces, and acquired nearly the same percentage of the popular vote as the Reform party, which ran 72 candidates only in Western Canada. I strongly believe in honesty and fairness, and this arbitrary exclusion is frightening.

J. R. Botta, St. John’s, Nfld.

Diana who? Not me, I don’t own an art gallery. And 1 would not criticize an exceptional woman (who is my wonderful boss) for wearing a “damn grey suit and pearl earrings” (“Dilemma ’93”). Wrong person!

Diana Lam,

Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister, Vancouver

Previous firsts

Dale Stokes, president of the Yukon party, disputes the claim that Alexa McDonough was the first female to be elected party leader in Canada (“First women,” Letters, Sept. 13). He contends that the first elected party leader was Hilda Watson, leader of the Yukon Territorial Progressive Conservative Party in September, 1978. Let’s correct the record: Thérèse Casgrain was the first woman to be elected party leader in Canada—for the CCF in Quebec in 1951.

Donald C. MacDonald, Toronto

Growing enterprise

Reading “Adding spice to the Prairies” (Agriculture, Sept. 13) proved to be a heartwarming experience as I read about Canadians who are doing what is becoming a rarity in this country: finding an alternative income. Despite a government intent on providing handouts to the unemployed and subsidizing unprofitable crops and soon-to-be non-existent fisheries, these Prairie farmers have confounded all common logic by actually trying to make a living and earning their own keep. Even more remarkable is the simplicity of their solution, provoking many to wonder whether the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been funnelled to farmers through government subsidies were really necessary.

Miguel Lepine-Cercone, Moonstone, Ont.

‘Lost all meaning’

Your article “Too few good men” (Canada, Sept. 13) about our troops in Somalia prompts me to write with a mixed feeling of anger and frustration. Overlooked is one of the major recommendations of the board of inquiry, which states that the military command in Ottawa, in some kind of formal setting and on a national scale, should pay tribute to the regiment for a task well done by all soldiers in the battle group. You, like almost all other critics, continue to overlook the warning given that this mission was not peacekeeping; instead, it was a kind of armed intervention into a hostile environment of feuding warlords, where life had lost all meaning. The media continue to focus on five or six soldiers—in my judgment, five or six bad apples do not speak for the quality and calibre of the other 1,000 who performed with exceptional skill.

R. F. Anderson, President, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association, Toronto

There are two disgraces connected with Somalia—one is the killing of the Somalis and the other is assigning the peacekeeping role to our soldiers. A policeman is trained to try to settle fights without bloodshed. The soldier is taught to kill first, because if he doesn’t, the other guy will kill him. Let the soldiers do what they were trained to do and are good at, and leave the peacekeeping to others.

C. E. Jukes, Vancouver

‘Coat of fear’

Score a 10 for Charles Gordon (“We have seen the enemy—and it is us,” Another View, Sept. 13). It is a fair question to ask of ourselves. Will we now strip away our exterior coat of fear and self-centredness and resuscitate intelligence, good will and patriotism? Canadians et Canadiens—let’s make Oct. 25 a wake-up call.

J. R. Pushman, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

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

A naïVe view

Clearly, Air Canada is using Canada’s judiciary not as a means to administer justice but as a device to harass, if not eliminate, a true competitor (“A new war of words,” Business, Aug. 30). And to believe that Air Canada’s monopolistic intent has Canada’s best interests at heart would be naïve. In the meantime, politicians quietly ignore the issue. If Canada is going to build its enterprising abilities in world markets, we need companies like Canadian Airlines, which at least has $200 million worth of vision backed by its employees.

Martin J. Doyle,


Maclean’s is perpetuating the myth that “the federal government is trying to steer clear of the dispute” and “Canadian Airlines employees are campaigning to persuade Ottawa to intervene.” The people of Canada are already involved in the process, via federal and provincial governmentissued lines of credit, loans and other innovative financial assistance given to Canadian Airlines. You can bet your bottom airline points that whatever the merits of the current scenario may be, and by whatever method it is eventually settled, we are collectively deciding whether or not Canada wants or needs a viable Canadian airline industry.

R. B. Lank, Orangeville, Ont.

Lost soul?

s a Canadian who spent close to 10 years living in Israel before moving to the United States, I have found some of your recent issues amusing. First, your cover bewailing pandemic tax evasion in Canada (“Cheaters,” Aug. 9). Sure, Canadians pay more taxes than most Americans, but you have medicare and decent beer. And in your Aug. 23 issue, there’s the hand-wringing over the CFL’s expansion into California and Nevada (“Who speaks for Canada?” Editorial). In Israel, a request from an NBA team to play in the same league as, say, the Maccabi Tel Aviv hoopsters, would have driven the entire country into the streets to dance a monthlong hora. Most denizens of a small country would regard the current expansion as vindication of its institutions. But Maclean’s seems to fear that Canada may soon lose its soul on the playing fields of Sacramento and Las Vegas. Are you kidding?

Sheldon Teitelbaum, Los Angeles

‘Crucial questions’

Diane Francis’s contention that the mission statement of Canada must be “to create the best climate possible for enterprise and technological innovation” is sadly inadequate (“A mission statement to revive Canada,” Aug. 30). It implies the purpose of life is merely to enrich ourselves but ignores the crucial questions of what wealth and human beings are for. Our entrepreneurial endeavor, technological innovation and the wealth they produce must be a means of promoting social justice, peace and freedom. I could embrace such a statement.

Paul Vanderham, Edmonton

One of a kind

Your story on the loss of the Mars Observer misses the real irony of the situation (“Lost in space,” Space, Sept. 6). NASA had intended to reduce costs by developing a series of standardized spacecraft. Only mission-specific equipment would differ, but the main systems would be the same. Mars Observer was to be the first of these productionline explorers. But Congress voted down the funds and Mars Observer became another “one-of.” While very serious questions •should be asked about NASA’s quality control standards, to suggest NASA has “lost its touch” is too extreme. The fault lies with Congress who decided less was more and forced reliance on a single Cadillac rather than a fleet of Chevrolets.

Peter J. Green, Vancouver

Simple days

I think that your special report on Newfoundland (“Can the youngest province be saved?” Aug. 23) was superb. I particularly commend your choice of pictures, which reflect the sheer beauty as well as the unique culture of our province. And especially moving is the innocence, trust and faith shown on the face of the small boy from Trouty, Trinity Bay, whose dreams will be shattered and whose experience is now only a memory of the past. I know because I too have sat in rubber pants and dangled my feet in an open fishing boat similarly loaded with cod. It is nothing short of a tragedy that the simplicity of such a way of life should pass forever.

Domino Home, St. John’s, Nfld.

For the same reason economist Parzival Copes moved to Burnaby, B.C., from St. John’s, Nfld., we stay! He talked of a simple lack of resources to sustain our population; I talk of a simple, sane life to sustain our population. Go see the fog skulking in over the breakwater; feel the wind crammed full of sea salt; take a walk “over ’round shore” to a house of a friend, whom you’ve known since birth. Leave Newfoundland! Sap my mind, my strength, my blood, but leave me bide in Newfoundland.

Sally Johnson-Layte, Bay Roberts, Nfld.

Fashion statement

Most teens do dress this way (“Kids, clothes and conformity,” Lifestyles, Sept. 6), but I would like to add a few things. They spend up to $700 for a single set of clothing. As I am typing this letter, I am wearing a White Sox jersey ($75), Point Zero jeans ($75), a Guess undershirt ($45) and my fullback Raiders hat ($30). Gee, that’s $225 right there, not including my underwear of course. I’m going out today and I will lace up my Dr. Martens shoes ($120 and I did say lace up) and put on my $70 jacket. That equals $415. And that’s nothing because I’m not wearing my good jacket and jeans. I wear Sung cologne that costs $60 a bottle. We use canvas bags here in Calgary, because leather tends to freeze. My friends wear Rolex, Gucci and Swatch watches. And those jeans in the picture aren’t baggy, trust me. You should have gotten a real “hip-hopper” to show you what teens dress like.

Lucas Kenward, Calgary

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